Stay cool and professional in office wear made to take the heat

Some casual clothes to help you keep cool and look good in the

Suits and button-downs may feel fine in winter months, but once
the mercury begins to rise, they begin to feel a little
constricting.
Still, presentations and meetings don’t become dress-down events
simply because you’re sweating to death.
Savvy businessmen and women know they can still make a
professional statement by relying on a few tricks of the fashion
trade, namely purchasing traditional-looking clothing cut from
lightweight, breathable fabrics.
Suits and button-downs may feel fine in winter months, but once the mercury begins to rise, they begin to feel a little constricting.

Still, presentations and meetings don’t become dress-down events simply because you’re sweating to death.

Savvy businessmen and women know they can still make a professional statement by relying on a few tricks of the fashion trade, namely purchasing traditional-looking clothing cut from lightweight, breathable fabrics.

“We have linen suits that men can wear as they are or even dress down with jeans,” said Cynthia Balajadia, manager of Perry Ellis in Gilroy. “It’s a suit, but linen is a good summer material because it’s breathable, and it does a good job of soaking up moisture.”

Women have a distinct advantage in staying cool because of the lightweight, flirty skirts that are in for summer, according to Sheila Stevens, owner of She’s in Hollister.

“A lot of the girls now can wear soft skirts and little tops for office wear,” said Stevens. “I love rayon skirts because they’re light and yet they still look wonderful because they don’t wrinkle.”

Light fabrics like fine-blend summer cottons, silks and satins can expose figure flaws with their soft, clingy structure, but women can downplay problem areas by combining them with more structured pieces.

“You can still get a skirt in a lighter-weight fabric, but if you’re trying to cover up your behind or your hips, you can wear more of a full-cut skirt that’s tapered at the waist or you can wear cropped pants with heels, so you lengthen the leg even though they’re short,” said Deborah Wood, owner of Drapoel in Hollister.

Another figure-flattering technique to cover uncomfortable areas it to stick to a monochromatic look, which makes wearers appear taller because the body is not broken up by differences in color, said Wood.

Bright, heat-deflecting colors are also in for summer, but don’t worry about lighting up the room with your ensemble if budgeting is a concern, said Judy Olson, store manager of Jones New York in Gilroy.

“Right now the colors are already going into the transitions to fall, but they’re really light,” said Olson. “You can buy something darker that will work all year, but don’t worry about doing brights, like the lime greens, for a suit. The new things come in so quickly, you can use them as an accessory – a shirt or a bag or another accent.”

No matter what you buy, be sure to read the washing directions carefully. With the popularity of linen and sequined or beaded pieces this season, you’ll have to keep an eye out for hand wash and dry clean items.

Double-duty essential

Two piece sweater sets are more than practical workwear, they’re a summer essential for indoor employees. Most offices are air-conditioned in the summer, making sleeves not only bearable, but sometimes necessary.

A tank and cardigan combo will allow you to stay warm at your desk and, with the sweater’s removal, cool when you head out to lunch, according to Deborah Wood, owner of Drapoel in Hollister.

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