When it comes to summer workwear, the onus is on textiles. Workwear isn’t always associated with 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 typical 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 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 ascribed 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 such as linen and lyocell are trickling into the market. In addition to them being eco-friendlier, 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.