Raised hemlines are the obvious reaction to soaring temperatures this summer. And while it’s the eco-friendly alternative to blasting the A/C, the look works best outside of the 9-to-5 work hours. For the office, an appropriate summer wardrobe is necessary to outlasting the heat and keeping your co-workers from having to constantly avert their eyes from your sheer blouse (even though we love the look). For tips on how to dress for the office this summer, we chatted with celebrity stylist Nicole Chavez for her summer wardrobe essentials to look chic and keep cool in the heat wave.

How to dress for the office tip #1: Invest is a pair summery pumps.

Expert word: “The shoe of the season is the pointed pump. If you’re going to invest, I think you should go for an ultra-sharp stiletto," says Chavez.

TRY: “I’m dying for Casadei’s neon pumps. I also love Jenni Kayne’s metallic sling backs, they’re so sexy, but modern too.”

How to dress for the office tip #2: Grab a catchall bag.

Expert word: “A great ‘it’ bag for the office is the satchel.”

TRY: “Mulberry’s updated their classic by covering it in teddy bear studs—it’s so cool!”

Summer fashion pairing: “I also can’t stop thinking about 3.1 Phillip Lim’s yellow satchel— the color is more versatile than you’d think! It pairs nicely with conservative hues and pieces (like jeans and a khaki trench), looks chic with grey, or makes a bold statement when worn with a bright floral print.”

How to dress for the office tip #3: Be fresh with pajama dressing

Expert word: “The
key to this trend is making sure your pajama pieces look purposeful, rather than having an unplanned, just-rolled-out-of-bed vibe. If you’re ready to really commit, I personally love a matching print set. Just make sure you style your PJs with a sophisticated shoe, like a pointed pump.”

TRY: “Elegant accessories are a must too, so be sure to add a killer bag and either a sleek bangle or a stack of skinny bracelets. If a head-to-toe pajama ensemble is a touch too much for you, you can still try this trend by simply wearing a nightshirt. I love a silky style, especially one with contrasting piping.”

Summer fashion pairing :
“Stick to the classics: a black pencil skirt is always an excellent option (make sure to tuck in your top), or a cool pair of trousers would work too. However you wear your pajamas, the end result is sure to look chic and feel comfortable, which is why I think this is one Spring/Summer trend you don’t want to sleep on.”

Office-ready summer fashion looks from the Spring/Summer 2012 runways.

For more tips from celebrity stylist Nicole Chavez on water cooler-appropriate summer fashion, read on…
How to dress for the office tip #4: Work in a peplum piece this summer.

Expert word: “Peplums can be incredibly flattering—if you get the proportion right! I have one
rule for wearing them: make sure the peplum’s flare starts at the thinnest part of the waist and ends at the hipbone.”

TRY: “If you’re trying to lengthen your body, make sure you opt for a monochromatic outfit—it’s more flattering.”

Summer fashion pairing: ”Your
peplum top already has volume and structure, so it’s best to wear it with simple pieces that have clean lines. One option is to go for a pencil skirt; black or grey are obvious choices, but you should also consider brighter hues like bright green, turquoise, or electric blue. Streamlined shorts would also work or you could go for a high-waisted style in blue or black. Pants are, of course, appropriate too, and would balance the peplum’s feminine flair nicely. You can’t go wrong with black skinnies, but any simple, slim style will work.”

How to dress for the office tip #5: Stay cool.

Expert word: “When it’s sweltering outside, but you need to look pulled together and professional, remember this: tailored pieces in cotton and linen blends are your friends. The key is to refrain from wearing anything too tight; you want to make sure your clothing has a little give so you can move easily and not trap heat in your clothes.”

TRY: “A solid-colored one-button jacket is a great staple to have on hand, though a floral or striped version will work too. Wear it over a cotton T-shirt or silky shell and style with a knife-pleated skirt for a polished-yet-cool ensemble. Alternatively, you could wear a structured vest with a crisp button-up and relaxed or slouchy tapered trousers.”

Summer fashion pairing:
“If you’re
more of a dress girl or simply like an uncomplicated outfit, try a long sleeve shirtdress. It’s perfect for work, especially in a
ersonality-filled print like paisley. A breezy silk dress is another excellent option; just be sure to style it with a lightweight cardigan for the air-conditioned office. Finally, stock up on silky shells and camis in dark colors.”

How to dress for the office tip #6: Go from the boardroom to the boardwalk.

Expert word: “When taking a look from day to night, it’s all about having three easy pieces on hand: a little leather jacket, a piece of statement jewellery, and a clutch. These items are relatively basic—most people probably own them already—but they shouldn’t be boring.”

“Fit and material is key for the jacket; you definitely want one with thin leather (it’s dressier) and a cropped silhouette. Theyskens’ Theory makes a super-chic option that’s very simple and classic, but I also like the streamlined biker style from Helmut Lang. If you already have something in basic black, why not switch things up and get a cropped biker in white leather? Whatever you pick, just make sure it’s very clean—this is not the time for trendy accents or details.”

Summer fashion pairing:
“As for your
statement jewellery, don’t be afraid of a glitzy necklace or chunky cuff. A bold piece of jewelry can make anything—from a white T-shirt to a chic sheath—look appropriate for evening. Last but not least, the bag! Instead of going for a simple solid-colored clutch, add interest to your outfit with an embellished bag. Marni makes a couple of amazing options. If that seems too ornate, you can always just go for a pattern instead. Lanvin’s diamond print clutch is beyond gorgeous and sure to transform any office outfit into an amazing after-hours look!”

Chavez’s 7 takeaways for how to dress for the office this summer:

1. Always dress for the position you want— not the one you have.

2. Avoid tight or mini skirts.

3. Avoid low-cut tops/blouses.

4. No strapless tops.

5. Fit is important, invest in a good tailor!

6. Clothing should be clean, pressed or wrinkle-free, and without holes or frayed areas.

7. Flip flops? Not appropriate!

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