Dressing for work in the sultry summer days can be a daunting task. Between the sticky air outside and the chilly air-conditioned temperatures inside, finding an outfit suitable for both atmospheres can prove tricky.
Main Line stylist Candice Caprice has a solution: a wardrobe filled with pieces classy enough to impress clients and fellow employees, but sunny enough to give that light, summery look. The owner of Per Lei boutique in Media, Caprice is a fan of clean, classic looks for professional women. She likes fresh, all-white outfits for summer and layers of light materials.
Caprice’s summer outfits of choice are tailored and include bright colored, thinner versions of everyday office favorites. Here, she offers some summer staples that ensure a poised, appropriate and seasonal look, perfect now matter how high the temperatures rise. —Kelly Bergh
A summer blazer in linen or a bright color looks great over both denim and a dress. Plus, it keeps you covered if your office is more conservative or the temperature is positively icy.
A scarf by Suzi Roher is the ideal multitasking piece. “Everyone should have this great lightweight, printed scarf,” says Caprice. “You could just roll it up in your tote and when it’s air-conditioned and cold, you could wrap it around yourself.” Try using it as a shawl, wearing it around your neck, or wrapping your hair in it for a refreshing update to your wardrobe.
Be it a nautical or Parisian vibe, a navy striped top is a summer staple. “A classic piece like that in your wardrobe works great to pair with white denim or navy slacks for work,” says Caprice. She likes casual shirts from Splendid.
Ideal for layering underneath a jacket, this shell by Cooper and Ella matches everything. It makes a beautiful base for fun accessories and mixes well, so it can transition into other seasons.
“You definitely need a nude heel,” says Caprice of women working in an office. Try a patent, pointy pump to elongate the legs and consider every outfit elevated.
Fitted or wide-leg, pants that fit well and match everything are a necessity for the busy woman. Bare your ankles this summer and pair trousers back with nude heel and a fitted top and blazer. “It’s a dynamite wardrobe staple for the working woman,” says Caprice. Her favorite is the Ava pant by Rebecca Taylor.
Caprice calls print blouses “fun and flirty.” Try rolling long sleeves for an elegant polish or neatly fitting sleeveless tops during the hotter months. Try this modern floral blouse from Equipment.
Don a breathable skirt in the trendy midi length on the hottest of days. Tuck in a thin button-down or pair it with your white shell and some bright accessories.
“Dresses for summer are the easiest way to look great all season long,” says Caprice. A single piece, they’re easy to throw on and pair with a printed scarf or denim jacket. Trina Turk makes bright dresses in flattering shapes fit for a fun summer look.
A tailored vest can be a more summery option than a full blazer, while still keeping an outfit very structured. Try one from Vince or Margaret O’Leary.
Ballet flats are a beautiful way to keep your feet slightly open if your office is a bit more conservative. Both timeless and season-less, they work with just about any current trend. “Lace-up flats are really in this season, so when you don’t feel like wearing a heel you get that trend with the lace-up look,” says Caprice. She advises completely banning flip-flops from the office to avoid looking sloppy.
White jeans in particular are a beautiful, clean staple appropriate for casual Fridays or a more relaxed work environment. Caprice prefers AG Jeans for a fitted, tailored look. “I know distressed denim is really in this season, but you don’t want tons of rips all over your jeans [at work]. It just doesn’t look as professional, so save them for the weekend or after work drinks with your girlfriends,” she says.
Brands like Fossil and Michael Kors have been embracing the menswear trend for women lately. An oversized watch can be stacked with dainty bracelets in mixed metals for some enviable arm candy.
“If you throw on a bib necklace that has a bright, bold color, it’s a nice way to not spend too much on trendy pieces but add to your outfit,” says Caprice.
For an additional layer more casual than a blazer, a colorful thin cardigan is perfect. Caprice likes the cotton collection by Autumn Cashmere for summer.