After the interview and the job offer (congrats!), it’s time to assemble a functional yet beautiful summer work wardrobe. For summer, work clothes should be professional and polished, but should also have a breezy and bright flair; this is the perfect time to experiment with brilliant colors, vibrant patterns and new shapes. So, put down those black rayon pants and pick up some unique and modern work outfits instead!
A white button-up shirt and black pants do match everything, but they don’t channel the warm, bright spirit of summertime. To look as if you’ve gotten dressed with a sense of style and intentionality, step up your neutrals to saturated shades like lustrous gold or warm earth-brown. Meaningful neutrals will give your look presence and punch–people may even forget that you’re the new girl undergoing the onboarding process! To match these colors, look for hues with similar intensities and undertones. If you favor warm undertones, try a pine green pant with an ecru top, for example. If you prefer cooler colors, try a navy blue button-up with a deep gray pant. With these outfits, keep accessories and makeup to a minimum to emphasize the striking color palette.
Light Sheath Dresses
Every newly-employed woman needs a summery sheath dress in a lightweight material. Cotton and silk are both good choices; avoid synthetic fabrics, which don’t breathe and so can become hot. The dress’ length is crucial here: too short and you’ll look inappropriate; too long and you’ll appear to be shorter than you are. Also consider choosing a piece with some embellishments, such as vintage-style buttons, well-placed seaming or a waist-defining belt. If your office runs cold, add a stylized cardigan with crystal buttons or interesting beading. These finishing touches will keep your dress looking fresh, not drab. Your sheath will serve you well through years of conferences, presentations, and business lunches, so buy the highest-quality piece you can afford.
Tunics in chiffons and soft cottons are of-the-moment and are completely wearable at work. You can find tunics in vintage 1970s prints, tribal patterns and quirkily modern designs; whatever your style may be, there’s a tunic for you. These blouses are figure-flattering for everyone, as they create the appearance of narrow shoulders and a straight midsection. With their blousy shape, tunics are also inherently summery and bring to mind images of oversized sunglasses and beach bags. To channel that summertime energy in a professional way, pair your tunic with neutral pants that have a straight or tapered leg. In this outfit, you’ll look both professional and comfortable in your own skin—a combination that can never be wrong.
More about contributing writer Megan Brown
Megan Brown is admittedly couture-obsessed. When not scouting sales for bandage dresses and sky-high heels, Megan is a social media networker at Slingshot SEO. In addition to shopping and blogging, Megan also enjoys spending her time cheering on her favorite sports teams, cycling, and going out on the town. You can find her on twitter (@thatgirlmegan) or find out more at her website: http://www.thatgirlmegan.com
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