These Summer Work Outfits Are So Chic You'll Wear Them on Weekends Too

When it comes to summer workwear, the onus is on textiles. Workwear isn’t always attributed to the most breathable of fabrics. Typically, power dressing alludes to heavily tailored mixes, single-breasted blazers, and pinstripes. Growing up I’d watch films like Baby Boom in awe. The female protagonists with their weighty padded shoulders and bulging briefcases symbolised the high-powered working woman. Although the attire was of that time, it’s what I considered atypical workwear. School uniform dressing didn’t help either. We’re conditioned into thinking that clothing should look and feel a certain way to be deemed smart.

Although those items have their place, there’s an opportunity to make your workwear wardrobe as fruitful as your off-duty looks. There’s no rule of thumb when it comes to workwear, which is ironic given the aforementioned tighter perimeters we ascribe to. Of course, in most cases, formality is expected but you can adhere to boundaries whilst finding your footing and the pieces you feel most align with your style. During the summer, the weather allows for looser fitting textures and subtle flashes of skin. A turned-up sleeve here, an ankle-skimming length there, a button undone when the office air-con doesn’t quite suffice.

Summer is a good time for a wardrobe assessment. The past few years have seen fashion releases reflect the state of the world and the transition from loungewear to back-the-office wear. Now, tailoring in natural fibres, like linen and lyocell are trickling into the market. In addition to them being more eco-friendly, those materials allow for some movement. You’ve likely seen that 2022 is the year of the lightweight waistcoat which is perfect for light layering.

summer workwear outfits:

Photo:

natashandlovu

You mightn’t think workwear is the most exhilarating but there’s much fun to be had. It’s an opportunity to highlight accessories and play with lengths, texture, and jewellery. If you’re worried about materials, don’t fret. I always make sure my edits are polyester free and have a high percentage of natural fibres, so you won’t be left with the cloying feeling of work trousers sticking to your body on humid days in the office. If you’re feeling uninspired by your summer workwear wardrobe, or just want to have a peek at some outfit inspiration, keep on scrolling.

1. Midi Dress and Heels

Style notes: A midi and heeled pumps is an inspired workwear ensemble but even more so in spring and summer. Add your accessories and you're ready to go.

When I think of the perfect workwear dress, I envisage a dress like this.

Rattan adds a casual flair and the black leather and white stitching smarten it a smidgen.

Classic summerwear for sunny days to the office and weekends, of course.

2. Tailored Trousers and Waistcoat Pairing

Style Notes: The waistcoat has become a celebrated piece this year. For work, it looks great with a cotton or linen shirt underneath. Paired with matching trousers and mules it's classic and breezy.

Waistcoats are so popular at the moment. I love that this is crafted from Ecovero™.

Hot in at Mango and crafted from 100% natural fibres.

Another sleek waistcoat option with Tortoiseshell buttons.

Sleek, sophisticated and pairs well with denim for the weekend.

I think everyone could do with a white shirt in their arsenal.

The Hour releases classic pieces like this shirt.

Slight kick-flare trousers to pair with the matching Bella Freud waistcoat.

Tailored trousers with an elasticated waistband for optimum comfort.

A high-quality bucket bag with an angular twist. 

I'm so impressed with these. I think with good care they'll last for years.

3. Slip Skirt and Oversized Blazer

Style Notes: A silky midi and blazer is perhaps one of my favourite (and effortless) work looks. You can easily wear this from the office to date night. Tuck in the vest and wear the skirt high. Why not add a hair bow?

Arket releases the Hopsack blazer each year. Maybe it's about time I bite the bullet?

Lyocell is lightweight and sustainable!

With basics, it's all about the cut, fit and quality. This vest ticks all of the boxes.

The thick rim adds a subtle twist to this basic.

A maxi slip looks sophisticated during the day and night.

A silky skirt is prime example of how to experiment with textures for workwear. It's modest and stylish.

Elevate your workwear with hair accessories.

4. Midi Skirt and a Nice Top

Style Notes: The shirt is a work wardrobe staple but a wide collar is a wonderful way to play on this quota. It's smart and adds character. Tuck the blouse into the midi skirt and prop the look up an inch or two with mules.

This Ganni top has a permanent place in their collection.

A wide-collar blouse is another twist on the classic slim-line cotton shirt.

This cargo style skirt can be dressed up with heels.

There are so many ways to style this skirt from day-to-night.

Drop earrings will make the simplest of outfits special.

Sustainability and sophistication at its finest.

A hardened mule to balance out the frilly blouse.

5. Linen Suit

Style Notes: A simple swap for summer. Crafted from 100% linen, it looks smart and it's breathable.

An all-in-one. I've included a vest below for officewear.

The cut of this blazer is wonderful. The 3/4 length sleeves are perfect for the heat.

The slight scoop neck ensures the right coverage for a lower cut blazer.

The craftsmanship is wonderful. Also, imagine sitting at your desk in something this comfortable.

Pearl accessories are having a moment lately.

A square-shaped toe is a modern upgrade of the ballet flat.

6. Blue Shirt and Wide-leg Camel Trousers

Style Notes: The blue is striking but most of all I love how the texture and detail make this look endearing. The woven leather tote and gold pearls will bring an element of summer into the office. Tuck the shirt into the trousers and wear with the pearl necklace.

A relaxed fit that will encourage air circulation.

Deep blue and beige = a match made in fashion.

You can half tuck the shirt into the trousers to show off the paperbag waist detailing.

A slightly cropped style for the hotter days when you still want to wear trousers.

I'm enjoying my slingback flats this summer. Perfect if you want a smarter look whilst still having a somewhat relaxed footwear option.

The perfect way to beautify a work outfit. Astrid & Miyu's new Harmony collection is stunning.

The reinforced leather straps make it more durable so it's perfect for commutes to work.

This bag is one of my favourite pieces on the high street at the moment.

7. Trouser and Top Co-ord

Style Notes: A colour blocking top and trouser combination. Tuck the top into the trousers and wear it with the light, linen blazer. Belt the blazer for extra definition. The chunky flip flop pairs beautifully with this look if your workplace allows for it.

The hourglass nip adds structure. Add to this feature with a contrasting belt.

Linen tailoring is a great swap for summer.

Modal is a light fabric that bares well in the heat.

A one-tone top and trouser combo will never steer you wrong.

My favourite belts are the ones with multiple adjustable lengths.

It's hard to find a good belt but I'm impressed with this one.

A high-neck and tailored trousers is a sophisticated combination.

These are some of the best plus size trousers I've seen!

Just the right amount of sparkle!

A bit of texture to break up the tailoring. Also, I can't help but think of the '70s!

8. Cardigan and Trousers

Style Notes: The cardigan and high-waisted trouser combination is a classic look. Not to mention appropriate for the British weather. Wear with slip-ons for a nod to summer, or the Ralph Lauren heels from outfit one for some height.

A crewneck is instantly smart. Open the first button for a relaxed fit.

Nude accessories will soften any look.

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