Tuesday 18 September 2018

Yes, the weather's lovely - but what do we wear to survive a day in the office?

Baby wipes and a stick of deodorant are the essentials to avoid a hot and sweaty day at your desk, writes Sophie Donaldson

SUITS HER: Cate Blanchett at the Cannes Film Festival. Photo: WireImage
SUITS HER: Cate Blanchett at the Cannes Film Festival. Photo: WireImage
Sophie Donaldson

Sophie Donaldson

To be clear, nobody is complaining about the weather. Consecutive days of heat, blue skies and blinding sunshine are a wonderful thing, but the arrival of such unusually warm weather means that we are forced to grapple with certain truths.

For instance, over the past week we've become acutely aware of our water usage levels, something most of us take for granted for much of the year. We've come to notice for the first time just how many flies actually inhabit this small island (answer: too many). And those of us working 9-5 during the heatwave have come to realise just how tricky it is to dress comfortably in this weather.

For women, dressing for the office is particularly perilous terrain. Whereas our male counterparts are happy to throw on a short-sleeved cotton shirt, sweat patches be damned, wearing something office-appropriate and comfortable seems to be nigh-on impossible for us ladies.

The morning commute is going to be a humid, steamy affair if you are on public transport, and sweat-inducing if you are travelling by bike or foot. Once you are in the office the air conditioning is pumped so high you feel as though you have been thrown into one of those iced plunge pools. Trying to toggle between two extremes makes the act of simply getting dressed for the day a challenge. To further complicate matters, most workplaces have some sort of dress code, which means arriving in a kaftan and swaddling yourself in a duffel-coat to stave off the air conditioning just isn't an option. Let's not even start on the liquid peril that is face make-up.

Take it from this Australian who has had countless 30C commutes to work, and don't even bother applying your make-up before leaving the house. You'll have an extra 20 minutes or so and you are better off getting to work early to apply your make-up there, after a swift once-over with a baby wipe.

You might feel slightly naked on your way to work, but you'll never really see those people again. The people you mostly certainly will see, your co-workers, will instead be greeted by your perfectly made-up visage.

Speaking of baby wipes, keep a packet in your top drawer, along with a stick of deodorant and a miniature perfume - those samples you find in glossy magazines are particularly handy for an emergency spritz. These three items alone will see you through the summer, and you'll never again arrive hot and sweaty after sleeping past your alarm, only to feel as though you are congealing in your own perspiration as you sit in your office chair.

If your workplace is a corporate environment, and there's no getting past a suit, invest in a linen number. It's one of the most forgiving fabrics and incredibly cool in the heat. Keep your blazer in the office for when the temperature dips below 10C, and if you can get away with it, a crisp white vest instead of a blouse is office-appropriate and rather chic.

Take your cue from Cate Blanchett at the recent Cannes film festival, who rocked a whole wardrobe of summer suiting in the Mediterranean heat.

Sunday Independent

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