By: Juliana Heide
Staying cool, comfortable, and appropriate when dressing for work during summer can be a challenge, especially if the outside temperature is more than 40°C (with 85% humidity) throughout the season. Then, it might seem impossible to pull together outfits that are suitable for your workplace, right?! But it turns out, with a little planning you can embrace summer and still look polished and professional in the warm months. Here are 7 easy styling strategies to deal with the real heat, depending on the type of attire your job dress code requires.
Trust me: With these tips and you’re a little creative, you’ll be well on your way to looking stylish at work and keeping cool during a heatwave!
(1) Wear lighter and breathable fabrics.
When it comes to your basics, prefer fabrics that are lighter and will help you keep cooler, like cotton, linen, and rayon, avoiding anything that clings or adds heat (satin, silk, wool, etc.). Cotton is a soft yet breathable and lightweight material, made with natural fiber, and widely available. Linen is a lightweight fabric that dries very quickly. It’s also easy to wrinkle, so try to avoid this fabric on those days you have to get up and down a lot, when you have to do a presentation or visit a client, for example. Rayon is a cheaper alternative to silk, it’s thin, smooth and won’t stick to you.
(2) Choose your cut wisely.
Find a cut that is fitted but not super tight. Avoid body-hugging, overly tight styles when temperatures rise. Flowy silhouettes, loose, airy fabrics like flouncy blouses or twill pants are great to offer plenty of ventilation. Breeze tops, skirts and dresses also get the airflow, keeping your skin fresh.
(3) Sleeveless dresses, camisoles, and blouses, worn with a blazer or cardigan.
Pairing light base layers like sleeveless tops or camisoles under your outwear is a great option when you have to balance the cold office temperatures and the high humidity as soon as you step outside the work environment. Layering will not show the exposed skin and you can always adjust the outwear depending on the ‘AC’ strength: if it’s too cold at your office, prefer a thick blazer or cardigan. Also, ensure that the tops and cami dresses are completely opaque, not see-through, or translucent. You should also make sure the blouse is not too low-cut or too ornate-like lacing.
(4) Invest in wide-leg, cropped or paperbag pant styles.
If you are a pants person, you don’t need to sacrifice comfort for the look. Opt for high-waisted styles that are wider or slightly looser, made of a softer fabric instead of stiffer and rough ones. They won’t cling to your hot skin or thighs and will allow more ventilation while still giving you a nice feminine and elegant shape.
(5) Swap pencil skirts for A-line or breeze midi skirts.
A midi skirt is one of the best options to build an endless amount of work summer outfits, especially if they are pleated and made with a lightweight material. There’s more fabric to help the airflow, they give you lots of movements and the midi length elevates your outfit instantly.
(6) Switch it up with slingback shoes.
When it comes to your shoes, it’s important to remain professional. Instead of wearing the close-toe shoes usually required by business dress codes, you can change your summer shoe game and invest in slingback versions. You will still look chic and get the coverage over close toe but more skin exposure along the heel. They are also more comfortable options, and you can find them in flats or high heels. Pairing them with cropped trousers and midi skirts gives you a more lengthening look while making your feet feel not quite as stuffy as a full-coverage shoe.
(7) Choose light accessories.
Heavy necklaces and bracelets can be suffocating during the summer. Instead, try a pair of stud earrings or an elegant lightweight watch. They are professional still cool accessories to wear in warm weather.
Hope those tips make way for a stress-free morning while getting dress to work on a summer day! And remember, business attire doesn’t need to be dull!
PHOTOGRAPHY: FARHAT NAWEED PHOTOGRAPHY
CREATIVE STYLIST: FARHAT NAWEED PHOTOGRAPHY
MODEL: MIRA ITANI