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.
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 two 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.
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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. Look for pieces made from natural fibers 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.
Eight Professional Outfits to Wear in Hot Weather
I love a good dress shirt—and the super-breathable Mila shirt is one of my favorites. The intricate embroidery on the cuffs and collar inject some personality into an otherwise classic business casual look. If you’re in the market for virtual interview attire that won’t leave you sweating, this outfit is a great option.
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).
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).
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…