Thursday, September 05, 2013

Staying Office Smart in the Heat

When the summer weather gets a bit too hot to handle, it may be difficult to find clothes that are both smart and comfortable. An increasing number of companies either provide staff uniforms or expect employees to dress in smart and conventional clothing. Below are some ideas to help you stay office smart despite the heat - it is possible to dress well and be comfortable!
Before you decide what to wear for work on a hot day, it is worth checking with your HR department whether there is any specific protocol, e.g. going bare legged on a hot day. If your company has no specific instructions play it safe and copy your superior.
Company Practice
If you work for a very traditional company where you are required to wear a suit even in summer, choose lighter weight materials such as linen and silk mixes. Choose summer suits in light colours as dark colours tend to attract more heat. You may not be able to wear open toed shoes in the summer but a low heeled sling back will be more comfortable than totally closed in shoes.
Variations in Office Routine
Sometimes, how you dress will depend on what you are doing that particular day. If you want to feel more comfortable working in the heat then you might consider looser clothing. Wear sleeveless tops and dresses in hot weather but have a jacket or cardigan to hand if you need to look more professional – at a board meeting for instance. If visiting clients is part of your role then keep it fairly casual but again, wear tights and carry a jacket.
What is Not Appropriate?
Low necked tops and very short skirts are not advisable, especially if they tend to make you feel self conscious. Open toed shoes may not be appropriate in your working environment but you may find that flat or low heeled shoes are more comfortable than high heels in hot weather. Don’t wear rayon blouses or polyester jackets in very hot weather; you will find that cotton and silk mix materials are much more comfortable.
What to Choose
Don’t wear sleeveless tops and dresses for work when the weather is hot; choose something with a cap sleeve as that is more acceptable. If you usually wear your hair long then pin it up and away from your neck during hot weather. Many modern offices have air conditioning so have a light jacket or cotton cardigan on the back of your chair for chilly arms.
Bottom line is, don’t drive yourself to distraction wondering what to wear. Choose lightweight materials, comfortable rather than tight clothing and light colours. Heavy makeup will clog your pores and make you feel uncomfortable. In the summer choose a light moisturiser with SPF15, lip gloss and light mascara. It’s not easy knowing what to wear for work at any time of the year, an unexpected heat wave just complicates things, keep dress as simple as possible and you won’t go far wrong.
About the authorWritten by the fashion team at Anna Davies

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