Office attire for the dog days of summer

The summer blazer of our dreams: Smythe Pajama Blazer in Cobalt. WANT!

Fall and winter in Canada beckon for wools and knits—dressing for the office is a cinch. And while my heart aches for the Bay Street gentlemen I pass on my morning commute, braving scorching days in head-to-toe wool while looking so handsome in those well cut suits, it is possible to feel comfortable and look pulled together during the warmer months.

  • If you are in an active job or walk to work, a pair of teetering heels don’t make sense. That doesn’t mean the same flips flops worn puttering around on the weekend are the answer, either.  A pretty pair of flats or loafers are both functional and chic for the office, or for commuting.
  • Work-worthy fabrics shouldn’t be too sheer or tight (check in natural lighting to see if your underthings are showing through). Ensure that the neckline and sleeve cut mitigate any rogue bra straps from peeking out and find a bra that has souped up straps you can move around.
  • Keep a basic blazer or cardigan at the office and toss it on when the A.C. is cranked, or when a meeting calls for it. In the same way that leggings are not pants (they aren’t), camisoles are not tops – they are lingerie.
  • Fewer things ruin an otherwise polished look more than seeing someone who can’t walk in her heels. Only buy shoes that you can comfortably get around in. Feet should be kept groomed and neat, otherwise, please, don’t show them. No gnarly calluses or chipped polish.
  • Open toe shoes are often verboten in very corporate environments, though an inventory around the office or a scan of your HR policy should confirm if they are welcome at yours. If there’s a green light on open toe shoes, they should still be office appropriate, so no flip flops, or strappy stilettos—nothing too beachy or cocktaily.
  • Skirts and dresses can sit differently without tights on underneath. Try them on to check they aren’t too sheer or too short to be worn with bare legs to the office. If you can sit comfortably in a skirt without having to tug at the hemline, then it is likely a good length—and that is usually an inch or so above the knee. If you are braving a hemline that is a bit shorter (please, not *too* much shorter at the office), keep the rest of your outfit and shoes more modest to balance the look.
  • If the idea of adding powder to your face on a hot day feels icky, try blotting papers instead to soak up grease and freshen up.

~ Karen Cleveland

Questions, comments and conundrums are most welcome or

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