The Temperature Paradox – Summertime workwear

Nothing beats a cup of tea when the office temperature drops below zero

Almost every woman I know recognise this annoying dilemma. It’s hot AF outside, 30 degrees and sunny. Public transport is like a Bikram Yoga studio and Pret feels like a pizza oven. When you walk in to your office building and you’re met with a cold breeze, you rejoice. To start with at least.

10 minutes after you sit down at your desk, goose bumps start appearing despite this being the hottest summer’s day since measuring began. You try to ignore it. It’s not possible and instead, you feel like an idiot wearing a summery outfit sitting there shivering like a whippet until lunch time. Then you try in vain to warm yourself up with tea. You’ve already asked Facilities twice to turn the air con down with no success at all. Seriously, who is ok with this? You decide to pop into a shop at lunch to get a cardigan. But stepping out in the sun at lunch is beautifully warm and you change your mind about the cardigan. Only to deeply regret it as soon as you’re back at your desk. What to do?

The simple solution

The idiot proof tip: Keep a cardigan in the office or in your hand bag, obviously. Or a scarf of some sort, or even a blazer. But sometimes this isn’t possible. You might forget it when it’s hot in the morning and you’re sweating before you even leave the house. You had to wear the one you left in the office last week as it got chilly in the evening. There is no cardigan available for you when the icy wind strikes. With this challenge now coming up as summer seems to be here, our stylist Gabriella and I thought we’d share our own tips for summer workwear. Gabriella from a stylist’s point of view and I’m sharing mine purely based on having experienced this paradox on many annoying and pissed off occasions.

Can you describe your ideal summer work outfit, temperature paradox in mind?


Loose light silky trousers keep you cool outside and warm inside

I hate being cold in the office and I dislike my legs being cold so rather than a skirt or a dress, I would go for an open toe shoe with a pair of lightweight trousers on a hot day. This way, you don’t get too warm as you’re airing your feet a bit but you also avoid freezing at work.


For me, a loose fitting below the knee dress or culottes with a silky top, either sleeveless or with short sleeves. I would stay away from items that are very tight.

What’s your go to solution when it’s hot outside and cold inside?


Cream is perfect for staying cool in the sun

Layering for sure, its the only solution. The usual way of layering is of course cardigan or blazer over a dress or short sleeve top, but I’m taking it a step further and I layer my dress with trousers underneath, it really creates a cool look.


I would go for an outfit with light colours to avoid getting too sweaty in the sun when outside. Most of us know that black attract the rays and white detract them so that’s a good ground rule. I’d bring something smart to wear over your shoulders that doesn’t crease, a cardigan, a pashmina that you can fold or for a relaxed office a bomber jacket. They can get tiny when folded and really don’t crease at all.

Any particular choice of fabric and fit you’d recommend to avoid sweating/sweat stains?


Stay away from anything synthetic, go for cotton, silk and linen, the best summer fabrics!


I have to agree with Gabriella. Natural materials, linen is a clear choice but it does crease quite a bit so I’d go for a blend there. Wool crepe is great too, it sounds warm but breathes really well. Stay away from heavy jersey as if it gets damp, it shows really well. Pick stuff that’s not too fitted as well, loose around the back and the arm pits.

Any general summer advice for office wear?


Bright colours in thin materials are great for summer

Take the season as an opportunity to wear more colours and print then you normally would, a little tan can work miracles and suddenly orange and yellow aren’t to bad after all!


Again, I agree with Gabriella, pick an outfit that can be layered. Especially thin layers in materials that don’t crease and that you can fold away in your hand bag. Just peel them off one by one when it’s hot and put on as it gets colder inside.