Summer can be a glorious time of year—the days are longer, our favourite dresses come out of hibernation and post-work beach trips become possible again.
But on the other side, the humidity can be… frustrating, to say the least, and the office air-con can become overkill, making us reach for our knitwear once again.
And while years of lockdown seemingly made us forget how to dress altogether, we’re finally back into the swing of office life again. But with that, comes the daily struggle of choosing an outfit—which is hard enough before you throw in the tricky weather.
There are, however, simple tips and tricks that will guide your workdrobe this summer, no matter what work looks like for you, as well as some key staples and trend pieces that can make the world of a difference to your morning routine (less time choosing clothes = more time to sleep in).
Here, we breakdown the eleven wardrobe essentials that are going to make dressing for work in summer a breezy affair, and, dare we say, fun.
The Crisp Black Shirt
It’s a fairly common misconception that black and hot weather do not mix. But, we reckon that there is definitely such thing as ‘crisp’ black shirt, and the colour can actually make a relaxed style seem more polished.
Frankie Shop Lui Organic Cotton-Poplin Shirt, $283 at Net-A-Porter
The Lightweight Blazer
Another way to instantly dress up an outfit is by throwing on a blazer. But naturally your winter go-to won’t quite work for summer. Look for lighter fabrics like linen and cotton that will keep you looking chic—without overheating.
Irena Oversized Tailored Blazer in Cream, $360 from Shona Joy
The Straight Leg Jean
Let’s be real, office dressing can get a little lax in the warmer months, but that doesn’t mean tank tops and daisy dukes. If you’re looking to loosen up a bit but still look sharp, opt for straight-leg denim, paired with dressier items like a blazer and slingback heels.
LEVI’S Ribcage Straight Ankle Jeans, $159.95 at THE ICONIC
The lazy girl’s best friend, the jumpsuit is a must-have for anyone that struggles with deciding what to wear. And despite what people may believe, they’re actually quite versatile and can be styled in multiple ways to get your mileage out of them.
One way to make this look more office-appropriate is to throw your hair up in a slicked-back bun.
Isabel Marant Étoile Kendra Cotton Jumpsuit, from $580 at FARFETCH
The New Classics
The Tailored Bermuda Short
Since 2020 we’ve seen the Bermuda short become a summer fashion staple, with the tailored silhouette dominating everyone’s work wardrobes.
There’s a bit of skin to be shown here, but try to keep it to just above the knee to keep it more sophisticated.
AERE Longline Linen Shorts, $80 at THE ICONIC
The Voluminous Dress
Puffy sleeves, tiered layered and trapeze shapes have all been the dominating dress trends in recent years, and luckily for us, voluminous dresses can easily be adapted to workwear with the addition of some luxe accessories.
Comfy, light and cute to boot—what’s not to love?
Prairie Pleated Midi Dress, $525 at Aje
The Printed Blouse
Summer usually inspires us to get a little more bold with our sartorial choices, and what better way to embrace your wild side then with a printed blouse? Keep it on the looser side and tuck into some tailored trousers for professional appeal.
Esme Long Sleeve Shirt, $490 at SIR
The Short Sleeve Shirt
One of the newer pieces in our collection of staples, the short sleeve shirt is the versatile throw-over that will serve you well this summer.
Play your cards right with styling and you’ll find yourself with an outfit that can easily be taken to the beach for a post-work dip and drinks.
Academy Brand Frankie Shirt, $79.95 at THE ICONIC
The Standout Pieces
The Bold Purse
Does anything add excitement to an outfit like a vibrant handbag? We think not.
While it’s not always going to go with everything, it will add an element of fun to any standard office outfit and that’s good enough for us.
Teen Puch In Parakeet, $4,590 at COSETTE
The Silk Slip Dress
You’d be hard-pressed to find a marie claire staffer that doesn’t have at least two slip dresses in their work outfit rotation, but we understand that it’s not an every office kind of deal.
If you are one of the lucky few who can get away with this style, try throwing a button-up shirt over the put the business in business casual.
Stella Silk Satin Vintage Slip, $499 at Lee Mathews
The Chunky Necklace
If you’re worried about keeping things a little too relaxed, or you just want to add some garnish onto an already killer work look, opt for some on-trend jewellery pieces that allow you to look like you’ve put more effort in than you actually have.
We’re currently love chunky chain styles and pendants.
Bold Link Chain Necklace, $150; mejuri.com, $275 at Mejuri