When summer hits Toronto, it hits hard. The sun comes out and the heat is relentless. One of the best parts of summer is having a cute wardrobe filled with tiny tank tops and shorts, but it’s a bummer when you can only wear those clothes on the weekend. I definitely feel the struggle of trying to keep it classy at the office while still trying to make use of my summer clothing, because let’s be honest, who has the budget for two completely different summer wardrobes?
Obviously, every job is different and every office is different. You probably can’t repurpose your halter top if you work at a law firm. But for those of us that work in more creative, laid back environments, there’s no reason to rule out a whole section of your closet. Here are 7 ways to dress up your favourite summer wardrobe pieces to make them totally work appropriate.
I love a good crop top — especially a tube top — and I found I had a lot in my closet that I couldn’t really wear unless I was chilling at the beach or hanging out with friends. But there’s nothing that can’t be fixed with a little bit of layering. Try styling that tiny tube top with a white T-shirt to keep it casual yet totally appropriate for the office. It also spices up an otherwise bland, white tee and jeans outfit. Pair it with trousers, jeans, a skirt — you name it.
The bike shorts and blazer combo is definitely having a moment, which I love. But if you’re feeling like straying a bit from the trend, there are other ways to go with your bike shorts. I love pairing my black 7” bike shorts with an oversized button down. The long sleeves balance out the short bottoms and a crisp, clean button down instantly makes the whole look more professional. Try it with a plain pinstripe or go super sleek with a white shirt buttoned all the way up.
Beach Cover Up
This one might sound a bit strange, but beach cover ups and beach dresses come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes the dresses sold as “beach cover ups” and nicer (and more expensive) than the ones sold in the clothing section. If you have a cute, flowy dress, don’t shy away from wearing it to the office just because you bought it in the swimwear section. I promise, nobody will notice. If you have sheer robe-style cover up, simply wear it over your jeans and T-shirt as a summer cardigan.
Jean shorts are a staple in any summer closet, and it really sucks to only be able to wear them on the weekend. To style these for the office, I’d follow two simple rules. 2. Avoid rips — just like wearing regular jeans to the office, distressed denim is often a bit of a no-no. 3. Make sure they’re full coverage — go for a pair that hit about mid-thigh to keep it work-appropriate.
I usually go for a mom-jean style short and pair it with a blazer to balance out the weekend vs. office vibe. You can dress it up even more with some flats or dress it down with sneakers.
Bodysuit or Bathing Suit
Just because you’re going to the workplace doesn’t mean you have to leave your bodysuits at home. Once again, layering is key here. Try styling a bodysuit (or full piece swimsuit) over a plain white button down. You can play around with the shirt underneath. A puffy sleeve looks super cute with a tighter bodysuit over top. Pair it with anything from your favourite skirt to a pair of jeans.
Sheer and mesh is definitely in style, and wearing it with a bralette underneath is trending. But that doesn’t exactly work for the office. Try flipping your layering and using the sheer top as a base layer for a spaghetti strap tee or dress. It’s a great way to layer in the summer without getting too hot.
You know that dress that might actually be a shirt but it’s summer so you call it a dress? Ya, you can wear that one to the office too. Sure, you can always put a pair of tights underneath, but tights can be incredibly uncomfortable (especially in the heat). Try throwing that short summer dress (or extra long shirt) over a pair of jeans. You can style it with your trusty skinny jeans, or go for a more chill vibe with a straight light wash.
(Story by Contributing Editor, Jordana Colomby)