The Sartorial Dealmaker: How to Look Good and Keep Your Cool in Hot Weather

Summer in the city means many things: barbecues, patios, nightlife, outdoor soirees. It’s definitely the best time to court clients or entertain colleagues from around the world if you’re stationed in a city like NYC or Toronto, so it’s likely a busy and potentially profitable season for you. So there you are, in all your glory, reaching out to shake hands with a newly arrived potential client or business partner, when their eyes dart to the sweat stain blemishing your carefully considered ensemble. Memorize the following and you’ll conquer the challenge of looking good and professional in the heat. It’s easier than you might think!

Ladies, Lose the Nylons and Forget About Sleeves


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There is absolutely nothing unprofessional about having bare legs in the workplace. Even in the most formal of office settings, as long as the cut and length of your skirt or capri trousers is office appropriate (save the Daisy Dukes for Saturday night), you’re good to go. The same goes for your shoulders – free them! Just keep the width of the area around the shoulder of your shirt in mind. Opt for something around the width of your four fingers together to keep things on the side of business-conservative, and be mindful that the closer to a spaghetti strap you err, the closer you’re moving to an evening look. So, ladies, liberate your arms and legs! Just use common sense with necklines and hemlines to make sure you still look formal and business-like.

Gentlemen, Undershirts Are Your Secret Weapon


(Image Source: Sloane Men)

Understandably, it is a bit counterintuitive to add layers to a summer outfit with the objective of keeping cool, but a tank top made of a high quality, breathable fabric will keep you well ventilated and save your shirts from being discolored by sweat stains over the course of the season. A major consideration is the neckline of the undershirt you choose to layer. Your undershirt should never show in any way, so be mindful of whether the undershirt is visible if you’re choosing to unbutton your dress shirt a tad. If the sleeves of your dress shirt are sheer or form fitting, consider that you don’t want the sleeves of your undershirt to show underneath and layer with that in mind. The point is for the undershirt to be an invisible protection against extra sweat, but keep your secret weapon just that – a secret!

Keep a Summer Survival Kit at Your Desk

Beat the heat with a summer survival kit

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A summer survival is a little tool box of hygiene helpers that you can store discretely. Tailor it to include things specific to your routine and your physique. Does the heat make your skin oily or shiny? Purchase oil absorbing sheets from a cosmetic counter and keep them in your kit to use first thing after your morning commute. Extra deodorant is always a good idea too. My favorite thing to keep handy is hair product – gels, hairspray, pomade – since those tend to loosen their hold if they’re applied first thing in the morning and you’ve gently perspired throughout the day. Along with regularly drinking water to help your body regulate its temperature, these little tools will be all you need to look polished morning to night.

Enjoy the summer in comfortable yet chic style with these little tips. Remember bare legs aren’t always unprofessional, undershirts secretly do help you manage your seasonal looks in the heat, and your personal grooming routines might need a little bit of an added refresher throughout the day, so be ready! What are your go-tos when it comes to balancing heat and office wear?

The Sartorial Dealmaker is a series devoted to business fashion and etiquette. In this monthly feature, we’ll offer style advice for business professionals, both men and women, as well as tips on business etiquette to help you make the right impression. Ever wondered how to look good and keep your cool when it’s 98 degrees in the shade, what to wear for an evening out with clients after work, or which wine to order for the table? The Sartorial Dealmaker has got you covered.

Nicole Edwards

Nicole Edwards is a fashion and lifestyle writer based in Toronto. She has worked as Associate Publisher of Private Islands magazine and Lifestyle Editor of Style Empire, and has contributed to NOW Magazine.