Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Fix Up, Look Sharp

Ah, the minefield that is work appropriate attire in the Summer. If you're a woman it's hard. True fact.

Male corporates, I've noticed, do not alter their clothing from one season to the next. It's suits come rain, shine, wind, or snow. If they're feeling particularly louche, they may go crazy with a light grey two piece and perhaps a cotton mix rather than wool. But that is literally it. Obviously those who move to short sleeved shirts, with or without a breast pocket (to keep their Bic), will not be dwelt upon here. I suggest you adopt a similar approach.

Us ladies on the other hand, corporate or otherwise, have a veritable minefield of summer wear to make our way across. For me it's all about keeping cool, keeping smart, and crucially, not letting a spike in the temperature lure me into revealing too much of myself. In every sense. Work wear is a kind of mask; a disguise, an armour, a literal and metaphorical layer that separates the professional from the personal.

This year I've made a conscious effort not to 'relax' and embrace the looser, softer, more casual cuts of Summer. Instead, I've gone to the other extreme. Sharp tailoring and a neutral palette. Dark greys, pin stripe, bright whites and blacks. Think pared down Ralph Lauren and Armani classics.

This dress from Oasis has been my secret weapon this season and a is great combination of femininity and toughness. Teasing but serious. Noteworthy and yet also anonymous.

It's knee length, very important not to get giddy in the heat and let hem lines go north. Plus knee length means you can wear beautiful stockings that finish the look.

Cap sleeve. Flattering. Especially when combined with the square-ish neck line. Enhances the line of the collar bone and offsets that itty bitty waist that has been nipped in by sleek tailoring around the mid-section.

All in all a dress that suggests it shows more than it does. Combined with a killer heel, and a knowing twinkle in the eye, it's killer.

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