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How to Look Professional in Hot Weather

How to Look Professional in Hot Weather: Eight Outfits to Try

These outfits did the best job of keeping me as comfortable as one can hope to be when the high is 103.

By Madeleine Kim

Hello from Texas! I just checked my phone, and it’s currently 7:50pm and 96 degrees. And actually, that’s an improvement from the past few days. I moved here a few years ago, and despite having spent many a summer commuting on the muggy NYC subway, I was not prepared for the heat. I am lucky enough to work from home, but for those who work in an office, getting dressed during the summer months can be its own unique form of hell (dramatic…but true). 

After long struggling to find the right balance of office-appropriate and reasonably-unlikely-that-I’ll-sweat-through-it-on-the-subway during my New York years, I developed a few rules of thumb for dressing for work in the summer. And this week, I decided to pressure-test my rules against the Texas heat with eight M.M. outfits. I realize that there are some temperatures in which you could literally be naked and still be dripping sweat, but I found that the following tips and outfits did the best job of keeping me as comfortable as one can hope to be when the high is 103. 

Read on for my top tips on looking professional in hot weather.

How To Look Professional in Hot Weather

Tip #1: Wear Breathable Fabrics

It may sound obvious, but fabric is one of the most important factors when you’re trying to stay cool. Beat the heat by looking for pieces made from natural fabrics like cotton poplin and silk, as well as breathable knits like pima cotton and Interweave.

Tip #2: Invest in Functionality

Machine-washable pieces are always convenient—but when you’re dressing for hot weather, they’re especially key. Try dresses like the Priya, made from an innovative fabric called Eco Soft Wave that’s machine-washable, wrinkle-resistant, and odor-resistant.

Tip #3: Embrace Relaxed Silhouettes

Even if you typically prefer tailored pieces, consider incorporating some more relaxed styles into your summer work wardrobe. The looser the piece, the more airflow you get.

Tip #4: Layer with Lightweight Jackets

Layering isn’t just for fall and winter. In fact, I’d argue that it’s just as important during the summer months. Lightweight jackets like the Alyssa and the Lilia can give your outfit a more put-together look without adding too much heat. Keep your jacket in your bag during your commute, then pull it on over your short sleeves or tank top once you reach the office air conditioning.

Outfits to Look Professional in Hot Weather

Eight Professional Outfits to Wear in Hot Weather

Outfit #1

If you tend to prefer more casual outfits for work, this one’s for you. The light colors of the Fatima dress and Nicky jacket offer a distinctly summery feel, and the Carter slides are comfortable and beachy—but 1,000 times more polished than flip flops.

casual summer office outfit
mmlafleur summer outfit for work

Outfit #2

For a slightly more formal office dress code, sub the Nicky jacket for the Lilia jacket and add a belt to create structure. If you’re facing especially warm weather, keep the Lilia in your bag during your commute, then pull it on once you reach the office.

Outfit #3

I love a good dress shirt—and the super-breathable Mila shirt is one of my favorites. If you’re in the market for virtual interview attire that won’t leave you sweating, this outfit is a great option.

mmlafleur dress shirt and pants
breezy monochromatic office outfit

Outfit #4

If you work in an office without a strict dress code, try this breezy, monochromatic look. My favorite thing about this outfit is that it offers sun protection without adding heat. Plus, I can personally attest to the fact that the Madelyn pants are so lightweight, they feel like you’re not wearing pants at all (a weird feeling to have in a work environment, but much more comfortable than sweating).

Outfit #5

The Lilia jacket has a way of making every outfit look chic—not that it’s hard with the Priya dress. This ensemble is also proof that office dressing doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. I may look super put-together, but I easily could’ve lounged on the couch in this outfit for hours.

Outfits to Look Professional in Hot Weather
How to Look Professional in Hot Weather

Outfit #6

If you want to try the Priya dress in a slightly more casual outfit, just swap your pumps for the Carter slides. I added the Circle Buckle belt to emphasize the black-and-navy color combo, and of course, you can keep the Lilia jacket by your side if the air conditioning gets too intense.

Outfit #7

Fun fact: The washable silk charmeuse Alyssa jacket can also be styled as a dress shirt. To wear it as a tailored shirt, button it up and wrap the sash around your waist, as shown here. To wear it open as a jacket, loosely tie the sash in the back (see the next outfit).

silk charmeuse Alyssa jacket
mmlafleur summer power casual

Outfit #8

Work outfits don’t just have to be for work. In fact, we at M.M. prefer to dress in Power Casual pieces that make sense for all facets of our lives. That’s why I love this outfit so much—I’d absolutely wear it to the office, but I’d also wear it out to dinner with some block heels. In fact, maybe I’ll wear it to dinner tonight

Written By

Madeleine Kim

Madeleine Kim is the Senior Brand Manager at M.M.LaFleur, where she started out as a stylist. She loves developing styling-focused content and creating newsletters that bring the M.M. community together.

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