In the torpid days of summer, we move through five or six temperature zones every day (tropical subway platform, temperate subway car, tropical sidewalk, arctic office cube). Perversely, stores are starting to stock heavy, woolly fall clothes just when you’re in the mood for something new, but functional. Here, affordable, versatile outfits you can go buy on your lunch break.
The shirt is made from wrinkle-free cotton, so it doesn’t need to be ironed and won’t crumple in triple- digit heat.
The breathable, lightweight denim suit is casual enough to look good even when it’s rumpled.
For extra ventilation, skip the socks.
Jacket, $575, and pants, $195 at Groupe 16sur20 (267 Elizabeth St., nr. Prince St.; 212-343-0007); button-down shirt, $39.50 at Uniqlo (546 Broadway, nr. Spring St.; 917-237-8800); dress shoes, $138 at Banana Republic (626 Fifth Ave., nr. 50th St.; 212-974-2350); belt, $80 at Kenneth Cole (610 Fifth Ave., nr. 49th St.; 212-373-5800).
The brushed-cotton jacket pulls the look together and is cooler than the lightest wools.
The pinstripe camisole looks office-appropriate when its spaghetti straps are hidden under a jacket. When you hit the sidewalk, strip off the jacket and steel yourself for the subway.
Aren’t your flip-flops grimy by now? Give them a rest with a cute pair of red flats.
Crisp white pants are way cooler than sun-absorbing black.
At this point, the summer bag you bought in May may be getting tired. This is a roomy, affordable alternative.
Blazer, $148, and camisole, $65 at J.Crew (10 Columbus Circle, nr. 59th St., second fl.; 212-823-9302); pants, $59 at Club Monaco (160 Fifth Ave., nr. 21st St.; 212-352-0936); peep-toe flats, $19.50 at Old Navy (www.oldnavy.com); tote bag, $24.90 at H&M (640 Fifth Ave., nr. 51st St.; 212-489-0390).