Friday, 25 August 2017


Both Anne and I have spent just about all of our working lives in offices.  Even if most of those years have been spent working in one company, we have both moved offices several times due to expansion, contraction or just plain finances!

So with that in mind, we have both worked in brand new purpose-built air-conditioned offices, old country houses, 60s and 70s style buildings, old terraced houses, and even converted churches.

How do you survive when the weather turns hot outside and the heat is magnified inside the building?

It’s Anne C here and I have probably moved offices more times than I care to remember, even though I worked for one company for almost 27 years, before taking up freelance and short-term contract work 13 years ago.

Temperatures vary such a lot in the UK yet we are always caught out by the weather!  So here’s our advice for surviving at work when the heat is on, but the air-con isn’t!

The secret for me is layering – and that also works when the thermostat dips too.  If you swelter on the tube or Underground, then find the air-conditioning blasting away in your office, layering means you can take off your jacket or cardigan as you travel, and put it on as you get to work. The problem for me in the UK is that even if the sun isn't shining, it is often very warm in the office!  It was always the bane of our lives that we could never control the temperature at work - the office was kept at an ambient temperature, but in large buildings if the weather changed, the heating/cooling system was not quick enough to adapt!

Anne C is pictured in the Sensational Baby Boomer office, (actually we both write and produce the blog from our respective homes now) and is wearing a crisp white shirt from the Shirt Company, which is no longer available, but they do a fantastic range of women's shirts which are cool and feminine.  She has teamed it with cotton jeans from M&S, similar ones here.

And here's a throwback picture taken from a previous job where the aid conditioning was fierce, and meant she wore longer sleeves, even in summer.  However, the dress, by James Lakeland (similar ones here), had a cotton stretch top and taffeta/cotton balloon skirt, so still cool even though it is black.

Cotton, silk, linen and natural fabrics are best suited to hot weather.  And we can also include the guys here too (I don't think we've mentioned them before!)  – you don’t have to wear woollen suits during the hot summer months, a crisp shirt and a pair of chinos work well. Check out Bonobos for all they have to offer. 

Meanwhile, Anne H is  wearing a silk shirt from Jigsaw and has layered with a natural short-sleeved COS cardigan which she can take off if the air conditioning fails to work properly! She is also wearing jeans from 7 for all Mankind for this shot.

Anne H is looking cool but corporate and smart in these white cotton chinos and dark grey silk T shirt top.  Sandals, as long as they are smart also work well in the office,  just make sure your toes are painted ladies!

Women do have much more choice – they can either wear trousers, skirts or dresses.  Personally, I prefer trousers, but steer away from skinny jeans and tight clothing when the weather is hot – nothing looks worse than sweat stains under the arms.  M&S always have great tailored trousers which come in different cuts so they don’t stick to your legs!

We love linen, although it does tend to crease, so whether this is a good idea for work depends on what you do for a living.  Working in a corporate environment means always wearing smart clothing – often in dark colours, but if you work in a creative environment, the dress code tends to be a little more relaxed.  We have worked in both so it’s fun to see what is accepted in one environment, which would be frowned upon in another.

In this outfit Anne H has upped the smartness and wears tailored linen blend trousers with a matching cotton top.  She chooses very plain, simple pieces of silver jewellery that aren't heavy and uncomfortable in the heat but just add a more polished finish.  For this look she has opted for toning grey court shoes.

It is also worth mentioning that I find  very heavy or fussy jewellery annoying at work – particularly bracelets which clank against a computer keyboard or laptop, and make my hands feel sweaty.  Large necklaces also seem to stick to my chest when it’s close or clammy, so for me it’s just a watch, stud earrings and a wedding ring.

Summer dresses are acceptable for women in most establishments, though the styles may vary depending on the formality of the business.  I have always avoided clingy, man-made fabrics for work, as they don’t always wear well for everyday use.

Most offices these days also have a water cooler, and keeping hydrated is so important when the weather is hot, though I do struggle to drink a couple of litres a day.

Anne C is also showing off her new Jimmy Choo reading glasses for the first time - with sparkly Swarovski crystal sides - fortunately only needed for close up work!

It’s also important to get out into the sun at lunchtime -15 minutes of sunshine without sun cream is recommended to ensure Vitamin D absorption, but remember to put on sun screen after that, even in the northern hemisphere, since most of us are vitamin deficient, which can affect our weary bones!

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