Summer outfits for work: how to stay smart and stylish in the heat

Looking for summer outfits for work? We’ve got all the inspo you need

street style influencers wearing summer outfits for work
(Image credit: Getty)

Summer outfits for work can be a tricky one to navigate when you’re moving between the heat outside to air-con blasting inside. On top of the varying temperatures, we need to remain looking smart and professional too. To avoid a sartorial meltdown (literally!) we’ve got the lowdown on how to dress for the office in the summer.

If there’s one thing to remember when it comes to summer office outfits, is that layering is key. Think the best blazers, lightweight trench coats and the best cashmere sweaters - smart pieces from your capsule wardrobe that you can easily take on and off depending on the temperature. Fabric also plays a part so when it comes to the best midi dresses for work this summer, look for natural, breathable fabrics such as cotton and linen that will keep you cool and comfy in the heat.

Summer work outfits aren't as restricted as they used to be, as office dress codes have become more casual, particularly in this post-pandemic period, giving us a bit more freedom to dress more comfortably and experiment with fashion trends 2022.  Try swapping your trouser suit for some chic tailored shorts or a long-sleeved shirt for the best t-shirt and tapered trousers for a high-low mix that still looks professional. To help you navigate your summer outfits for work, we’ve rounded up our favorite looks that will keep you looking stylish and smart 9-5.

Summer outfits for work as chosen by a fashion editor

1. A shirt dress

street style summer work outfits

(Image credit: Getty)

For a feminine take on tailoring the best shirt dresses are always a classic. The figure-flattering silhouette cinches you in at the waist and A-lines out at the skirt for easy movement and makes a great option for a summer work outfit. Stick to a midi length design to keep it professional and style up with sleek mules, or mid-heel pumps if your office has a smarter dress code. With added versatility, this is a look you can also rock at the weekend - just swap those best designer heels for the best white trainers to render it brunch-ready or wear open over your swimwear as one of the best beach cover-ups.

A style tip…

If you need an extra layer, throw on a smart sweater vest. The sleeveless style is lighter than chunky knitwear and perfect for changing temperatures. Check out our guide on how to style a sweater vest for more outfit ideas.

Fashion editor’s picks…

2. Tailored Shorts

street style summer outfits for work short suit

(Image credit: Getty)

We’re afraid your denim cut-offs won’t quite cut it when it comes to summer outfits for work, but that doesn't mean shorts are a complete no-go. There are plenty of chic, tailored styles that are office worthy. Look for designs that sit high on the waist and fall just above the knee for a flattering fit that still looks smart. Pull out all the stops and team with a coordinating blazer or wear with an elegant blouse and simple court shoes for a stylish take on the trend. 

A style tip…

Take this look from boardroom to bar and swap the blouse for a silky cami or one-shoulder tank top.

Fashion editor’s picks…

3. Sleeveless suit

street style summer outfits for work sleeveless suit

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A tailored two-piece is a 9-5 staple and one of the most versatile items to add to your closet this summer. Whether you opt to wear it as a suit, or separated out and teamed with various wardrobe essentials, a tailored two-piece even looks great with sneakers at the weekend too. If you loved learning how to style gilets, then sleeveless blazers and waistcoats are the summer switch out you need. Injected with the dopamine dressing trend, expect bold pops of color alongside neutral hues. As designs are more tailored than your best gilets, a waistcoat and matching trouser or short co-ord makes summer work outfits a cinch.

A style tip…

This look isn't just for summer though. Render it winter-ready by layering a sleeveless blazer over a fine knit roll-neck for added warmth.

Fashion editor’s picks…

4. Skirt + Tee

street style summer work outfits skirt and tee

(Image credit: Getty)

This simple getup always looks polished and it’s an easy one to dress up or down, depending on the dress code in the office. Taking you easily from office to evenings out, don't forget to add playful details, such as statement jewelry - for a dose of personality. If you opt for a printed skirt, pair it with a block-colored top, to avoid the look becoming overwhelming. 

A style tip…

Nail that smart-casual aesthetic and wear a silky skirt with a simple cotton tee. Team with sneakers or your best sandals for a laidback but still chic summer look.

Fashion editor’s picks…

5. Wide leg pants + Shirt

street style summer work outfits wide leg trousers and shirt

(Image credit: Getty)

When it comes to effortless summer outfits for work, you want to avoid anything too restrictive so ditch your best skinny jeans for a floaty wide-leg cut. Wide-leg trousers always look elegant and they have serious leg-lengthening powers too. Win-win! Summer is also the perfect time to wear a lighter color palette. An all-white head-to-toe look is incredibly chic and will always look expensive, so team your cream wide-leg trousers with a white linen shirt and you’ve mastered effortless office dressing. Finish with some of the best sunglasses in an oversized style.

A style tip…

For an extra layer on your commute, go for a lightweight trench coat. Forever timeless and chic, it’ll protect you against the elements but can easily be rolled up and stashed in the best backpacks.

Fashion editor’s picks…

Charlie is the Deputy Fashion Editor at Future plc across multiple women’s magazines including Woman & Home, Woman and Woman's Own.


She bagged her first magazine job in 2009 and has previously written for titles including Stylist, Closer and Dare. Over the years Charlie has embraced anything that was thrown at her from styling celebrities to testing out the best jeans on the high street to writing about must-have beauty buys.


With a weakness for a printed midi dress, Charlie is on a mission to shop more sustainably and loves finding new ethical brands and second-hand buys.