Dressing For the Office When It's Hot

Flip-flops, shorts, tank tops - shedding those winter layers are what summer's all about. But if you work in an office setting, it can be difficult if not impossible to adapt summery clothes into a professional look. So how does a working girl stay cool outside and look the part inside the office? Take your office's dress code into account before busting out the shorts and tube tops. You also should consider the indoor temperature - many offices like to crank the air conditioning, leaving the sleeveless or pants/pantyhose-less chilly and miserable. First, the no-nos. Most any office isn't the place for flip-flops. It's OK to expose your toes - just do it in a peep-toe, D'Orsay heel or slingback. If you have great legs that you shave regularly, then it's usually OK these days to go without hose - unless your workplace's particular dress code requires them.

In that case, you'll want to eschew the open-toed shoes. A pencil skirt is a great look year-round as long as it's not too heavy and not too light. Go with a sleek shape that isn't made of linen and isn't a cargo style, which is too informal for the office. The same goes for trousers and long shorts. That's right - it's OK to wear the formal styles of long shorts that you've seen in magazines and on runways. Again, it's contingent on your office's dress code, but shorts in a polished tweed or cotton material paired with a more formal top and flats are great for work. A nice way to beat the heat, comply with the dress code and combat the freezing A/C is to layer a camisole or tank in a natural material, such as silk or cotton, with a cropped blazer or cardigan. Add a pair of crisp, wide-legged trousers for a professional look. Use your judgment when dressing for the office - if a wardrobe choice seems questionable, then it probably is.