I’m back from Europe! I returned to Dallas yesterday afternoon after one full month abroad. I had the most amazing trip. It truly cemented my belief that I could honestly travel 24/7 without a home base and be as happy as a clam. Even though I’m a total homebody at heart.
Sadly, I can’t be an eternal traveler… yet. But bright side: me coming home means I’ll hopefully start posting on the blog with at least some degree of regularity (BTW I swear I tried – I can’t even tell y’all how many times I fell asleep editing photos or writing the past few weeks!).
The reason why I had to return is I’m starting my full-time job (the one I mentioned here) in just 2 short weeks! That means it’s time for me to dig all of my summer workwear essentials out from the shadowy depths of my closet. And to get this girl who wakes up at 11AM used to waking up at 6:30AM. Oomf. So not ready for that one.
What I’m Wearing:
Top: LOFT / Skirt: Ann Taylor / Sweater: Ann Taylor / Shoes: Sole Society, c/o
Tote Bag: Sole Society, sold out (similar) / Earrings: Sugarfix by BaubleBar, c/o
Aside from the one summer I spent interning in Manhattan in college, I’ve spent my entire professional life in Texas. In the heat. Slightly dying on the inside because it’s 105ºF outside and 65°F inside and how on earth does a human prepare for that?!
Weirdly enough, the majority of my summer workwear essentials and professional dressing in summer tips and tricks I picked up while working as a sales associate at Ralph Lauren in Austin while still in college. That summer, Austin experienced 100 straight days over 100°F (that’s 38°C for all of my non-American readers!). As we wanted to be a cool oasis in an otherwise boiling, humid city, we kept the store at or around 65°F/18°C.
Dressing for that is hard enough. But then throw in one last twist: at the time (I have no idea if this is still the case), store employees had to wear the season being promoted in stores. So when the fall merchandise arrived in mid-June, that meant we all had to wear fall clothes to work. Jeans, boots, sweaters… fall clothes. When it was 100°F outside.
Do you know how weird a person looks in Texas in July wearing jeans, boots, and a sweater!?!? FRIGGIN WEIRD, Y’ALL.
But still: that experience taught me a lot about how to dress for work in the summer, and it helped me come up with my list of my biggest summer workwear essentials. Hint hint: a sweater you can easily toss in your bag is definitely on that list!
My Summer Workwear Essentials + Styling Tips
Summer generally means two things: heat and longer days. And that combination typically leads to an increase in after-work activities (happy hours, evenings on a boat, etc). So when you’re figuring out your summer workwear essentials, you need to consider three things:
- Is there anything I can wear that won’t make me roast like a pig on a spit while walking outside?
- What won’t make me freeze like I’m on an arctic expedition while in the office / inside?
- Which products will take me easily from day to night, ensuring I’m comfortable for all my after-work “extracurricular” activities?
Keeping these three questions in mind, I’ve invested in a handful of what I call my “summer workwear essentials” over the years. These products are washable (necessary for if you get sweaty in the heat during your lunch break!), breathable (see: HOT AF OUTSIDE), and can easily be mixed-and-matched to keep you from being too much of an outfit repeater this summer.
For my workwear wardrobe, I like to shop at stores like Ann Taylor, LOFT, J.Crew, and Nordstrom. These four retailers tend to have a good range of well-priced, work-appropriate items that look great whether I’m at work or at happy hour.
Summer Workwear Essentials: Dresses and Skirts
I hardly ever wear pants during the majority of the year… and that’s especially the case in the summertime. Those hotter temperatures require – at least for me – light and flowy pieces. Aka not jeans.
I highly recommend checking out Ann Taylor‘s dresses and skirts. These products tend to be light, flowy, washable, and – most importantly – relatively budget-friendly. Oh and PS they’re having a sale right now! Here are a few of my favorite picks currently in stores:
Summer Workwear Essentials: Blouses
Weirdly enough, I use the summer months to stock up on the blouses I wear throughout the year. That’s because these blouses tend to be the most layer-friendly… and have a better chance of being made of a washable fabric.
I thoroughly believe that every woman should have at least 2 or 3 white or cream blouses to wear with pants, skirts, or suits. White and cream blouses are easy to just throw on and run out the door as they will almost always go with whatever you’re wearing. I may or may not take this belief to the extreme with my legit section of my closet devoted to white and cream blouses (I’m pretty sure I have at least 10… including this one shown above), but that’s neither here nor there.
Also I’m a fashion blogger, so really: what’d you expect?!
Even if you work in a more buttoned-up atmosphere, don’t be afraid to invest in a few tank tops or short-sleeved shirts. These pieces are great for taking you from day to night: you just wear the blouse with a blazer or cardigan during the day and then ditch the extra layer when you meet up with friends or your s/o for some after-work cocktails.
Summer Workwear Essentials: Sweaters
As I mentioned earlier, I always have a sweater in my bag during the summer months. Even if I’m not going into an office, every restaurant in Dallas has the AC cranked on high and I’ve learned my lesson after too many years of trying to fashion multiple napkins into a wraparound poncho to keep me warm while dining.
Lately, I’ve been loving these cardigans (actually seen in the photos above!) by Ann Taylor. They’re warm yet breathable, available in a wide array of colors, well-priced, and almost always on sale (they’re 50% off today!). I honestly have this cardigan in 4 colors… and now’s a great time to stock up on them. Here are a few of my favorite sweaters of the moment: