We asked corporate women to share how they beat the heat and stay stylish.
It’s summer in Australia and we’re all sweltering as we go back to work. If you are anything like the Miss Links team, you’re trying to look sharp in your corporate office without overheating as the mercury soars.
Will your makeup melt off your face before 9am? How will you handle the hot commute on public transport? Will the office air conditioning be set to sub-antarctic temperature? Or will you be hoping the sweat beads rolling down your back aren’t visible during a meeting? Eeek!
So, we asked professional women across Australia their secrets for looking cool when it’s hot outside. (Plus our founder Dianna Butterworth chips in her advice, too.)
Alexandra De Jeong, Senior Account Manager, Freedom Agency
“I avoid anything polyester! My go-to is linen and cotton pieces. I am lucky to work in a more creative field so my corporate wear can be a little on the relaxed side. However there’s a lot of great and affordable brands creating chic structured linen and linen-blended collared shirts, pants and skirts like Zara, Muji, Uniqlo and Country Road. Pair them with a low heeled mule which is still formal enough for the office and breathable!
Clare McDowall, Supply Planner, Sigma Healthcare
“I’m usually a trousers and shirt person, but over summer I ditch this policy and make my own dresses. I use a simple shift dress pattern and keep it loose-cut. Because I am quite tall I make the dress to my exact proportions and maintain the tailoring around the bust and waist so it doesn’t look like a sack. Even though cotton or linen crease a little, I prefer them because they are natural and breathable. I pair it with ballet flats and a statement necklace and I’m ready to go.”
Anna Segova, Founder, Alterno Marketing
“During summer I usually wear dresses. This allows me to look professional and yet stay cool on hot days. I like tulle skirts as one of those most breathable options. Although I don’t have any particular favourite brands, I pay attention to the fabrics first and foremost, choosing cotton or linen fabrics as my best options for summer. I also find these to be suitable for indoor air-conditioned places, making this transaction almost seamless. Wearing a minimum natural makeup and an up-do also makes hot summer days a lot more bearable for me.”
Dr Nadine Zacharias, Senior Research Fellow, National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education
“I travel so much for work and I hardly ever spend two successive days with the same people so I can get away with having a handful of good quality staples. I wear short sleeved dresses or blouses plus a suit jacket or cardigan in case the air-con is blasting. I love Cue for tops, dresses and jackets, Hispanitas shoes and Decjuba pants.”
Rosie Luik, Founder, Love Rosie Australia
“It’s always a challenge trying to dress professional in hot weather. For me, I get quite cold easily so if I’m in air conditioning all day I come prepared with a jacket. I like to stick to light colours, whites, creams and beiges and like to pair long pants with sleeveless shirts. Linen and other light fabrics will keep me warm in the aircon but allow me to breathe and won’t stick to my body once I’ve left the office.”
Bianca Giles, Digital Strategist, Digital Eagles
“You can’t go wrong with a fresh white shirt – there’s a reason this a classic piece! I like investing in luxe, natural fibre fabrics such as silks or linens which are stylish yet heat friendly. Whereas cheaper, synthetic blends such as polyester allow perspiration to build up inside the garment. Equipment and Assembly Label make timeless versions.”
Elaine Abery, Director, Unravelling Red Tape
“Transitioning from hot to cold can be a killer. I always carry a neck scarf. Scarves are lightweight and always look smart. Somehow, I’m always happier wearing scarves in air conditioning – a warm neck is more comfortable. Scarves are great conversation-starters, whether someone is wondering what I am hiding underneath my scarf, or commenting how well my scarves brighten up outfits. As I head outside, I pull it off and stick it in my bag. Simple, easy, effective.”
Talita Estelle, Founder, Esther & Co
“Comfort is key in the Sydney sunshine, and while my work involves a chunk of desk time, I’m also on the go and travelling regularly, so it’s important the clothing I wear is practical and good quality, but still portrays a sense of professionalism, empowerment and sophistication. Flowy, comfortable attire such as loose dresses and skirts are a good choice in the heat as they are breathable but still work-appropriate. A non-fitted long-sleeve shirt with shorts and wedges or heels can also achieve the business chic look. My favourite brands are Zimmerman, Alice McCall and Gucci. Their designs are always beautiful, classy and fashion-forward. As for my hair, I love a good topknot in summer.”
Dianna Butterworth, Founder, Miss Links and LDB Financial
“I like a full skirt over summer; nothing clingy on the hips, thank you very much! I find silk blouses work best on hot days as they are lightweight and natural. I like light-weight knit tops as well, because they don’t wrinkle. Keeping a light blazer in the office over summer helps; I’ll throw it on to visit clients for meetings. I’m quite a fan of tailored shorts too, though I wouldn’t wear them to visit my more conservative clients.”
If a French cuff shirt is part of your summer style (which it should be) then check out our range of pretty cufflinks that add a touch of polish to any summer corporate outfit.