The temperatures are getting warmer, which means facing the hot-to-cold conundrum: You sweat to the high heavens while trekking to work or cramming into a sweltering subway car—then you walk into a freezing cold office and shiver for the rest of the day.

What’s a gal to do? You don’t want to show up a sweaty mess when you walk into work, but you can’t exactly wear shorts and a t-shirt to the office, either.

To solve this dilemma, I’ve come up with a few perfect outfit combos (making use of well-executed layers) that will keep you cool when you need to be, comfortable when the AC is blasting, and office-appropriate all the way.

Circle Skirt + Sleeveless Blouse + Cardigan

Knee-length, high-waisted circle skirts are the perfect solution to the summer weather dilemma. They’re great for keeping cool on your commute (they’re breezier and less constricting than pencil skirts), but they’re still office-appropriate. Pair one with a collared, sleeveless blouse, and you’ll stay cool as a cucumber as you commute. Just keep a cardigan in your bag to pop on right before you walk in to work—you’ll be protected from the AC.

Circle skirts, sleeveless blouses, cardigans

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Pencil Skirt + Silk Blouse + Jacket

If circle skirts aren’t your thing, pencil skirts will still keep you cool, especially if you skip the wool and get one in a lighter fabric. Go with light colors, patterns, or brights to keep your look seasonal, and pair with a breathable, light silk blouse. Don’t forget to take a little jacket with you for the office—try one that’s slightly cropped with a ladylike rounded neck.

Pencil skirts, silk blouses, jackets

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Sleeveless Dress + Light-Colored Blazer

Simply put, sleeveless dresses will save your life this summer. They’re perfectly versatile and can be dressed up or down, they’re easy to throw on last-minute if you’re rushing out the door, and they give you plenty of room to breathe on your commute. Keep your color palette summery by pairing a bright dress with a light-colored blazer—which will also keep you cooler than dark colors if you need to wear it outdoors.

Sleeveless dresses

Cropped Pants + Flowy Blouse + Cardigan 

Warmer weather doesn’t mean pants are out of the question. Just skip the skinny cut, and instead go for a looser-fitting, slightly cropped silhouette in a breezy cotton. Fit is key here—you want the crop to fall just above your ankle, as much higher or lower can end up looking sloppy. Wear a loose short-sleeved blouse and bring along an open sweater to throw on when you get cold at work. And since these pants are a little slouchy, bring a pair of heels in your bag to add length to your legs once you get to the office.

Cropped pants

Hannah Baker is the style columnist at The Daily Muse. Hailing from the Peach State she was formerly a teacher in a special education classroom; then in a bilingual charter school; and currently works in television post-production. When not stylin’ and profilin’ around DC, Hannah enjoys crafting up a storm, wishing she had a hedgehog, and being amazing at Bananagrams. Follow Hannah @hanfranbabebake.

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