What to wear to work in the heatwave.
Happy heatwave, everyone! I’m so thrilled that we’re having a sunny summer, aren’t you? I’m such a fan of this time of year that during years when it’s not good weather, I have recurring dreams that I’ve slept through the whole summer, only to wake up and find it’s rainy October already. AWFUL! My anxiety dreams are pretty niche, I admit – I also regularly have nightmares that I’ve accidentally worn heels and been spotted out in them by one of my Instagram followers, and since I gave up meat last year my accidental chicken consumption in dreams has gone through the roof…
“Can’t stop! I’m on my way to work!”. Palmer//Harding shirt, now sold out, (try palmerharding.com for similar); Topshop shorts (old, see below for similar); Longchamp bag (old); Finery London ‘Elma’ loafers, £59 from £119 in the sale (finerylondon.com)
PHOTOGRAPHY: ZAC FRACKELTON
ANYWAY! Shorts. Being a summer girl who grew up on a holiday island, I’ve always really embraced wearing shorts to work, but I completely understand that it can be a brave thing to undertake, particularly if you work in a smart office with a strict dress code. Now, I realise that I am currently working as a freelance writer, and as I write this am dressed in tiny shorts with elephants on them in the comfort of the shade of a tree in my garden, but I assure you that I have had many jobs in my life that require a somewhat more ‘put together’ attire than this. Dressing for the office in the summer is a tricky beast before you even bring shorts into the mix (should I bare my shoulders? Are sandals acceptable?), but with a few easy rules you can make it work for you. And one of the best ways to stay more boardroom chic than Bermuda shorts is to be very picky about your shoes.
For me, it has to be a flat pair (OBVIOUSLY, but also because heels and shorts is a bit Cheeky Girls for a professional enirvonment) but it also has to be an enclosed shoe, like the lovely Finery London loafers I am wearing here (NB these are also very lightweight which makes them easy to wear in this weather). It’s not that I don’t think you should wear sandals to the office, provided that they are smart (no flip-flops under any circumstances please!), but personally I would pair them with some cropped cigarette trousers or culottes rather than the shorts. It’s just a step too far towards actual beachwear, in my opinion.
READ MORE: THE BEST FLAT SHOES TO WEAR TO THE OFFICE
Of course, the style of the shorts themselves is vital. Look for materials that are traditionally used for suiting, like pinstripes or the dogtooth check I am wearing here, or something quite plain. While I love tropical prints on culottes, I would avoid these bright patterns if your hem falls above the knee as you’ll look more like your going surfing. Speaking of which, never pick a hem shorter in length than you would feel comfortable in if you were wearing a skirt; somewhere between lower thigh and knee is probably good. These are old but demonstrate perfectly what I mean (I have found some alternatives below, too). And pair your shorts with something smart on top – I like to wear mine with a shirt or very plain T-shirt with a blazer (if it matches the shorts, even better).
These Me + Em shorts might look a bit micro on the model, but at 5ft3 I would be happy wearing these to work as they would fall much further down my leg than they appear! I love the tie belt detail as it makes them look much smarter than your average shorts. The Arket shorts are a similar length, and I like that they are a nice heavy weight fabric. The selection of shoes below would all go well with subtle, smart shorts and their neutral colours (yes, leopard IS a neutral) makes them really versatile when it comes to wearing them in a non-work situation, too.
Aldo ‘Joeya’ loafers, £55 (aldoshoes.com); GH Bass Weejuns penny sliders, £125 (ghbass-eu.com); Hush flat leopard shoes, £110, reduced from £170 in the sale (hush-uk.com); Ryg suede shoes, £135 (lusophile.co.uk); Vagabond ‘Dolores’ shoes, £75 (vagabond.com); Rogue Matilda ‘Cookies n Cream’ lace-ups, £159 (roguematilda.com)
As usual, I would love to know what you think. Would you ever wear shorts to work? Do you have any pet hates when it comes to what people wear to the office during a heatwave? Are you one of the ones that wears flip flops in the city?! Leave comments below.