One of the biggest style dilemmas many of us will come across when dressing appropriately for work is when the temperatures rises.
As this week has got hotter an hotter, I have had a few distress calls from clients asking for any pointers on great work wear that will keep them cool. I myself am faced with this challenge this morning as I am going to one meeting in an air-conditioned office, followed by another in a café…a temperature management challenge!!
With more and more workplaces adopting a smart/casual dress code it is important to dress for the weather whilst still looking professional.
So I thought it might be helpful to do a bit of a Do’s and Don’t list to help you navigate this style dilemma!
DO choose your fabrics wisely
Natural fabrics like cotton, will be more lightweight and crease less after a long day sitting down; meaning you’ll look more put together and well presented, even after a hard day of meetings and calls. If you are in a smart/casual environment you could opt for a shirt dress or linen trousers, which tend have a more relaxed cut and therefore are cooler to wear. Ensure that the material you choose isn’t too lightweight, as this can look too casual and reveal more than you may have intended. My advice with linen- the more you spend the better the quality and the less likely it will crease.
DON’T show too much
It may be hot, but this doesn’t mean your hemline can be high. A skirt is a great choice for keeping cool in the heat and midi-length skirts are fabulously flattering on many body shapes (just be sure yours cuts at a flattering point on the leg). You’ll be able to move around with ease and look professional at the same time. If midi isn’t your thing just be sure not to go any higher than just above the knee.
There is a huge trend for off-the-shoulder tops and dresses at the moment, but keep this look for the weekend – it exposes juts a wee bit too much flesh, even for a casual workplace. Similarly, leave your backless, asymmetric, spaghetti straps and batwings tops at home. Sleeveless is fine, but cover up by wearing trousers on your bottom half to balance the exposure of your arms (and keep a cardigan or jacket to hand for meetings).
DO dress up
A dress is a great option during the Summer. Choose a cut that is flattering for your body shape and it will help to keep you cool and comfortable on hot, sticky days. Opt for one of the lighter, brighter shades from your colour palette if you can, ensuring you balance the tone of shades you’re wearing, depending on your dominant colour category.
DON’T forget footwear
Leave your flip-flops and gladiator sandals at home! Thanks to Chanel, classic, ladylike sling-backs are making something of a comeback at the moment and these are an elegant option for the office during the Summer. Open toed shoes are fine in most workplaces now, but make sure your toes are immaculate if you decide to go down this route!
Most offices now have air-conditioning, meaning you may be going from sweltering heat to icy conditions at the touch of an elevator button. If this is the case you will need to cleverly layer your look to keep you warm. The danger here can be that you end up looking too casual (if you choose a loose-fitting cardigan for example). Invest in a lightweight jacket that is cut to suit your figure and, if needed, a lightweight scarf in your best colours. This will keep you warm but still looking smart and both are easy to remove once you leave the office to embrace the glorious sunshine!