Heatwave Chic In The Office

The countdown until the British heatwave has begun. While we’d all rather be sporting a bikini, poolside, there’s work to be done, which presents a dressing dilemma: how to make the most of the sunshine while remaining office-appropriate.

Find here a guide to surviving the soaring temperatures, and crucially, keeping cooly chic.

1. Don’t Go Sheer

It’s one thing to risk a glimpse of silken underwear over a vodka martini on a balmy summer evening, but quite another to flash your knickers at an 11am with your boss. If your dress reveals the outline of your legs when you look in the mirror at home, leave it at home. Heat wave or no heat wave – breezy, opaque cotton is a far chicer alternative to putting it all on show.

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2. Sandals

We all have summer sandals that we should have got rid of, but haven’t. The Birkenstocks that were half-dissolved by seawater, or the scuffed flip flops we usually only wear for yoga. These aren’t your friend when it comes to selecting office appropriate footwear during the heatwave. Book a pedicure and pick a barely there leather thong sandal or do comfortable-chic with Balenciaga’s double-strap leather sandals – a winner for coverage that conceals feet in need of extra TLC.

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3. Summer Black

While we advocate midnight black on cooler summer days, or warm Grecian evenings, it doesn’t pay to create your own sartorial hot house. Navy is your cut off point. The same applies to leather. Don’t do it.

4. Yes To Tailored Shorts

Bleached denim cut-offs should not wander into any office, anywhere, ever. Shorts, of the crisply tailored variety, do work, however, especially with a high neck ribbed vest. Pick a darker shade of short – plum, navy or khaki are a favourite – and opt for a high waist.

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5. Think Natural

Jersey, satin, lamé…any clothes that shimmer or gleam in bright sunlight will make you sweat limitlessly. Your faithful day-long fabrics are silk or cotton. Keep Jo Malone’s ‘Red Roses’ in your desk drawer for a discreet spritz at 4pm.

6. Fringe Is Off Limits

There’s a limit to the amount of fringing a girl can carry off in a field, with a golden tan, somewhere in California. Unless you work in the mid-west, leave the tassels for parties only. You also have the safety hazards of fast closing lift or tube doors to consider…

Then before you know it you’ll be on holiday and life in the office will be completely forgotten.

A holiday where sometimes no clothes are the best clothes.

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Plazzo Pants

The flowers are blooming, the sun is shining—it’s safe to say that spring is really here. With hot days on the horizon, it’s time to invest in staple pieces that will work just as well for weekend jaunts as they do at the office. Up next on our list: palazzo pants. The forgiving, easy-to-wear trousers are known for their waist-whittling fit and bold colours. They’re the perfect piece to add some liveliness to your wardrobe this spring when you’re sick of jeans.

An impressionist-inspired pair of palazzo pants got an edgy update with a leather motorcycle jacket and sneakers.

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Michelle Elie’s sheer palazzo pants were a breezy choice for the SS ’15 shows in Paris.

Spring/Summer 2015 Christopher Kane

Christopher Kane dedicated his spring collection to his late professor, mentor and friend, Louise Wilson OBE. He recently discovered a box of photos that date back to his time on the MA course at Saint Martins. It was a whole load of snapshots of his sister, Tammy trying on his early designs, those that he created out of his bedroom.

Kane said he is where he is today because of that MA course, and because of Wilson.

This is a designer who has no shortage of ideas, they all buzz around his head like a twinkling constellation before he whittles them down to a condensed seed of genius. This season he went right back to those early ideas and to those pieces that were never shown or developed. His starting point was cord, rope and coils, which he embroidered onto dresses or threaded through hemlines and cuffs as drawstring details on terrifically modern silk skirt suits.

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The collection developed into a series of silk dresses that erupted here and there with flutes of tulle, he called them “controlled explosion dresses.” Then came those boasting tumbling panels of silk georgette, which were anchored down into place with shiny silver bars, while others had exposed boning and stemmed from Kane’s original drawings that went back to his college days.

The palette was explained as ‘back to school,’ inspired by the Bordeaux of the designer’s school uniform and it did feel wintery, and more than a little subdued – yes, in part to his tribute to Wilson, but also Christopher Kane has, in recent seasons rewired his brain towards a more commercial leaning. With his flagship store set to open on Mount Street early next year, he’s right to think about what he’s going to fill it with. This will be the collection that he will open those shop doors with.

Many of the things that Kane showed here this afternoon are born of ideas he had originally discarded, or simply ideas that he didn’t have the time or inclination back then to further explore. One can’t help but wonder about what else he has lurking in hidden boxes, on the pages of old sketch books; at the back of that wonderful, creative mind.

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