What I Wore To Work: Dressing For The Heat

Summer is officially here and whilst I’m loving the heat, it does add a bit more pressure to my last-minute wardrobe panic in the morning! London in the summer can be beautiful but if you have to take the Tube or walk anywhere more than 10minutes away, things can often become more melt than svelte… BOO. 

We all know that dressing for the office comes with its own unwritten rules but how can we dress appropriately whilst retaining our cool? Here are my top five tips for summer fashion, with a corporate edge.

summer fashion corporate workwear office blog style

Loosen up.

Say goodbye to slim tailored separates and pencil shapes. Nothing will make you feel more like a melting rubber band than a pencil dress in summer – (especially if spanx are involved!!)

Switch your fitted shapes for shift dresses, wrap styles and full, skater skirts – these show just as much skin but a looser shape around stomach and hips will lets you breathe! 

Material girl.

I’m not one for looking at fabric content but it really does makes a difference. Lightweight linen and a natural fibre like cotton will help your skin to breathe in the sun. Nothing makes me feel more elegant than a smart-but-comfortable linen dress

Here’s a tip – avoid polyester at all costs – synthetic fibres repel water and allow sweat to build up compared to natural fibres which soak up the moisture and allow it to dry outside. Sounds totally gross I know, but I’d rather have sweat patches that dry rather having a sauna under my dress (that’s why THIN cotton is ideal)

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Corporate colour.

Its a common preconception that office wear should fit into the spectrum of black, white, navy, grey and camel. Not true, obvs.

Although some offices may frown upon head to toe fuschia, colour can be easily introduced by mixing bright separates in with your normal attire. Think a coral blouse with your dark suit, or a duck-egg blue slim cigarette pant instead of the usual navy.

If you’re ever in between and thinking “is this too MUCH?” – it’s easy to tone down your coloured piece by pairing it with simple, block coloured separates. A black blazer over loud dresses and a crisp white shirt add a formal edge.

Toeing the line.

A big show question is to peep-toe or not? A bit like being at school, a lot of corporates favour a closed shoe. That means no open toes, no slingbacks and definitely no strappy straps. Dems the rules unfortunately but you can increase the air flow to your tootsies by investing in laser-cut styles and cut out pumps where your feet are only covered at toe and heel. (These are super flattering too – they make my feet look much thinner!)

summer fashion corporate workwear office blog style new look dune shoes

Face Time.

Finally – what sort of Beauty Blogger would I be if I didn’t believe that your face is just as important as your fashion. If you wear lipstick normally, try a coral pink instead of your statement red.

Or if you normally debut the natural look, a flash of natural bronzer (like Chanel Les Beiges!!) and a slick of gloss will really make you glow. 

Just make sure everything is set with a good pat-down of finishing powder because, no matter what you wear, makeup meltdown is nahhht a good look!

How are you dealing with the heat? 

Does your dress code at work allow you to keep your cool?

by Zoe Dubs


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Zoe Bayliss Wong
Zoe Bayliss Wong

Zoe is a Forbes ’30 under 30′ finance pro, style writer, presenter and panellist, working for a fashion startup and trying to live that best life in the most IRL way possible.

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1 Comment

  1. alicekatex
    June 19, 2014 / 10:07 pm

    Great tips!! When I'm outta uni, I'm dreading business uniform in the heat but this makes it a little better!alicekatex ♥