Kimberly Gomez
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Easy breezy in the office and out

Don't sweat the small stuff. Follow Fashion Director Kimberly Gomez's tips to stay classy and comfortable in the office during the hot and sticky summer months.

By - Jul 14th, 2012 04:00 am
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As we’ve all been feeling for the last few weeks, it’s that time of year—hot and sticky and uncomfortable. With all of that potential for sweat, how can you stay cool, collected and professional during your work day? Whether you’re male or female, you never want to let them see you sweat.

Let’s talk about some ways you can look great and remain confident all summer, and into early fall.

Men, you’re first. If you work in a more traditional environment where suits or dress shirts and ties reign, the fabrics you choose can make or break your hot weather comfort. Natural fibers such as silk, cotton or linen breathe while synthetic fibers such as polyester or rayon don’t. This means your dress shirt should be made from cotton (or silk, depending on your budget), which wicks sweat away and dries quickly, meaning there’s less chance of horrid sweat rings under your arms. Isn’t that one of your nightmares? It’s one of mine. Your tie should be thinner for the summer and made from silk. This will create less bulk and heat around your neck.

This may seem surprising, but your suit should be made of wool. Yep, I said wool, tropical weight that is. Tropical weight wool is extremely fine and light weight which is what gentlemen in tropical climates wear to stay cooler. This isn’t your cheapest option, but over time, you’ll be very happy you spent a few more bucks and got a material you can wear every day. This fabric can be worn all year around, even in cold climates. It’s actually quite a bargain with price per wear.

On top of choosing natural fibers, lighter colored fabrics will also help you stay cool since they reflect the sun’s rays and heat unlike dark colors which soak them in.

If you work in a casual environment, you probably already wear natural fibers such as cotton with t-shirts or polo shirts and khakis or jeans. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Stay with what you know. Just make sure they show your professionalism; err on the side of dressy casual. People will give you props.

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Ladies, you’re next. If you work in a more traditional environment where suits or suit separates are the norm, you can follow the men’s ideas, just in your feminine version. You can get away with much more silk than the guys, so use that to your advantage. Good silk costs more but you’ll look polished while staying cool and it will last as many years as you want (within reason; after more than five years of regular use, get new, fresh garments). Even in buttoned-down workplaces, dresses are usually permitted. Have fun with bright, summery colors while staying cool with natural fabrics (hint: cotton). If you already own the perfect sleeveless dress (strapless doesn’t count; it’s not appropriate for the workplace), throw on a cardigan and you’re good to go.

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Work in a casual, almost anything goes environment? Yes, you can take the men’s advice, but why not jazz it up a bit? Do you usually shy away from skirts and dresses because you’re fearful of being cold in the winter? You’ve probably done this for so long, you skip them in the summertime too. Now’s the perfect time to get out of the rut and let your lovely legs feel the summer air. Trust me, you won’t be cold. Dresses are the easiest outfit there is. One piece, one minute (at most) to put it on and look totally put together. As with the dressier environment, if the dress is sleeveless, throw on a cardigan to eliminate underarm fiascos. Skirts are another option for the leg cool factor. Pair it with a summery version of what you normally wear and top it with a bright, fun cotton or denim jacket.

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No matter how buttoned up or free of dress code your work environment is, summer heat doesn’t give you the freedom to show cleavage, upper thighs, stomach or back. The only body parts that can be bare are arms, legs—above the knee down and upper chest/collar bone area—and no bras or bra straps.

Ladies and gentlemen, stop sweating the small stuff. By following these tips, you can stay cool and confident no matter how high the temperature soars.

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