Let’s face it: no matter how fabulous you are, a thin film of sweat is going to appear on the top of your lip at some point on Wednesday – but it is possible to look chic regardless.
First, get the footwear right. Socked feet, stuffed into the shoes you wear all winter, will only make you overheat. Flipflops displaying gnarled toenails will get you dirty looks on public transport, while sliding around in high-heeled sandals is a recipe for blisters.
Thankfully, fashion has some practical suggestions. Teva’s foam and velcro hiking sandals inspired the footwear at Burberry’s most recent catwalk show, despite costing £35 and being a comfortable favourite of tourists in the Lake District. If your tastes are more elegant, espadrilles’ soft roped soles are bang on-trend. Chanel and Saint Laurent have luxe versions for around £300, although you can pick them up for £10 at ASOS. If it looks like rain, Wimbledon-appropriate plimsolls can take it. Wear with Falke’s low-cut “invisible” socks to flash a cooling sliver of ankle.
As for clothes, if you don’t mind showing some skin, your options are limitless this summer. You don’t even have to stick to getting your arms and legs out any more: the shoulder-displaying “Bardot” top is a big trend this year, while cropped tops have become part of the fashion vernacular thanks to Taylor Swift.
But there is hope for the rest of us. Try tunic tops, which have cooling side vents and look very French Riviera over loose, long trousers. Or crisp shirt dresses or sleeveless jumpsuits. Or a cotton midi skirt in one of the summer’s most popular prints – gingham – which will give your look a pleasing air of picnic cloth.
For men, the Guardian’s menswear editor, Helen Seamons, recommends tailored shorts – very Raf Simons – or trousers made from lightweight seersucker. A good-quality T-shirt from Sunspel or a linen mix shirt will feel airy. And a tip from fashion’s front row: navy blue is the best shade for hiding sweat marks.
Finally, deodorant matters – you have nothing to lose by bringing one to work and topping up at lunchtime – and accessories help. For women, pulling your hair back in a Celine-esque circular clip (available at HM) will allow a bit of breeze to circulate while you stay effortlessly on trend . But the best thing about a heatwave is being able to wear sunglasses, legitimately, and as often as possible. Rayban Wayfarers suit everyone.