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Workplace attire vs. summer heat

How to keep your cool and dress appropriately.From blazing sun to AC blasts, we got you covered.

Summer presents wardrobe challenges for those with a 9-to-5 job.

The usual summer dress code revolves around flip-flops, shorts and tank tops. But that attire won’t win any promotions, especially if you work in an office where business attire is the norm.

So, in order to keep your job and survive the transition from sweat-inducing temperatures to air-conditioned deep freezes, weigh your clothing options carefully, get creative, pay attention to the fashion sense of your colleagues and management and invest in some layers.

“Review the dress code, so you don’t get sent home from work like a bad kid,” said Maxine Skuba, career counselor, LPC, in Yellow Springs. “When I worked in an office, we had some unreasonable demands in the handbook — you could not show toe cleavage or bare arms.”

If there’s no dress code to reference, then Skuba recommends asking your supervisor or manager if something is appropriate before you wear it.

“Even if there isn’t a dress code, still upper cleavage is a no-no, even though we are showing more skin than we were even 10 years ago. It’s distracting,” Skuba said.

Skuba also cautions from taking what’s in or trendy too far into the office.

“Skirts are always nice — breezy — but although shorter skirts are in fashion, you want to conform to the dress code and culture of the office,” Skuba said. “You don’t want to jeopardize yourself with the way you dress.”

Opting for longer lengths in skirts and dresses is a good summer look for the office.

Kelly Sheets, Northmont City School teacher, said maxi skirts and a dressy tank top are cool and comfortable choices for work.

Capri pants, which are a cross between a Bermuda short and long pants, are a good option for the office, according to Skuba.

“I think Capri pants are nice and appropriate for summer dress in the office especially if you have a little jacket you can put on over your top for a meeting,” Skuba said.

To keep from freezing in an air-conditioned office, layers like a sweater or jacket are smart staples for a summer work wardrobe and perfect additions to sleeveless tops and blouses.

Just a change in fabric can take you stylishly and professionally through a change in season.

Linen fabric is easy and summer-friendly, and a Seersucker suit can be a fresh approach to a formal business dress code. Even just trading in dark colors like black, gray and brown, for lighter, brighter shades can make the summer heat more bearable and your style a little cooler.

Dressy sandals are a stylish and fun choice for your summer work wardrobe, but flip-flops and most open-toed sandals are better left for days off.

Contact this contributing writer at

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