Let’s be honest, we can’t keep up with the British weather at the best of times. And if we’re not complaining about how cold it is, or that there’s too much snow, we usually find ourselves wilting around cities fanning furiously at the muggy air, as if we’re having an Australian summer.
There’s no one formula when it comes to dressing for the heat, but lightweight fabrics are the ultimate secret weapon. Denim is normally a no – especially when it comes to dressing for the office. I tend to stick to the rules: if you’d pack it in your basket bag for the beach, it’s probably not going to be office-appropriate, no matter how much the sweat is trickling down your legs.
There are five hero pieces to get around heatwave dressing this week with ease. If, like me, you end up in a bit of a flap, allow me to help, as these are pieces you likely you have in your wardrobe already…
Chic linen separates
Once a fabric draped over elderly holiday goers because it kept them cool – in the literal sense – now fashion (typical of its fickle manner) has come to open its arms to linen once again, just like it has Birkenstocks and shorts.
It was all over the spring/summer catwalks, and for good reason. Linen is light, durable and cool (in both senses of the word) – and it just looks so chic.
A stylish shirt dress
Don’t underestimate the power of the shirt dress. In a slightly oversized shape with a cinched waist, they’re flattering, forgiving (in style and sweat patches) and most of all, chic.
The key is a lightweight fabric that’ll allow the breeze to cool down your legs – cotton and linen are simply the best.
And do consider your outer layer when it comes to layering. A smart denim jacket is a good option, as is a lightweight blazer, but as the weather cools down into the evening, you’ll be grateful for a light cardigan.
Top and trousers
When the temperatures rise, the first thing I want to do is free my arms. Well, my pits to be exact. Though the trickiest thing is finding a sleeveless top that doesn’t look like you’ve just rolled off the beach. Or one that doesn’t show your slightly greying bra straps. Unsightly!
The simple vest top has made a comeback as a summer staple – think the effortless style of Hailey Bieber, Gigi Hadid et al – and it comes in a myriad of cooling styles.
Try strappy, racerback, or an asymmetric top, which all work tucked into a pair of high-waist linen trousers. Follow our guide to buying the perfect pair, then team with strappy sandals and oversized sunglasses for a model-worthy look.
Floaty midi dress
The floaty midi dress is a year-round friend. It’ll see you through all seasons and its versatility means it can be paired with boots and layers for winter, but when the temperature soars above 25, it still has your (hopefully-not-so-sweaty) back.
Opt for print to draw the eyes away from any possible sweat patches, and complete the summery look with rope sandals and a basket bag. Or for something more modest for the office, head to COS which nails smart but floaty summer frocks.
The coloured shorts
Last but not least is possibly one of my favourite summer choices. Shorts offer just enough fabric to keep you cool and allow your pins to roam free, but if you choose the right style, can still look smart.
Shorts are certainly not off the menu for modest heatwave dressing. For the office, try a tailored Bermuda pair, or wear with a coordinating blazer to elevate them. Flat espadrilles or mules and a white T-shirt are the perfect partners.