Summer Business Attire for Women: Basic Do's and Don'ts

06/15/2015 05:03 pm ET | Updated Jun 15, 2016
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It's time to focus on your summer office wardrobe as you rotate your closet and store away the heavy winter coat until next year. Though it may be tempting to relax your wardrobe when you see your office mates come into work wearing clothes that could pass for a Saturday pizza and movie date, you'll look and feel more professional with a few updates. I recently posted my thoughts on pulling together a fresh summer business look and have a few more tips to share.

Do build your wardrobe around some key color classics. Soft colors such gray, light blue, and champagne always look smart and sophisticated. Wear a neutral color on top and a brighter bottom, or go for tone-on-tone for a sophisticated office ready outfit.

Don't wear heavy hosiery. Put away your black tights. While they may be your signature look in winter, a heavy opaque leg covering is uncomfortable and too dark for the summer heat. If your office dress policy requires hosiery, do your homework and find a brand that is sheer and lightweight.

Do reach for a sheath dress. I love color and you can find a wide selection of professional dresses at your nearest department store. Look for options with a short sleeve. A little stretch will also help as you dash from one meeting to the next. A sleeveless dress is a good choice if your office allows your shoulders to show, but take into consideration the corporate dress code.

Don't make skinny jeans, leggings and yoga pants a part of your daily work routine. If you work in an office where jeans are the norm at least one day a week, add a cotton tee, a blazer and a nice pair of heels. You will be ready for a client meeting, a day at the office, and an after work happy hour. Take off the jacket and enjoy the breeze on the patio of your favorite bar or restaurant.

Do accessorize. A simple top and a great necklace, or a bold purse, an interesting scarf (worn around your neck, or the strap of your purse), a statement bracelet, or some small scale earrings will add attention grabbing detail. When you have one standout piece, minimize the rest of your jewelry. A bold lipstick can do wonders for your overall look...just go lighter on the rest of your makeup.

Don't opt for cargo pants. If your office encourages casual wear and khaki pants are the rule of thumb, steer clear from cargo detailing. Instead, look for crisp, clean lines in a quality fabric and an appropriate length. I am often asked about cropped pants in the workplace. While some companies have no policy on ankle length slacks, others are clear about their preference for a full length trouser. Another consideration is knowing how to wear a cropped pant with your body style. Some people can pull it off marvelously, while others tend to look frumpy. Experiment with different styles and various heel heights to find the look that works best on you. If you are wearing tennis shoes with your cropped pants, it's the wrong look altogether. Athletic shoes and flip flops are another don't.

Do try mixing patterns. If you work in a creative environment, a striped shirt with a floral skirt, or a pinstripe blue and ivory wide leg pant with a floral shirt can be both chic and eye appealing. A pencil skirt in a geometric pattern, with a polka dot cotton blouse, can create a great look when worn with confidence.

For more of Diane's etiquette tips, visit her blog, connect with her here on The Huffington Post, follow her on Pinterest and Instagram and "like" The Protocol School of Texas on Facebook.