Working in the summer... a few ideas

So, summer is officially upon us, although the London weather can't really seem to make up its mind, moving 10 degrees each way on an almost daily basis... Anyways, in August it's the ideal time to pack up the closed shoes, tights and woolly suits in favour of a breezier wardrobe. The secret for good workwear in the summer is something that is still business appropriate without being stuffy. Professional women are luckier in this domain than men as we have more choice in terms of what to wear to the workplace, but I think there are still a number of rules to play by to avoid the odd surprised look...

In my mind, there are a few things a summer work outfit should achieve:
1) A professional yet fresh look
2) An easy day-to-evening transition as long warmer evenings mean after-work drinks
3) Good enough coverage to remain decent without baking
4) A nice way to showcase my bottle tan
5) Be very comfortable so as not to feel constrained at the end of a long day

So, what does this mean concretely? Well first, that whatever magazine editors tell you, if you don't work in an artistic field, don't bring the shorts out to the office. This is the city, not the beach. And frankly city shorts look good on a tiny fringe of the woman population anyways, so why take the risk of a look which is unprofessional and unflattering at the same time? This applies to mid-rif bearing tops as well. I know they are very big for Summer 2012 but on any normal 30-year old body that's seen a baby or two pass by, it conjures images of sausages rather than nymphs (just my opinion of course!)... best give it a miss.

Instead go for a nice dress that shows some leg, but not too much (just above the knee is really as far as you should go for work-wear). It's Summer, so prints and colours can be more fun and extravagant than usual, have fun for a change! Check out this DVF Jeanne two dress, on sale at Matches.

Another item that's best kept out of sight is the flip-flop: it's ok to wear some walking to the office if you must (forgive me if I won't, I reserve my Havaianas to the poolside only) but please use some nice slingbacks or heeled sandals once inside.

There are some good options at all price ranges, from H&M to Louboutin... I'm particularly partial to these YSL Palais peep-toes, in raspberry. This may be a good time to point out that even if you belong to the anti-pedicure club it is really gross (sorry, there is not other term that comes to my mind) to walk around in summer shoes with unpolished toes and parmesan-looking heels: at least scrub the rough bits out and apply some clear polish, please. If you want something more expressive, a coral polish looks great on tanned toes.

One last word: just because it's hot and humid and we're all suddenly wearing sleeveless dresses for work doesn't mean that sometimes jackets aren't called for. It's nice to have a few jackets that work for summer, such as a silk blazer in a light colour or a nice soft leather tailored peplum jacket. They come in handy for client meetings and when the temperature takes a little dip (or when the business management team messes up with the air con, not that that ever happens in my building, of course...)

Enjoy August everyone!

PS: This is a re-edit of a 2010 post... I thought it would be nice to have it out again as some of us are still stuck in the office despite the summery weather.

1 comment:

Chiara said...

Love your blog!!!
And I totally agree with your suggestions (especially on the pedicure and flip-flop side...)