BAZAAR presents the dos and don’ts of office dressing in hot weather
June 19, 2017
Dressing for the office in warmer weather can pose quite the style conundrum. Bazaar’s fashion director Avril Mair shares her guide to getting it right…
1. Wear the appropriate underwear
A flesh-tone bra underneath anything white or light; a strapless bra under anything with spaghetti straps; a camisole or vest underneath anything sheer. Your underpinnings make a fundamental difference to how polished you look. A word of warning about this season’s off-the-shoulder tops: viewed from the other side of a computer, as your boss walks through the office say, you can look entirely naked. Depending on where you work, this may not really be okay.
2. A white shirt always works
There’s a reason this is a classic piece – everyone looks good in a white shirt, without exception. You can find a myriad of variations on the high street for summer; Cos is especially great at this. For a S/S17 update, consider changing white to blue. Otherwise, look for interesting details like long cuffs.
If you work in an office where open-toe sandals are allowed, get a pedicure – Chanel’s new top coat makes any colour especially long-lasting. But no matter how relaxed your work environment, flip flops are never okay. The jury’s out on pool slides.
4. Monochrome is in
Black and white looks great at work. Appropriate doesn’t need to be boring, though: a white T-shirt plus a black leather skirt is the easiest summer outfit imaginable. An immaculately ironed white man’s shirt with the season’s Chloe-styled track pants is also chic.
5. Consider the cardi
Take a tip from Victoria Beckham, who is often seen with a short cardi layered over her dresses. From the heat of the tube to icy air conditioning, a thin cardigan can be a very chic cover up. Add a belt to modernise the look. Also consider a lightweight collarless cropped jacket – Zara has a white tweed option with a black bow that’s been bought by three Bazaar team members.
6. Make friends with the midi
The mid-length skirt – definitely not summer’s perennial maxi, dragging limply on every pavement – is surprisingly flattering and easy to wear. Tuck in your top and try it with flats.
7. Your weekend wardrobe is just that
Denim shorts, slogan T-shirts, thigh-skimming dresses, coloured bras, cheesecloth tunics, strapless maxi dresses (especially strapless maxi dresses): some things should be left for the park or pub garden. Just because it’s appropriate for the weather doesn’t mean it works in the office.
Make like Michael Kors and throw a slightly oversized navy or white blazer over a summer dress to sharpen up your look. This is the kind of wardrobe staple that you’ll never regret.
9. Workwear doesn’t need to be dull
Of course, it does depend where you work. But trend-led pieces like culottes, oversized trousers, sportswear, even jumpsuits can perform brilliantly in the office with flats or block heels, then be dramatically dressed up for a night out.
It’s worth investing in a good summer work wardrobe and you’ll find plenty of timeless pieces in the sales: the trench coat, the pleated skirt, the slightly oversized trousers, the shift dress, the button-up shirt. Buy wisely in neutral colours – camel, grey, monochrome or even animal print – and you’ll never regret it.