21 Work-Friendly Summer Dresses Will Make You Look Polished on the Hottest Days

Usually, warm weather gives us the green light to pull out the lightest, brightest items in our wardrobes. UK dwellers are used to brisk winds and cloudy skies, so when we're blessed with balmy climes, we quickly become reliant on barely-there sandalsstrappy sundresses and linen separates to keep us cool and comfortable.

But when it comes to work attire, picking an outfit that feels smart, polished and appropriate for the heat is no easy feat. Particularly on humid days, when you want to wear as little clothing as possible—I think we can all agree this isn't exactly a professional look.


(Image credit: @femmeblk)

Thankfully, there's one item that's always on standby, ready to swoop in and solve our sartorial dilemmas. Dresses are the Who What Wear team's answer to almost every tricky styling scenario, whether you're in need of a last-minute wedding guest look, a sleek date-night option, or (you guessed it) a summer work uniform.

Be it an elegant wrap design or a simple cotton midi, the right dress will allow you to ditch the layers and still look the part on super hot days. Stick to natural fabrics like cotton or linen, along with short sleeves, and you'll feel like you've got nothing on—but crucially, you won't catch odd looks as you enter the meeting room.

I've searched far and wide to identify the very best summer work dresses on the market now. Scroll on to see 21 that impressed me the most.

Shop Office-Friendly Summer Dresses:

Next Up: This Summer Workwear Capsule Will Make You Look Polished on the Hottest Days

Freelance Fashion Editor

Bébhinn Campbell is an Edinburgh-based fashion and lifestyle writer. After receiving an Audrey Hepburn box set for her 10th birthday and subsequently swooning over the actor’s wardrobe, Bébhinn felt pretty confident she wanted a career that involved clothes. She started her first blog at age 14—the title was a pun, but we’ll leave it at that—and went on to intern at print and digital publications in Berlin and London, including Dazed & Confused and Indie magazine

A job at a fashion startup took Bébhinn from Ireland to Scotland in 2019, where she now works as a freelance journalist and copywriter covering everything from travel and interiors to styling advice. As a contributor for Who What Wear, Bébhinn always keeps her eyes peeled for emerging trends and looks worth writing about. She prides herself on her ability to cut through the noise and identify solid investment buys, exciting new brands and updated takes on classic designs. 

While she still loves Audrey Hepburn films, these days, Bébhinn’s sartorial taste sits closer to Annie Hall’s and Alexa Chung’s. In her spare time, she’s likely cooing over cute dogs on rescue websites, playing folk songs on her guitar and browsing bookshops for new additions to her already-overpacked shelves.