The Summer Dress You Should Never Wear to Work

Dressing for the office when it's really hot outside is always a challenge, as you question what is and isn't appropriate for the workplace. A little while back, we turned our co-founder Hillary Kerr's unparalleled advice into a story on the number one bra "rule" that should be applied while dressing for the office. "I've always felt that if an outfit requires a 'stunt bra'—meaning strapless, one-shoulder, or whatever—it probably isn't the best choice for the office. It's a boring rule of thumb, but I think it's important to err on the side of professionalism versus the ultimate expression of your personal style—at least when you're at work," says Kerr.

We know what you're thinking—what about the off-the-shoulder trend? Here at Who What Wear HQ, wearing off-the-shoulder anything is a huge no. While we all clearly love to wear the fun summer style on the weekends, according to Kerr's go-to bra rule, it simply is not appropriate for the office. Sadly (and obviously), that means no off-the-shoulder dresses, which are basically the most popular dress style of the summer—we know! But don't stress out too much, because we've rounded up the best summer dresses that are 100% work-appropriate. In our book, that means midi length, shoulder coverage, and no plunging necklines. Ready to shop?

Go on to see and shop dresses that are appropriate for the office during the summer.


(Image credit: Collage Vintage)

Alexa Chung's T-shirt–and–white boots combination is extremely fashion girl–approved. 


(Image credit: Style du Monde)

Of course Anna Wintour has the office-appropriate look down pat. 


(Image credit: Style du Monde)

The piping on Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert's dress makes a world of a difference. 


(Image credit: Style du Monde)

You can't go wrong with a classic wrap dress.


(Image credit: Collage Vintage)

Want to wear that slip dress to the office? Just layer a button-down underneath and you're good to go. Margaret Zhang makes it look so easy because it is.


(Image credit: Style du Monde)

As long as the straps aren't spaghetti, you're in the clear. Gala Gonzalez shows us how it's done in this stunning mustard yellow number. 


(Image credit: Style du Monde)

Sneakers and silk always make our heart skip a beat, as will Caroline Issa.


(Image credit: Collage Vintage)

Feel like cheating the system a bit? Shoulder cutouts can often be fine for the office as long as the part on top of your shoulders offers enough coverage as shown here by Pandora Sykes.


(Image credit: Collage Vintage)

Wear this dress to work and on the weekend. Maybe with some fresh sneakers? 


(Image credit: Style du Monde)

See? Work dresses can be fun too, according to Marina Larroude.

Next up, check out the number one pair of shoes everyone will own this summer.

This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated by Dale Chong.

Editorial Director

Lauren Eggertsen is currently the editorial director of Who What Wear and has worked at the company for over eight years, where she started as an associate editor and has since worked her way up. Lauren has over 10 years of experience in the fashion editorial space, starting her career with internships at Marc Jacobs, Marie Claire, and The Zoe Report, where she was later hired as their editorial assistant. Lauren has worked in the Los Angeles and New York Who What Wear offices but currently calls L.A. home. It is here where she leads and manages Who What Wear's fashion team and oversees all day-to-day editorial content and large tentpole moments. This includes all of the runway, trend, and shopping-driven content that ultimately helps to build a strong brand reputation within the industry. Lauren's role also includes helping to set the fashion direction for all original photo shoots and often styles many of the celebrity cover shoots, including big names like Kaia Gerber, Normani, and Kristen Stewart.

She has also attended multiple fashion weeks, including New York, London, Milan, and Paris, where her personal style has been featured on sites such as Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, and Elle. She prides herself on discovering and supporting small brands and on her knack for a good vintage shopping find. When she isn't working, she enjoys researching and dining at reputable restaurants around both her neighborhood and the globe.