We have all been there. Looking sadly at the back of a wardrobe, clothes strewn on the floor, a clock approaching 9 am.

After two years of the zoom dress code (i.e. pajamas), many of us have forgotten how to dress stylishly — and appropriately — for work.

As the mercury rises, this daunting task becomes even more difficult. Should you risk heatstroke by donning professional winter gear? Is everyone judging your shorts? Are Birkenstocks a dismissable offense?

Enough to make your head spin even before you have connected to your e-mails.

But never fear, help is at hand. Fashion coach Lucia Restani and stylist Jessica Daolio are here to share their expert tips for dressing in style warm weather.

How to dress for work when the temperature rises

Born and raised in sweet Italy, Restani and Daolio are no strangers to the heat.

Daolio – who has worked on fashion campaigns at Vogue Italy and Dazed&Confused – is currently the editor of SoccerBible and Collectible Dry magazine.

Restani is also a fashion expert. After moving to London in 2004, she worked as a senior buyer and visual merchant for a consultancy shop in Mayfair. And since going freelance in 2011, the passionate stylist has dedicated her career to making sure her clients feel comfortable and confident, whatever the weather.

“People in colder places like the UK can struggle to dress for summer. I think it’s just because very often you don’t have enough summer to experiment! she says.

“But there are ways to manage the heat and still feel good about what you’re wearing.”

Here are their top five tips for staying cool — and staying stylish — as the mercury rises.

1. Choose natural fabrics

Natural fibers like cotton, linen and silk are light and airy options that help the body regulate temperature. While rough synthetics like polyester, acrylics and nylons trap body heat – a recipe for unseemly sweat patches.

“I would say choosing lightweight, cool natural fabrics is key to making sure you’re generally comfortable during the summer,” says Daolio.

Restani agrees. “The number one rule is to be mindful of the fabrics. I’m Italian and for us, wearing linen is one of the best ways to stay cool. People here (in the UK) are very afraid of flax.”

“Natural fabrics, they let the skin breathe.

Surprisingly, certain types of lightweight wool can also be a good summer choice. Wool wicks sweat away from the body and releases moisture through the fibers of the fabric.

2. Don’t wear anything too tight – but accessorize

To stay cool in the summer, it’s best to ditch the body con and opt for loose clothing instead. But cowardly does not mean shapeless, insists Restani. You just need to choose the right one accessories.

“Anything you want to do, you can do by accessorizing,” she says.

“For example, if you’re wearing a dress, you can always add a belt if your waistline is your best feature,” she says.

“Or maybe add a long necklace, if you want to lay down – there are plenty of options.”

3. Wear bright clothes

Dark colors are a poor choice in warmer months because they absorb more heat than lighter alternatives.

“In the Mediterranean, we wear a lot of white for example, and a lot of beige,” explains Restani.

Just be careful not to overdo it – too much white linen and you’ll look like an usher at a beach wedding.

4. Holiday clothes and work clothes: make the difference

Holiday fashion is easy – wear whatever you want and pair it with ice cream.

But what works on the beach doesn’t always work in the office, and toeing the line can be stressful.

“Flip-flops and anything vacation or beach-related should be off limits for any city/office look,” Daolio warns.

People can avoid this fashion faux pas with simple changes. Looking smart is about combining the right elements — and choosing good quality clothes over cheap fast fashion, Restani insists.

“If you wear espadrilles, you’ll feel like you’re walking through Saint Tropez,” she says.

“But if you wear a nice sandal or a leather slingback, it gives you a more urban look.”

5. Always wear an extra layer – and add a scarf

Going to work in the summer is a temperature roller coaster. One minute you’re suffocating on a crowded train. The next day you’re freezing in an air conditioner cooler.

Hide the air conditioning remote from your co-workers and you could end up in HR. Dodge recriminations by layering.

“As the weather in the UK is very unpredictable, it’s always a good idea to take an overcoat with you,” says Daolio.

“My favorite overcoats are vintage oversized denim jackets, as well as tailored blazers and classic lightweight trench coats.”

Restani’s suggestion? Scarves.

“A lot of my UK clients don’t know how to wear scarves. But they can be a very useful tool and a very beautiful accessory, ”explains the stylist.

“Outside they protect your neck from the sun, you can throw one over your shoulder. Inside they’re good for layering.


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