What’s Going On In The Heatwave?
Yesterday was a very big day for me as after three years of writing, reading, drinking too much coffee (and occasionally too much wine) I finally graduated from university with a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. I got to wear the hat and everything.
We’ve been having a bit of a heatwave here in England this week and so (typically) half of the population has been complaining, the other half have been enthusiastically roaming the streets in states of undress, and everyone has been talking about the fact that it is, indeed, hot. Unfortunately for my friends and I, the heavy black graduation robe which we had to wear yesterday was not exactly ideal for the hot weather.
This got me thinking about the way in which people choose to dress when its hot, particularly in England, where it doesn’t happen hugely often. The English and the sun are not always a match made in heaven, and at this time of the year the streets become overrun with sweaty, red people in cheap shorts and stained tank tops.
However, sophisticated dressing and hot weather should not be mutually exclusive, so I thought that today I’d list my Ten Commandments of Summer 2014.
1. Thou Shalt Not Wear Flip-Flops.
The espadrille wedge sandal is big news this year, and provides any outfit with a touch more sophistication than a pair of flip flops. In summer, when it is too hot to layer and even accessorizing an seem like an unneccessary bother, there is a tendency to dress simply; perhaps in a plain summer dress or t-shirt and shorts. A pair of statement shoes can be an easy way to make a boring outfit pop, so don’t be afraid to try something in a bright colour, or with stand-out details; like this pair below, from L.K. Bennett.
2. Thou Shalt Embrace Culottes.
This season we have been seeing a lot of culottes donning legs both on and off the catwalk, and they’re a great alternative if you need something a little more chic than tiny denim shorts, or a little more practical than a pretty skirt. Victoria Beckham led the way with the culotte trend back in September, when she paired a stylish black pair with a white shirt and black heels at her New York show. This look is sleek and smart enough to be perfect for the office, whilst the loose flowing material will ensure you don’t boil on the bus home.
3. Thou Shalt Swap Dresses for Playsuits.
Playsuits are a staple of my summer wardrobe, as they are cute, fun, and a little different to the standard sun dress; I tend to belt them at the waist in order to both add an extra detail and prevent me from looking like a marshmallow. Most of my playsuits are vintage, and shops like Beyond Retro or Absolute Vintage always have a wide selection.
4. Thou Shalt Avoid Leather Like the Plague.
Remember to try to stick with light, breathable fabrics like cotton or linen; things like lycra, denim or leather aren’t going to do you any favours. Remember that episode of Friends where Ross gets too hot in the leather pants that he can’t get them back on? You don’t want that happening at the office.
5. Thou Shalt Fan.
You’ll never be bothered by the lack of air conditioning again. Duvelleroy have an incredible selection here, I want them all.
6. Thou Shalt Wear a Hat.
If, like me, you’re a bit on the pale side and you don’t want a shiny tomato face by the end of a sunny day, a hat is a very good idea; in fact, get a hat anyway, they look great.
7. Thou Shalt Not Tan Awkwardly.
If you’re going to be out in the sun all day, please be careful with tan lines (or burn lines). There is nothing more tacky, nothing more horribly English tourist than white lines criss-crossing a red shoulder or back, shining like a ghostly beacon amidst peeling skin. You’re left with the choice between displaying to the world just how pale you normally are, wearing the same strappy top all summer, or covering up completely. Just avoid the hassle in the first place; wear suncream, wear a shirt, or go naked (and don’t blame me if you get arrested for that last one).
8. Thou Shalt Experiment With Shirts.
Following on from that last point, a lose fitting shirt can be a stylish, versatile way to keep cool in the summer. Tuck in to high-waisted skirts, shorts or culottes, or tie at the waist for a playfully sophisticated look.
9. Thou Shalt Not Squint.
Statement sunglasses! Stop you from squinting, hide melting make up, and guaranteed to make you feel like a Hollywood star.
10. Thou Shalt Party.
Last but not least, remember to have fun! Summer is all about relaxing, and style doesn’t have to come at the price of comfort, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different looks and pieces which you might not have tried before. If you don’t have the physique of a Vogue cover model, it can be easy to feel daunted by the thought of short shorts or tiny dresses; however, wear what you like and wear it with confidence and you’ll be winning at Summer. Just, if you live in England, do it quickly, because it will probably be raining again next week.