Staying on Fire: Dressing Up for Work in this Heat
Work requires you to come to the office, conveniently located in Manila's prime CBDs-Makati, Taguig, Ortigas, or Alabang-albeit inconveniently in this heat. It's summer time in Manila and even in a cotton shirt, you find yourself sweating like a mother***. And that's no exaggeration; five minutes under no shade while waiting for a cab, a bus, a UV express shuttle, a jeepney, or even that Uber you just booked will shape sweat maps on your top-and you'd just gotten out of the shower, no less.
During the gentler, friendlier months, your usual office attire classifies as smart/business casual. Office management doesn't necessarily require you to look stylish and come to work in your finer threads, but you can't help it. Now that you're a part of the tax-paying working force, you can't help but look the part. It's true what they say about dressing up for success.
So, how does one go about this dilemma? Here are a few tips on dressing up for work in a tropical country with western ideologies on style:
Rolling Up Your Sleeves
It's summer, but you've got meetings to attend to and a presentation to pitch-you simply have to come to work in a long sleeve dress shirt. Using the same shirts you'd usually wear, roll up the sleeves to give it a new look fit for the season. Showing some forearm also brings that summer vibe to your ensemble. Compliment the look by decorating your wrist with a flashy sports strap watch.
If baggier, bulkier clothes define lower temperatures, then summer is the time for slim fitting. Showcase form with less layering. But just in case the need for formality arises, go with a smart blazer on top of a plain white shirt-you can always put it on or take it off whenever you want. This is a sure way to maintain quintessential style without sacrificing comfort.
Go for Prints
Solid colors go best with ties and coats or jackets. During the summer, when layering isn't advisable, solid color shirts will come off as plain as a blank sheet of paper. Go for patterned shirts with distinct prints to bring some animation to your look.
For the summer, place the black and dark color slacks in the back of your closet. A look can go from stylish to tacky with your choice of bottoms. Wear dress shirts with khakis and chinos, but for casual occasions, show off those calf muscles with fitted flat front shorts.
Bottoms hold the look together, pulling in the top and footwear into a single ensemble. Summer is a time for bright colors, so set the mood with a pair of vivid solid color pants. Piece of advice; knowing the color wheel helps-choose complementary colors.
The Shoe Game
It's common knowledge that the first thing people unconsciously notice in a person is what's on their feet. Keeping your shoe game on point during the summer is simple: slip into something comfortable, and in wearing dress shoes, go for tan or light colored kicks. Relaxed pairs like loafers, boat shoes, slip-ons, and canvas sneakers are a perfect combination for folded chinos and shorts. Do business meetings with the tan oxfords you've been waiting to pull up into. Sock length is an option to play around with as well; experiment with prints and colors or go with foot socks for a laid back vibe.
Again, color combination is crucial in matching bottoms and footwear. As a rule of thumb, either go with darker footwear or play up the contrast.
Do away with the ties and accessorize with other items. Use ties, cufflinks, watches and belts to add flavor and carry an ensemble. Practice caution in accessorizing as there is such a thing as overdoing it-keep to a single accessory at a time, unless necessary.
And the one other accessory which serves both function and style to complete your summer look is a sharp-looking pair of sunglasses. Colored aviators are expressive, while classic black ones are more formal. Clubmasters and wayfarers offer a laid back look that can balance out the formality of an outfit.
Dressing up is not just a visual experience, but play with other senses as well. Smell is an important factor to consider. Consider using woody fragrances to dial-up the masculinity, or fruity fragrances to match that whole summer theme. Either way, you're all set to turns eyes and noses as you strut through your office.
Dressing up for work, despite the summer heat, isn't something to frown upon. More than anything else, it's a challenge for one in search of fulfillment. Success starts from within, and staying on top of your style game says a lot about how much you value self-perfection-as long as you're satisfied and confident with how you look, not even the sun can stop you from conquering the world.