We take a look at how to plan a stylish outfit even when it's sweltering
Summer has always been my least favourite season, sartorially. I much prefer warm boots and soft layers to gritty sandals and sweaty dresses. If there's one thing I can’t stand, it's those heavy beads of summer sweat that roll all the way down my spine. It makes me want to leap straight into a pool, any pool. In August, I'll be in Savannah, Georgia, with its high heat and humidity to properly test my summer coping skills.
It's hard staying chic in summer. My solution is a long loose maxi dress, but finding the right one is tricky. Far too much of the high street is polyester which not only feels terrible to wear in the heat but also makes you sweat more. I always choose clothing fabrics carefully but in the summer, I'm especially careful. I focus on two things: 1) natural breathable fibres and 2) cheerful colours or patterns that won't show moisture. Plain cotton and linen are the best, but I also look for light towelling fabric, seersucker, gingham, and even a light textured knit.
I tend to shop for good cotton or linen dresses at only a handful of reliable places. British brand Aspiga (online) is my first stop for floaty cotton and linen dresses with well thought out details that look just as chic in an urban setting as they do in a tropical one. Plus, every item of clothing in their range is sustainably and ethically made, so your purchases are actually doing some good for the people who make them. Another sustainable British brand that should be on your hot weather radar is Cucumber clothing (online). Cucumber was founded by three women over 50 who created a unique high-tech fast-drying fabric and it's particularly well-loved by frequent travellers because the garments dry in no time after a quick wash.
"I may not feel very enthusiastic about summer clothes, but my bright and colourful wardrobe won't give me away!"
Now for a few high street summer options... The White Company always carries an excellent range of dresses and tunics in natural fibres. Their trademark monochrome palette doesn't suit everyone (including me) but the styles are timeless and stylish. For unusual and flattering colours, I go to Uniqlo. They always have very well-priced basic cotton and linen clothing. My favourite purchase this summer is a red cotton seersucker maxi length skirt from Uniqlo.
Quite honestly, my loose summer dresses are more functional than stylish, so I rely on accessories to give my style its trademark punch in hot weather. Earlier this year, I discovered the accessories range at Aspiga and went a little crazy. Like the clothing, all of their brightly beaded handbags and sandals are ethically and sustainably made. The meticulous beadwork is second to none, and the hardwearing sandals elevate even the simplest white cotton dress. In my wardrobe, the multicolour beaded handbags are a particularly worthy purchase since I can use them year round with almost any outfit. I may not feel very enthusiastic about summer clothes, but my bright and colourful wardrobe won't give me away!
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