The Summer Dress You Should Never Wear to Work

Lauren Eggertsen

Dressing for the office when it's really hot outside is always a challenge, as you question what is and isn't appropriate for the workplace. A little while back, we turned our co-founder Hillary Kerr's unparalleled advice into a story on the number one bra "rule" that should be applied while dressing for the office. "I've always felt that if an outfit requires a 'stunt bra'—meaning strapless, one-shoulder, or whatever—it probably isn't the best choice for the office. It's a boring rule of thumb, but I think it's important to err on the side of professionalism versus the ultimate expression of your personal style—at least when you're at work," says Kerr.

We know what you're thinking—what about the off-the-shoulder trend? Here at Who What Wear HQ, wearing off-the-shoulder anything is a huge no. While we all clearly love to wear the fun summer style on the weekends, according to Kerr's go-to bra rule, it simply is not appropriate for the office. Sadly (and obviously), that means no off-the-shoulder dresses, which are basically the most popular dress style of the summer—we know! But don't stress out too much, because we've rounded up the best summer dresses that are 100% work-appropriate. In our book, that means midi length, shoulder coverage, and no plunging necklines. Ready to shop?

Go on to see and shop dresses that are appropriate for the office during the summer.

Alexa Chung's T-shirt–and–white boots combination is extremely fashion girl–approved. 

Ozma Painter's Dress ($322)

A flowy silk dress will keep you cool and comfortable.

Ulla Johnson Aurelie Dress ($795)

With the flutter sleeves and handkerchief skirt, this dress channels all sorts of romantic vibes.

Of course Anna Wintour has the office-appropriate look down pat. 

No.6 Serene Polo Dress ($445)

A collared dress is always a good option for the office.

The piping on Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert's dress makes a world of a difference. 

Stelen Mia Polka Dot Midi Dress ($104)

Style a cool denim jacket over this to dress it down.

You can't go wrong with a classic wrap dress.

Veda Tuscan Print Silk Dress ($478)

A breezy silk dress is perfect for the warm summer heat.

Want to wear that slip dress to the office? Just layer a button-down underneath and you're good to go. Margaret Zhang makes it look so easy because it is.

La Causa Georgette Vivien Dress ($143)

Brighten up your work wardrobe with this orange dress.

Violeta Linen Wrap Dress ($130)

We love this summery take on a classic shirtdress.

As long as the straps aren't spaghetti, you're in the clear. Gala Gonzalez shows us how it's done in this stunning mustard yellow number. 

Mango Bow Linen Dress ($100)

A sleeveless linen dress is essential for summer.

ASTR the Label Dolman Sleeve Button Down Midi Dress ($41)

This button-down dress is a stylish classic.

Sneakers and silk always make our heart skip a beat, as will Caroline Issa.

Rixo Ariel Dress ($470)

The split-toned fabrics make this dress so eye-catching.

Rachel Comey Sunder Dress ($875)

All you need is a pair of heels to complete an outfit with this dress.

Feel like cheating the system a bit? Shoulder cutouts can often be fine for the office as long as the part on top of your shoulders offers enough coverage as shown here by Pandora Sykes.

Reformation Belgium Dress ($248)

We can't get enough square necklines in our life, can you?

Who What Wear Striped Convertible Sleeve Midi Shirtdress ($42)

Keep this buttoned up for the office, and then style it open over a pair of jeans and a tee for the weekend.

Wear this dress to work and on the weekend. Maybe with some fresh sneakers? 

Staud Harper Cotton-Blend Poplin Dress ($315)

A stylish poplin dress is great for both the office and the beach.

Sea Keely Broderie Anglaise-Trimmed Printed Voile Midi Dress ($525)

You'll never want to take this printed dress off.

See? Work dresses can be fun too, according to Marina Larroude.

Nanushka Zahara Pussy-Bow Polka-Dot Crinkled-Chiffon Midi Dress ($565)

A pussy-bow neck instantly puts you into work mode.

Mara Hoffman Francesca Dress ($595)

You can never go wrong with a pretty wrap dress.

Next up, check out the number one pair of shoes everyone will own this summer.

This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated by Dale Chong.

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