Dressing up for work in the hot season

Clothes make the man, so said American author Mark Twain. Today this is especially true at the work place. The way we dress has an impact on the people we meet professionally or socially, which in turn affects how they perceive and react to us. When meeting a new client or the boss, being assessed based on appearance is inevitable. After all like a book, everything begins with looking at the cover. So, it is important to look presentable at work.

Those working in the office can enjoy the comfort of air-conditioning, and the prospect of looking crisp and polished in those long-sleeved corporate clothes. But if you have to spend some time outdoors, take public transport or cycle, or walk to an appointment, then it’s a different story. Beads of perspiration will trickle down your forehead and body. Things can get a little sticky.

Natural lightweight fabrics like cotton or linen are our best friends for our weather. As it is difficult to ascertain how heat-friendly a particular piece of garment is when trying it on in the air-conditioned fitting room, be sure to check the garment tag or ask the retail assistant about the material. The garment should feel light-weight in your hands. Avoid synthetic and clingy materials. The less that a fabric adheres to your skin, the more comfortable it will be. A problem with full-linen fabrics is that they wrinkle easily, so you may want to go for cotton blends or silk-linen blends.

Choose light neutral colours like white, tan and light grey. These are corporate-friendly colours but more importantly, they absorb less heat compared to darker colours. If you are prone to sweat patches, avoid pastels and marl grey. Prints will help to camouflage the patches. Simple floral or geometric designs are the way to go. If all else fails, a short-sleeved cardigan or long scarf for the ladies and a waist coat or lightweight blazer for the men can save you from some stares.

Cotton T-shirts are comfortable for the heat, and the good news is, they aren’t only good for casual Fridays. A suitable T-shirt for work should be form-fitting and it should be plain or have a simple design. For the ladies, wide-leg pants and long skirts are in fashion now, and they will go well with the T-shirt for a smart-casual work outfit. Add a scarf or an eye-catching accessory to glam it up. The men can layer your T-shirt with a lightweight cardigan or blazer rolled up at the elbows for the suave business-casual look often spotted in Korean dramas.

Don’t neglect your feet. Heat escapes the body through your feet and head. So, make sure you dress to allow the heat to flow through. Leather is classy but traps heat. Consider loafers which are available in a wide variety of materials. Linen or silk-cotton socks will keep your feet reasonably cool and comfy. For the ladies, open-toe pumps and sandals are the obvious choices. If you don’t wish to show your toes, wear skin-coloured ballerina socks.

– This article first appeared in a lifestyle magazine.
Picture from Pixabay