Office chic in the heat

It seems we are having a lovely Indian Summer which creates a style dilemma – dressing appropriately for work when it is the same temperature we got used to whilst on holiday when all we had been wearing were bare essentials ! With the mercury rising again, many of us will be wondering what is and isn’t appropriate for the office. With more and more workplaces adopting a smart / casual dress code it is important to dress for the weather whilst still looking professional.

Here are my 5 Top Tips to help you stay chic in the office this summer.

1) DO choose your fabrics wisely

Natural fabrics like cotton, will be more lightweight and crease less after a long day sitting down; meaning you’ll look more put together and well presented, even after a hard day of meetings and calls. If you are in a smart / casual environment you could opt for a shirt dress or linen trousers, which tend have a more relaxed cut and therefore are cooler to wear. Ensure that the material you choose isn’t too lightweight, as this can look too casual and reveal more than you may have intended.

2) DON’T show too much

It may be hot, but this doesn’t mean your hemline can be high. A skirt is a great choice for keeping cool in the heat and midi-length skirts are fabulously flattering on many body shapes (just be sure yours cuts at a flattering point on the leg). You’ll be able to move around with ease and look professional at the same time. If midi isn’t your thing, choose to follow the French rule, keep your hemline above the knee when you are over 40 so you don’t start looking dowdy.


There is a huge trend for off-the-shoulder tops and dresses at the moment, but keep this look for the weekend – it exposes too much flesh, even for a casual workplace. Similarly, leave your backless, asymmetric, spaghetti straps and batwings tops at home. Sleeveless is fine, but cover up by wearing trousers on your bottom half to balance the exposure of your arms (and keep a cardigan or jacket to hand for meetings).

3) DO dress up

A dress is a great option during the Summer. Choose a cut that is flattering for your body shape and it will help to keep you cool and comfortable on hot, sticky days. Opt for one of the lighter, brighter shades from your colour palette if you can, ensuring you balance the tone of shades you’re wearing, depending on your dominant colour category.

4) DON’T forget footwear

Leave your flip-flops and gladiator sandals at home! Thanks to Chanel, classic, ladylike sling-backs are making something of a comeback at the moment and these are an elegant option for the office during the Summer. Open-toed shoes are fine in most workplaces now, but make sure your toes are immaculate.  Sun tan lotion can play havoc with nail varnish colours (a great excuse to book in for that pedicure!)

5) DO layer

Most offices now have air-conditioning, meaning you may be going from sweltering heat to icy conditions at the touch of an elevator button. If this is the case you will need to cleverly layer your look to keep you warm. The danger here can be that you end up looking too casual (if you choose a loose-fitting cardigan for example). Invest in a lightweight jacket that is cut to suit your figure and, if needed, a lightweight scarf in your best colours. This will keep you warm but still looking smart and both are easy to remove once you leave the office to embrace the glorious sunshine !

Looking forward to your comments, or take a look at my Pinterest Board for further photos.

Rosemary in pink
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