How To Dress As A Commuter In The Summer Without Overheating

Summer may be one of the best seasons for fashion trends — hello, sundresses and crop tops — but it can also be the most difficult if you work in an office. Mix cooler mornings, sweltering hot bus and subway rides, and freezer-like temps once you're sitting at your desk, and you have every corporate babe's worst nightmare. Getting dressed for the office feels more like a riddle than a no-brainer decision you make the night before. Not only that, but determining what feels right for taking video calls and chats with managers can be dicey, too. 

Luckily, work attire in most workplaces is much more lax than it once was, and employees are often encouraged to dress comfortably and in a way that expresses their personalities. Complicated? Sure, but we've compiled plenty of outfits that'll tick all the boxes so you can blast through emails, tackle presentations, and get ish done without having to worry about shivering or melting during your 9-to-5. And whether you're happy wearing shorts to the office or would rather stick to slacks, there's an OOTD for every commuter that wants to optimize their looks for their lifestyle.

Slip into a floaty dress

Dresses are summer wardrobe must-haves, and with numerous styles, they're a little too easy to collect. With an infinite list of midi and maxi dress styling inspos out there, it's just a matter of finding a style and silhouette you prefer. The great thing is that so many of these summer dresses are perfectly functional and wearable for office environments. Dresses with elbow-length sleeves or high necks, for instance, give you extra coverage from drafty meeting rooms and feel a touch more polished.

Throw on a short-sleeved sweater

Sitting on a stuffy bus is enough to make anyone's skin crawl, but these — dare we say hopefully brief — moments getting to the office are often countered with Arctic levels of air conditioning. To find a happy medium, pack a short-sleeved sweater in your bag for a cozy layer that'll deflect the breeze in a chilly cubicle but not feel as out of place as your winter or autumn turtleneck. Pick something in a fun, bright color, or keep it neutral to ensure it'll go with any outfit you commute in.

Rock a short-sleeved blouse and jeans

Some of us swear by wearing jeans year-round — yes, even in the middle of summer. They're too versatile of a clothing piece to put into hiding until September turns up again. Though you might be a little warm during your commute, long pants are added protection against sticky seats and cooler offices. They're also perfect if you're a pants gal, someone who doesn't like wearing shorts, or if you're not into dresses. Top them off with a statement blouse, and any pair of denim is instantly stylized and influencer-approved.

Combine a vest top and trousers

Suit vests are the menswear trend we can't stop raving about this year. Its very essence is all about taking a suit and making it chic. With a button-down center, sleek tailoring, and matching trousers, it's hard to find an outfit that feels more perfect for the office during summer. It blurs the lines between casual and sophisticated dressing, and a white ensemble basically looks good with any jacket, shoes, or accessories you decide to pair it with. If you want a little more coverage, don a T-shirt underneath.

Add a denim top

The humble overshirt does so much for the fashionistas that just can't catch a break with changing temperatures. If you're constantly going between rooms and public transportation vessels that alternate between melting point and freezing point, you need a good shacket or shirt to layer over top. There is a lot of power in layered dressing, as it allows you to adjust on the spot for unexpected dips and spikes in temps. A chambray shirt or jean jacket is completely cut out for this role and great for more casual offices.

Opt for a skirt and blouse combo

Slightly shorten the hem of a long pencil skirt and take the blazer out of the equation, and you have the perfect warm-weather commuter outfit. Cotton blouses are as cool as long-sleeved shirts come and always look extremely professional. A shorter skirt or even shorts in a trouser material still feels appropriate for important meetings but won't have you passing out in the heat. To give yourself even more breathing room, swap out loafers for heeled sandals.

Go for an oversized blazer and linen ensemble

Another impeccable combo for commuters who need options for unexpected temperatures is linen and a blazer. Linen pants are made for cool girls (literally and figuratively) and have a slightly laidback, summer edge. To make it feel more fitting for the #corporatelife and less like a cute weekend 'fit, throw on a blazer. These work attire staples look amazing over top of basically any outfit and serve as a helpful tool when sitting directly under the AC vent. 

Cool off in a linen dress

To make linen feel even more suitable for an office, try it in dress form. The material is super breezy and cool but even more chic when styled as a one-piece. As any dress lover knows, too, they're supremely comfortable to walk, sit, and move around in. Plus, once you slip into a dress, it's just down to picking out cute accessories! For summer styles, a cute pair of sandals and heels along with a nice work bag and fun earrings are all icing on the cake.

Layer a short-sleeved jacket

A trench coat or cardigan is great, but even the lightest options can be a little too hot during the summer. Instead, invest in a short-sleeved jacket that'll work for spring, summer, and even early fall. It's just as sleek and elegant as its longer-sleeved cousin, but it won't feel as stifling in the heat. It's the perfect garment for wearing over nearly any outfit, and it's a great way to dress up a look for the office that feels a little more casual — like jeans and a white T-shirt. 

Choose a satin skirt and scrunched sleeves

Sometimes, comfortable outfits are just a matter of styling. A cardigan that's a touch too warm can feel breezier (and hit cool girl status) simply by scrunching up the sleeves. A slip dress can be worn beneath or over a T-shirt or tank for a summery twist on the trend. And this whole outfit can be worn with athleisure-approved sneaks or some cooler sandals. Just think about the items you already wear and see how you can lightly tweak them to make them comfier for a long train or subway journey. 

Throw a T-shirt on underneath

Need a good summer dressing trick? Lean on the ever-reliable T-shirt. You might have a dress that feels slightly out of place for the office or one you love for commuting in but know will leave you freezing once you swipe into the building. A T-shirt fixes all of that. It can be styled beneath a dress for a cute look that harks back to the aughts, or it can be worn over a dress for a fun play on proportions that makes a dress feel like a skirt.

Wear a halterneck top

If you're sticking with pants in the summer, it's a good idea to choose a top that's slightly more exposed so, at the very least, your pits can breathe. This by no means has to feel overtly casual. Halterneck cuts are some of the most elegant and polished-looking choices out there, but a tank top version still gives you room to move and groove without burning up. A black or neutral style will go with all of your outfits, but, equally, a fun, printed shirt will bring a little pizzazz to officewear. 

Opt for a jumpsuit

Like a dress, jumpsuits are little effort with a major stylistic payoff. Pick a style with short sleeves or tank top-like straps to really keep you cool while you walk to work. Though they might seem like a single outfit, with the right accessories (like belts or scarves) and changing up how the cuffs are rolled, you can play with how a jumpsuit looks. Bonus points if you choose something in linen or cotton, as these fabrics are breathable and lightweight — perfect for busy commutes home. 

Throw on a comfy, oversized blouse

Easy and breezy is the name of the game when it comes to summer office outfits that are cute but comfortable to commute in. One staple that no fashion aficionado should go without is an oversized white blouse. It could be poplin fabric, linen, or silk and cut into any type of silhouette; just choose a look that suits your personal taste. From there, you have a good chunk of outfit options at your fingertips. Tucked in, unbuttoned, worn overtop — it's a shirt of many talents.

Pick a cap-sleeved T-shirt

Cap sleeve T-shirts give extra coverage as opposed to tank tops but aren't as long as other shirt options. It's the best of both worlds and an impeccable layering item for multiple seasons. It can be worn on its own in the summer, as well as easily worn beneath a trench or light cardigan if you tend to get chilly at your desk. It's also a great piece for any bottom, whether you tuck it into a midi skirt, pair it with suit shorts, or wear it over or under a slip dress.