One of my popular posts was how to look elegant in bad weather, as it addressed how to dress in London most of the time.
Conversely this post is only relevant in the UK for ten days a year.
Or so I believed. Apparently the number of hot days the UK experiences each year has increased from about 10, on average, in the 1960s, to about 25 a year during the past decade. And, according to the Financial Times this week “hot summers are expected to become far more frequent in the next few decades”.
So for a nation that finds air conditioning unnecessary and too cold, and rarely takes off its vest, this will require some adaptation. We will have to get into the habit of carrying sunglasses and sunscreen, rather than a compact umbrella, in our handbags. We might have to consider actually sun bathing on beaches rather than just whipping off our jumpers, and hitching up our skirts, on any bit of suitable green land. And maybe our wine will stop being a joke (to the French at least).
So what to wear, to work, when it is 37 degrees? Should you go for a see-through version of your usual outfit?
For me the last few days have been brilliant. I have managed to get some wear out of my favourite dresses. I have worn my hand painted floral SWAP dress, my YSL Mondrian dress and the Geoffrey Beene white dress. Without a jacket or cardigan! With my flat pink or brown leather ballet flats. It felt so lovely to walk around with bare arms and legs – not something we experience regularly in London.
Here are two of my colleagues from Notting Hill Housing looking absolutely appropriate at work yestrday. Haroon and Eve are members of our super IT team. Don’t they look great? Like models! Haroon is wearing a dark shirt and shoes with a pair well cut light stone trousers. And Eve has a nice comfortable but smart jersey dress in a similar light neutral shade. The yellow shoes and scarf and interesting earrings just set this outfit off to perfection. We have the air conditioning on and the scarf is useful if it turns cooler on the way to and from work.
Here are my suggestions – For women
- A light weight sleeveless knee-length (or slightly longer) dress in cotton, linen or silk
- Cotton underwear – just a bra and pants
- Tights are not necessary so long as the skirt is not too short
- Smart leather sandals in a complementary colour, matched to a belt or jewellery
- A cardigan, shawl or very light jacket in your bag in case of a sudden change in the weather
The Trades Union Congress has suggested what they want to see the working classes wearing in this weather: shorts and a vest. I am not sure about the vest but shorts are definitely acceptable.
Here is Notting Hill Housing Officer Lyron looking perfectly dressed for the weather. It is a very casual look, but suitable for visiting tenants at home, checking on repairs and generally making sure his customers are happy. I like the way he has chosen shoes that work with his polo shirt and shorts.
- Shorts are OK but tailored is best, with waist band, fly and pockets
- Alternatively light weight linen or cotton tailored trousers in a light or neutral shade
- Don’t wear a vest but do wear a collared T-shirt, cotton or linen shirt. Short sleeves are fine in very hot weather
- Ties are absolutely not necessary
- Include some accessories such as a leather belt and watch strap
- Loafers or leather sandals and no socks
- Sports shoes are OK if you are young and stylish. Again without socks
Take your sunglasses and a hat and enjoy eating your lunch outside.
Any other tips?