Style dilemma: no need to be as barmy as the weather

What is it about hot balmy days that makes women go barmy about what they wear?

Why, just because the sun has come out, would a woman who knows she looks much better in a straight skirt in winter suddenly swathe her bottom half in volumes of highly patterned fabric, and wear a tight t-shirt on her top half showing off bra-straps and rolls of fat.

It’s a peculiarly British thing to do; continental women continue to take care of their appearance in the heat – and to be fair in most parts of Europe there is a longer, hotter summer.

But in reality, even in the UK there are at least four summer months which are warm enough to wear summer clothes; and with careful purchasing you can still look and feel cool as well as looking stylish during even the hottest of the heat waves.

A good investment at the heart of a summer capsule wardrobe is a cotton trouser or skirt suit, as the pieces can be worn independently – and the jacket can be worn or not depending on the temperature – and can look great over jeans or other bottom halves. A heavier cotton stretch is a good option and now available in many collections.

Another good staple is a very simply cut, collarless summer dress just below the knee which can have a small cap sleeve or be sleeveless. Choose something either button-through with a belt or what I call a body dress – a very simple, but beautifully cut dress like the one below with no ornamentation that you can use as a basis for accessorising in lots of different ways.

bodydress2

Less is more in the summer as it is in winter.

Getting shoes right in the summer is important. Summer shoes tend to be more uncomfortable than winter shoes; and often people seem to worry less about what’s on their feet in the summer. This seems a bit silly to me as more of the foot is exposed. A pedicure is not a luxury in the summer because other people see your feet too.

A tip: as summer shoes often have a thinner sole, you tend to feel the pavement and hard surfaces more under foot; and I have on occasion asked a good shoe mender to add an extra layer of sole to make them more comfortable.  Of course, a small platform on a summer shoe solves this problem.

Not having a coat means you can be more indulgent with the size of your bag. A bag made of linen with a leather trim, like the ones below, is a good investment because you can bring it out year after year. Many of the top chic bag manufacturers tend to do one of these a year because it is such a good standby.

dressandbag

Over the coming weeks I plan to do a series of posts re-introducing the capsule wardrobe concept and showing you how to put it all together.  If you follow the approach you won’t suffer from silly season  summer style again.

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