It’s officially summertime.  If you live in an area, as I do, that seems to be the humidity capital of the world, you’re probably always looking for ways to beat the heat.  Thankfully, business attire tends to be more casual nowadays, so staying cool when out on appointments or attending networking events is a bit easier.

Being home-based business owners, we sometimes forget that when we leave the house, even to run errands, we need to always have a polished and professional look.  I know we’d rather be in our shorts and T-shirts, but how would you feel if you ran into the decision-maker for a large prospect you were trying to land? 

Even on casual Friday, I will have on a nice pair of slacks or khakis, rather than jeans or shorts.  I also try to wear layers – so a sleeveless shell and a lightweight jacket, just in case the place I’m going has their A/C set for 60-degrees, or I happen to have found the one spot where the fan blows right on me, or there’s no air circulation at all.  I always have the option of removing the jacket if things get a little hot.

Even if you have to be out in the warm weather, you always want to stay cool and look your best.  Here are my Six Ways to Beat the Heat and Still Look Professional:

  1. Carry a bottle of cold water in your car so you can stay cool up until you go to enter the building. I actually freeze water in a metal water bottle the night before.  Stays cold for a long time.  Not only does it help keep you cool, but I’ve also been known to need it to top off the radiator when it’s really, really HOT!
  2. Try to schedule appointments for early in the morning before it gets too hot and if possible, after rush-hour traffic has subsided.  This will save you on gas, and sitting in traffic where your car gets super heated.
  3. Wear lighter colored clothing.  I wear a lot of black, but in the heat of summer, I try and wear other lighter colors that don’t absorb the heat.   Wearing a short-sleeved shirt or jacket is helpful, too.
  4. If possible, wear open-toed shoes (ladies only, please) if you are still able to come off looking professional.  Sandals are okay, but I try and avoid the flip-flops, again, unless they are very stylish and professional looking.
  5. Keep a small cooler with ice and cool towels in it.  If I’ve been out of the car for a while, the car gets hot and stuffy.  Having a nice cold towel to run across my neck and even my upper arms sure makes it a much more pleasurable experience.  And keeps me looking cool for my next appointment or event.
  6. Have a teleconference or webinar instead!  I’ve really started getting creative when the weather is hot and humid – instead of dragging everyone out to meet, why not consider getting everyone together for a conference call, webinar, or by using Zoom.  And as long as I’m not utilizing video, I can even be in my tattered shorts and a T-shirt!

As business professionals, it’s important to look our best at all times.  You never know who you’re going to meet, or see, when you’re out and about, and even when you’re off the clock.  So be creative and find something that will help you stay cool, but look cool, too!

Jeannine Grich, owner of Accurate Business Services, a VA practice, is an author, writer, speaker, and VA Business Coach, specializing in providing professional business coaching to established and start-up virtual assistants (VA’s).  Visit:; or contact her at: