What to Wear to Your Summer Internship When It’s 100 Degrees Outside, But Freezing Inside

We all know the feeling: the chill as you walk into an overly-air-conditioned room from the blazing heat outside. Most of the time it’s comforting; you let out a deep sigh as your skin stops melting from the sun, the sweet beading on your forehead freezes and you instantly feel rejuvenated. But sometimes the cold isn’t so nice. Like when you’re sitting in it all day, for example.

What’s a person to do when you want to wear cute summer sundresses in the office, but once you get inside it feels like an igloo? How do you dress when you know you’ll be sweating on your commute to and from your internship, but you’ll be shivering like you’re in the tundra the whole time you’re there? The solution: you just have to get creative.

Depending on how relaxed the dress code at your internship is, there’s a lot you can do to make sure your outfit can transition from hot to cold.

  1. 1. Try some breezy pants

    It’s pretty safe to assume that no matter the dress code at your internship, you probably won’t be allowed to wear shorts. The next best thing is, of course, a skirt or a dress. But what if those don’t suit your style? A breezy pair of pants is the way to go. 

    As a huge fan of a statement pair of pants, they’re my go-to for any and all major occasions – from dinners out to the first day at my summer internship this year. When it’s really warm, you can go for a pair of linen wide-leg pants that’ll really let your legs breathe in the heat of the outdoors, but will still keep you covered and warm inside. These High-Waist Huston Pull-On pants ($75) from Madewell are made from linen and cotton, so they’re super breathable (and can be easily dressed up with a nice blouse and flats. The same style also comes in a ton of other patterns if you’re not a fan of stripes. You can try these Inkspot Dot ones ($82) which look a bit nicer for the office.

  2. 2. Invest in a light blazer

    Blazers are a classic for office dressing, but if you’re not into looking like every other 9-to-5 commuter in your general vicinity, there’s a few different ways to step up your blazer game. Instead of getting a stuffy, structured and tight blazer, get one that’s a little lighter for the summer months. A light fabric like linen works perfectly, and a color like white or a light beige goes with everything in your wardrobe. H&M has a bunch of different blazers you can try out, and they’re all pretty affordable. This Linen-Blend Blazer ($50) will keep you just cool enough, as will this Striped Straight-Cut blazer ($50) 

    Now you can think about channeling last fall’s blazers-and-bike-shorts trend, but instead of the bike shorts, wear something a little more office-appropriate. A sundress works well because it keeps you cool in the heat of the day, but if you wear the right one, can be nice enough to wear to the office. If your office is a little more formal, you can still wear a nicer blouse and skirt, and the blazer will just add an extra layer of professionalism. Virtually anything works, and the blazer will keep you just warm enough in your AC’ed office.

  3. 3. Full-length dresses are your best friend

    Everyone loves a good maxi dress, and the great thing is, they’re great for office dress as well as a day by the shore. Again, this all depends on how formal your office dress code is, because some places are pretty strict with what they want you to wear, but if you’re lucky enough to have a big of freedom, long dresses are the way to go. 

    Maxi dresses, tea-length dresses, and basically anything longer than your knee are great for the summer because they’re super breathable on top, but have enough fabric to keep your legs from shivering when you’re inside. It’s not a revolutionary concept, but it definitely works. And you can always throw something on top for an added layer of warmth—whether it be a pullover sweater (see below) or a simple tee. Try this AUSTIN Angel Sleeve Mid Dress from Topshop ($59) in any of the six patterns it comes in, or this Black and White Floral Sleeveless Dress ($75).

  4. 4. Pair a jumpsuit with a pullover sweater

    Jumpsuits are basically the same as a maxi dress: they keep your legs warm while keeping your body relatively cool. If you have a summery jumpsuit (i.e. one with tank top straps, an open back or anything that’s likely not appropriate for an office setting but is a blessing when it’s a million degrees outside) you can absolutely still wear it to work. If you office is absolutely freezing, you can style your jumpsuit with a cropped pullover sweater. 

    It sounds a little strange, but think about it for a second. If you wear a cropped sweater, it basically looks like you’re just wearing that nice pair of fancy pants we talked about earlier. I’ve done it before, and although it’s a serious hassle when you have to go to the bathroom, it’s a magical styling trick. Zara’s Tropical Print Jumpsuit ($70) and Buttoned Striped Jumpsuit ($50) are great on their own, but are still perfect to throw a sweater on top of.

  5. 5. Wear a cardigan (but one that’s not bland)

    The simplest answer to the mystery of office dressing is wearing a cardigan once you get to your internship. It’s a good answer, but it’s not an exciting one. So instead of wearing just a regular hip-length open-front cardigan every day, you can try something a bit different.

    You can go for an extra long one, like this Ribbed Long Cardigan from MANGO ($50). Or maybe one with an interesting print, fun buttons, cool sleeves, or details like this Wrap Bow Cardigan ($50).

It’s surely a mystery why offices everywhere don’t understand that just because it’s 90 degrees outside, doesn’t mean it has to be 30 degrees inside (a nice 75 would do just fine). But it’s no longer a mystery what to wear in that cold office climate. You can still wear your favorite summer dresses without getting the shivers, you just have to plan ahead a bit. If you focus on layering, or wear pieces that can easily transition from hot to cold, you’ll be good to go.