(ARA) - Your sweaters have made their way to the back of your closet and your scarves, hats and gloves have migrated to the top shelf. And now, as you rush to get out the door for work in the morning, you might feel less than enthusiastic as you take stock of your warm weather wardrobe. Your dresses have been in the line up longer than you care to remember and those shoes have seen better days. It's time to hit the mall and give your style a summer lift.
Start from the top down. For everyone whose workplace blasts the air conditioning, you'll be happy to know that layering is in. "Try a three-quarters sleeve blazer or solid cardigan with bold floral patterns underneath," says Jessica Little, Fashion Design and Fashion Marketing instructor at The Art Institute of Wisconsin.
Sheer, feminine tops are in this season, just don't forget to pair them with a camisole underneath. If you're looking for the most popular colors of the season, go with pastels, advises Victoria Sinon, academic director for Fashion Design at The Illinois Institute of Art - Chicago. "Don't be afraid to try pastels with vibrancy - that can really add some pop to your outfit," she adds.
Now that you're set on top, it's time to work on bottoms. "The pencil skirt is still a staple," says Kristy Janigo, Fashion Design lead instructor at The Art Institutes International Minnesota. She advises that the length should be just above the knee, in black or a neutral color to match just about anything in your wardrobe.
If your work environment allows it, you could try a suit with capri-length pants, recommends Janigo. Just pair the pants with high heels or a wedge. And if you're buying a dress for work, beware of the maxi dress. Little cautions against anything that shows too much cleavage and advises you to pair the dress with a cardigan. Sinon recommends that you stay away from the maxi altogether: "You really want to look pulled together so don't wear some mid-calf skirt or a maxi dress, because you want to dress for the office environment."
So what about your shoes? "Shoes are a great way to add a little flair to work wear for summer," says Little. She suggests a bright wedge or pump to make an outfit pop. While sandals may be popular for the summer, they may not work in your office environment. Flip flops are a definite no, but watch out for the dressy sandal that looks like a flip flop as well, says Janigo.
Now that you're dressed, don't forget to accessorize for the season. Little recommends vintage accessories like hairpins and earrings with flowers. Sinon says that safari prints are back in style so try out a scarf with that pattern. Janigo is a fan of a skinny belt with a loose-fitting dress because that belt will give your look structure.