Privilege Blog

Evolving The Warm Weather Work Uniform

Anyone else stalking the retail jungle for a warm weather uniform? I’ve been yanking cashmere v-necks up over my head, rapidly, a lot of late. Time to haul home more spring-suitable gear. So, a couple of weekends ago, I looked at sandals to wear with my herds of trousers.

I tried these on at Saks. Tod’s.

Source: via Amid on Pinterest

And these at Neiman Marcus by Marni.

Source: via Amid on Pinterest

Block heels are going to be big this summer. Mark my words. I stood deep in hipster Sixties juju, intoxicated by my own approximation of cool. But my feet hurt. The Marnis were particularly painful. Boo. Not a good working strategy for Sturdy Gals. What now?

I just can’t get the skirt with oxfords trope out of my mind. Maybe I could substitute “dress” for “skirt,” and “all kinds of other comfortable shoes” for “oxfords?” And this dove grey dress is so politely endearing. Say grey’s not a color and I’ll close my eyes and shake my head, rapidly.

cobalt blue love dove gray so much

What about a cobalt trench and marine blue Hester van Eegehn backpack? All kinda fancy dancing. Warm weather sets even Sturdy Gals down the path to a maypole. We move from hunt to celebration, as one does.  You’ll find me in the stores in this weekend, muttering about possibilities, and driving my shopping companion wholly and completely bonkers.

If you have warm weather trophies hanging on your wall already, do tell.

Mark Grechen’s words too. She had a whole post on them.

36 Responses

  1. As I (very slowly) shrink, I shop in the back of my closet. I pulled out a pair of white capris with a pale blue flower pattern this last week that I haven’t worn in over two years – very nice with a white tee, faded blue cambric button-up and white flats. (Capris, tees and sandals/ballet flats are my warm weather uniform; thank goodness for a casual work environment…)

  2. Luckily, the work I do in the summer (research, writing, and next year’s class prep) is done at home where I can wear whatever I want. Still, I love wearing dresses in the summer as one of the most comfortable options in heat with less body contact than pants. Those are not necessarily the most work-ready dresses, though.
    I’ve been really liking the way my new Fluevog brogues (Connies, in a light grey suede, perforated to breathe) work with everything, many dresses included. I’ve also bought new (Fluevog, Nzame) loafers in cream and tan leather that surprise me by going well with shirt-dresses, simple shifts. Ballet flats, of course (my Repettos have a short block heel). But I have to admit my mainstay in summer: Birkenstock (Gizeh) thong in bronze . . . Artsy Cousin meets Sturdy Gal? Or just no?

  3. I have an ancient but well-loved 3/4 sleeve navy linen blend jacket (slub weave, single breasted, boxy cut, four big buttons, unlined, washable, small and widely spaced pinstripe) that I tend to wear when I’m trying to dress business-casual in warm weather. Almost a blazer in appearance, but no not really, and feels more like I’ve just draped a linen shirt over my shoulders. Plays well with many solid colours but not so many prints.

  4. I dislike sandals, as they collect dirt, ugh.
    In general, Tods fit me well. This season´s collection though was a small disappointment.
    If you like to carry a back bag, then you will.
    For me, it would be impossible, I couldn´t, I wouldn´t, ever, never.
    However, the gray dress would look fine on you!

  5. I like the look of Tods but they hurt my feet. I’m still working on dress or skirt options. I like the idea of a dress. I like gray. It is one of my favorite colors.

  6. I think you’re going down a good path with the dress (which is darling, by the way.) My spring and summer uniform tends to be dresses at least half the time.

    They’re so simple and versatile. Change up the accessories and you have a whole new look.

  7. I’m not a big sandal fan either, except for flat, beachy sandals. My summer uniform changes very little from my winter uniform. Jeans, lighter weight shirts and tees, cotton cardigans, and I did splurge on a pair of Prada oxfords, which I absolutely adore. So comfortable, and also look great with certain dresses.
    I did buy a short sort of safari (ish) navy blazer – hope I wear it!

  8. Gosh, did you ever nail it on the block heels being big this year, I have seen them everywhere. But a big double-boo on the shoes not being comfy, with a heel that broad and low there’s no excuse for them hurting.

    Smiles Miss Privilege,

  9. No Shoes That Hurt is my Prime Directive when it comes to footwear. You know I love my Dansko sandals, even if they are a bit clunky. Warm weather work uniforms…how to stay cool (or warm if the office a/c channels Arctic winds) and still look work-appropriate? I’m still working that one out.

  10. Hard to believe these shoes have come back in style. Maybe I should have kept a few pair.

    Wish I could add to the warm weather work attire conversation, but I can’t. I’ve been retired too long for anything to be relevant. However, I think dresses and skirts are so much cooler than trousers in the summer heat.

    1. Dress is on its way. Gravatis in blue were too clunky. In burgundy and black, however, lovely.

  11. So far, I have this skirt from Talbot’s

    These shoes from Ecco

    These shoes from Naturalizer

    And a couple of new silk shells in “sorbet” colors to wear with navy.

    However, as you know, it is still rainy and yucky here and I am getting impatient to get on with it.

  12. My work has changed so much in the last 10 years, I almost never get to wear the cute little sandals I adore so much. And I *love* those Tod’s in the first picture. The bone-colored strap over the instep would be very elongating (slimming), not that my feet every got fat.

    I have so many shoes packed under the eaves, I don’t even know what’s up there. My biggest excitement last year was buying a pair of Cole Haan stacked sandals that had the Nike Air thingy in the heels. I could actually sprint in them and still wear them with a dress without looking butch.

    Not that I ever wear dresses anymore, either. Working at home a few days a week, my summer “uniform” is cropped heather grey yoga pants and mercerized cotton or linen tops. If I get chilled, I’ll throw on an old, grey, cashmere cardigan that I love to death or dig out some of my J. Crew whisper-weight cashmere sweaters that are in much better shape. Hair in a top knot. And I go barefoot a lot … or slip on my old pink ballet flats–real ones from when I actually danced. :^)

  13. I love the dress and the Ferragamos. I actually wore out a pair of very similar Ferragamos when I was working full-time. I wore a hole right through the upper part of the shoe. That’s how much I loved those shoes! I hope you find some you love as much. I’m with Mater on the dress issue – much cooler for the summer heat, and pretty, too.

  14. I definitely like the Tod’s more than the Marni shoes. I think it is because the Tod’s seem lighter, less-clunky and more streamlined. I hope you got them!!

    I am a big cobalt person. The dress is wonderful but I certainly love the grey too. I wear grey all the time. For some reason it just works with my complexion and brown hair without looking mousey. I hope you know cobalt can tie a LOT of different things together so go for it!

  15. How about more pants like those beautiful khakis you found last year? And the grey dress, definitely. I can also see you in a box-pleat cotton skirt and blouse. Not shirt, blouse. Spring/summer clothes take more upkeep than winter, no way around it. Have fun shopping!

  16. Sandal’s are a no,no in the country where I spend most of my time.

    Have just bought a pair of Dries V N woven flats..seemed ok when I first wore them,here comes the ‘but’ too low across the toe and painful,now stuck with them!

    They sit eyeing me reproachfully. Ida

  17. I like the block heeled sandals! They do not look comfy though, and I do not wear uncomfortable shoes to work (unless it’s a modeling job and i wear whatever I’m told… :) ). Instead, I opt for ballet flats in every color I can find and also dressy flat sandals. Libraries aren’t all that formal, especially in the Children’s Department, so I can get away with my Jack Rogers. I do love the oxford idea, and while I worry my big feet might look bigger, I want to explore this…. post some pics when you find something divine!

  18. I like the Tod’s. They’re sturdy with the comfy chunky heel that’s so easy to walk purposefully in, without the walking-on-blocks look.

  19. Yesterday it occurred to me I was wearing several pieces of clothing in what I felt was a shade best described as mouse.

    Don’t tell me mouse isn’t a color.

    But I don’t think it’s a warm weather color.

    xo jane

  20. Wait. Did your Belgians ever arrive? They’re gonna be great with this dress. And so will your Sperry wedges.

  21. The dress is beautiful. I recently got a similar dress in wool that is See by Chloe in a thrift store. I wear it with boots and tights now, but will progress to sandals with tights, and then eventually just sandals. Although others can look great in oxfords/brogues or ballet flats with dresses, it looks terrible on me! Finding sandals that are comfortable with only an inch or two heel is challenging.

    Shoes that have been great in the past are Beautifeel and Naot, but they don’t often have attractive styles in my opinion. Most recently, I’ve gotten Ralph Lauren espadrilles (not great reviews) but a coworker likes those she has, and beige sandals by a Spanish company called Wonders. Arche is a very expensive French brand but very comfortable. Clarks and Dansko can be good if you don’t mind sandals that are a little more casual/klunky. Mary Janes if you like that style and it’s not extremely hot can also be an option.

    These would be my pick for your gray dress. Note that they are far more gray in person than shown on the website:

    For something far more casual, I saw young women wearing these on the East Coast (Vineyard) with dresses. I’ve not tried it yet, but have thought about it. Not sure if this would be too far out there for you or not.


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