This is what you can and can't wear to work during a heatwave

As temperatures continue to soar, many are ditching the jeans and jumpers and donning shorts and t-shirts instead.

However, although this may be suitable when not at work, the dos and don’ts of what to wear in the office during the sweltering heat can be difficult to navigate.

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Unfortunately, there is no one, clear rule for when the temperatures rise. Though there have been renewed calls for a change in the law.

Different companies having varying policies and some jobs sectors and roles require specific uniform whatever the weather.


Unfortunately for some, if you work in a role which has a strict uniform policy, the options of what to wear in the warmer weather may be limited.

Some roles may provide an alternative choice of uniform or perhaps clothing which can provide lighter layers. But there are some roles which require a certain dress-code to be adhered to whatever the weather, usually due to safety.

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Check the policy

It’s always worth checking your company’s uniform policy to check the dos and don’ts during warmer temperatures.

If you work in a more casual environment shorts may be allowed, but for other places this may be an absolute no-go.

It’s always worth checking your company’s uniform policy to check the dos and don’ts during warmer temperatures (Photo: Shutterstock)

Some companies with a strict dress policy may offer a dress-down option during hot weather.

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Although this doesn’t necessarily mean beach-wear, it may offer the option of cooler, comfier clothing during soaring temperatures.

Last summer, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) suggested allowing staff to work flexible hours to avoid travelling in the rush hour and allowing workers to wear lightweight clothes.

General secretary, Frances O'Grady, said, "It's no fun working in a baking office or factory and employers should do all they can to take the temperature down.

"The most simple way for staff to keep cool inside when it's scorching outside is being able to work in more casual clothing. While shorts and vest tops may not be appropriate for all, nobody should be made to wilt in the heat for the sake of keeping up appearances”.

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If you still need to look smart for work, but want to stay cool during the warmer weather, there are certain steps you can take to ensure this.

What to avoid


Denim can be heavy to wear, especially during the heat. Opting for cooler, looser materials can boost comfort and provide breathability during warmer temps.


If your place of work doesn’t require tights to be worn with dresses or skirts, consider ditching them whilst the weather is warm.

Avoiding clothing such as jeans and tights can help you to keep cooler in warmer temperatures (Photo: Shutterstock)

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Choosing tights that are lighter in colour and have a lower denier can help to keep cooler if you do have to wear them to work.

If you're considering wearing something that you would potentially wear on the beach though, it's probably best avoided.

Things to consider

Lighter materials

Opting for clothing made out of linen, silk and muslin can make a significant difference during warmer weather.

These materials are all breathable, so if you do have to stick to a smart dress code, switching to a different material can still ensure you’re cool and comfy during the summer.

Buy the next size up

This ensures clothes are a little looser, and will therefore help you to feel cooler during the heat.