How to keep your cool – and authority – when it’s hot.
Hooray, summer is here. Soaring temperatures, for, ooh, at least 5 days so far. (Mustn’t be greedy).
The heat is great when you’re on holiday, but a pain at work. Yes, you’d rather be in a bikini, but somehow you’ve got to look business-like for 8 sweltering hours or more. What’s a professional girl to do?
High temperature traps
Hot weather conspires against us. When the mercury rises, we reach for unstructured clothes that don’t cling. They might feel comfy but they also create a casual look that doesn’t always work for the office.
And if you live in a place where really hot days are few and far between, it’s likely that your outfit for those scorchers has been in your wardrobe for years. (Who can blame you – cost per wear, and all that.)
So, is it worth giving that outfit the once over and checking whether it still looks the part? If not, why not treat yourself to something in a natural fabric, that keeps you cool, boosts your confidence and leaves your colleagues with the right impression.
Are your clothes on-message?
It’s tedious, but true – summer always throws up that unwritten rule. The one that says that the amount of skin you reveal is inversely proportional to the authority you’ll project. And while we certainly celebrate everyone’s freedom of choice on what we choose to wear, it’s also important to understand that whatever we think, the unwritten rules of dress still operate at a subliminal level. These are the things that polarise people – you may be happy but someone else may take offence. If you understand then you can make an informed choice!
So how can you create the ideal outfit for humid, sticky days – and be confident that the next time you’re in a meeting, your clothes aren’t distracting your audience or undermining what you’re saying?
These 6 tips are all you need.
1 – The versatile shift dress
A shift dress is a really good option, as long as you accessorise it. Have fun combining it with a necklace, brooch or belt – or a mixture. You’ll look amazing, command respect and keep your thermostat refreshingly low.
2 – The short or long-sleeved lightweight jacket
We always need a bit of sleeve – it’s that skin thing again. But if it’s so hot that a sleeveless dress is your only option, then investing in a short-sleeved or long-sleeved lightweight jacket (depending on office dress-code) is well worth your while. Pick one in a wow colour or your favourite neutral. Hang it on the back of your office chair, ready to slip on if you need to see the boss or a client. In the space of a few seconds, you have upped your authority level. Ta-da.
3 – To bare or not to bare? Your legs
In some offices, it’s okay not to wear tights. But check your diary. If you are out and about, you may find yourself in a place where cool 7 denier hosiery, rather than bare legs, is what’s expected.
4 – Your must-have make-up
Make-up is a lifesaver, if you’re rushing from one meeting to the next and feeling the heat. Pop a lipstick and a mineral powder foundation into your handbag, so you can freshen up in a second.
5 – Your handbag and the High Street
Talking of handbags, people often go for more casual ones in the summer – partly because there are so many styles in the shops. But, along with those sparkly flip-flops, it’s best to keep such tempting things for the beach. Instead, choose a great quality, structured bag for an instant authority boost. Simple.
6 – Colours that give you presence
Darker, deeper colours give you more gravitas than lighter ones. But it can be hard to get the balance right, particularly in the summer. If you want to create a look that’s feminine, fabulous and strikes the right note of formality, then your stylist would love to help at a Business Rating session.
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