You’re not hallucinating—or maybe you are—this mid-summer heat wave is hitting us HARD. Life would be so much easier if we could spend our days lounging at the beach with a book, but most of us have to work for a living. And this sweltering heat and humidity has us all too dizzy to decide what to wear. Happily, we can help you figure it out.
Picking daily outfits for work is already stressful. Why do you think the office uniform craze has caught on? Recently, Saatchi and Saatchi’s Matilda Kahl wrote an article for Harper’s Baazar about how she wears the same thing every day because she wants to reserve her creative energy for work, not for wardrobe woes.
Wardrobe woes only get worse when the heat hits and you’ve run out of ideas. If you’re standing in front of the mirror wilting and wondering how one could possibly make a hot mess look chic, well, you can. Or you can fake it until you make it (to your air-conditioned office.)
Most workplaces (especially in the creative field) have flexible rules for fashion—but there are limits. When the temperature races past 90 degrees before your morning coffee, it is easy to blur the line between workplace appropriate and South Beach. However, there are plenty of ways to break a few rules and still keep it classy.
A modest one-piece swimsuit can double as a top (should you feel the need to a dip in a public pool between meetings—or just run through a sprinkler if things get desperate) and even a beach coverup can be workplace-appropriate. It all depends on the outfit additions like a blazer (for temperature-controlled environments, of course) or a chic pant.
J.Crew has a cute beach cover-ups that work for anytime with a blazer or the right shoe—and several chic swimsuits that can pass as tops with dressy pants and accessories. Clockwise from top left: Ruched one-piece (J.Crew $88); leather tote (Madewell $148); halter gauze beach cover-up (J.Crew $68); stripe blazer (Zara $60); crepe tassel jumpsuit beach coverup (J.Crew $70); strappy high heel (Zara $100); tassle flats (Zara $36).
Perk: most of the summer styles are ON SALE now since the retailers are preparing to stock their fall collections (I know, WHAT? Fall already!) Hurry before they sell out.
All your favorite swimwear designers have stunning cover-ups and ready-to-wear lines that can easily work as everyday dresses. Just tone down the pool-party vibe by ditching the flip-flops and beach waves for a conservative shoe and sleek pulled-back hair.
Sometimes a maxi dress can scream beach vacation but if you select neutrals or simple patterns and pair them with classic accessories, the look will be polished enough for the city.
We found several maxi styles that are flowing and airy for the hottest summer days but still ideal for everyday or even a night out. Clockwise from top left: Zara long dress ($40); H&M maxi dress ($20); Zara long stripe dress ($20); Zara jumpsuit ($30); H&M kimono dress ($60); Mara Hoffman cutout dress ($198); Zara stripe dress ($16).
If you can’t imagine wearing a maxi-length anything in the heat, we’ve rounded up a few work-worthy shorter options, too.
Clockwise from top left: Gap eyelet shift dress ($69); Rebecca Minkoff Miley dress ($228); Zara linen shirtdress ($50); Zara draped dress ($40); J.Crew shirtdress ($98); Zara bib front dress; J.Crew flounce dress ($138); Zimmermann geo gather dress ($350).
Whatever beat-the-heat style strategy you try, be it maxi or mini, remember: shades of white, beige, grey, and soft black will give you a weightless and cool vibe while bold prints can help to disguise sweat stains.