I'm not sure what exactly happened to spring, those 6-8 weeks between frozen feet and icy sidewalks, and sweltering, city sun pressing down on bare skin like an omelet pan. But it seems summer is upon us in full force, despite what the calendar says. So what does one who must commute to work in the oppressive city heat wear? (Despite the lax dress code in my office, I won't be seen in public wearing dresses that resemble nightgowns or shorts that hardly qualify as underwear. And besides, just because you can wear something, doesn't mean you should.)
The dress, in its many forms, is the single best wardrobe option for sultry, sun-drenched days. Can you tolerate the mere thought of anything structured, with seams and waistbands strangling your skin? No matter your shape or size, there is an office (and fashion) friendly dress out there for you. (Though skimpy straps and plunging necklines seem like ideal options for staying cool, the more skin you have exposed to the sun, the warmer you actually will feel. And not everyone needs to see that much of you anyway.) My favorite destination for vintage charm suitable for any age, Anthropologie, has some irresistible frocks for surviving the summer. When it comes to fabric choice, steer clear of words you can't pronounce (they don't breathe, and will only add to that stench you know and loath on the 4 train). Instead, stick to cotton. Classic black and white, in the tradition of Chanel, is still relevant for the hot months of summer, and Trina Turk does pattern worthy of boarding a plane to St. Barths. Sweet, light and still covered, this punchy smocked dress is a must have, priced at just $98 (machine washable is a nice bonus). Or if you prefer a touch more structure, this shirtdress can go to work, or do weekend duty. A few seasons ago I bought a dress just like this jersey number from the Gap (for $39) and still end up wearing it often, with a navy blazer and heels for work, or flip flops for play. The maxi dress is still a popular choice for a lot of people (who doesn't love anything by DFV?), and even those south of 5'4 can wear one (though a trip to the tailor probably needs to be factored into the cost). I'm not so sure about the long, flowy option in the office, but it has become a summer staple that's weathered fashion's fickle fancy.
Stay cool (and covered) in the heat ahead.