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her workplace: Don't let your office attire take a summer vacation

As the heat index rises, so does your hemline, right?

Not if you're at work, Caroline Cox urges.

The senior editor at Little PINK Book, a digital platform for career-minded women, encourages professional attire at the office no matter what the forecast indicates.

"Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I'm all about dressing for the job you want," Cox said.

Don't panic. Dressing professionally doesn't mean you have to wear a suit like your dad.

"I'm a 20-something. You don't have to dress like men. We're trying to just open people's eyes. Offer options to look chic."

She believes good style elevates confidence. "When you look good, you feel good," she says.

An office outfit needs to work for the woman wearing it and for some women a "power suit" doesn't work.

"You want to feel powerful when you go to work. If you're wearing a suit you might not feel like you," she said.

Caroline's "power outfit" is cigarette pants, heels and a well-fitted blazer.

"Maybe a suit makes you feel in charge. It depends on your personal preference and style. Whatever makes you feel comfortable and is office appropriate," she says.

What's never appropriate for the office? Flip flops, tube tops, low-cut tops, mini skirts, shorts, tank tops and anything sheer.

She also avoids wearing sandals, platform shoes and tops and dresses with spaghetti straps to work.

"For shoes, avoid anything that's too high or has too many straps," she says.

What about that new pair of gladiators? Leave them in the closet, Caroline encourages.

"You don't want to be seen as the person who just blindly follows trends," she says.

That doesn't mean you have to ignore the season's most fashion-forward looks.

"There are subtle ways to transition trends into the workplace," she said.

Love this summer's neon pieces? Pair them with neutral or nude colors.

"If you're really into that trend, I've seen a lot of really cute necklaces... I've seen a lot of cute bags," she says.

For women who want to embrace their nautical side, she offers similar advice.

"Statement jewelry is a great way to show off your personal style while staying within your company's dress code," she says. She loves adding vintage pins and brooches to her office sweaters.

Fashion-forward color-blocking can easily be incorporated into work attire.

"Just don't do two bright colors. Go for muted colors. If you have a more conservative office, cap-toed ballet flats will work," she said.

Don't spend a lot of money on fashion fads, Caroline warns.

"Spend on classics. Invest in a well-fitted blazer. Wear it out to dinner and to brunch. Make sure it fits perfectly in the shoulders," she says.

She loves simple and elegant outfits.

"Get a pencil skirt. Tuck a white button-down into it. Conservative and cute," she says.

Don't skimp on the shoes.

"Definitely invest in black or neutral pumps. Nude will elongate your legs. Make sure the heel's not too high," she says.

Other smart purchases are a shift dress, not necessarily in black and colorful cardigans that can be worn with heels or flats.

"I'm all about the cardigan. I love cardigans. In the fall you can button them up all the way. In the spring, just roll up the sleeves."

Her favorite summer office outfit is pairing a knee-length sundress with a cardigan with three-quarter length sleeves. But remember, if the sundress has spaghetti straps or a low-cut neckline, that cardigan needs to stay on while you're at work.

She also loves pairing pencil skirts in spring colors with short sleeve tops and light-weight sweaters.

She says layering is key for those shivering in offices where the air conditioner seems to work a lot of overtime.

"Have a cardigan that you can take off when the air's not blasting. Wear a short sleeve button down underneath not a camisole," she said.

Trendy light-weight scarves also keep office workers comfortable in cold offices.

If you have company summertime events to attend, watch what you wear.

"It's worth thinking about if your boss is going to be there... Take it into account," she says. "Air on the side of caution. Go for overdressed more than under-dressed," she encourages.

Get more summer style advice plus articles on how to increase employee moral and avoid the summer slump and tips on negotiating and working smarter not longer at littlepinkbook.com. Sign up to get encouraging e-notes in your email and connect with other women in the workplace.

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