Update your summer work style

Nikki ParkinsonFashion 54 Comments

This is the most tricky time of the year to maintain some semblance of style.

For many, you’ve just dusted the sand off your feet after an annual holiday at the beach where you felt dressed up if you swapped out your Havaianas for flat sandals.

Now the office is calling. Or it’s already called.

Making the transition back to “normality” is a tricky one. Mentally we’re still sipping cocktails poolside. Physically it’s just so damn hot that the thought of adding layers of clothes causes us to jump online and book in our next holiday.

The problem being, paying for the next holiday requires some attendance at the office.

So how do you get excited about your summer work style and make a smooth transition back to work?

The key is to head back into your existing wardrobe.

A break away from regular wardrobe planning and wearing might have helped you to look at your wardrobe afresh.

You know what I’m going to say next, don’t you? If you haven’t already done so, do edit your wardrobe and organise it so you can visibly see all that you have at your workwear disposal.

These are the pieces you need to be able to immediately lay eyes on – albeit bleary eyes of a work morning.

Accessories are also key in summer when it’s too hot for too many layers. That one necklace or pair of earrings can add interest to an otherwise meh kind of outfit.

Oh and if you work in an air-conditioned office you already know that this time of year is tricky for that too. Inside can be ice-rink-style freezing while outside you could fry the proverbial egg on the pavement.

Lightweight blazers and cardis in half and three-quarter sleeves are your layering friends in these scenarios.

Believe it or not this is also a good time to shop for pieces to update your workwear look. There are still good sales buys around – often with extra reductions. And, as I type, there is new stocking landing that offers an early trans-seasonal wardrobe freshen up.

Below I’ve put together three outfits that could work in three different work places: corporate, creative and home office. 


summer work style corporate

1. Sportscraft dress $149.95 | 2. Maiocchi jacket $99.95 (on sale at Birdsnest) | 3. Siren Shoes $139.95 @ Style Tread |  4. Mimco earrings $79.95 | 5. My Best Friend is a Bag tote $170


summer work style creative

1. Witchery tank $79.95 | 2. Nude shoes $159.95 | 3. Country Road pants $129 | 4. Mezi necklace $159 | 5. Metalicus 3/4 sleeve jacket $79.95 (on sale)

Home office

Summer work style home office1.  Blue Bungalow maxi $65 | 2. Witchery bag $99 | 3. Uberkate large secret tablet necklace $530 | 4. Country Road sandal $99

Back to work yet? Didn’t get a break? Which outfit most suits your workplace dress code?

Comments 54

  1. Thanks Nikki, great inspiration for my wardrobe that is in desperate need of a makeover. I love all the styles. I work from home office (with school/childcare drop offs and sometimes little one at home) and wear corporate style of client meetings.

    I love the Creative Metalicus 3/4 sleeve jacket $79.95 (on sale) but the link isn’t working, so I assume its no longer available? Shame, would be a great way to dress up a more casual outfit.

  2. I’m struggling with work wear after being told that all staff are expected to wear more corporate wear this year. I was a coloured jeans and funky t shirt kinda gal and have struggled to make the transition. One problem I am finding is so much of the corporate wear is really *ahem* ‘mature’ looking, but my 50something-awesome mum wouldn’t wear it! I have found things are either too casual, too young and too inappropriate for teaching(hellooooooo boobs and short skirts) or too nannaish.

    There seems to be quite limited wear for anyone in between looking for professional wear. I have been able to find some things at Brown Sugar and Review but it has been tricky. I am heading to Metalicus this morning to check it out for the first time ever.

    The one thing I have found helpful is going through my closet and realising while I might have thought I was a skinnies and tshirt girl, on closer evaluation, I am actually a retro 50’s style girl based on what my wardrobe contains.

    Any tips or suggestions? Anyone else find have this problem?

  3. Actually, I’m sure I saw a woman in the Blue Bungalow dress at the shops yesterday. She looked very cool and relaxed and that’s half the struggle! Also, I tend to stay away from black in summer, just looks too hot and not as clean and fresh as a bright/clear colour.

  4. LOVE the creative one! Im a home office creative – that has size Ecup ladies, do you know of any maxi’s that won’t make me look like Im pregnant?

  5. I read one of your posts way back (a year ago or longer, maybe) where you had a link to a bag from My Best Friend is a Bag. I was between bags at the time and on, basically, a student budget. I was convinced it was the bag for me and it really is. I obsessed and saved until it I had one. I think it’s the most beautiful bag I’ve ever owned and I highly recommend for style and quality.

    1. Thanks so much for you great comments on our bags. Can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. Janie from My Best Friend is a Bag.

  6. I am definitely in the home office camp although some days not a lot of time is spent in office. Other days like Monday of this week I am basically in there all day except for trips to the kitchen to get food for the children. I love the idea of loose flowing dresses like this to keep cool in summer but always worry that they will not look good one me and make me look like I am wearing a maternity outfit.

  7. Great collection Nikki, thank you. I think I’d fall in to the home office category … sort of. I am loving the outfit anyhoo! You had me at the pink Maxi!

  8. Spot on (as usual) Nikki! This week we’re experiencing 40+ temperatures every single day of the working week in Adelaide, plus my boss is still on holidays, so I’m keeping it pretty cool and casual with lightweight printed pants and tanks, dresses and sandals. The heels will be back on next week!

  9. I love the creative outfit. Pity I’m stick in a uniform (good and bad!). I used to have the problem with freezing in te office. I always kept a blazer or cardigan at my desk for this reason!

      1. I agree, I love my clothes a lot more now because I can buy what I want without worrying about work-appropriate clothes. And I don’t get as sick of my clothes either because I don’t have to wear them everyday 🙂

  10. Lovely “work from home” outfit. I’m soon-to-be starting up a baking business from home so that kind of outfit (with an apron!!!) would suit perfectly in our wonderful (ahem!) hot Queensland year-long summer!

  11. Another great and timely post Nikki, I’m on the hunt for an outfit for the Sunshine Coast summer for a new position on an organisational governance committee, and that corporate look is fabulous.

  12. Oh gosh. I love all these looks! I will have to go shopping… after I have reorganized my wardrobe ; ). Thanks Nikki for these cool and stylish looks.

  13. No break for me apart from the public holidays, as I let those with kids take a break at this time and save my leave for when school holidays are over and everyone else is working.

    I’m probably best described as creative when I’m in the office, and a bit more corporate when I’m travelling to meet with clients. Fortunately for me, my clients are mostly in Asia so I do not need to worry about getting caught out in the office.

    Mostly I wear dresses for presenting as I find these are most suitable in the less formal Asian offices. However, the one rule I have when I’m with clients is to always cover my toes. It comes from an old (female) boss who was a stickler for this rule and is now so ingrained it just feels wrong to wear open toes in these situations.

  14. I work in a casual corporate environment – in and out of air conditioning. My biggest issue is shoes – because I can be on my feet quite a lot I tend to wear flats but most flat sandals look too casual. I think I need to spend some time looking for shoes like those Siren ones you have suggested.

  15. Back at work this week but thankfully have been able to stick to my home office and short bella lido Emma dress. In corporate work wear, heels, makeup etc from tomorrow 🙁
    My corporate wardrobe is still looking very wintery so I suspect that my 3/4 sleeved coral jacket will be on high rotation.
    My New Years resolution is to be more mindful with my clothes spending. So I think I need to do a ward robe edit and cull so that I can indulge in some more clothing ‘investments’ 😉

  16. Great tips even though I don’t go out to work ,I love all the ideas.I love the country road pants ,the witchery tank and the blue bungalow maxi.
    I really need to do another wardrobe edit,when I get some time,thank you Nikki for the reminder!

  17. Thanks for the tips Nikki – I’ve started work on editing my wardrobe/s. Putting work clothes in one place and non-work (casual/dressy) clothes in another to give me a better sense of what I really have. I’ve revisited your ‘basics’ list from list year. My work style is corporate. You’ve chosen some very nice pieces, I love the Siren sandals. I haven’t had much of a break from work, unfortunately, but I’ve taken days here and there when I can. Including today. We’re heading to the beach (Rainbow Bay) in half an hour! Hooray.

  18. So true regarding the office aircon – I’m dressed for 43 when I go outside and yet its teeth chattering freezing in the office, always a challenge

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