From flip flops to shorts, what is appropriate summer workwear attire?

Nobody wants to sit in the office in a suit during a heatwave, but what are the summer fashion rules? [Photo: Getty]
Nobody wants to sit in the office in a suit during a heatwave, but what are the summer fashion rules? [Photo: Getty]

The heatwave is in full swing and the only thing worse than sitting in a hot office all day is commuting to said office.

If working during a heatwave is the only thing sending shivers down your spine, you’re not alone.

As the UK gets hotter, and all we want to wear is swimwear, we could all do with a little reminder on which workwear is acceptable during a heatwave.

Unfortunately, though, according to experts, we can’t abandon the rules of our workplace. Sorry folks, that means no flip flops.

READ MORE: Sleeping with a fan on could be bad for our health

Breathable shoes

“Flip flops are a safety hazard.” Says fashion stylist and art director, Rochelle White.

Flip flops might seem like a good idea, but if you’re commuting, they don’t offer your feet a lot of protection.

Instead, Rochelle White suggests sandals as a breathable alternative, as long as they offer full support to the foot.

For men, the option of boat shoes or shoes made with a more breathable fabric are key. If you have to wear heavier smart shoes at work, simply commute in the cooler ones so you don’t arrive to the office sweaty.

READ MORE: Labour wants to regulate workplace temperatures

Weather appropriate doesn’t mean workwear appropriate

There’s a time and a place for holiday wear and unfortunately, sitting at your desk isn’t it.

“For practicality and safety, I would say flip flops, belly tops, short shorts, boob tubes or anything like that should not be seen in the workplace.” Rochelle White explains.

You have to “be aware of the rules and what is professional,” she continues.

So, if you’d wear it to a beach, chances are it’s not appropriate with your 11am with Janet from HR.

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Cotton is your best friend (polyester is not)

A heatwave offers us a great opportunity to pull out our favourite summer outfits that are usually only reserved for holiday nights.

For women, “breathable summer dresses, tops and skirts” are your best friend.

Luckily, airy midi-dresses and skirts are the height of fashion right now and will keep you cool on even the sweatiest of commutes. Personal Stylist, Victoria Hamilton recommends & Other Stories for the perfect midi.

For men, Rochelle White suggests “shorts to the knee and light shirts in cotton or linen.”

“Depending on your job, it might also be appropriate to wear a smart t-shirt.”

Victoria Hamilton says: “Avoid polyester and polyester lined garments, they will not only make you feel hotter but will actually lock in any moisture. You definitely don’t want that!”

Style blogger, Emma Hill, always manages to look cool even when it’s sweltering, so, if in doubt, channel Emma.

Tailoring is key

A pair of shorts might not seem that appropriate for work. If they are tailored, chances are they’ll be perfect.

“Ankle grazer trousers are a great length for everyone. Not only a flattering length, they come in a variety of colours (pastel & muted tones are perfect in the sunshine! They can be worn with heels, sandals, pumps and are smart enough that you can either pair a smart top or add a more casual tee, depending on your companies policy. M&S, Zara, French Connection are all great for these!” Victoria Hamilton explains.

A tailored finish from shorts, to trousers to a dress can make all the difference in a heatwave.

Don’t believe us? Believe Olivia Palmero, aka, the goddess of fashion.

READ MORE: Here is what you shouldn’t be doing in a heatwave

Don’t forget the SPF

It’s not all about the clothes. Protecting your skin from the sun is the most important thing you can do.

Remember, suncream should be applied around 30 minutes before it’s needed, so pack some in your bag for the commute home.

Most importantly, you want to avoid looking like this.

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