What To Wear To A Hot Office

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What To Wear To A Hot Office

Words by Mr Tom M Ford

19 May 2016

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One of the particularly awful things about having to work for a living is that professional dress codes are seldom relaxed for the sake of the summer. Yes, your office may, with its however many thousand toasty computer terminals, be reaching temperatures only previously encountered in Dante’s Inferno, but you’ll still raise an eyebrow when some ill-advised maverick saunters past the water cooler wearing a pair of cargo shorts. In external meetings, too, no one’s going to be particularly sold on a brilliant idea by a grown man in a tank top. Luckily, there are many ways to subtly counteract the heat, a few of which Mr Jamie Millar has covered for this week’s issue of The Journal. For those, however, who are looking for a purely sartorial solution to this problem, scroll down – and cool down.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record (playing an altogether less than scintillating song) – linen is a much lighter and cooler fabric for summer than cotton, and you should plan to wear a lot of it as we reach the summer’s zenith. The usual problem with this advice for the office scenario is that a lot of linen shirts, though wonderfully breezy, are more or less designed for people wafting across golden beaches, and tend to look like it. Thankfully, J.Crew has an alternative: a linen shirt with a neat button-down collar that is smart and simple enough for the office, but won’t send you spiralling into uncontrollable heat meltdown. If you can bear to dress it up any further, Aspesi’s linen navy blazer, which is completely unlined, is about as light as they come.

Don’t be fooled by the name: you can wear loafers while you are, in fact, not loafing at all, and working on some sort of dreadful presentation at your desk. Of course, the extra inch of ankle that you expose is not, in real terms, going to divest you of that much body heat, but paired with a pair of chinos with the cuffs turned up, the circulation down there will be far better than with stuffy, laced-up Oxfords.

You may have spent quite a bit on it, but for the moment, you can leave your leather bag at home. Left in the sun, these items (especially in black) can transform into the kind of luxurious hot water bottles you really don’t need in your life during high summer. Backpacks, too, are a no-go. We won’t bore you with the story of a MR PORTER team member who wore one in Thailand for a single day and ended up with an unsightly (and painful) heat rash over his whole back but… oh, wait. Anyway, to cut this all short: your best bet is to look for a light, canvas briefcase, like the above example from Want Les Essentials, and hold it in your hand, away from your burning body. Key things to pack include the brilliantly refreshing moisturising mist from Lavett & Chin, which you can use throughout the day to brighten up your oily, perspiring skin. And with that lovely image, we’ll leave you.