19 July, 2011

What to Wear to Work

19 July, 2011

In the Hong Kong heat, there’s one question that is trickier than any other – what the heck can we wear to look presentable and chic rather than scruffy and shiny?! The uber-stylish Tania of T Like Bubble Tea (whose day job is in finance) tells us how she does it!

Dressing for work in Hong Kong in the summer can be a daunting experience: the extreme heat combined with humidity and occasional thunderstorms make our lives pretty difficult. I work in finance but I have always had a passion for design and fashion so getting dressed for work is usually a dilemma.  I have to say that I am quite inspired by the local Hong Kong ladies who have banned the unflattering black ill fitted suits (that can still be spotted on our colleagues in London) and have opted for more feminine dresses.

So what are my perfect Hong Kong summer must haves?

Of course a well fitted dress is always a winner. My personal favorites are shirt dresses and shift dresses. The former in a sleeveless form especially look pulled together and and professional but still allow you to stay cool. Go for more fitted shape if you have a boyish figure or are more top heavy or an A-line shape if you are more bottom heavy. The best place for shirt dresses is Club Monaco. While being slightly pricey they have a great fit.

Shifts are my other savior. Now I never wear my shifts loose always adding a belt as that can give structure to a shift provide support after a big client lunch and also you can always wear different belts to completely change the look of the dress. I like using a thin silk scarf with my shift when I want to look more feminine. Best for shifts is definitely Zara, Button Hole and surprisingly Nine West.

Asos is also brilliant for workwear dresses. For those scared of buying online one of my rule of thumbs is to study how the outfit looks on the model (If something looks bad or ill fitting chances are it will look even worse on me).

As I am more pear shaped trousers are always very tricky. I find the best cuts are by Massimo Dutti, Club Monaco (for cropped pants) and Theory (stocked at Lane Crawford). The most chic shape for this fall season is cropped which is perfect for Hong Kong as the endless hills and stairs always make me bring a pair of flats and cropped trousers work equally well with flats and heels. Now the cut is crucial, they should be boyish preferably half a size bigger, and cut at the slimmest part of your leg. Unless you are very tall and skinny stay away from the wide leg cropped types.


For the fall season it’s all about ladylike clothes. Nothing is better than a pencil or A line midi. The midi is more forgiving while the pencil is more sexy. I like to pair mine with a short sleeve blouse, or a bright colour top. Best for skirts are ASOS.com, Zara and Massimo Dutti. If you like more girly styles I would also pop by Jill Stuart in IFC.

Here I like to experiment. You can always get away with more colorful, crazy print in a top, as long as you keep the rest of the outfit dark or neutral. I would try the snake skin pattern, ladylike blouse, or one of the blue or green jewel colours  that will be so trendy this fall.

Sleeveless shirts are another classic, boyish (another trend for fall 2012) and minimal you can always take your old shirt to a tailor and ask him to cut off the sleeves, go for white or navy blue and pair it with a  brighter skirt for a pop of colour.

ASOS.com, Shopbop.com, Zara, H&M, Button Hole, Home (opposite Button Hole) are all good bets for nice tops.

Perfectly tailored jacket
I would say Massimo Dutti is the best bet. Their jackets are always very well cut, reasonably priced, are great quality and tend to have quirky detailing, such as silk pattern on the inside. I wear mine with my sleeves slightly rolled up.

P.S. Almost forgot must-have survival items: grey thin Havaianas for the rainy days, face wipes for the heat and humidity, a pair of flats and a pashmina (for the evil air con), a Vitamin C or even better Berroca for those days when I need some extra energy boost, I tend to keep these in my bag or/and my office drawer.

For more of Tania, check out her amazing blog, T Like Bubble Tea!

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