When it comes to summer workwear, the onus is on textiles. Workwear isn’t always attributed to the most breathable of fabrics. Typically, power dressing alludes to heavily tailored mixes, single-breasted blazers, and pinstripes. Growing up I’d watch films like Baby Boom in awe. The female protagonists with their weighty padded shoulders and bulging briefcases symbolised the high-powered working woman. Although the attire was of that time, it’s what I considered atypical workwear. School uniform dressing didn’t help either. We’re conditioned into thinking that clothing should look and feel a certain way to be deemed smart.
Although those items have their place, there’s an opportunity to make your workwear wardrobe as fruitful as your off-duty looks. There’s no rule of thumb when it comes to workwear, which is ironic given the aforementioned tighter perimeters we ascribe to. Of course, in most cases, formality is expected but you can adhere to boundaries whilst finding your footing and the pieces you feel most align with your style. During the summer, the weather allows for looser fitting textures and subtle flashes of skin. A turned-up sleeve here, an ankle-skimming length there, a button undone when the office air-con doesn’t quite suffice.
Summer is a good time for a wardrobe assessment. The past few years have seen fashion releases reflect the state of the world and the transition from loungewear to back-the-office wear. Now, tailoring in natural fibres, like linen and lyocell are trickling into the market. In addition to them being more eco-friendly, those materials allow for some movement. You’ve likely seen that 2022 is the year of the lightweight waistcoat which is perfect for light layering.
You mightn’t think workwear is the most exhilarating but there’s much fun to be had. It’s an opportunity to highlight accessories and play with lengths, texture, and jewellery. If you’re worried about materials, don’t fret. I always make sure my edits are polyester free and have a high percentage of natural fibres, so you won’t be left with the cloying feeling of work trousers sticking to your body on humid days in the office. If you’re feeling uninspired by your summer workwear wardrobe, or just want to have a peek at some outfit inspiration, keep on scrolling.
1. Midi Dress and Heels
Style notes: A midi and heeled pumps is an inspired workwear ensemble but even more so in spring and summer. Add your accessories and you're ready to go.
2. Tailored Trousers and Waistcoat Pairing
Style Notes: The waistcoat has become a celebrated piece this year. For work, it looks great with a cotton or linen shirt underneath. Paired with matching trousers and mules it's classic and breezy.
3. Slip Skirt and Oversized Blazer
Style Notes: A silky midi and blazer is perhaps one of my favourite (and effortless) work looks. You can easily wear this from the office to date night. Tuck in the vest and wear the skirt high. Why not add a hair bow?
4. Midi Skirt and a Nice Top
Style Notes: The shirt is a work wardrobe staple but a wide collar is a wonderful way to play on this quota. It's smart and adds character. Tuck the blouse into the midi skirt and prop the look up an inch or two with mules.
5. Linen Suit
Style Notes: A simple swap for summer. Crafted from 100% linen, it looks smart and it's breathable.
6. Blue Shirt and Wide-leg Camel Trousers
Style Notes: The blue is striking but most of all I love how the texture and detail make this look endearing. The woven leather tote and gold pearls will bring an element of summer into the office. Tuck the shirt into the trousers and wear with the pearl necklace.
7. Trouser and Top Co-ord
Style Notes: A colour blocking top and trouser combination. Tuck the top into the trousers and wear it with the light, linen blazer. Belt the blazer for extra definition. The chunky flip flop pairs beautifully with this look if your workplace allows for it.
8. Cardigan and Trousers
Style Notes: The cardigan and high-waisted trouser combination is a classic look. Not to mention appropriate for the British weather. Wear with slip-ons for a nod to summer, or the Ralph Lauren heels from outfit one for some height.