Expert reveals how to stay cool and look stylish in your workwear this summer
The summer season is in full swing, and with temperatures set to reach new highs, it is important to know how to dress appropriately for the heat, but with many of us deciding to head into the office, knowing how to stay comfortable and cool on these warm days can be tricky.
Fashion experts at Karen Millen have revealed the best workwear items to have in your wardrobe that not only keep you cool during the summer months whilst also staying stylish in the office.
A shirt dress is one of the most simple but effective ways to incorporate comfort into your wardrobe whilst also being work appropriate. There are many types of shirt dresses available and make for a solid wardrobe staple with very little effort.
Collared shirt dresses are the clear-cut way to look smart while keeping cool, they look most professional when styled with a light tailored jacket, and they are complimentary to every body type.
Similarly, if a collar is too much for you to handle on a hot day and your dress code allows for a slightly more casual approach, it might be better to opt for a basic t-shirt dress. To spice up a basic t-shirt dress for work, you can pair it with a lightweight blazer which will elevate the piece for more formal work occasions such as meetings, or you can smarten it up by pairing it with a high-quality cardigan and some heels.
If you are afraid a shirt dress would be unflattering for your body shape, or you just want to accessorise the look, incorporating a belt is the most flattering way to define your waist and create a more fitted look. Belts are also a great way to add more of a dimension to your look and create a more put-together feel on the most casual dresses.
Lightweight Trench Coat
A lightweight trench coat is a perfect way to add a longer element to any outfit and can be a great way of transitioning from cooler mornings to warm afternoons. There are many trench coats on the market currently, and they are available in many fabrics. The most popular lightweight-style trench is typically conditioned with cotton, which allows for wear even on hot summer days meaning you don’t have to worry about carrying it around all day or feeling too hot in it.
An excellent tip for styling a trench coat is to ensure the hemline of your outfit underneath is shorter than the hemline of the trench; this allows for a more youthful and natural look.
If you are not sure what shoes to opt for when pairing a trench with your outfit, there are many options to choose from depending on your style preference:
- Trainers/Sneakers: If you prioritise comfort and want to ensure you can be more active at any point during your day, this is your safest bet. The right trainers can be breathable and more pleasant for comfort, especially when working long hours.
- Sandals: Despite many dress codes having a no open-toe policy, if you’re lucky enough to wear sandals, they can be a chic and enjoyable way to add that holiday feel to your workday. Not only will sandals keep your lower half cool, but they are also the perfect way to add colour to your look.
One of this summer’s most popular style materials is linen, so why not try incorporating it into your workwear? Linen is one of the most cooling fabrics available in every piece of clothing you need to stay breezy while working.
- Shirt: A linen shirt is the perfect staple and is easy to pair with your favourite tailored trousers or tucked into a flowing skirt. You also have the option to wear it unbuttoned over a blouse or as a cover-up for your arms or shoulders when leaving for work in the morning or when popping out for after-work drinks later in the evening.
- Trousers: Linen trousers are the easiest way to keep your lower half cool and comfortable during the summer. They are also available in many colours, so if the classic cream is too casual for your work, opt for a darker, more understated colour such as black or brown without having to compromise on comfort.
- Dress: Linen dresses are the ultimate pieces when it comes to staying cool and looking put together. The breathable fabric will keep you cool all day and can be the perfect way to incorporate layers, even in the summer. Try styling a linen dress with a blazer to heighten the professional feel.
Shirt and Trouser Co-ord
It might seem like an obvious option, but a shirt and trouser co-ord can be greatly overlooked. The easiest way to stop the hassle of a what-to-wear breakdown before work is to opt for a co-ord as the outfit.
Many types of matching sets can be worn all year round, but in the summertime, it is a great option to try out lighter fabrics such as silk-blend fabrics, cotton and linen. A popular trend is to pair a matching shirt and trouser set with trainers for a casual, effortless look, so to elevate this for workwear, try adding some chunky jewellery and a pair of heels.
Although it might not be to everyone’s taste and can be seen to resemble sleepwear, many celebrities have been seen rocking this look and stepping out in these sets. For example, in 2018, Chrissy Teigen made headlines when stepping out in New York City in a red silk floral set which made fans lust over the bold statement causing many to follow suit. Four years later, this trend is still very much in fashion, so if a patterned pyjama set might cause too much chatter in the office, try a tailored co-ord set in a subtle colour or a structured set in a simple pattern and style up with heels.
A maxi dress is a staple in many workwear summer wardrobes as it is one of the most accessible and lightweight options to go for. There are many styles of the maxi dress, so the likelihood of finding a suitable one to follow any dress code is very easy.
A patterned maxi dress is a great way to introduce colours into your workwear, and a lot of the time doesn’t need a lot of styling or accessorising as the dress does all the talking. Shirt-style maxi dresses are also a fabulous way of smartening up the long dress and can be paired with trainers or sandals, depending on your style choice.
Another way to make your maxi dress more appropriate for a slightly stricter dress code is to pair it with a solid colour blazer; this will tie everything in and keep any casual maxi looking more professional and sophisticated for the office.