Monday, May 14, 2012

Summer Work Staples: The Shirtdress

I don't know about where you are, but it is not spring anymore in Miami (it's not full-on summer yet, either, so I'll enjoy the 88 degree/70% humidity weather while I can). Summer in the office can be a touchy balance, but it's no excuse to let your style wilt. I'll be focusing on some summer style staples over the next few weeks (months? We'll see how many I find) and offering some tips to make them appropriate for the office.

First up: the shirtdress.

I've harped on shirtdresses before, but I'd like to add some special summer notes:
  • Length. It is tempting to go a little higher in the hem for summer, but your skirts and dresses should be office-appropriate length year-round. For the most part, this means no more than an inch or two (max) above the knee. 
  • Fabric. Structured fabrics are always chic, but I do think you can get away with a nice silk for summer. Avoid anything too clingy or synthetic (breathable is best). Fabric makes a huge difference and can make a modest dress bearable in hot weather.
  • Sleeves. Depending on your office, going sleeveless may be a year-round thing or a never thing. When in doubt, I'd choose sleeves. To avoid having to take a jacket or cardi on and off all the time, try a cap sleeve or short sleeve. Three-quarter sleeve dresses in a light breathable fabric can be super-chic, too.
  • Double-sided tape. I'm a huge fan of wearing a slip under my dress at all times (or at least a half-slip) but I don't overheat easily. If you absolutely cannot bear to wear a full slip in the summer, make sure to double-stick tape between the buttons. If you choose to go slip-less completely (again, not recommended), I'd double-sided tape the whole way down.
  • Pattern and color. It's summer, I get it, you want to lighten up. Have some fun and bring in some lighter colors and basic patterns, but keep your loud prints and colors for the weekend.
  • Accessories. When wearing a more casual dress, accessories can take the look from one end of the spectrum to another. A structured bag and closed-toe shoes will ensure you don't look like you're on your way to a summer picnic.
Some ideas to get your creativity cranking...

Love a pop of color in the shoe and the light fun print of this dress.


A rosy pink is feminine without being too sweet, and flats are the ultimate practical shoe.


Does your work wardrobe change in the summer? What staples do you rely on in hot weather?

4 comments:

  1. Those rose-colored flats are lovely. I have a closet full of flats. I hardly ever wear heels anymore now that I work from home.

    I love dresses because you just throw it on and boom! you're done. It's a no brainer way to look pulled together fast. I'd also add "wrinkle proof" to your list. Many of us sit at our desks all day, and it's no fun to stand up and have our dresses covered in wrinkles.

    Oh, and I completely agree about keeping the length appropriate. The length may be fine when you're standing but too high when you sit down.

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  2. I love everything on pumps day dresses. At summer, I'm very particular with the sleeve and the color and pattern of my clothes. As much as possible I want to be comfortable with what am wearing. Those advice you shared are very helpful.

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  3. I love a good shirt dress, but I need to find one that doesn't require ironing :P

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