How to beat the summer office outfit challenge

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Summer work outfits are challenging over 40

In the warm season, dressing for the office is challenging for every women when the dress-code asks for business casual or corporate style. A skirt or pants suit in summer wool is just too warm in muggy weather,  and even dry heat and the commute and at lunch break. Dressing during the dog days is a hassle. Linen or cotton suits are a wrinkle nightmare and hence not very stylish.

Wrinkles are never in style. #agelessstyle #workoutfits Click To Tweet

Furthermore, do these dress-code typically require at least short sleeves. The solution for the summer work dressing challenges are dresses. A dress plus bag and pumps are instant style.

Dresses mean instant summer style when paired with the right bag and shoes. #agelessstyle Click To Tweet

Stock up on work appropriate summer dresses

Get rid of the old-fashioned assumption that a dress can be worn only one way. When wearing dresses creating different looks can be achieved by different accessories and shoes. This means you need to be creative using different accessories to vary the look like in one dress four different outfits. This means accessories are your secret  weapon.

over 50  years old fashion blogger in jumper and gingham shirt summer office look Carhartt gingham shirt under eShakti jumper accessorized with brooch worn instead of a belt and Liz Clairborne open toe pumps (all own), wooden watch c/o Jord

over 50 years old fashion blogger in floral print cotton dress, wood frame sunglasses, cork plateau heels Michael Kors cork plateau patent leather sandals, Coach shearling bag, metal belt, eShakti floral print dress and Winkwood wooden frame pink mirrored sunglasses (all own)

abstract floral print fit-and-flare summer dress T. Tahari scuba jacket as cover-up at the office and in the evening over mature floral print eShakti dress (all own)

midlife blogger in a summer dress styled casually with sandals for the office Banana Republic abstract print fit-and-flare dress, Very Fine Dancing Dancesport strappy sandals, statement panther belt, Hermes collier de chien bangle and Winkwood sunnies (all own)

over 50 years old style blogger in jumper and sandals casual work outfit eShakti jumper styled with Michael Kors sandals, and black pearl necklace (all own) for Casual Friday

woman wearing a pink leather jacketd and a floral print dress Newport News pink leather jacket, eShakti print dress with pink and yellow abstract flowers, Ivanka Trump pumps, and Jaeger tote (all own)

style book author showing a different look with the same dress eShakti dress worn under Sofie cardigan worn as top with Nicole fall sandals and wooden watch c/o Jord

mature woman in a Cami Confidential arm-coverage under a summer dress Hermes collier de chien bangle, Banana Republic abstract print fit-and-flare dress (all own), but with sleeves added by a camisole c/o Cami Confidential

Look beyond wearing a dress only as a dress. On rainy, cool summer days think about how to wear a dress as a skirt or wear a dress as shirt. Recall:
A dress is instant style. #dress4success Click To Tweet

What to look for in work-appropriate dresses

Criteria of great office-appropriate dresses are that they

  • fit typical work dress codes of conservative work environments or business casual when you are in engineering,
  • provide coverage at the typical problem zones of women in midlife like arms, love handles, wide hips, or sun damaged cleavage,
  • have an ageless style, but modern vibe (you don’t want to look conservative and Old Lady),
  • are suitable for lunch with colleagues or clients outside,
  • are comfortable in an air conditioned office,
  • are easy to style with other pieces to create several office outfits with the same dress (Tip: Sheath dresses permit multiple looks.),
  • are in neutral colors that work with your fashion colors,
  • work in the winter to spring transition as well as the summer to fall transition with items from the cold season.

Don’t let the right outfit be a random thing. Wear the right look in every situation by looking up what to wear when in How to Dress for Success in Midlife. Buy my book now.

Nicole in camouflage shirt dress with matching pumps, belt and halftee Gap purple gray camouflage shirtdress, purple statement belt, Hermes collier de chien bangle, amethyst cuff and bracelet, Miu Miu pointy-toe croc imprint pumps (all own) and purple 3/4 sleeve cropped to c/o Halftee

Nicole of High Latitude Style in summer layering Karina Dresses jumper, Hermes collier de chien Bangle (all own), layering top c/o Halftee

mature woman in summer business casual work outfit with polka dot dress Karina Dresses polka dot dress, Jaeger tote, statement necklace, and Anne Klein slingbacks (all own)

mature style blogger in summer work outfit inspiration Karina Dresses paisley print dress with Kieselstein Cord belt and buckle, Gloria Vanderbilt pumps (all own) and halftee c/o Halftee

midlife woman in printed summer dress with leather jacket for a rainy day Hinge quilted leather jacket with eShakti printed dress, BCBG belt (all own)

over 50 blogger Nicole in a printed belted dress with layering top and pointy toe heels Gap dress, Hermes collier de chien bangle, cat cuff, amethyst bracelet, Miu Miu pointy-toe heels, gemstone buckle belt with croc imprint (all own) and layering top c/o Halftee

mature woman in green dress, leather jacket, and bag Karina Dresses Picasso green print dress, statement necklace, Ray Ban sunnies (all own), green saddle designer bag c/o Uno Alla Volta, and green motorcycle leather jacket c/o Leatherskin

Alaskan woman in business casual summer work look with dress and blazer Karina polka dot dress, Notations Blazer (dyed), Gucci bamboo enamel suede belt, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Calvin Klein block heel pumps and pantyhose (all own)

Leiza sandals style for Casual Friday Leiza sandals c/o Musse&Cloud styled with own star denim jacket, Karina dress, smoky quartz statement necklace, Gucci belt, Chanel quilted bag, and wooden watch c/o Jord

printed summer layering outfit with dress and cardigan for the office Isaac Mizrahi cardigan, eShakti printed dress, GNW tights, Nicole sandals, and Prada bag (all own)

How to know when to buy a dress

It’s important to have criteria to decide when to splurge or bargain. Here are some criteria you can use in the up-coming summer sales. The actions are given in brackets.

  • Can I afford buying it? No (don’t buy. Pin it to your pinterest wish list board and search for a cheaper version. Delete it from the chart.) Yes (goto next question).
  • Do I already own a similar piece? Yes (don’t buy unless that piece needs to be replaced or it’s an element of your signature style). No (go to next question).
  • Is this a style that works for my personal style and lifestyle? No (don’t buy). Yes (go to next question).
  • Will I be embarrassed when my grandkids see photos of me in this look in 10 years? This means is the trend ridiculous and a one-day fly. Yes  (don’t buy).  No  (goto next question).
  • Can I come up at least with three different outfits with this piece with pieces I already own? No (don’t buy). Yes (go to next question).
  • Will I get a price-performance ratio that will be below $1 over the piece’s tenure in my closet? No (don’t buy). Yes (go to next question).
  • Can I wait to wear this piece? Yes (don’t buy). No (press buy).

Like these outfit ideas? If so, please feel free to pin them to your own Pinterest board.

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Photos of me: G. Kramm

Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post. You don’t pay more when you purchase a product through my link. These links just make it easier for you to find something, and I get a few cents when you purchase it. I so appreciate your support of High Latitude Style. Thank you!

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