If it’s torrid outside and see-your-breath frigid inside, it’s just another summer day at the office. So how do we stay chic and office-appropriate when the thermometer reads Meat-Locker degrees Fahrenheit? Here are some solutions:
1. Start with a canvas.
Choose a slim sleeveless dress or easy-going separates like a lightweight camisole with a cotton skirt. This is your base and what you will peel down to for lunch in the local outdoor café. Make sure your dress or skirt is unlined — there’s nothing more uncomfortable than sticky silk linings on a hot humid day. Keep your canvas neutral with grey, navy, or cream. You’ll be enhancing with more colorful (and warming) accoutrements.
2. Add light warmth.
Featherweight cardigans are plentiful this year. Don’t be afraid of tissue wools either — they can be deceptively cooling, yet warming at the same time. Choose bright colors or soft sherbet pastels that match your base outfit (see above paragraph). Pretty stitchery, textures, or even cool crystal buttons takes it out of grandma territory. Yes, it has long sleeves, but your goosebumps will be crying out for coverage by 9:30 am.
3. Mix in some air.
A diaphanous scarf wrapped around your neck or draped across your shoulders won't add weight, but it will add just a bit of warm comfort when your teeth start to chatter. Take it off and tie it to your handbag when you leave for lunch, or wrap it around your hip for a sexy accessory. Scarves are the number one go-to accent for summer as long as it’s whisper-thin in a cotton or cotton blend. A great place to find them are beachy boutiques at the shore, where the air is also balmy but cool with evening breezes.
4. Pinpoint an in-office jacket.
A cute, cropped jacket in a great color can be kept on a hook in your office. Pop it over your outfit and push up the sleeves. Hopefully you’ll still be able to show off those nice silver bangles. If your office attire is more casual in the summer, nothing is more charming than a fitted jean jacket with the cuffs turned up. It will look eye-catching over a floral cotton dress with canvas heeled espadrilles. You’ll appreciate the warmth without killing your feminine look.
5. Pashimas will add some pizzazz.
A beautiful pashmina in a saturated, tropical color like watermelon, lime, or fuchsia can be folded into your everyday tote bag and trotted out as needed. The bright color will add some daring chicness to your look as well as give you that blanket-from-the-dryer cozy feeling. And happily, it will only serve to enhance your summer look. Don’t be afraid to double wrap it around your shoulders. You’ll still be able to type while your neck and shoulders are neatly wrapped and comfortable.
6. Keep your toes toasty.
No woman wants to give up her sandals in summer, but if ice-cube toes aren't on your daily agenda, you might have to resort to covered shoes. Try a pair of pumps in a daring color like orchid. It will give your navy sheath a nice pop of color. Or go with flesh-tone pumps which match nearly everything. Colorful flats look summery with dresses, too. You can always keep sandals in your tote bag for an after-work dinner date.
With a little creative planning and forethought, you can manage your own personal climate control and still look terrific all summer.
Donna is a freelance writer with a particular interest in the issues, struggles, loves, and dreams of women. She writes all about it on her blog, alovelyinconsequence.blogspot.com.
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