Looking for best fabric for business attire in tropical climates
I'm still hunting for clothing that I can travel with (i.e. no linen or cotton - too many wrinkle problems) that will breathe nicely in the tropical climates in Asia (which eliminates anything polyester or microfibre). I've seen suits in matte jersey and lightweight wools, but still am not sure which would be the best investment. So, I turn to the experienced women here -- what fabric do you swear by for your summer business travel attire? I'm in a conservative industry, so suits or at least dress pants/skirts with twinsets are the norm.
Since moving to Hawai`i, I try my best to stay away from suits. I can't find any that are breathable and allow me to stay cool. However, when I have to wear a suit, I generally carry the suit jacket with me until I get inside where there is air conditioning. I generally wear a sleeveless or short sleeved silk top under my suit jacket so it looks nice when the jacket is off. Of course, you'll want to find the summer suits that most high end manufacturers offer to maximize the lightness of the fabric.
My alternative is usually a pretty chiffon skirt (print pattern on top with light lining underneath). These are light and loose enough for air to circulate around my legs. The skirts also release wrinkles easily if you just hang them in the bathroom when you take a shower or with a quick steam of the iron. I top the skirts with sleeveless tops (anything lightweight) and usually a light matching cardigan.
I also see many women here wearing the Software sets which come in jackets, tops, pants and skirts. I have a couple of these pieces and they don't wrinkle and are light.
Recently, I've noticed more cotton with lyra blend jackets and skirts which look like they might fit your needs without the wrinkling of regular cotton.
Just back from a meeting in Manhattan today - not really tropical but the humidity was HIGH and temps in the 80's. I wore a moss green silk sweater set and slim black pants with some lycra so no worries about wrinkles from humidity. Black sandals. IN the real tropics I'd wear light colored slacks with some lycra and sandals. This was great for Japan in the summer. A linen short sleeve skirt suit just dissolved into a wrinkled mess. The skirt kept riding up, the blouse got sweaty at the waist band and the jacket was a nuisance to carry when not in air conditioning. I threw away one suit because it was such a mess after a hot day in Osaka.
I prefer to wear pants rather than skirts with sandals in the summer. I don't like to wear skirts without hose (another thread!!!) and when wearing hose I always need to carry another pair because I'm paranoid about wearing runned hose. (Catholic school girl worries do hang on!). I like pants cause its just one smooth line to sandals.
Another top idea is to find a sports top with wicking material that also will do for business.
I feel cool if my clothes are light and "smooth". I feel hot and sloppy with clothes that look messy, rumpled, need "tending" and this distracts me in a business meeting. Clothes with some lycra allow that sleek cool look and feel, pastels also seem to be cooler. I also prefer pants to skirts for business when getting in and out of limos, planes, trains, carrying briefcase, purse, papers for meeting,etc.
This summer I've been wearing a lot of classic wrap dresses in cotton or silk jersey. With stockings, pearls, and a great pair of heels, its a classic that works.
I'm also partial to dress/jacket combos w/ sleeveless dresses.
Its funny - I was thinking today that since most of my business travel now consists of one to two 30 to 90 minute meetings (and the rest of my time on my own), I do a lot better packing dresses or the like as opposed to the mix/match suiting separates I used to pack for week long trips.
There are some wrinklefree coton products out there, but I haven't seen many for business attire, especially for women. I think Landsend carries some stuff, though.
I really don't care for synthetics, so I pack a lot of coton and linen in summer. I found a product that's a lifesaver for getting out wrinkles called Magic Wrinkle Remover by Faultless (3rd product down on the page). This stuff is great. A quick spray and tug on the way out the door, and most wrinkles are history. It's particularly effective on linen.
It's aerosol, and I think you're not supposed to take aerosol on a plane, but I have packed it in my checked luggage without any problems.
Downy makes a similar product with a pump spray, but I don't like the way it smells.
techgirl, could you give some links for those classic wrap dresses? They seem like they would fit the bill for professional clothing here in the hot and humid South. Thanks.
The "mother" of all wrap dresses is the original class Diane Von Furstenberg . While not "easy" to find as a bargain, if you scout around, you will see them at half or less of the sales price.
There are many other designers who also do wrap styles - ABS/Alan Schwartz, DKNY, as well as the private labels for Macys, May Company, etc. I picked up three of the May Company's dresses last fall on one of those Saturday one-day sale promotions.
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Originally Posted by techgirl
This one is the one I've been trying to talk myself out of for a couple of days now.
For years I have been trying on DVF wrap dresses. IMHO, they make me look fat and the prints are cheezy. DVF and I are about the same age. I do like that she continues to reinvent herself. OTOH, one does not normally see her in her own design. I recall, a few years ago seeing her walking on MadisonAve. She she looked great. Hair flying, scarves flying...good looking New Y ork Woman TechGirl, I tried on this dress:http://www.saksfifthavenue.com/main/...=1120878365775
Looked like a Zebra in heat.
Hey, if it works for you......
I'm very much built for dresses and skirts. I tried for years to do the pant suits that my other female colleagues lived in, but they just make me look stocky. I have a waist and too much hip/butt - I was built for dresses. Now I wear retro-styled tweed skirts with tailored sweater sets - or wrap dresses. When I do wear pants, I go for more fluid styles with softer styles of jackets (belted wraps, etc.) and it works.
My huge wardrobing problem at the moment is what to do with the dozens of biz casual pieces I have now that I no longer need. Since the company changed hands, I wear jeans or long skirts w/ tanks to the office. I wear suits to clients. While I had a few fun biz casual pieces I would wear on the weekend, everything boring is going to friends or resale because I have no use for it anymore.
Thanks for the links! I do like the African print dress. A couple of months ago, I purchased the Women's Regular 3/4-sleeve Matte Jersey Wrap Dress from Landsend. I love it. It's flattering, comfortable, and it travels really well. I'm now keeping my eye out for other wrap dresses to add to my daily and travel wardrobes.
Living in the deep (and humid) South, I wear a lot of lightweight cotton and silk knits and washable linen. I like Eileen Fisher and have a lightweight, tweedy-looking shirt jacket of viscose and linen that goes over practically everything (I wear a lot of black); it can be rolled in a ball and comes out looking fine.
Before you buy anything, give it the scrunch test.
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Last edited by Tennisbum; Jul 14, 05 at 8:03 am.
Reason: forgot something