There’s no escaping it: Summer is here, and with a vengeance.

With the scorching heat and the dreadful humidity, it’s only natural that individuals are choosing to dress as comfortably as possible – including at the office.

But how comfortable is too comfortable at work? One hundred degree weather and a suit jacket doesn’t exactly mix – but neither do spaghetti straps and sales meetings.

In their desire to cool down, some people forget that, regardless of the temperature, what they wear to work should always be professional. Summer business dress is not to be taken lightly.

Business dress is determined by the following factors: the industry in which you work/ the job you have within that industry; the geographic region in which you live and what your clients expect to see.

But it is possible to create a summer work wardrobe that’s comfortable yet professional, and cool yet collected. With just a few simple rules, you can avoid looking sloppy – or like a beachcomber.

Avoid flip flops. In most offices, sandals are acceptable. Flip flops, however, are too casual to be appropriate for the workplace. Casual sandals, wedges and flats have come a long way – there are plenty of options out there.

Choose your T-shirts wisely. Cotton T-shirts can be an effective tool in keeping you cooler during warm months. However, to avoid the misconception that you are running to the gym, choose wisely! Many companies (J. Crew and the Gap are always good choices) have updated what used to be the strictly weekend staple with prints, modern shapes, increased choices of necklines and embellishments like bows and fabric flowers. Make sure that your T-shirts are more on the fitted side, and pair it with structured bottoms like pencil skirts or well-ironed slacks.

Linen. Wearing linen is an easy way to keep cool, but it can be a bit of a battle. It is a natural fabrication that creases heavily. If you work in a more casual office, linen can certainly work well. Banana Republic carries lots of linen options in dresses, skirts, slacks and blouses.

Dresses. Dresses are a great option because it avoids having to wear a jacket. A wrap dress, a sheath or shift dress are appropriate options. Watch those hemlines – no more than an inch or so above the knee — and necklines.

Choose light colors. Lighter color garments help you keep cool during hot summer months. Dark colors absorb heat, while light colors reflect heat.

Have fun with summer. During the warmer months, moods lighten up and become more playful. Experiment with colors and prints! North Texas-based JC Penney’s brand MNG by Mango has some beautiful, inexpensive wardrobe pieces.

Keep an extra layer at work. It’s a good idea to keep a lightweight, neutral cardigan or jacket in their office. This helps not only when air conditioning becomes too intense, but if you need to meet with a conservative client or colleague.

What is your go-to outfit for summer? Let us know at!