As you head back to kick-start the new work year, you'll be seeking office-appropriate attire to brave the heat. Pieces cut in natural fibres are the most breathable and enjoyable to wear at this time of year, with linen, cotton and finely woven merino the best options. These fibres are naturally high wicking, drawing moisture away from the skin and helping to regulate body temperature. Here are my top 10 summer workwear pieces to help you avoid potential boardroom meltdowns. 

Helen Cherry Lola dress, $679
Helen Cherry is known and loved for workwear and her floral dresses are consistently a summer hit. The Lola has a feminine silhouette and is cut in a lightweight silk crêpe de Chine. It has a high neckline and is hemmed just above the knee, so even though this will feel like you’re wearing next to nothing, it remains office-appropriate. Shop


Wynn Hamlyn crossover tank, $260
Wynn has been playing around with crossover elements for a few seasons now, so much so that this stretch-cotton tank is immediately recognisable as his work. A perfect foundation to any outfit, this statement tank would look fantastic paired with heels and a well-cut pair of suit trousers. Shop


Wixii Maverick linen pants, $195, and shirt, $175
Came here for these linen pants, stayed for the linen shirt. These would look amazing worn together, but would be equally as impactful separated and paired with something neutral. Wixii have several other wide-legged summer trousers in stock that are worth checking out if you’re in the market for relaxed, easy-to-wear pants. Shop

Marle Hunter shirt in seacrest, $280
Marle is a wonderful place to check out if you’re after linen, cotton or lightly woven pieces. There is a huge selection at the moment, including dresses, skirts, blouses and tops. This linen shirt would look lovely paired with wide linen trousers or a linen skirt, French tucked at the front and hanging loose at the rear to catch any office air-con breeze. Shop 

Remain tiered maxi skirt, $239
Wearing a voluminous maxi skirt in a cotton or linen is the ultimate heat hack. Choose a block-coloured fabric, preferably in a neutral to avoid your outfit looking like resort wear. Shop


Yu Mei Claudia tote, $920
Yu Mei has gone from strength to strength of late and is rumoured to be opening a second Auckland store this year. (The first is in the CBD’s Commercial Bay, and there’s also an outlet in Wellington.) This is a pretty impressive move for a young brand, especially when you consider how hard the fashion industry was hit during 2020. This canvas tote may not reduce your body temperature but it would tie in very well with a neutral linen or cotton ensemble. Shop

Working Style oatmeal linen trousers, $229
A modern fit, relaxed and tapered in the leg, these linen trousers give a timeless, elegant look. Perfect for summer, and as far as trousers go, hard to beat when the temperatures soar. Also available in navy and brown if the oatmeal isn’t your thing. Shop

Crane Brothers blue chambray linen shirt, $345
We are spoilt for choice when it comes to linen shirts this season and if you have a quick look around, you’ll find something to appeal to all tastes and budgets. This Crane Brothers number is my pick of the current bunch. Here, it’s in a tasteful blue stripe, but it’s also available in a glorious sunshine yellow for those who like a pop of colour. Shop


Asuwere pima daily tee, $80
Depending on your office environment and its dress code, you may get away with a tee shirt at work, as long as it’s paired with well-cut trousers and great footwear. That said, it has to be the RIGHT tee shirt. The simplicity of this one from Asuwere caught my eye and I’d love to see it paired with the Working Style linen trousers seen above. Shop



Dune London woven moccasins, $200 from David Jones
I feel for men during the warmer months. Women get to wear sandals to the office, but there is an expectation that men fully contain their feet. Let your feet breathe with these woven leather moccasins for the warmer months. They won’t be everyone’s cup of joe but I think they are smashing. Shop

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