Kansas State University


K-State Career Center: Student Edition

Hot tips for summer professional attire

When the summer heat hits, it can be difficult to find professional clothing that’s work appropriate. Students may struggle to find a wardrobe that can combat the heat, but still maintain a professional appearance.

Know Your Industry

Dress codes can vary by company and industry. Familiarizing yourself with the company and their industry standards may help you know what to wear.

“We always recommend students actively and openly communicate with their direct supervisor about the dress code for the organization,” Rebecca Gould, career coach for the College of Business Administration, said.

Know Your Schedule

Different activities require different wardrobe pieces. What you’re doing that day could make a difference in what you decide to wear.

“I would highly recommend more professional attire for business meetings with upper level executives or clients,” Gould said.

Depending on the company’s dress code, you may be allowed to wear more business casual attire on days where you’ll be at your desk.


When it comes to professional wear, it’s important to avoid a few things in the office:

  • Busy colors or patterns
  • Large, dangling jewelry, including flashy watches or accessories
  • Excessive makeup
  • Excessive perfume or strong scented cologne
  • Messy or wet hair
  • Athletic wear (including tennis shoes)

Avoiding these items will help keep your professional attire in check.

As for staying cool in the summer, Gould has some recommendations:

  • Keep your facial hair neatly trimmed
  • Wear a light sweater or cardigan to cover spaghetti strap tops
  • Wear unlined fabrics in light colors (tan, taupe or pale gray)
  • Keep your hair shorter and try updos
  • Wear knee length skirts and dresses

Students looking for summer professional wear inspiration can check out the Career Center Pinterest Board.

For professional clothing at a low cost, Gould recommends checking out stores like Marshalls and Target. Students should consider comparing item prices online to find the best bargain.

Students can also shop the Career Closet at the Career Center for free, gently-used professional wear. Students can take up to three items for free. The Career Closet is open Monday through Thursday from noon to 4 p.m.

For more professional dress tips, view online resources on the Career Center website.

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