It’s hot! How to dress for work when the temperature rises

After a dismal start to the summer, we are finally seeing some hot weather.  Which has been distracting me from blogging, as you may have noticed !  Now, we Brits profess to love it when the weather warms up, but somehow end up complaining soon thereafter, particularly about how hot it gets at work.

I think it is easier for women to dress professionally in the heat, as we have many more outfit options than men.  But it is important to keep a few guidelines in mind, as you don’t want to undermine your professionalism by revealing too much skin or wearing something inappropriate, however much you want to show off your hard-earned holiday tan.

hot in wide leg trousersThis summer, wide leg, fluid and cropped trousers are everywhere, giving you a surprisingly flattering and cool option.  These come in vibrant prints, stripes or solid colours, and can be worn with sandals, heels or flats (the ones I’m wearing here are from Whistles).  Add a cami and lightweight blazer, or a crisp white shirt for a sleek tailored look.  Or simply choose a good quality, pristine white t-shirt worn with a silk scarf – very 2016.

Dresses are a great hot weather choice – one piece and you’re done. But keep the fabric skimming (not clinging).  Winser London does a variety of chic sleeveless shifts (I love the monochrome version) and a lovely airy broderie anglaise dress that will take you from office to dinner with ease.  Finery London also does a very affordable wrap dress that looks sharp and will keep you cool.

Some final top tips:

  1. Keep it minimal. Don’t over-accessorise in the heat – you don’t want extra jewellery jangling and creating fuss
  2. If you’re going bare-legged, exfoliate and moisturise regularly – your legs will thank you for it.  If you do choose tights, invest in the best ultra sheers: Wolford Naked 8’s
  3. Opt for lighter weight, natural fabrics that breathe, particularly cotton, silk or linen blends
  4. Finally, always always wear nude underwear under white clothing, as it becomes invisible…

Enjoy the weather !

 

its hot

Democracy and high heels: the next steps…

democracy and heelsYou may not know this, but I have another great passion besides clothes – British politics.  And no, these two are not mutually exclusive.  Just because you love fashion and care about looking good does not mean that you don’t care about serious issues too.  But I digress.  I love it when our political system actually works and democracy is fully evident.  Tomorrow, of course, is a big day for democracy (no matter which side of the debate you are on) with the EU Referendum vote taking place.

ES re heels rowIn another example of democracy in action, Nicola Thorp’s parliamentary petition on making it illegal to wear high heels at work (which has over 142,000 signatures) has now been allocated inquiry time by the Commons Petitions Committee.  Any petition over 100,000 signatures is granted parliamentary time.

You may remember that Ms Thorp was the temporary receptionist sent home for not wearing shoes with the required ‘two to four inch heel’.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (who she was temping for) have since issued an honest statement expressing their embarrassment about the situation and the steps they are taking to rectify it.  Interestingly, Portico the agency in question, have been suspiciously silent on the issue.

high heelsMs Thorp was wearing shoes that were perfectly adequate for an office environment.  It begs the question, why can’t women be seen as smart and professional wearing flat shoes?  Of course, they can, and I believe every woman has an ‘ideal’ heel height – it’s just a matter of finding it.  With so many heel styles and height options available these days, there’s an option that will work for almost any woman in almost any work environment (see my blog post on wearable heels for more on this topic).

The Petitions Committee will examine the issue and hear oral evidence from witnesses, working with the Women and Equalities Committee.  Unfortunately the deadline for public comments has passed but click here to see the comments and experiences other women have shared.   And check back on this page for dates and details of the oral sessions.

Have you ever been forced to wear high heels at work?

 

Semple dresses: quality, elegance and simplicity

‘Many other women shared my vision of finding the dream dress.  Yet finding well cut dresses, made from exquisite fabrics, that are sized and priced appropriately can often be hard to find’ – Maggie Semple

Images courtesy of Maggie Semple Ltd.

MaggieSemple_permission to use for blogI recently wrote about an evening with Maggie Semple, and last week I had the pleasure of being invited back to her atelier to take a closer look at her dress collection and to find out more about what inspires her.  Maggie’s client is the discerning professional woman, who is looking for quality, elegance and simplicity.

The Semple Collection is a range of beautifully made shift dresses made with the finest Italian natural fabrics including wools, cottons, silks and linens.  The dresses exude elegance, and can be made to measure with your own custom colourful, bespoke touches, or bought ready to wear.

Maggie Dress MTM_1There are two original shift dress styles: 1) the Ophelia, with a round neck and short sleeves, and 2) the Bianca, which is short sleeved with a button detail. However, each dress can be tailored to the individual client in terms of sleeve style and length and neck line.  You are invited to choose from a range of hand picked fabrics in a variety of colours and patterns.  To make the dress extra special, you can also choose a contrasting coloured lining (in 100% cupro – there’s absolutely no polyester) to add another individual touch.

Maggie Dress RTW_2All of the dresses are made on the premises.  It takes twenty hours to go from the initial client consultation through to measurement and the final fitting.  Clients include athlete Tessa Sanderson (who was featured in Hello! Magazine this month wearing her made to measure fuchsia dress) and opera singer Katerina Mina

When choosing a Maggie Semple dress, you’re not just ‘buying a dress’ – it’s a full experience.  And like Maggie herself, the dresses are elegant, vibrant and unique.  Find out more here.

 

Keeping it ‘Semple’

MaggieSemple_permission to use for blogLast week I was invited to attend one of Maggie Semple’s ‘Keep it Semple’ events at her gorgeous atelier. A diverse group of professional women who share a love of beautiful clothes chatted over drinks and nibbles in a gorgeous 17th century building hidden away in Covent Garden.  Maggie founded the brand in 2010, to coincide with the publication of her book Women, Fashion, Stories which documents the treasured items of six high profile women.  She produces both ready to wear and made to measure investment dresses for professional women.

We all know that clothes tell a story – particularly when they are bespoke and handmade as Maggie’s dresses are.  We had a tour of the workshop – all the dresses are made by skilled seamstresses on the premises – and then had a lively discussion about ‘Our Digital Selves’ and what that means to us.

Maggie has invited me back in May to hear more about the brand, the beautiful dresses and how they are made. Watch this space….

Photo kindly provided by Maggie Semple Ltd.