Staying Cool Yet Dressing Professionally for the Summer


It’s the middle of summer – well, closer to the end, unfortunately – but the warm weather should hang out here in Jackson through at least late September or early October.

So, here’s a question for you: How’s your summer wardrobe doing? And we don’t mean the “wardrobe” of flip-flops and bathing suits. We’re talking about your summer work wardrobe. Are you dressing appropriately for the warm weather as well as professionally?

If you’re not sure, follow the guidelines below to help you dress in a manner befitting a professional setting that also will help you stay cool.

1) Speaking of flip-flops, ditch them! Flip-flops are never appropriate for the workplace. We don’t care if you work in a bathing suit shop, flip-flops just don’t work! Why, well, besides being über-casual, they can be a safety hazard. Things can fall at work. Sharp things. Heavy things. And these sharp, heavy things can fall on your feet. Your unprotected, flip-flop wearing feet. Ouch! Plus, seriously – who wants to see your hairy toes (gentlemen), or your eroding pedicure (ladies)? Not us!

2) We do recommend that you wear lighter-colored clothing. Light colors such as white, soft yellows, fading pinks or even blues and greens reflect heat away from your body, while dark colors help retain it. Yet be sure to watch how “light” the clothing is. Steer away from the sheers and see-through fabrics. We acknowledge that this may be hard today, as sheers are quite popular in fashion circles. Wear a camisole or well-fitting t-shirt underneath the sheer blouse. Make sure the camisole isn’t too frilly (the more frilly, the less professional) and covers your bra straps. Men, wear a t-shirt under your shirts. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how the extra layer helps wick sweat away and keeps you cooler.

4) Many of our clients work in professional offices. That’s why we really don’t recommend that anyone on assignments through our service wear shorts in the summer. This includes the more popular (and longer length) Bermuda shorts. Shorts just don’t look professional. As for capris or crops, baggy crops look just like that – baggy and unprofessional. Ladies, if you’re going to wear a cropped pant, make sure they are of the more professional, less-casual type. There are many fashionably and professionally sleek styles out there today.

5) Ladies, dresses can be the best for you to stay cool and look professional at the same time. If you decide to go sleeveless, wear a nice, lightweight cardigan or jacket in the office. Also look for short- or three-quarter-length sleeved dresses. These can look quite professional even without a jacket. Skip the skinny-strap or the (good golly, help us!) tube-top-type sun dresses so popular today. Ditto for cleavage-showing summer dresses.

6) Many of our clients observe Casual Fridays all year round. We recommend that our associates steer away from joining a firm’s employees in “dressing down” when they first start an assignment. Why? Because you’re there to impress. In addition, you haven’t worked at the client site very long and are still in the “getting to know the lay of the land” phase of your assignment. When in doubt, it’s always best to dress more conservatively, so we highly recommend that our associates keep their work appearance as professional as possible, no matter the time of year.

If you have any doubts at all regarding what constitutes professional attire, just contact your staffing manager. We’re happy to help!

Here at the Professional Staffing Group we’ve been helping Jackson-area job seekers find great work since 1994. We know a thing or two about how to dress appropriately for the office and, if you have any questions at all about how to dress correctly while beating the heat, just give us a shout out. Contact us anytime!