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The ‘new normal’ for workwear

Ditch the suits and stilettoes, this summer’s remote office wear is flexible and fun

Floral tiered dress from Miss Selfridge

Floral tiered dress from Miss Selfridge

 

Flexi-fashion is what you need in your workwear wardrobe for summer 2020. It’s a stylish combination of lighter, casual wear that suits the “the new normal” for these less structured working days.

The good thing is there is nothing too normal about the latest creative and innovative looks for summer 2020 and, whether we work from home or the office, these looser looks have a feel-good factor too.

The heady mix of summer weather, remote working and less use of public transport fortunately brings a range of floral summer skirts, midi-dresses and cotton jackets for womenswear and a bounty of Bermuda shorts, bright shirts and polo tops for the latest menswear.

Navy and white Ecru blouse, €17 and white jeans, €27, from Next
Navy and white Ecru blouse, €17 and white jeans, €27, from Next

As many of us are working from our dining rooms, studies or the garden equipped with a laptop, there really is no point in wearing formal suits and ties on the upper half of your body and then a pair of boxer shorts underneath the table. Smart casual is the best option, so you are ready for FaceTime calls and virtual meetings.

Nobody expects you to look like perfect Gwyneth Paltrow or Matt Damon on a Zoom conference call – but they will appreciate an effort in the wardrobe and grooming stakes. Just because we are not meeting people up close and personal does not give us a licence to dispense with a morning shower and a spray of deodorant.

Think twice about that Robinson Crusoe beard or dodgy pink lipstick if you are on camera. For those of us who haven’t seen the inside of a hairdressers since last March – it might be a good idea to get handy with a hair scissors.

There are lots of good sites that show how to tidy up a style with step-by-step videos. When it comes to colouring though, the professional advice is to steer clear of colouring your own hair as if it ends up a disaster there is nobody around to fix it. You may end up wearing your face mask on your head to hide those roots.

Update last summer’s looks

Try out some of the great online shops to update last summer’s looks. A few printed shirts and smart shorts can inject new life into older gear. If you are not adept at online shopping, check out size guide labels in your wardrobe. Buying online can be a weak point for men as it’s hard to guess the right sizes in more tailored shirts and jackets. So choose breezy looser linens and cooler cottons.

Dunnes Stores, River Island, Next and Penneys have always plenty of good value gear, especially in the summer. Lennon Courtney’s vivid fabrics and summer prints really cheer up a bland pair of trousers. Their cropped denims are also chic and look lovely with satin wrap-over blouses.

Beige jacket and white tee-shirt from Miss Selfridge.
Beige jacket and white tee-shirt from Miss Selfridge.

Paul Costelloe’s designer range for Dunnes has the perfect mix of flexi-fashion at affordable prices. When you consider his expertise and international reputation, we are fortunate to have him so close to home.

It’s a good idea to organise your clothes before you go to bed. Rummaging in drawers for bras, briefs and boxers is enough to give you a coronary if you are a last-minute dotcom personality.

Boutique owner Kate Gleeson is a wardrobe wizard who builds a capsule wardrobe around a core group of fashion essentials. She recommends snapping up a designer crisp white shirt, a pair of cool tailored trousers, a longline cardigan, funky summer trainers and a simple body top for ready-to-go workwear.  

Hobbs online may be in a higher price bracket than most online shops, but it presents a super selection of luxury looks for summer. Who would have thought that mismatching different checks and gingham fabrics would work so well?

Freelancing, remote working, technology and hotdesking have permanently changed the way we work. We may have said farewell to days of gossiping around the photocopier or chin-wagging in an open-plan sardine-style office suite.

Paris top, €30 from River Island
Paris top, €30 from River Island

All this is a breath of fresh air to those who were cooped up in faraway firms and factories, miles from home. This summer, you can sell a car or a couch while having an espresso on the patio; you can make business calls while hanging the washing on the line; or negotiate a pay rise from the comfort of your living room.

Think about the company you are representing and dress to reflect the philosophy if you are on screen. A stressed-out financial institution undergoing a major loan restructuring won’t want to see you in a baseball cap, a beater, sloppy shorts, hairy legs and trainers – however, that same image might be perfectly fine for the advertising creatives or techie guys and gals down the road.

It’s going to be a summer of smart shorts, breezy blouses, stylish sandals, and linen jackets. A time to consider a flexible, workable future. So, loosen those shirt collars, kick off your stilettoes and breathe a sigh of relief.