Dressing Business Casual This Summer (Even When It’s Hot Out)

Dressing Business Casual This Summer (Even When It's Hot Out)

Transitioning throughout the year from one season to another can be a little confusing, especially when it comes to summertime. Everything is lightweight. There’s less clothing, deeper necklines, shorter pieces. Colors are lighter (which can be really hard if you’re a dark clothing kind of person). You don’t want to sweat (or “glow”!) too much… so dressing business casual can be tricky!

So when summer comes around you’re left wondering how you can still look like a professional, in clothing that feels appropriate for the weather or the temperature. 

As your Virtual Stylist (and in-person if you’re looking for a Seattle based Personal Stylist!), I’m here to make summer work clothing less stressful for you. Dressing business casual in the summer can be really fun, and I’m going to share five different outfit ideas that I want you to try so you can feel comfortable, appropriately dressed and aligned with how you want to show up in the world.

1)How to wear black in summer

How to wear black in summer - black business casual

Black is such a huge color for the season (when done right, we don’t want you sweating and feeling too hot!). This button down by Club Monaco has some texture to it. Bralettes are trending right now so having a lacy top like this with a fitted cami underneath incorporates the trend into an appropriate outfit for work! Pair it with a white denim or white trousers pant to keep things light for summer.

I’m all about belts right now too (I love this Banana Republic one), especially with tops like the one above, either tucked in all the way or half way. Either one works, but add the belt because it will really complete this look. It will make it look just super chic. Adding a comfortable heel really brings the look together too, like these ones by Mark Fisher (that come in multiple colors too)! Silver jewelry works really well in this look. These Ravena Drop Earrings work well from Banana Republic because they tie in nicely with the silver belt buckle. My advice on black for summer work clothing is to mix and match metals within thin or sheer black materials so it doesn’t feel too flat or too hot to wear!

2)How to wear denim in summer

How to wear denim in summer - business summer casual

Denim is always on the list when it comes to dressing business casual. For me, as a Personal Stylist, it’s all about learning new ways to wear it so you can change up your denim look multiple ways. Whether you dress it down, or you dress it up for work, or going out, you are going to love a light color denim. 

I’m loving silver right now. I’m even wearing it now as I write this blog post! There’s so many ways to add it to your summer work clothing so you feel put together. 

These Ultra High Rise Jo jeans from Evereve pair great with this Linen Helena Blazer from J Crew in baby blue to add some seasonal color. You could roll up the sleeves to give it a more relaxed look if you like, and then keep it simple with a plain tee underneath – I love this Boatneck T-shirt from J Crew! It looks slightly more elegant and elevated and you could tuck it in fully to the denim because it is high-waisted. Add in some silver to incorporate a light color again, I love this belt by Tory Burch with the silver buckle and reversible options and also these square toed Mary Janes by Dolce Vita (don’t be fooled by the shape, these are super comfortable and flats are really in again for wearing with jeans, dresses and shorts). Finish it off with some simple silver jewelry

3) How to wear work appropriate vests in the summer

How to wear work appropriate vests in the summer - business summer casual

Work appropriate vests are something I get asked about all the time as a Personal Stylist, especially when it comes to dressing business casual. 

I’m personally loving this Gestuz Vest right now as it can feature in all different parts of life, whether it’s going out, being on stage for clients, clients that work in a professional setting and even casually with jeans. So how do you make it feel work appropriate? Because some of them are really low cut and sexy and show your arms a lot. 

Pair a slightly higher neckline for a cami underneath. Often clients forget you can do a higher neckline with a cami and make the look feel instantly more comfortable and work appropriate. This thicker ribbed material is also a lot less see-through in white too. This kind of cami also looks great with a denim skirt option, like this Aritzia High-Rise Denim Pencil Maxi Skirt. Make sure to fully tuck in that cami too, you don’t want it sticking out and then the vest sticking out. You can also integrate different textures into this summer work look to make it feel more put together, and also slightly more playful and relaxed. Try this Sezane Snakeskin Belt, this simple yet elegant Ana Luisa gold necklace and these gorgeous cream Tony Bianco heels to pull the look together and… voila!

4) How to wear appropriate shorts for work in the summer

How to wear appropriate shorts for work in the summer - business casual summer

Another question my clients ask me alllll the time is “are shorts classed as summer work clothing?”. My advice would always be that it depends on how you feel about your legs. Shorts can definitely be a good option instead of a skirt. The only shorts I wouldn’t recommend for dressing business casual are denim ones. Keep them for home!

Try a beige, a navy or even a tweed for a polished summer work clothing look. I love these Navy Vince Shorts because they easily mix and match with different textures that you can put on top, such as a textured vest or Tweed Cropped Jacket. You can also do a beautiful printed blouse or something else with it. I feel like if you got a navy pair of shorts, you can wear it multiple ways in your closet, it’s a key summer piece you’ll make use of for years! This outfit pairs really well with these Talbots Navy Flats and a small hoop earring with textures incorporated into it like these Olivela Twisted Rope Hoop Earrings.

5) How to wear dresses for summer work clothing

How to wear dresses for summer work clothing - business casual summer

Another popular client question: the work dress that is appropriate. With dresses, there are so many MIDI dresses that make dressing business casual really fun. Choose something with deeper colors (I’m loving browns at the moment) and patterns, like this Veronica Beard Print Sleeveless Midi Dress and a suede flat like these L’Agence Loafers. These flats go perfectly with a simple bag that you can throw all your work items into, like this Quince bag. Something chunkier when it comes to jewelry goes great with this to add in some texture. I love gold jewelry for an outfit like this. Check out these gorgeous pieces from Anthropologie: their Watchband Bracelet and Pearl Drop Earrings really bring the look together and give it that summer feel.

Now you have the lowdown on dressing business casual for summer 2024…

Let me know what you’ll be wearing! You can shop the full summer looks here that I mentioned in this blog post.

And if you’re still feeling a little stuck on how to dress this summer then make sure to check out my Style Personality Quiz! It’s totally free and you get an additional shopping board based on your style personality too. You’ll receive professional advice for what trends to try, stores to explore, and insider secrets to make your buys a no-brainer.

You can also learn more about your personal style and self development on my YouTube channel, or book in a free discovery call to work 1:1 with me here.

Build a style and wardrobe that truly reflects you.


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