How to dress for a British heatwave in the office

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We all love the Great British Summer time but planning outfits for work each day taking into account unpredictable temperature shifts with effortless style isn’t always easy, especially when navigating armpits and elbows on public transport en route to stuffy offices and getting caught in a subsequent downpour (don’t forget, this is Britain and the ‘summer’ can have all weathers in store).

Top tips on women’s office attire:

Despite the recent May Bank Holiday heatwave exceeding the hottest on record at 29 degrees,* there’s always an element of risk when it comes to outfit planning. So, here’s how to be prepared for the best – and worst – summer weather eventualities with these tips from Voucherbox.

• Start with the right foundations. When it’s warm, the best bra fabrics to keep you cool are either lace or mesh and of course padding-free. If you have a smaller bust, replace an underwired padded bra with a lace bralette. Those with larger busts could consider an unwired bra with adjustable straps or even an anti-sweat sports bra. They can come in all kinds of colours and styles.

• When choosing knickers, it’s always best to go with no-VPL being the most versatile when you are choosing cool outfits which may be made of sheer material, for example a floaty dress, skirt or pants.

• When travelling on public transport, it is recommended to wear loose-fitting tops from natural fabrics. It’s best to avoid synthetics or clothing without any structure as this can cause fabric to gather and stick to your skin when hot.

• If you have long hair, tying it up can keep you cool so why not capitalise on 2018 hair trends like a low or high ponytail or braids and plaits? Here’s a great YouTube tutorial for five simple and easy braids.

• For the meeting room that doesn’t have aircon, try wearing unlined dresses and skirts when it’s warm as the fewer layers, the better. It’s definitely not advisable to wear tights of any kind due to their synthetic material trapping heat against the skin (though they can stop your thighs rubbing, so perhaps pick a very low sheer denier).

• If you aren’t quite ready to bare your legs, follow Amal Clooney or Victoria Beckham’s lead, as known fans of midi-length skirts or dresses. Shirt dresses are also great for work and a spring/summer trend for 2018. You could also add a belt to embrace this season’s workplace fashion trend of belted dresses. Check out these fantastic Debenhams savings on women’s fashion and more. Not only will you look great but you’ll feel even better by spending less!

• If you are concerned about sweating, avoid pastel colours and light-coloured clothes as these will show up sweat patches easily. Prints actually provide a handy optical distraction from any unwanted sweat patches. And the good news is that clashing prints is very much on trend this season. Why not have fun experimenting with geometric and floral prints depending on your mood?

• From al desko to evening drinks, have you ever felt your feet expanding in the heat? Footwear that feels comfy before you leave the house will probably be unbearable by the time you’re on the lunchtime sandwich dash. Choose slip-on backless sandals and if you’re worried this looks too informal, or want to dress up for evening, try teaming with a lightweight blazer. If it’s looking like rain – closed toe espadrilles provide a summer look without risking wet toes, while allowing your feet to breathe.

Top tips on men’s office attire:

When the temperatures rise during the British summer, there can be a temptation to dress like you’re going to the beach, with style and formality going out the window. Getting the balance between smart and casual can be tricky at best and a nightmare at worst. Not great for the office! Before you reach for the Love Island shorts, vest and flip flops, take a look at these tips from Voucherbox to get familiar with the options available that you need to know. And don’t forget – as this is Britain after all, and we can expect heatwaves, showers and everything in between, so it’s best to be prepared.

• For when you can’t predict the weather…Avoid denim because if you get caught in the rain the denim that you are wearing will get soaked very quickly and your day will soon seem a lot less optimistic. In hot weather, it can quickly make you feel uncomfortably warm. You should keep an eye out for fabrics such as cotton twill or seersucker, (thin, puckered, all-cotton fabric) which are light but still offer protection.

• What about wearing patterned shirts? Depending on the occasion, plaid, camo and other variations work well to disguise sweat and you can pick up some ‘non-iron’ varieties to make it easier to keep a clean supply that is ready to go. When wearing looser clothes air flows around your body and promotes circulation.

• If you’re in a trendy relaxed office – straw hats are in this year – who knew? The good news is that they are a lot more summer friendly than traditional baseball caps and the provide good protection from the sun for your head and neck.

• There’s also good news if you have a beard (and if you don’t – consider growing one!). In warm weather, beards also act as an evaporative cooler, as when sweat evaporates, a flow of air causes a cooling affect, while protecting you from the sun too.

• When it comes to hair, keep product to a minimum and choose an anti-humidity grooming cream to avoid unruly frizz. If you want to add texture or freshen hair, why not try a sea salt texturiser or a dry shampoo?

• A bag is essential for the unpredictable weather, it will help you to store additional items you may need during the day such as extra layers, a lightweight jacket, or grooming products such as a travel deodorant.

• When the office doesn’t have air con, if dressing for a formal office environment, keep in mind that it is still a good idea to stick to long sleeve shirts rather than resorting to short sleeve. In order to keep cool, roll up your shirt sleeves and – if appropriate, unbutton your top button for a relaxed look. If losing your tie isn’t an option, it’s a good idea to keep a spare shirt at your office if the morning commute can be a long and sticky or perhaps you just need a change of shirt for that client meeting.

• When you are picking out what you are going to wear in the morning be sure to stick to light coloured suits to feel cooler. In the height of heat or humidity, get your suits cleaned after ever six wears.

• At a formal corporate entertainment event or client wedding,linen is your best friend here. The fabric is free and flowing and offers an elegant understated alternative to a regular suit. But, if you can’t handle how it creases, why not try chinos with a bold blazer? If you want to get rid of the jacket entirely, have fun with a patterned shirt and a quirky accessory like a bow tie.

• You can avoid wearing socks by wearing a summer pair of loafers and shorter ankle-skimming trousers, for example, choose a 32-inch leg instead of a 34-inch, if this is your usual measurement. This is an elegant look that will keep you cool in more ways than one.

Update your office wardrobe while saving with Debenhams this month on Voucherbox

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