As this week’s more-than-balmy temperatures have clearly established, it’s summer. But this is not the summer of our youth. More than one million acres of the United States is covered by a so-called heat dome. Today’s heat index in DC is expected to reach 120. Do we really have to go to work and dress professionally? Shouldn’t the government give us a “heat index” day? I’d much rather have the city closed on a day like today than on a day when we get 6 inches of snow.
But I digress. While there probably isn’t much one can do to dress for the weather today, on a normal, low-90s hot and humid DC day, you can make wardrobe choices that will keep you cooler but allow you to still look professional. For example, from the time the post-winter temperatures climb into the 60s until it’s cool enough for tall boots, my legs are always bare. Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, this is a choice not only dictated by weather. Overall, I am, you might say, anti-pantyhose. I wear opaque tights in the fall/winter, but there is nothing that would ever compel me to don a pair of pantyhose any time of year. Not even Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, and ridiculously outdated royal protocol are likely to change my mind.
Royal fashion aside, if you are going to reveal bare legs this summer, I’d like to offer some seasonal rules to live by:
1. If you reject leg coverage for the office, your skirt length better be long enough and the material should be work appropriate. I’m not a prude. I’m fun and adventurous when it comes to my wardrobe. But don’t wear a skirt-length that better belongs in a nightclub or at the beach. No one should look like a skin-tern.
2. If you are a coverage “tween” and opt for Spanx, just a warning that we should not be able to see the signs of said underpinnings when you are sitting down with your legs crossed.
3. If you use self-tanner at least apply it correctly. One guy friend of mine reported seeing a woman on the metro recently who had only applied self-tanner to the bottom half of her legs. Personally, I reject self-tanners. I hate the smell. I hate the color. But if you must self-tan, at least do the whole leg.
I understand that some stuffy offices might not allow you to skip hose. If this is the case for you, I only ask that you please don’t wear heavy black tights on a 98-degree day. Seriously, Kaitlan witnessed a woman doing just that the other day. And today, Holly saw a woman wearing long black leggings. Pants are always a better (and breezier) option.
And ladies, be thankful that you don’t have to wear a so-called “lightweight wool” navy blue suit with your shirt buttoned snugly around the neck and a tie wrapped around for good measure. This is one area where we have one up on the boys.