Office Chic in the Heat

Hopefully Summer will be making a re-appearance sometime soon! When the heat is on striking the right balance at work between being comfortable and looking professional can be challenging.

Here are some tips to help you navigate this style dilemma!

DO choose your fabrics wisely

Natural fabrics like cotton, will be more lightweight and allow the skin to breathe. 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 though, as this can look too casual and reveal more than you may have intended. Nude coloured underwear is always the safest bet.

DON’T show too much

It may be hot, but this doesn’t mean your hemline can be thigh high.  One that hovers aBusiness-Casual-Fashion-Women-For-Summer-Season-0010round the knee is the most flattering and appropriate length for most women. If you’re past forty and not wearing hosiery, you may want to err on the side of caution and avoid anything above the knee.

There is a huge trend for off-the-shoulder and cold-shoulder tops and dresses at the moment, but keep this look for the weekend – it exposes too much flesh, even for a casual workplace. Similarly, leave your backless, asymmetric, halter neck and spaghetti strapped tops at home. Sleeveless is fine, but, unless yours is a fairly informal office environment, 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! 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 (a great excuse to book in for that pedicure!)

DO layer

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 adjust to temperature changes. A cardigan is a good option,  a fitted one will look smarter than an over-sized “boyfriend” style. For more formal office environments, invest in a lightweight jacket such as  Kettlewell’s nice cotton blazer  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 (well, we live in hope!)