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Headed to work, or to the beach? No matter how stifling the heat, keeping your appearance professional is key. 

For the Ladies:

For professional and pretty summer options, think about wrap dresses, flowing skirts, and lightweight jackets. You can have more leeway and fun with color and print. Try a bright silk tank under a grey suit, or a vibrant silk crew neck T-shirt underneath a tan or khaki suit. By sticking with lighter fabrics, great colors, and good lines, we can become a bit more body conscious but remain suitable for the workplace.

Beware this slippery slope of Casual Friday: It can be a fine line to sloppiness. One thing's for sure: leave the flip-flops at home. Try sling-back heels or a ballet slipper flat for footwear, and skinny-leg pants and a tunic top. If you're wearing something sheer, pair it with a camisole underneath. Keep a lightweight sweater or jacket handy to cover bare arms at meetings. Consider cropped pants that hit just above the ankle or a cigarette pant for a more relaxed, but respectable choice, so you don't get tossed about in the waves of Casual Friday mishaps.

For the Gentlemen:

The standard dress shirt and slacks take on a summery feel when crafted from summer fabrics such as linen and broadcloth cotton, in light colors. Unstructured jackets can be cooler than those that are fully lined. Think you can pull off a designer T-shirt at work? Try a collared polo or short-sleeve button down, instead. As a general rule, steer clear of untucked shirts, shorts, and sloppy footwear. Instead of sandals or sneakers, opt for Italian loafers. Their thinner leather, used specifically to accommodate warmer weather, will appear polished and feel cool.

For both ladies and gentlemen, when in doubt, ask yourself these questions: Would I wear this to the beach? On the golf course? At a picnic? If the answer is "yes," it's probably not appropriate for the office.

 

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