It’s that time of year again: the sun is out and the air is a balmy 90 degrees. Summer’s warmth is everywhere—except in the office, of course, where the thermostat is set to subzero temps.
But aside from keeping a throw blanket in your desk drawer—or the slightly predictable trick of throwing a blazer over everything you wear—there are other ways to look chic while maintaining your body temperature. Here, you’ll find some inspiration for summer layered outfits that are lightweight and stylishly cool.
Try a Long Cardigan
Just as practical as a blazer but much more summery, a featherweight cardigan sweater is every polished woman’s best ally when the temperatures start to soar outside. Thanks to longer, hip-grazing lengths and slim silhouettes, they won’t add bulk when slipped over a shift dress or a pencil skirt and blouse. Look for open weaves, fine-gauge knits, and pastel hues to ensure a seasonal vibe. For added waist-enhancing appeal when indoors, cinch at the waist with a belt; it will help make all your layers look pulled together and reign in the extra fabric.
Swap Your Sweater for a Shrug
The shrug is flattering and polished all at once. This season’s shrugs feature airy fabrics and wrap silhouettes that lend a stylish flair to any look. The prettiest versions available now combine eye-catching textures like ribbed knits and whisper-weight sheers for an intriguing and unexpected mix. Pull one on over a tank top and pants for your 9 to 5, then slip it off for after-hours drinks. In short, the shrug is the kind of piece you’ll wonder how you ever lived without.
Embrace the Button-Down
A button-down doesn’t always need to be worn in the usual, tucked-in, fully buttoned way. In fact, stylists often rely on this classic silhouette to pull double duty as a layering piece. Think of this as your new favorite alternative to your go-to lightweight jacket. Choose a version in a summery, light fabric (like sheer ecru, lace, or sleek silk) instead of crisp cotton (though that will work, too), and wear it open over a short-sleeve blouse and pencil skirt or a shift dress. Employ your favorite belt (try an obi style for added fashion points) over the top for an elegant silhouette, or, for casual office days, try knotting it at the waist over a pretty camisole and high-waisted trousers. Or, simply leave it open and loose. Either way, when worn with a pair of high heels and some high-shine jewelry, the look is a surprisingly stylish addition to your summer layered outfits repertoire—and keeps the chill of the air conditioning at bay.