With the news of the heat wave continuing at least till Sunday, people the country over are realising one unassailable fact: it’s become necessary to dress for summer. All those summer trends we’ve been cooing over and remarking on for the past few months whilst cosied up in our woolly tights and cashmere, to either ignore completely or adapt into our wardrobe (by layering) are suddenly becoming viable options for leaving the house in. By themselves. Try and add a pastel leather jacket or a neon bright denim and you’re in danger of being over dressed and at risk of heat stroke. In other words, it’s time to put our money where our mouths are.
For some, the thought of actual British summer proper will fill them with undisguised horror, as the inescapable prospect of excessive sweat (ing off make up / y backs of knees / stained strangers whose armpit you will invariably become wedged under on the tube) becomes a sudden very real reality. Limbs that go covered for 11.5 months of the year are suddenly to be exposed and expected to be toned, buffed and bronzed. We’re not used to this and we don’t quite know what to do. It’s for this very reason that, when it comes to dressing for the summer, the general population can be divided into two halves: those that will immediately strip off, parade around in public half naked and incur a painfully lobster-esque sun burn and those that will ignore it completely and continue about as they were, albeit more hot, sweaty and irritable.
I hear your harrumphs and am with you. But with the recent sweltering heat, even I have found myself bare legged, so I speak to you now from the other side: the side of wisdom, slight wariness about this brave new world and a little bit less sweating. Friends, it’s sunny here.
As someone with legs so pale, they resemble milk that’s gone off to the point where it has little pink bits floating in it, I see your body insecurities and raise you cellulite. Equally, however, I refuse to let this season beat me, only to spend the rest of the year reminiscing in rose-tinted tones of glorious summer days. So I have compiled some survival tricks for dressing in the summer heat.
Find clothes that keep you comfortable in summer and can be layered up in winter. Those denim cut offs we all have in our wardrobes, for example: now is the time for them to shine. Equally, a denim dress is set to be a staple over the coming months. Something light weight will see you through the heat then can be worn with a cardigan and chunky boots come August; a worthy investment. And I defy the vast majority of you to look me in the eye and say you don’t have a Topshop tea dress lurking in your wardrobe somewhere. Come on, this is what they were made for.
For those who absolutely refuse to show anymore skin than is necessary, I give you the welcome news that midi skirts are in. Better still, wear a full, flared skirt and be a few steps ahead with a 50’s silhouette that’s big news for A/W13. As ever of course, the maxi dress is the age-old favourite of the warmer months; as is its more androgynous cousin: the jumpsuit.
Now we’ve all stripped off, here’s the tricky bit: colours. I more than anyone am guilty of a wardrobe resembling Morticia Adams’. But here’s a trick to getting away with it, staying cool and looking chic, whilst basically cheating the system entirely: monochrome! Yup, add a white top with those black shorts and bam, you’re stylish.
For those of you who are more adventurous, pick whichever colour you look best in and wear it in a pastel or neon shade (depending on what your complexion can work with). And to those who can pull it off, the age old trick of summer dressing remains: yellow. That’s all you need to know.
Or you can just find some shade, grit your teeth and wait it out, in true British style. It should only be a week or so before things return to normal.
Here are some summer staples to see you through the madness.