It’s that time of the year again when temperatures are rising, tube commutes are as challenging as a Bikram Yoga class, and the conundrum of how to show up to meetings sans sweat patches but still resembling a professional human being begins.
Whilst our male colleagues may be confined to their dark navy suits in this summer heat (and for once we do not envy their prescribed uniform), we get to enjoy a lot more leeway in finding the right outfit that will take us from the Sahara heat on the underground, to the arctic winds blasted from the office air-conditioner. Never ones to give up, or give in, we decided to open up our little black book and talk to some of the best-dressed women we know in the city on how they find the right balance (a rigorous survey we assure you that was completed over sparkling wine whilst basking in the London sunshine). Below, we present the 6 golden rules of power dressing when the sun has come out to play.
1. All about the Fabric
Successfully battling summer temperatures is all about the breathability of the fabric. Natural materials such as silk, cotton and linen should be your closest allies during this season. Whilst undeniably stylish it’s best to keep those prized investment wools and luxuriously made furs packed safely away until autumn comes back around.
Victoria*, a management consultant in London who runs her own firm, added this nugget of wisdom: ‘I love how easy it is to wash and take care of polyester, but I stay away from clothing made of synthetics during the summer when I’m running between meetings like some fashion plague. Nothing like polyester mixed with body odour to start a meeting on the wrong foot.’
2. Invest in summer-proof lingerie
Whilst during the cold winter months unsightly bra straps (rule of thumb: if the bra strap is visible in the office, it’s unsightly) and panty lines can be covered up by layers of heavy materials, this may not be so during the warm summer months. Invest in skin coloured and strapless undergarments (especially when shoulders are exposed), avoid lace or materials which can easily be seen through silk or thin materials. As one corporate lawyer recounts: ‘I spend more time with my trainee solicitors than my own husband - that’s up close and personal enough. I do not want to know what colour or shape of underwear you’re wearing.’
3. Avoid crop-tops, off-the-shoulder tops, hot pants
We really shouldn’t have to expand on this one but remember that the office is not the beach and Visa Versa, whilst the urge to wear as little as possible hits even the best of us in the summer months we say keep the pinstriped suit for the office and the denim hotpants for the beach.
4 . Layer it up
When transitioning from desk to dinner, layers are the key. Pair summery dresses with blazers or keep your modesty intact from those unexpected bursts of wind with a luxurious silk scarf at hand. But let's face it whilst we really do hope the weather stay's stable and the sun continues to shine, British weather is about as reliable as a workaholics promise to make it to Friday night dinner, so always keep a light jacket at hand.
5. Go Carrie Crazy on shoes (but avoid open toe and sandals)
The awesome thing about summer weather in this fine Kingdom known as Great Britain? No more muddy puddles or rain to ruin your best suede shoes, discolour your go to nude court shoes or leave your feet shivering in the cold weather. No, for a couple of months a year you can invest the money you would have spent on Uber just to avoid that 15 min walk into a pair of shoes that deserve to have their own role on Sex and the City.
Keep in mind that in more corporate settings, open toe shoes are a big fashion faux pas. If you work in a more creative (open minds = open toes) industry, keep your toes in tip-top condition and treat yourself to a weekly pedicure.
6. Add a pop of colour
The charm of a British summer is undeniably attached to the wide array of colours that have slowly been blooming since spring. Suddenly the grey's and the blacks wore comfortably in the winter seasons look harsh and uncomfortable in comparison to the vibrant summer days. Whilst all black everything may be one of the easiest ways to look stylish but sleek, once the sun is out adding a pop of colour to your wardrobe is the perfect way to stay ahead of the style game.