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Smart work wear when it's hot - what to wear?!

(36 Posts)
WardrobeDisaster Tue 10-May-16 10:37:34

I've been asked to join our company's board meeting this week and I've nothing suitable in my wardrobe apart from winter clothes. I'm having a panic. I generally work from home, so live in jeans/nice tops for video calls wink. What the hell can I buy today that will do the job? I'm mid-40s, struggle in heels and I'm not a fan of power dressing either (is that compulsory for board meetings?!)

Any ideas?

herecomesthsun Tue 10-May-16 10:44:09

Can you ask someone? I went along to a board meeting a month ago and everyone was in smart work type clothes, a good dress and jacket did me fine. It might depend a bit on the company though. Boden have (yet more) special offers at the moment and do fast delivery options. John Lewis also a good bet with delivery through Waitrose.

herecomesthsun Tue 10-May-16 10:45:00

Ask someone what the dress code is. that is

herecomesthsun Tue 10-May-16 10:49:45

oh and re "hot", it is getting less hot by the hour. If you have a jacket with you, you can always take it off, or "cape drape" it over your shoulders. Also some offices have air con...

WardrobeDisaster Tue 10-May-16 11:49:26

Grrr. Browser just crashed and lost my reply. I'll try again...

Dress code was smart dresses/suits for men last board meeting I went to. It's a tech company, so room for some creativity but not too much. I have some lovely winter dresses but nothing for summer as I got rid of it all as it no longer fitted. I don't even have a jacket.

Boden - unfortunately their dresses rarely fit, I find them boxy and short waisted.

Dresses - what do you wear on your legs/feet? My legs aren't ready to be exposed yet, and I struggle in heels. I also fear picking the wrong dress and looking like I should be at a wedding.

Trousers can be tricky as they tend to be too big on the waist and baggy in the leg, or too tight on the bum.

The weather forecast for Thursday says 24 degrees confused I'm doomed!!! <wails into cup of tea>

shirkingworking Tue 10-May-16 12:49:02

I'd always wear tights even in the summer but I'm a stuffy lawyer! I like silk t-shirts and smart skinny chino-type trousers (try Banana Republic) with ballerinas or short sleeved dresses (Whistles Josie dress or Zara Lace-up shirt dress with tan/navy ballerinas plus smart bag and lippy or is that too casual?) with a jacket.

shirkingworking Tue 10-May-16 12:49:46

Banana republic trousers work well for pear shapes! Well some of them.

Thurlow Tue 10-May-16 12:57:58

I always wear tights with ballet pumps or similar in the hot weather when I have to be smart - just make sure the pumps aren't too squashed. I have these from New Look, of all places, and they are incredibly comfy but also firm enough that they haven't lost shape and are still a dark black, so look very smart (I'm in a very corporate environment and I'm not the only woman wearing these shoes!). Buy some thin 10 denier flesh coloured tights and they won't look too "look at me, I've got flesh coloured tights on!".

A blazer type jacket is always a good investment. Again, you can buy from somewhere cheap as long as it is a good black. Then find a few short sleeved dresses - I'm in a minority as I like Next, but Banana Republic and Zara will have decent ones too. Personally I prefer a tailored style dress as I find them more flattering than cotton dresses on squidges and lumps.

CarrotVan Tue 10-May-16 13:13:15

Today I'm wearing a light wool tailored dress from Autograph at M&S, natural coloured tights and chunky low heels - I've got a light cardigan with me but it's toasty here. I'd wear smart flats with this dress happily

This is my normal work wear - tailored dress, tights, low heels (can't wear high ones these days), light cardigan or jacket

Or tailored well cut trousers (I like Hobbs and Jigsaw), a smart top and low heels.

Most of my dresses are Hobbs, Autograph, Next, Boden, sort of places.

That being said you can get some very nice workwear at big branches of Asda and Tesco if you want to stay on the cheap side.

CointreauVersial Tue 10-May-16 13:36:33

Typical office warm-wear for me includes:

Knee length dress (Boden, M&S, Next....) with sandals
Ankle-skimmer/cigarette trousers (Zara, Mango, M&S....) and short-sleeved top (Boden, M&S, Monsoon) with ballet flats or sandals
Knee length pencil skirt, as above

Combine any of the above with smart cardi or jacket if chilly

Dresses tend to be jersey wrap dresses, fit-and-flare, or shirt dresses.

For tops, I tend to go for something hip length, more formal than a teeshirt, for example today I'm wearing a Boden short sleeved broderie anglaise top. I also have several cotton knits. I rarely wear shirts as I don't like to tuck things in.

Legs are now "out" for the summer, and won't be back in tights until the autumn!

WardrobeDisaster Tue 10-May-16 16:19:04

Thanks for the ideas! I'm not sure I can face wearing nude tights, but then my legs never go brown and I don't have the time (or patience) for fake tan. Hmmm.

I went shopping at lunch time and decided to opt for trousers. I bought some Hobbs trousers with a small navy/cream pattern (cant' find them on the website) and these which I love, but can't justify spending £110 on the gorgeous top that goes with it - although now I see it's in the sale! But it feels a bit too exposed (flabby arms), DS will just put sticky fingers on it. It has a matching jacket but that feels too over the top. Any suggestions what to wear with the trousers? It's going to be one of those 'impossible to match with anything' items isn't it. <sigh>

WardrobeDisaster Tue 10-May-16 16:21:33

I like the idea of shirt dresses, might try some next time.

CarrotVan, where do you buy your low heels? I can never find any!

WardrobeDisaster Tue 10-May-16 16:29:40

Oh my lord, I'm discussion of the day! There's a first, I normally kill threads grin

Iamblossom Tue 10-May-16 16:44:34

wardrobe that top has been reduced to £70...fyi...

Iamblossom Tue 10-May-16 16:45:05

whoops sorry you had seen that

expatbaby Tue 10-May-16 17:35:29

A nice crisp white shirt with 3/4 length sleeves. You could even get a chunky necklace or perhaps a long chain and either a blazer or smart looking cardigan to go with it.

Joneseygirl77 Tue 10-May-16 17:49:38

Those Reiss trousers are lovely OP but you might struggle to find a jacket to go with them. I think the matching jacket is a bit OTT and a black jacket might be a bit harsh. How about getting a plain navy one? Sounds like it'd go with the Hobbs trousers too.

I work in a corporate environment and do a lot of client meetings too. I also find summer harder than winter and tend to wear trousers more than skirts whereas it's the opposite in winter! I love Jigsaw, Banana Republic and Gap trousers. Tend to go for these in neutral colours- black, navy, beige or black based with a pattern. Then I go for a brighter blazer. I love Zara ones and have them in pink, coral etc. Tend to look in Banana Republic, White Company or Reiss sale for silk type tops. I jazz it all up with a statement type necklace too- Stella & Dot have great ones. Also I find Jigsaw or Zara have good summer dresses. I prefer bare legs but do sometimes opt for m&s autograph 5 denier hold ups in my legs are v v pale!

shirkingworking Tue 10-May-16 18:13:21

Reiss trousers are excellent for pear shapes! I just bought the v skinny black Darlas (not very summery) (and I suppose I'm a slim pear!) and the cream wrap over cardigan thing (Tori). Wear it with a cream Cami underneath and gold fine necklace. Then either ballet flats or nice mid heel courts. Reiss stuff generally lasts well. I like their silk front tops too.

oldlaundbooth Tue 10-May-16 19:24:14

This is an ongoing problem for me.

It's so hard to look smart when it's warm.

I usually stick to lowish heels, a knee length pale skirt and some sort of a top that covers my arms.

Or 3/4 length's and some sort of a shirt.

SmashingTurnips Tue 10-May-16 19:45:50

If it's any help I live in France and it gets pretty hot. We are not terribly smart where I work but everyone has that French chic thing going on.

Generally it involves well cut black, navy or grey cigarette pants, a top that could be a well cut t shirt just as it might be silk, ballet flats and a blazer/jacket. Cardigan on more casual days.
On really hot days a lot of us wear tops with a "claudine" collar - they are smart but not too hot.

JohnCheese Tue 10-May-16 20:02:37

My work isn't formal, but I suppose smart casual. I was in Zara today.
Something like this look is nice for smartish meetings. Have a blazer/jacket, in case it's necessary, (to look more formal) or it gets cold. But like a pp said, a little different to the trews. Saw one in Mango. Hang on a sec
This stripey shirt is way nicer irl than in this pic if you don't mind viscose, and if you're in the market for a fitted white shirt, this looked very nice, some gold details. After that, Zara was giving me a headache, I couldn't make head nor tail of it and God I sound old.
Mango jacket. Handy I thought, you could wear it with lots. Didn't try it on tho.

I often find Zara good for jackets.

WardrobeDisaster Tue 10-May-16 20:39:27

Lots of great ideas, thanks! Actually as it happens I did also buy a navy linen blazer today but I'm not convinced about it with the blue trousers.

I like the simple shirt and trouser look, but getting a good fitting pair is essential; everything in the shops today seemed to be black and ill fitting. I'd written Reiss off, i didn't know they are good on pear shapes.

I do like French clothes, in fact I had a lot of Cyrillus and Comptoir des Cotonniers in my wardrobe until I chucked it all out in a Marie Kondo frenzy having put on weight. sad

I've not shopped in Zara much, there was a lot of polyester last time I looked but maybe I need to try again. And I've never tried banana republic so that's a good tip.

Just one question, where are you all buying your mid heel/flat shoes?

herecomesthsun Tue 10-May-16 20:40:47

Re shoes, I am wearing heeled loafers. Come summer I will get out the cotton pencil skirts and white cotton blouses I got last summer, drapey rather than fitted. I have a lined navy linen blazer (Paul Costelloe out of TK Maxx) that does nicely.

herecomesthsun Tue 10-May-16 20:44:05

I wear a lot of plainish navy, which suits me better than black, & looks ok in a simple cotton fabric. I love clothes that are breathable and machine washable.

herecomesthsun Tue 10-May-16 20:45:34

PS I love the link to the "look for smartish meetings" that has hippies dancing around with coloured smoke.

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