No sweat: How to look sharp but stay cool

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Whoever wrote the song “summertime and the living is easy” clearly didn’t have to sit in an stuffy office or drive around to multiple client meetings on a hot, summers day. Style expert Natalia Coleman examines how to stay smart but keep from cooking alive.

My clients often tell me their summertime work wardrobe is the hardest look to pull off.  So when the heat is on, how can you dress professionally, yet still stay cool?

Let’s first look at the environment you work in. If you spend a lot of time in formal settings, meetings or offices and wearing a matching suit is a must, you’ll need to pick up a lighter weight suit for summer time. You can now find a wide variety of suits made from super-fine wool, this wool is not like your old scratchy school blazer, its lighter yarn and smoother weave is perfect for the summer season.

Wool absorbs perspiration from the body, meaning that you’ll stay dry and cool. On a more practical level, wool doesn’t crease easily and is more resistant to wear and tear. Manufactured fibres and microfibres aren’t as breathable so tend to trap body heat, perspiration and odours.

The higher end retailers tend to produce a finer wool suit so buy the best you can afford. The Savile Row Co for Men offers a range of finest wool suits with cupro lining, a special fabric that absorbs moisture and helps the skin to breathe. A Suit That Fits is another handy company that offers an affordable online tailoring service.

Ladies might want to consider wearing a linen suit. Linen absorbs humidity, making it an ideal fabric for warmer weather. If you hate looking creased, then opt for trousers skirts and jackets with a silk-linen mix. Silk-linen is much more crease resistant, feels comfortable and is luxurious in the extreme. 

Our warmth-carrying carotid arteries lie closer to the skin in the neck area so you’ll be able to stay cool far more successfully if you can open your top button and dispense with a tie. Jame’s Caan’s signature style is a perfect example of how non tie-wearers can still look crisp, stylish and professional.

If the sky is the limit and you can dress much more casually, then beware that you don’t overdo it. When the heat is on, it’s often tempting to wander into work wearing shorts and sandals, but think again. Shorts are great barbeque gear but are generally considered way too sloppy and casual for the workplace. Use your own judgement carefully.

You’ll have far more success staying cool in M&S climate control fabric t-shirts. This brand new fabric technology absorbs excess body heat. The stored heat is released back to the body as needed. The result is the perfect body temperature, not too hot, not too cold, just right.

For the ladies, as a general rule, avoid showing too much shoulder or cleavage. A summer dress or top can be made more office-friendly by throwing on a shrug or cardigan. With a little strategic shopping, it’s easy to build a work wardrobe that not only keeps you cool, but helps you look cool too!

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