The Best Summer Workwear Tips From Fashion Stylists

These stylists share their top tips for looking chic and breezy in your office attire this summer

Photo / Babiche Martens

Figuring out what to wear in summer — especially if you work in a corporate environment — can be a battle between looking polished while still staying cool and reflecting the beautiful weather outside. These fashion stylists know a thing or two about looking chic and work-appropriate in the warmer months. 

READ: Back To Work Beauty: 6 Ways To Feel Your Best At Your Desk

Dan Ahwa, Viva fashion editor
"Mid length skirts are a great addition to a professional summer working wardrobe — they aren’t as restrictive as trousers and give you plenty of ventilation when temperatures soar. Don’t be afraid to try something unexpected, like a tidy white t-shirt under a summer blazer and skirt either."

"Re-use a smart summer tote bag as a document or laptop holder. Yes, they might be better off at the beach but your summer workwear should be all about ease and having a tote bag nearby is a handy reminder that you've got to make the most of these long summer days while they last, so clock out early when you can and replace documents with a beach towel and togs — your mind and workload will be all the more better for it."

Left: Mid length skirts are a great addition to a professional summer working wardrobe. Sills skirt, $87. Right: Crisp sneakers are a good footwear alternative — try with linen shorts, if you're game. Asuwere linen shirt, $200, T-shirt, $80, and shorts $180. Photos / Supplied

"For men, short-sleeved shirts do get a bad rap, but if you select a smart option tucked into trousers and match your belt colour with your shoes, you’ll look sharp. Ties aren’t so great when it’s a super hot day, so try a linen shirt with a linen tie in the same tones, you’ll be surprised at how you quickly sharpen up without having to feel like you’re having a complete meltdown."

"When it comes to shoes, it’s best to consider two things: your work, and your work’s dress code. For example, guys in more creative fields can get away with wearing things that might not be acceptable in a regular office environment. Much has been noted about the casualisation of men and women's dressing in formal situations, so look to crisp clean sneakers as a footwear alternative.

These work great with a smart linen shirt and cotton trousers or if you’re game — a pair of smart summer shorts."

Paris Mitchell, stylist and Paris Georgia co-founder
"Investing in a chunky designer sandal at the beginning of summer is a key styling tip from me, as a quality sandal adds comfort while making any outfit feel effortless."

"I adore an oversized sheer silk shirt through the summer. Tucked into a pair of tailored trousers or jeans, you're protected from the sun and have enough room to breathe."

Left: You'll instantly feel polished and ready for the office with a pair of wide-legged tailored white trousers. Victoria Beckham Spring 2019. Right: With the right amount of tailoring, a linen dress can take you from the beach to the office. Paris Georgia linen throw, $589. Photos / Supplied

"White trousers can get a bad rap but if you hunt down the perfect pair (I often opt for a wide leg tailored look) they can be the most beautiful garment to throw on all summer long. You'll instantly feel polished and ready for the office."

"I also love a woman in a long linen dress. With the right amount of tailoring, a linen dress can take you from the beach to the office. Ideal for a working woman in the midst of a hot summer, it's comfortable yet chic."

READ: Viva Life Hacks: How To Care For Your Linen Clothing

Sammy Salsa, freelance fashion stylist and director
"For the ladies, ditch those Fashion Nova knock-offs you’ve been rocking at R 'n' V and opt for something a little more, as the French would say, “chic” — the oversized structured shirt was a hit in previous years and it’s not on its way out anytime soon.

One of my favourite New Zealand designers, Kowtow, are renowned for their ethical footprint and their choices in oversized shirt options for women.

Pair it with a wide-leg pant for a more lustrous vibe or, for an urban approach marry it with your favourite pair of boyfriend jeans, your summer tan and boom! “Thank you, next…”

Left: The oversized structured shirt was a hit in previous years and it’s not on it’s way out anytime soon. Kowtow shirt $159. Right: Stand out in whites and lighter earthy shades this summer. Kowtow men's T-shirt $79. Photos / Supplied

"Now boys, I could tell you all to dig out your favourite floral buttoned up shirts you purchased at a Hallensteins sale seasons ago but let’s be honest, you wore it to the boxing day races in December. So let’s aim for that 2019 glow-up shall we?

It could be as simple as a crisp, tailored white tee and pairing it with a pair of pants of a similar shade or lighter, giving you a dope fresh appeal. The key factor here is colour palette — stand out in whites and lighter earthy shades this summer. Kowtow have also curated a beautiful men's range that will help fulfill this look.

A new year always brings a new perspective on one’s personal life and personal style. The key is to keep it simple, chic and don’t overthink it."

Rosie HerdmanViva writer and fashion assistant
"I think accessories are a great way to keep the summer vibe going when you’re back at work without compromising the overall feel of your work attire, but rather adding a bit of pizazz. Some statement jewellery, hair clasps or a bright bag can be a fun, small-scale nod to the holidays we left behind."

"If you are the person who wears black year-round, fear not! I feel like people are often told they can’t wear black in summer, but in my opinion it’s all about the fabric and silhouette. A crisp black cotton shift dress paired with sandals is a good warm weather option, as is a tailored shirt dress, or loose black culottes paired with a shirt."

Left: Accessories are a great way to keep the summer vibe going when you’re back at work. Valet Studio hair clip, about $37. Right: If you're a fan of black, there are many good options for summer. Jil Sander Spring 2019. Photos / Supplied

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