Q.Earlier this week it got too hot for wearing a suit. What alternatives to a suit and shirt do you recommend?
A.FOR women, with a few key pieces, summer office dressing can be a breeze. Elegant separates are just as acceptable as a suit and are perfect for day to night dressing. Try silk trousers with a simple silk tank and blazer. The silk is loose and lightweight and the cuts can be more floaty and comfortable than cotton. Your blazer can be removed when you’re too warm and put back on when a meeting calls for structure. Gallery 4 designs beautifully lightweight silk trousers in a flattering mushroom grey and Teatum Jones’ silk tank tops in nude, bilberry and print are gorgeously tailored. A summer dress with structure is a comfortable alternative to a suit. Try Rous Iland’s two tone dress with loose silk top and structured but stretchy pencil skirt. Add a Denise Manning necklace and you are ready for a post work glass of rose.
For the men, summer tends to be more challenging. In some institutions, the boys will simply not get away in anything less than a suit, so you need to select them carefully. Keep the jacket single breasted and two-buttoned for a more breathable shape. The way fabric is woven will dictate how warm and suffocating the suit feels. Fresco cloth is breathable and thin yet won’t crease. A linen/silk mix in a lighter colour will also prevent over-heating. If you know you won’t be removing your jacket, wear a short sleeved shirt underneath.
For those who need to look sharp but can bend the rules, take your lead from the ladies and try smart separates. Instead of a suit, match a dark blazer with lightweight grey trousers, shirt and tie.
Chinos are a summer staple and are both smarter and more comfortable than a pair of jeans. Go for a slim line and structure – pictured below, Marc by Marc Jacobs chinos, £165, www.mrporter.com – and wear them with a shirt, tie and lightweight jacket.
The linen jacket is a great wardrobe basic. Worn in a dark colour keeps it more board room than barbeque. Richard James has a great range of linen blazers with structure – try the olive which is flattering and works with a t-shirt and jeans too.
The shirt alternative is a neatly fitted polo shirt. Worn with chinos and a blazer it will be lighter and easier to move around in. Keep it modern and fitted – a nice way to show off if you’ve been putting time in at the gym.