three women dressed for the office


From Skincare to Shoes: How to Beat the Heat and Dress with Ease in the Office

An image of women posing in professional attire. On the right, a black translucent box with white text, "From Skincare to Shoes: How to Beat the Heat and Dress with Ease in the Office".

From skincare to shoes, we’re discussing the best practices for beating summer heat while maintaining your professional style. To beat the heat and dress with ease in the office by prioritizing sunscreen, the benefits of light and breathable fabrics, and how to navigate western workplace dress codes. 

So, whether you’re working in the corporate world, attending special events, or just want to look and feel cool wherever you go, this episode has simple tips and tricks you use when doing business in Europe or North America. Let’s get started and discover the secrets to staying comfortable and confident in the summer months!

We are Natalie Setareh and Tammy Parrish, a professional makeup artist and stylist team committed to helping our clients Create their Signature Look. We believe that everyone has a unique beauty and style, and we show our clients how to find their own personal style and feel even more confident in their own skin. If you’re interested in learning more about what working with a professional stylist and makeup artist looks like, schedule a short 15-minute call to learn more about the Create Your Signature Look program.

Summer Look Tips for Sweat-Free Confidence 

A picture of a sweaty woman using a paper to fan herself while looking at her laptop.

Summer Style Tips

Fabrics can make a big difference in how comfortable you are in hot weather. Light, breathable fabrics with looser weaves will help you stay cool, while heavy, densely woven fabrics will make you sweat more.

Natural fibers like cotton, linen, and wool are also less likely to cause body odor than synthetic fibers. This is because natural fibers breath more, and wool wicks away sweat and excess moisture more effectively. Synthetic fibers, on the other hand, tend to trap sweat, which can lead to bacteria growth and body odor.

A picture of a woman with curly hair dressed in professional attire, wearing a smile and striking a pose.

Loose-fitting garments will also help keep your skin cool and dry. This is because they allow for more airflow, which helps to evaporate sweat. Tight-fitting garments, on the other hand, can restrict airflow and make you sweat more.

A quote by Tammy Parrish- an image consultant

“The keys to dressing cooler are looser fit, natural fibers, lighter colors & loosely woven fabrics.”-Tammy Parrish

Sweating is a normal bodily function, but body odor can be unwelcome. If you’re worried about body odor, shaving your armpits can help reduce the amount of bacteria that causes odor. 

Office Dress Codes — Professional and Stylish

First let’s talk about the word ‘professional’. This is a subjective term that, when used to describe appearance, can often be used to exclude people. What does professional as an adjective mean anyhow? Merriam-Webster defines it as, “exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace.” When talking about appearance, that’s often code for “looking like everyone else so they don’t feel uncomfortable.”

You’ll see the word ‘professional’ in here for SEO. Everyone’s typing that into search engines because no one knows what it means!! Which is proof that the word is broken. We believe that in an ideal world, you could wear whatever you want to work, as long as you show up authentically and get the job done. In reality that’s almost never the case.

Office dress codes vary depending on the type of company you work for. In some places, there are still strict guidelines regarding what employees can wear, while other companies are more relaxed. Most of the time it’s about unwritten codes, which is why it helps to read the room. Regardless of the different office dress codes, it is important to infuse your signature look into how you present yourself. And it’s up to managers to challenge the unwritten codes and make sure colleagues are accepted and feel comfortable dressing authentically.

Use the following examples as guidelines and generic ideas for the summer months. Of course, if you want to know which fabrics, colors, silhouettes, shoes, accessories, and sizes work best for you, sign up for Create Your Signature Look today.

Business Formal: Classic and Conservative

Business formal is the most formal dress code. You’ll see this in more conservative environments (especially in the west), in large multinationals, and when lots of money is at stake. Here are some examples of classic business formal outfits that are perfect for your summer wardrobes in warm weather:

A skirt suit or linen suit with a light-colored blouse and sandals. This is classic and professional attire that is a safe choice for a summer look. The skirt should be knee-length or longer, and the blouse should be made of a light, breathable fabric. Choose sandals that are closed-toe and comfortable.

A photo of a woman with short hair, wearing a white blazer, sitting with a laptop and looking straight ahead.

A dress with a blazer and heels. This is another option for a business formal look in the summer months. The dress should be made of light fabric (preferably cotton or linen for comfort), and a blazer in a light color will help you stay cool. For heels to be more comfortable, consider a platform sole.

Business Professional: Relaxed and Polished

Business professional is a more relaxed dress code than business formal. It typically includes pantsuits, non-mini skirts, blouses and other clothing items that don’t show a lot of skin. 

Here are some summer outfit ideas for a business professional setting:

A pair of chinos with a blouse and flats. This is a more relaxed summer look that is still professional. Cotton chino trousers in a light color, and a blouse in light, breathable fabric will keep you coolest. Leather flats will breathe and be comfortable than most vegan leathers (the plastic ones) and closed-toe is always a safe bet.

A picture of a woman with long hair, wearing a black shirt and brown pants, smiling as she walks. The theme is about how to beat the heat and dress with ease in the office

A skirt with a tank top and a thin cardigan. 

This is a good choice for a summer day when it is warm in the morning and cool later in the day, or if you’ll be in air conditioning part of the day. The skirt should be knee-length or longer, and the tank top should be made of a light, breathable fabric. Choose a light-colored cardigan in a lightweight fabric that’s loose enough to allow air to flow.

Business Casual: Comfort with a Professional Touch

Business casual is the most relaxed dress code. It typically includes chinos or other casual trousers, button-down shirts, and polos. For women, this could mean slacks or a pleated skirt with a blouse or cotton sweater.

A pair of jeans with a blouse and sandals. This is one of the best options for a summer day when you want to be comfortable but still look professional. Dark-wash jeans are seen as more formal. Skip the ripped or distressed pair. The blouse should be made of a light, breathable fabric. The sandals should be closed-toe and made of a breathable material.

A sundress with sandals. This is a great choice for a summer day when you want to be cool and comfortable. The sundress should be made of a light, breathable fabric. The looser the silhouette, the cooler it will feel. 

A photo of a black woman in a blue sundress and sandals, posing for the camera. The theme is about how to beat the heat and dress with ease in the office

Business casual allows for more flexibility, but it can be hard to strike the right balance between too casual and too formal.  

Casual: Keeping it Relaxed and Respectful

Casual is the least formal company dress code. It typically includes jeans, shorts, t-shirts, and other comfortable clothing items. For women, this could mean jeans or skirts with a blouse (short sleeved) or a lightweight cotton sweater.

A picture of a woman wearing a blue shirt and white shorts, along with white sneakers, striking a pose for the camera. The theme is about how to beat the heat and dress with ease in the office

A pair of shorts with a T-shirt and sneakers. This is a great option for warm weather when you want to be comfortable. Make sure the shorts are not see-through or too short. The T-shirt should be made of a light, breathable fabric. The sneakers should be clean and lightweight to top off a perfect summer look.

A photo of a black woman in a patterned t-shirt and green shorts, smiling and posing for the camera. The theme is about how to beat the heat and dress with ease in the office

A skirt with a tank top and sandals. This is a great option for a summer day when you want to be cool and comfortable. The tank top should be made of a light, breathable fabric. The skirt could be medium-weight, as long as it’s a natural fiber. 

How Much Skin Should You Show?

Why is it more difficult to get dressed for some offices in the summer months? It usually boils down to the amount of skin that’s showing.

Dressing for Professional Environments

For example, in a conservative work environment, such as finance or law, you’ll likely need to dress more formally. This means wearing suits, dresses, and other traditional professional attire. 

However, if you work in a more creative industry, such as advertising or fashion, you may have more flexibility with your dress code.

Regardless of the company dress code, you should also consider your own personal style and comfort level. If you’re not comfortable in suits or dresses, don’t wear them. There are other ways to dress professionally and respectfully, it just requires more creativity, such as wearing pants and tops in the same fabric instead of a suit. Of course, this is where having a capsule wardrobe, capsule makeup bag, and signature look that works for you through all seasons, helps you maintain your forward-facing personal brand identity. 

A picture of a woman with short hair, wearing a white blouse with a floral pattern and light-colored pants, striking a pose for the camera. The theme is about how to beat the heat and dress with ease in the office

Modesty in Workplace

Modesty is an important consideration. In some offices, it’s important to cover most of your skin. This is especially true if you’re in a conservative work environment or if you’re dealing with clients who may have different expectations. If you have tattoos or piercings, it’s a good idea to check with your employer to see what their policy is, and know your supervisor’s perspective.

Finally, don’t forget the sun’s harmful rays. If you work outside in the summer, you’ll want to protect your skin by wearing SPF, long sleeves and pants, or a hat and sunglasses. Ultimately, the goal is to fit in enough to have your voice be heard and your work valued, while also feeling comfortable and confident. By following these simple tips, you can hopefully find a balance that works for you and your workplace. 

Summer Shoes: Style and Comfort

Image of skin color stylish footwear for the office in this summer.

Moving on to shoes, it can be tough to strike a balance of stylish and comfortable footwear for the office. Here are some tips and options to keep your feet and co-workers happy throughout the warmer months:

  • While more shoes are being advertised as leather, it’s important to note that many of these shoes are actually made of vegan leather. Mamny new leather-alternatives are being developed, but at this point, most of them are plastic. Plastic shoes can cause blisters and irritation during the hot summer months.
  • Footwear options that strike a balance between style and comfort are as ballet flats, loafers, platform sandals, and mules. Closed shoes may feel too heavy-looking with skirts. 
  • Sandals can be a good option as summer shoes, although a barefoot look could be discouraged in certain offices. In a more conservative environment, keep the front or the back of the foot covered. Also, flat sandals are a great alternative to high heels for a barefoot look in hot weather.

If you’re unsure about the company dress code, it’s always safer to opt for dress shoes that expose only a part of your foot and stick to flatter shoes. With the right footwear, you can beat the heat and stay stylish in the office during the warmer months.

Makeup Tips for Summer Look

Image of makeup products and foundation brush.

Sweating and makeup are a classic summer conundrum.

Here’s how to keep your makeup looking fresh even when you’re feeling hot and bothered:

  • Opt for tubing mascaras that coat each lash and can be easily removed with warm water.
  • Using aqua seal or products designed for submersive activities to fully sweatproof makeup.
  • Using a little bit of highlighter and concealer for a fresh, light look on hot days. 

A visual of a woman with a joyful expression, holding a makeup product, with various makeup items arranged on the table in front of her.

Please keep in mind that aqua seal & waterproof products may not feel comfortable to wear for everyday use. However, these products are not designed to function like antiperspirants, so don’t worry about clogged pores! Just make sure to wash your face well at the end of the day, using a cleanser formulated for your skin type. 

I’ll also be sure to use a light touch with my makeup, and I’ll be prepared to touch up throughout the day as needed.

A quote by Natalie Setareh- a makeup artist. The theme is about how to beat the heat and dress with ease in the office

“Have two different color foundations & mix them to transition between seasons.”-Natalie Setareh

I think it’s important to find a balance between looking your best and being comfortable. There’s no need to wear a full face of makeup if you’re going to be sweating a lot. A little bit of highlighter and concealer can go a long way, and you’ll still look fresh and put together in your summer look. 

Healthy Summer Skin: Skincare Tips

A picture of an Asian woman applying a skincare product while gazing to the side.

Taking care of your skin during hot and sweaty weather is essential to keep it healthy and radiant. Here are some simple tips to maintain a fresh and glowing complexion:

  • Sweating can lead to the accumulation of dirt, oil, and bacteria on your skin, which can clog pores and cause breakouts. Make sure to use a gentle cleanser on your face at least twice a day.
  • Opt for lightweight, oil-free, and non-comedogenic moisturizers during hot days.
  • Sunscreen is a must, regardless of the weather. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 or higher.
  • Keep your body hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Use hydrating masks and repairing serums in your bedtime routine.

Image of skincare products.

By following these simple tips, you can maintain a healthy, radiant complexion even in this hot weather.

In addition, there are a few more things you can do to stay fresh on hot days. 

 These include:

  • Applying deodorant or antiperspirant
  • Washing your clothes more often
  • Taking a cool shower or bath
  • Drinking plenty of fluids

By following these tips, you can stay cool, comfortable, and odor-free, even in hot weather.

Final Thoughts: Find Your Perfect Balance

In the scorching summer months, it’s essential to find the perfect balance between staying comfortable and maintaining a professional style. By following the tips and tricks we’ve discussed, you can feel confident and put together at the office or any special events while beating the heat. 

Overall, staying comfortable and stylish in the hot weather, while maintaining your professional look is achievable. 

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