Friday, 8 April 2011


It's been gloriously spring (even summer) like during the last few days in London. And it's got me to thinking about my summer wardrobe. 
I’ve never found summer dressing easy. I suppose the problem is I know what I’d like it to be, and somehow, more often than not, I seem to miss the mark.

As I’ve said on many occasions before, I love easy, effortless summer dressing. The kind of clothes that go hand in hand with a healthy tan, that speak of road trips, balmy nights, sea-tousled hair and sun-warmed skin. I tend to look pale, slightly wilted and like the sun and are just long lost acquaintances that have never felt comfortable on first name terms.
I’m not sure how much of this is to do with having very fair skin that refuses to tan, and being the type of girl who is not willing to cover every inch of my in high maintenance fake tan to achieve the desired look. I’ve flirted with the idea of a very, very light spray tan – but I have visions of emerging orange and foolish.
 When I bemoan my tan-less state, I’m often told I have that classic ‘English Rose’ colouring and that it suits me down to the ground. I put it to you that this could be the case because they’ve never known me look any other way. :)

Is it this fair skin that lends me my air of anti-summerness? It may simply all be in my head. Either way if one is pale and proud, (which to a certain extent I am), then one has to accept that skin requires a lot more maintenance come the summer months. A tan can hide a multitude of sins, and without this cover you have to keep up a strict regime of exfoliation and moisturisation! (I feel a summer beauty post coming on.)

Skin shade aside, I think the clothes can often be a problem too. I am always on the look-out for structured shorts and skirts of a certain length – they must be lined, not see through and not show off more of my bottom than public decency allows. This is not as easy as it seems. The majority of shorts in my usual haunts are unlined hot pants – structured, slightly longer short seems to be a rarity. I don’t like feeling over exposed – and to be honest it is rare that it is hot enough to necessitate this.
 I don’t find holiday dressing difficult – when temperatures soar and you’re in another country, off duty, it is much easier. But at work, and in the city, on a normal week day, there are certain standards to be observed, don’t you find? And so often you see people who get a whiff of warm weather and break out their summer holiday clothes, and these just aren’t quite appropriate somehow. Perhaps I’m too strict. :)


My summer wardrobe staples would be made up of pieces like the above – silk round neck (scoop neck at a push) t-shirts, and silk vests in muted colours, grey marl t-shirts, aforementioned shorts, lighter weight trousers in place of jeans, a selection of sandals and a pair each of nude and black ballet pumps. I love lightweight but cosy jumpers over the top too when things get chilly – either that or a light boulcĂ© jacket for a smarter look. And bags – in an ideal world, the BEAUTIFUL moss green Balenciaga bag would work a treat, as well as a smaller day bag where necessary (a Mulberry Lily might fit the bill).

I find that with my summer wardrobe I have to be much more strict, because I am less confident with it. I have to know exactly what I have, what outfits each piece forms part of. It becomes a lot more like style Sudoku if you will! I don’t think this is the death knell to creativity that it may appear, but just the way I find works best for me during the summer months.

Do you find summer dressing a challenge or is it the season you love best? How do you approach it?


  1. Amazing collage and blog!


  2. summer is my least favorite season - you have so many limitations with the weather that if you're like me, you just end up giving up and wearing the same thing all the time. i much prefer fall and spring and winter when i can freely layer up! i'm always sad for my jackets and trench when it gets too hot and humid...

  3. Summer dressing is really tough for me, because I live in the American south and everyday is fairly hot. At this point, we're having 70-80 degree weather everyday, which pobably gives you an idea of how hot it gets in the middle of July. The situation gets worse if I travel to China in the summer, which--save for port cities like Shanghai and Dalian--is one dusty furnace from a weather perspective. I am not sure how those Olympic athletes did everything they did in Beijing without passing out from sunstroke! The sun literally feels like it is trying to penetrate your brain, which is why umbrellas/hats/etc are a must if you have black hair. I love hot weather but China is really oppressively hot, particularly if you start moving west to cities like Wuhan and Nanjing.

    Though I hate it from a style perspective, a striped shirt/tee shirt, some nice (flat) sandals, and shorts are the only way to deal with that kind of weather. I've been thinking about hats, because my black hair heats up very quickly!

    0000 @

  4. I live in central California and its pretty hot here (100+) June through October so I wear a LOT of light weight dresses, the occasional wide leg trouser with a tank and belt (sort of a 70s vibe) and I am all about the maxi skirt this summer. I can relate w/ the pale skin issues. I occasionally use a tanner on my legs (b/c they are so pale they are transparent) the gradual-tan ones are my fav b/c everything else makes me look unnatural.

  5. Idon't wear dresses much but they're the easiest work option when it gets hot - just get something in crisp fabric that's sturdy enough on its own without the need for a lining. I also like buying linen things. I get by without a jacket but I think a good thing to look out for is unlined jackets that are again, still sturdy enough to look smart. A cardigan-jacket is also good. Under a jacket I get away with wearing tank tops in a good material like silk. The overall effect is still quite smart.

    I find a lot of UK brands make summer clothes only approppriate for beaches or like, rock festivals, which doesn;t make any sense for most people.

  6. I really struggle with summer dressing- I don't like to show my upper arms or my legs at ALL. I have really fair skin as well, and lots of freckles :) I don't own a pair of shorts or a short skirt, instead I have to stick to Maxi dresses, pants and long skirts. It makes it hard when it is around 40 degrees!

  7. I struggle the most with summer dressing. I know the feeling about wanting to have a wardrobe that embodies the feeling of road trips, sun-tousled hair, and balmy nights but in reality looking and feeling withered and icky.

    It gets pretty hot and sticky where I am, and I find it nearly impossible to look nice when it's 100 degrees w/ 100% humidity. So, I usually stick to a wardrobe of cotton shirts, denim shorts, sandals, loose cotton dresses, and canvas tote bags. It's hardly a chic or notable look. I can't, for the life of me, wear silk or carry a nice leather bag in the summer...both just feel too heavy for the oppressive heat.

  8. I struggle with summer dressing as well. I have a few loose pants that I use all the time, and some shorts and tank tops. It's just not as fun as dressing during fall and spring. Summer is a season when I spend a lot of time with my friends, and meet lots of people, so I'd like feel more excited about getting dressed!

  9. I always find summer dressing a challenge. I think it's because my winter uniform usually relies heavy on a structured jacket or coat, items which are obviously superfluous in summertime. I'm searching for some tailored linen trousers which are light weight yet still give me a pulled together look to add to my uniform of denim shorts and delicate blouses.

  10. I've lived with fair skin (read pale) for decades. Summer can be challenging. I used to try to fry my skin darker -- If you want some advice form an old lady, NEVER go this route. Skin cancer and other skin ugliness will be in your future, not to mention torturous visits to the dermatologists where they want to spray you all over with liquid nitrogen. Be pale! Be lovely! Be a breath of springtime magnolia or gardenia or cherry blossoms! It may take more maintenance and some time to find your summer style (Romantic is easiest). But, it's worth it. And, if all else fails, today's self-tanners are workable.

  11. Olivia,
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  12. I live in Houston, Texas where it is hot, humid and stale May through September.

    My go to outfit for summer is light jersey dresses with short bike shorts underneath.


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