The realities of warm weather dressing in the office can be arduous. If you’ve already made the switch to barely-there sandals, you’re probably on first-name terms with your pedicurist. Likewise your dry cleaner, for the delicate beige separates you were encouraged to invest in for spring. Faced with the prospect of continuous sunshine, not all ideas for refreshing your summer wardrobe are such hard work, however. Where the boxy, short-sleeved shirt is concerned, the prospect of getting dressed in under five minutes in the morning is suddenly not all that unrealistic. The modern update on the old-school bowling shirt is the time-poor woman’s friend, because it offers something that we don’t champion often enough in workwear: laziness.
So, who’s doing the new bowling shirts and why are they about to be your favourite fashion shortcut? London-based Korean designer Rejina Pyo’s are made of non-iron, crinkled satin and come in a range of sorbet shades that lift an all-black look. 2019 BFC/Vogue Fashion Fund winner Wales Bonner offers up crisp nylon with an ultra-flattering, silhouette-skimming fit, while New York’s rising star Sandy Liang stocks leopard-print crêpe de Chine. If you’re not in the habit of sloshing juice (ok, Aperol) down your front, you could get away with hanging any/all of the above on the back of the bathroom door for a mild steam, rather than committing to a full wash cycle. Anyhow, you get the gist – this is a minimal maintenance purchase, and if there is ever a season for swerving demanding fashion choices, it’s summer.
As for the styling, there are (at least) four ways that the bowling shirt makes life a little easier. When worn untucked and paired with lightweight trainers, it takes the office-y edge off the pencil skirt you already own, which a pussy-bow blouse won’t. Unbuttoned and layered over a midi dress, or ribbed vest and straight-leg jeans, it will double as a lightweight summer jacket. Useful on days when you don’t want the unnecessary weight or warmth of a blazer.
If suiting is a non-negotiable, this is your modern departure point from the formality of a regular full-sleeve shirt or the conspicuously dressed-down T-shirt. And, lastly, when you’re out of office, the bowling shirt can be too. Chanel teamed its short-sleeved utility shirt with cycling shorts on the SS19 catwalk, and Marni’s polka-dot style or Acne’s linen version work particularly well worn unbuttoned over a swimsuit. Meaning this could be the summer you finally stick within the airline carry-on allowance. Laziness has never looked so good.