The Summer Items You Can't Wear in Most Fashion Offices

Navigating what's appropriate to wear to the office can be tricky, especially during summer when generally the ideal wardrobe involves as little clothing as possible. We've all peeked into our wardrobe, pulled out a minidress and wondered Can I actually get away with this? when we know that really, it's probably not a summer office outfit and is better saved for the weekend.

Part of what makes work dressing tricky is that every office has a different set of social rules that steer what counts as appropriate or not. Still, even the most creative offices still draw the line somewhere. To help give an idea of how to master summer dressing, we tapped Who What Wear's co-founder Hillary Kerr to weigh in on which summer staples to avoid completely, and which to wear with caution. Safe to say, you'll be ready to navigate the next few months with summer office wear that both you and your boss will love.

See Hillary Kerr's take on office style below, and then shop a few of our favorite Monday-to-Friday picks.

red lipstick stripes street style


Collage Vintage

"Though I like cutouts, I think you need to be careful. When in doubt, ask yourself: If I ran into the most intimidating person in my office, would I feel comfortable? If the answer is no, consider wearing something else. Also, whenever you're trying to incorporate one of the trickier trends into your office outfit, I think you just need to make sure you're balancing your overall look with more tailored, polished pieces that are unquestionably workplace-appropriate. Does that make sense?"

Instead Go For: Ruffles

Flat Sandals
red skirt lace up sandals street style


Collage Vintage

"Not my favorite, simply because I think they're very casual for the office. A flatform is better because it has more of a point of view, if you will, but you should rethink anything that looks like it would be a good choice for the beach. Flip-flops are verboten."

Instead Try: Mules

Crop Tops or Tanks
white suit and crop top street style


Style du Monde

"Absolutely no crop tops, ever, unless they're layered over a longer shirt, ideally a button-down. Tank tops are best when they're more structured, like a sleeveless shirt. Otherwise, wear them under a lightweight blazer or cardigan, and make sure that the straps are wide enough so that your bra doesn't show."

Instead Go For: Sleeved Blouses

Denim mini skirt street style


A Love Is Blind

"Not for the office, me thinks. A skirt that hits at the knees is better, or a longer midi length, which is also more fashionable anyway. Save the mini for the weekend."

Instead Go For: Midi Skirt

Gauzy or Sheer Fabrics
lace and combat boots street style


Collage Vintage

"[It's] fine if it's worn over something opaque and appropriate for the office."

Instead Try: Cotton

shorts street style


Collage Vintage

"Very tricky. My general rule of thumb is no, but I suppose it could work in the right length, fabric, and silhouette, and with an appropriate top/outerwear, but that's a lot of variables."

Instead Try: Loose Trousers

Anything Strapless
Strapless gingham top street style



"Nope. Just nope."

Instead Try: a Jacket or Blazer

Available in sizes UK 6 to 14. 

Want more outfit inspo? Here are all the looks power women swear by.

This post has been updated by Aemilia Madden

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