In-Office Sufferers: We're Showing You Exactly How To Beat The Heat & Look Professional This Summer

Knowing what to wear for those hot summer days in the office can be near impossible. You've got to keep yourself cool somehow, but not by wearing the same thing you would at home and not by showing too much skin. Yeah, it's an absolute minefield. As Harper's Bazaar's fashion director, Avril Mair put it, "Just because it's appropriate for the weather doesn't mean it works in the office." In short, unless your workplace has a super lenient dress code, you should probably leave those crop tops and miniskirts at home.

Obviously, you want to keep your look professional for the workplace, but spending the day in your typical workwear when the mercury keeps on rising can often feel torturous. There are ways to keep yourself feeling and looking cool, while still wearing an appropriate look for another day with your co-workers. Though each workplace is different when it comes to what is and isn't considered appropriate, we're stepping up at with a few tips for those typical in-office sufferers, showing you how to beat the heat in even the hottest of workplace situations.

The pinstripe dress

A billowy pinstripe dress is not only cute and practical, but it's also perfect for those hot days in the office and sweltering commutes. Blue and white is a flattering combination on many different skin tones, the collared effect at the neck of this dress gives it a professional vibe without being too stuffy, and the calf-length makes it still appropriate for the office. The heeled neutral sandals also set off the look in an understated, yet casually dressy way.

Pick a pencil skirt

If you love a skirt and you don't have a pencil skirt in your regular office wear rotation, let this be your sign to get your hands on one today. The shapely garment is an absolute must-have for the office, and it's perfect for the summer because it can be paired with so many different tops that will keep you cool. For those really hot days, we'd recommend it with a simple tank top, but keep a jacket on hand just in case the AC has been cranked up. Black is a great choice for those who don't want too much color, but if your workplace is a little more casual, why not opt for something more vibrant?

Bring out the chinos for those hot office days

Another staple you need in your wardrobe for those hot days in the office is cropped chinos. Chinos err on the side of dressy anyway, but pulling on a tan pair with a more billowy, light-colored button-down really transforms the pants into summer office wear. Opting for a cropped cut will help you feel the breeze (if there's one around) and keep you that much cooler, while a puffy-sleeved top will do the same to avoid any incidents of sweaty clothes sticking to the skin. Pairing it with nude shoes also helps keep the outfit stay more appropriate for daytime workwear.

Do summer in shorts (the right way)

We know, we know. Shorts can be a bit of a contentious subject in the workplace, but there are ways to do it right. To keep things professional, we'd recommend sporting a longer pair of the seasonal staple (it goes without saying that super short shorts aren't exactly office appropriate), and keeping your top half a little more covered to compensate. As this look shows demonstrates, you could pair white bottoms with a nude top and matching blazer, as the more neutral palette keeps the outfit on the side of demure. You can always take the blazer off at your desk if you're wilting in the warmth. As for footwear, dressy flats or sandals would be a great choice here.

Crop an office staple

A pair of black pants is a timeless, reliable staple when it comes to workwear, so putting a summery twist on the classic is a great way to stay cool. On your top half, a floral top can rarely go amiss, and adding some ruffles ensures it's not too casual for the office. Loafers are an absolute godsend for pretty much any occasion, as this outfit proves, so pairing your floral top and black pants with nude loafers will keep the professional aspect alive.

Strut into the office in wide-legged pants

When it comes to staying cool but still dressing professionally, wide-legged pants are the complete package. Because they're so baggy, you won't feel like you're being totally restricted as temperatures rise, as they'll give you the breathability of shorts without having to worry about them crossing the line of being a little too inappropriate for the office. More demure colors like this tend to work better in a workplace environment, and they're easy to pair with a waistcoat for a breezy yet polished summer look.

Make it a midi for summer work fashion

A midi-skirt will keep you cool in the summer and looking oh-so-chic at the office. As Harper's Bazaar's fashion director Avril Mair advised, "The mid-length skirt — definitely not summer's perennial maxi, dragging limply on every pavement — is surprisingly flattering and easy to wear. Tuck in your top and try it with flats." A pastel top is perfect for the summer months, while getting your hands on a polka dot skirt brings a little fun to your ensemble but still looks professional.

Ditch the sleeves for summer

Though it may not always be appropriate in the office to show too much skin (although you should always dress in a way that makes you feel confident, especially in the summer), there is a way to show more skin while remaining professional at the same time. One of the best ways to add a professional edge to almost any look is to pair it with a sleeveless, double-breasted jacket. Here, it's been paired with taupe pants and a matching sleeveless top, as lighter colors are more likely to keep you cool on those crazy hot workdays.

Jump into work with a jumpsuit

A jumpsuit may well just become your best friend in the summer. That's because it's a super easy fashion choice, as you don't have to think too much about pairing it with anything. All you'll really need to do is grab a complimentary pair of shoes and a bag and you're good to go! For a workplace-appropriate jumpsuit, something darker is usually universally appropriate. If you want a fashion-forward ensemble that's even more of a no-brainer, you may want to try a monochromatic look — they certainly don't have to be boring . As fashion director Avril Mair shared with Harper's Bazaar, "Black and white looks great at work." They sure do.

Pick a pair of patterned pants

For those summer days when you want to wear pants, a great way to adapt them for the summer is to go for a pattern. As this look proves, a cute pattern on your bottom half paired with a plain black or white T-shirt (there are so many ways to rock either) will keep you super cool, in every sense of the word. We'd suggest opting for a cropped pair of pants and sandals to keep overheating to a minimum. Just make sure you stay true to yourself when it comes to the design you choose. "Don't be tempted by faddy prints and colors that you wouldn't usually wear," recommended by Net-A-Porter's senior shopping editor, Hannah Cole.

Dress up your shorts with a co-ord set

Another way you can incorporate shorts into your summer workwear wardrobe is to dress them up a little by matching them with something else. One of the easiest ways to do that is to get a co-ord shorts set, opting for something more simple like black and white will instantly make your leg-baring bottoms more suitable for the office. "I always look for matching sets in cotton or linen," stylist Timothy Chernyaev told Marie Claire of the best co-ord materials for those hot days. "Having a coordinating top and bottom is a great way to look put-together when the weather is brutal."

Look to linen pants

Linen pants are another staple we can't endorse enough when it comes to your warm-weather work wardrobe. The reason these style bottoms are so popular in the hotter months is that they're so breathable — which can rarely be a bad thing when you're stuck in the office all day. There is a range of different tops you could wear with bottoms like these that would make them suitable for the workplace, though a simple, ribbed tank top is a solid option because the differences in fabric will add a little texture. For footwear, something like this can easily go with office-appropriate sandals, flats, or block-heel mules.

Look for long sleeve dresses

A long sleeve summer dress is a great way to avoid getting too stuffy while remaining appropriate. Covering your arms will make any dress appear more professional, plus it makes choosing what to wear on those super-hot summer mornings really easy. Just grab one piece and then you're done! More flowy dresses will work on those super-duper hot days, or something more fitted may be more appropriate when there's a summer breeze in the air. Depending on your office's dress code, you could wear this with work-appropriate heels, or if your environment is a little more casual, flats like loafers or sandals will do the job.

Maximize your summer style in a maxi dress

Maxi dresses are already a summer must-have outside the office, but did you know they can also be appropriate for the workplace? To stay suitable for a day at work, make sure you go for a designer with a higher neck or a button-down you can fasten up as much as you need, depending on your office's dress code. Most maxi dresses tend to be light, billowy, and made from more breathable fabrics. This makes them ideal for those sizzling work days, while a version with long sleeves will ensure you're looking both summery and professional at the same time.

Get a cute co-ord

Summer can be tough enough when it comes to fashion and deciding what to wear, so spending your mornings wondering about what goes with what isn't exactly ideal when temperatures continue to climb. That's why skirt co-ord sets make dressing in heat that much easier. A flowy skirt is always a solid option for the summer because it's so breathable, and knowing you have a top to match it without needing to think about it not only helps you get out the door quicker on those hot mornings, but also allows you to appear more put together with minimal effort.

Extend the button down

A button-down shirt has been a staple when it comes to office wear for as long as we can remember, so why not extend that must-have into dress form? A shirt dress gives you the professional vibe of a classic button-down, but with the breathability of a dress. Depending on your office's policies, you'll probably want to make sure it's just past the knee, as you can't really go wrong at that length. All you need to add is your favorite work shoes!

Pleat it

On those sunny days in the office, a pleated skirt may well just be your new best friend. The old classic puts a more professional spin on the classic skirt, and is a great way to bring a little more texture to an outfit while still keeping things professional. Pleated skirts come in so many different colors that you'll never be stuck for choices, and they can easily go with a wide range of different tops too. That makes this look super versatile — which is exactly what you need for those stressful mornings before heading out the door! Clearly, a ruffled top looks stunning with the classy skirt style, but you could even opt for a tucked-in tank top when the sun just can't seem to stop shining.

Stay cool in satin

A satin skirt screams summer cool yet dressy at the same time. A satin midi-skirt can easily be paired with a T-shirt, blouse, or tank top as an easy way to stay cool yet professional at the same time. On a hot day, we'd say the flowier the better! This kind of skirt looks extra fashionable in a high-waisted form with a more fitted top that can be tucked in, and, as proven in this outfit, it's extra chic if you keep your skirt and top in the same color palette.

Keep your summer style simple

You're busy enough as it is — we get it — so treating yourself to a modest block-color dress for work is one of the easiest ways to look stylish and step out the door with minimal work on your end. A simple yet chic blue number like this will make it seem like you've put hours into your outfit, when all it really took is throwing on one piece of clothing. For those with little time on their hands, something like this would go perfectly with a nude shoe of your choice.

Cool down in white jeans

Though we wouldn't usually recommend jeans for the office (unless your workplace has a more relaxed take on dress code), in this case, we're making an exception. Looser-fitting white jeans can be a solid option for the summer, particularly if they have a little stretch in them, and are a great option for dressing up or down depending on what works in your office. For those hot, hot days, a simple dressy top will work great with these slack, and they're ideal to pair with a light, summer shoe such as a sandal or even a loafer.

Love lace

Investing in a leather jacket or blazer can be a total life-saver when it comes to office wear, but save those staples for fall. For warmer months, an unlined lace jacket will instantly elevate any look to make it more appropriate for the office, but won't add any extra heat to your look as you'll still be able to feel the breeze. If your workplace is a little stricter, a black leather jacket will give you that professional edge, while white or cream are also both solid options if you'd prefer not to show too much skin. You can put this over almost anything too, from tops and pants to dresses, which makes it a great grab-and-go option.

That summer split

Though a high-slit maybe isn't always the most appropriate when it comes to workwear, that doesn't necessarily apply to pants in the summer months. These billowy bottoms are so breathable, they're perfect for those days the thermometer is pushing 100 degrees or higher, all without showing too much leg. If you opt for bolder-patterned pants that are full of color, they'll easily match with a basic white or black T-shirt (which are super easy to upgrade, by the way) while they can also be worn with anything from heels to flats.

Bring back culottes

If it doesn't feel appropriate to wear shorts in the office, or you're just not a fan of showing too much leg (particularly in a professional environment), we may just have an alternative for you. Culottes are basically a longer, breezier version of shorts and they're arguably more appropriate for the workplace, even with the strictest of dress codes. A dark pair is super easy to style too, as you could pair them with one of the button-down shirts you already own, or even with a tucked-in T-shirt.

Summer in sheer

Sheer clothing isn't something we'd usually recommend when it comes to office wear, but in the summer, you can definitely make it work. To pull this look off, a sheer top made of something like mesh or lace can help you stay cool while also helping you cover up enough to still be appropriate for the workday. A mid-sleeve top like this one can be layered over a tank top in white or nude (just make sure it's full length, as crop tops are still rocky ground at work) and paired with pants of your choice for a breathable sunny day look.

Look for the collar

A great way to ensure you're looking more professional while opting for a dress on those hot days is to get something with a collar. Similar to a shirt dress, a collared dress will make your look a little bit more polished. Going for something sans sleeves will, of course, keep you extra cool, and polka dots (particularly black and white ones) never go out of style for the office. For those who may want to be a little more covered for meetings, drape a cardigan around your shoulders.