Summertime in the DC area is hot, sticky and miserable. While wearing next to nothing is a sure way to keep cool, it may not be welcomed at the office. Think you have to suffer under stuffy jackets and pant suits? Think again. Naina Singla, a Washington, D.C.-based fashion stylist and owner/founder of STYLE’N, has five tips on how to dress for work during the DC summer heat.

Naina Singla
Washington, DC 20007
(617) 306-7887

Naina Singla’s keen eye for fashion started at a young age while playing dress up in her mom’s wardrobe. She continued her passion for fashion, being elected on the Fashion Board in high school and working at popular retailer The Limited. In addition, her love of travel adds an extra dimension to her sense of style and showcases her appreciation of different fabrics and textures from different cultures. Since then, Singla has made it her mission to help others elevate their personal style. She also has partnered with the international non-profit organization Dress for Success, which provides styling services and other assistance to disadvantaged women who are entering the workforce and are committed to changing their lives.

Lighten Up

Choose lighter fabrics in the summer, such as cotton, linen and silk. Avoid synthetic fabrics like polyester, nylon, spandex and acrylic, as these fabrics are not breathable and will cause you to burn up under the collar. “Summer style at the office is all about relaxing your style a bit but not going too casual or showing too much skin,” says Singla. Selecting the right types of materials will help keep you looking cool despite the rising temperatures.

Dress Up

Ladies definitely luck out during the summertime, thanks to dresses. Dresses are the perfect outfit choice in the summertime because they require no outfit coordination and are flattering for women. “It’s an easy and fast way to get dressed in the morning.” Shift dresses are a great option as are more casual summer dresses, like maxis, wrap and shirt dresses. Just be sure to stay away from anything too short or too sheer, warns Singla. If your office environment is typically cold, layer the dress with a light colored blazer or a colorful cardigan.

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Brighten Up

Update and freshen up your look with bold accessories, such as colorful and lightweight scarves, ties, bags and statement pieces of jewelry. For the ladies, consider going a bit brighter with your makeup. Experiment with new summer lip colors, eye shadow, nail polish or blush. For the guys, pick up a pair of funky sunglasses or a vibrantly colored button-up shirt. If you wear a lot of neutral pieces, add a pop of color to your outfit with printed flats, a bright pair of sneakers or a chic white tote.

Freshen Up

Freshen up your summer style by embracing fun new trends. A white eyelet pencil skirt looks great paired with a crisp white button down or a solid silk tank. Popular trends for men include double-breasted blazers in light fabrics, jewelry like bracelets and watches and mirrored sunglasses. Ladies should also give patterns and prints, like a floral blouse, a try. It looks great with black pants or if your office is more casual, pair it up with a pair of dark jeans and pointy-toe shoes for a casual yet polished look. Guys can try plaid, polka dot or tropical prints on t-shirts and shorts.

Relax Your Style

Summer is a great time to relax your look at the office and add some of your favorite casual pieces into the mix. Swap out matching two-piece suits for an airy skirt and a sleeveless silk blouse or combine a t-shirt with a lightweight cotton or linen blazer. Just make sure not to go too casual. Stay away from too tight or revealing clothing or items that appear to be torn. Save those pieces for happy hour.

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Susan Diranian is a freelance writer living in Ashburn, VA. She is covering Travel & Outdoors. Her work can be found at