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How I Fell In Love With Summer Dressing & The Best Investments I’ve Made

Yes, of course I’m including *that* rope bag…

I know I roll out the ‘I HATE SUMMER DRESSING’ moan approximately 15 times per summer season, but I’m carting it out for a completely different reason today because *whispers* I actually don’t mind summer dressing. I KNOW. Hold onto your hats. Are you sitting down? Do you need a fan? It might not sound like me typing – I promise it is – but for the past month or so I haven’t completely hated my wardrobe or any dressing that doesn’t involve my pyjama shorts and a vest top.

A switch has flicked inside of me and although I’m still over the moon that cashmere, denim and pea coat times are nearing, I’m not wishing the scorching days and nights away just yet. In fact I’m welcoming them. I have two hot holidays coming up (Ibiza and Madrid HELLO!) and for the first time I’m not in a panic about what to pack with me. I’m confident in my capsule and know for once I actually have a handful of items that leave me feeling cool and as un-clammy as I can be. Here’s how I did it…

The big factor here is that we’ve had a pretty consistent summer. It’s been a roasting summer, but it’s been much of the same everyday. None of this ‘Do I need a jacket?’ business, or wondering if it’s not warm enough to get your legs out. It’s been hot, hot, hot everyday and that has taken the umm-ing and ahh-ing out of clothing decisions that I normally dither about with all season long, often making the wrong ones and completely melting in the process.

Because of this heat I’ve got a mild bit of tan on my arms and my legs, which sounds so utterly superficial, but has meant that I don’t feel the need to do a five step tanning routine the night before any day that I wish to get my legs out. As long as I keep on top of shaving my legs (I’m all for body hair if that’s your thing, but I would resemble a yeti if I didn’t razor my fur away) and slapping on the odd bit of moisturiser and gradual tanner from time to time to top things up, I’m ready to wear a skirt/shorts/playsuit at a moments notice and more importantly, feel comfortable and confident in doing so.

I think the third and final factor is that because this is the third summer that I’ve done my capsule wardrobe thing for, over the years I’ve built a set of items that really cover the basics – things like camisoles, denim shorts, sandals and accessories – so I feel like I’ve got the foundations down and anything I now haul just spices things up a bit. Speaking of which I thought I’d share my top summer investments that I plan to be wearing year in, year out…

MY BEST SUMMER INVESTMENTS

Alienina Woven Cotton Bucket Bag. This is the best thing that I’ve bought this summer, HANDS DOWN. If I’m leaving the house, then nine times out of ten I’m wearing this and it makes me feel summery and whatever boring-old ensemble I’m wearing, look summery too. A lot of bags in this genre are either not the most secure (this actually ties up at the top with a drawstring), or aren’t the most practical size (this even fits my big wallet in it and my notebook!), but this has neither of those problems and can be worn over the shoulder too if you use the slightly longer strap variation. Oh I love it so much. A great, great investment.

Dick Moby CPT Sunglasses. Once upon a time I left my one pair of sunglasses in the back pocket on an airplane seat as I rushed to get off to get away from a child who had screamed for the entirety of the three hour flight to Stockholm (I am fully aware that as someone who was apparently a real screamer when I was younger, I too will be blessed with this scenario at a later date). I stalked around the local high-street chains to find a pair that suited my round football head, but in the end stumbled across this pair in a swanky opticians. Now I believe that these are the only style of sunglasses available on this planet that actually look good on me. On a subsequent trip to Stockholm I picked them up in a different colour and these two pairs are now the only two that I own. FUN FACT: They’re made out of recycled plastic. They’re not the easiest to find in the U.K, but they are available to order online.

& Other Stories Oversized White Cotton Shirt. I could do a QVC-esque hard sell on this shirt because I really do believe that we could all benefit from having an oversized white cotton shirt in our wardrobes. You can wear it as a beach cover-up, as a cropped shirt if you tie it up, you can roll the sleeves, you can wear it open with a plain black vest-top underneath like a bit of a jacket, you can wear it untucked with shorts for a real holiday-feel – the possibilities are endless (kinda). I always felt like white shirts felt too formal on me, but the key is in this oversized fit that makes it look like you’ve raided your boyfriend’s wardrobe. The bigger, the better.

Topshop Espadrille Woven Sandals. Topshop win in my book when it comes to summer slides and sandals. Trust me I’ve bought a designer pair that made my eyes bulge out of my head when I looked at the price and they’re even more uncomfortable than any high-street offering I’ve given a go. The leopard print ones I’m wearing in this post are from Topshop last year and they are still my favourite that I own, but these slightly wider-strap espadrille style have been winners for me this summer too. The cream pair that I bought go with EVERYTHING and after a few days of wearing in, are now at the point where I don’t get any rubbing or blisters when I wear them. A bargain that I can wear season after season.

Levi’s 501 Shorts with Raw Hem. If I had a penny for every time I’d ordered a pair of denim shorts online or tried them on in-store and immediately sent them back because they were too tight/cut into my thighs/too loose/gave me wedgie/exposed my bum cheeks/exposed my butt crack when I sat down, I’d be on a private jet to the Maldives right now. Why are they just so hard to get right? In the end I’ve settled back with these that I already had in my wardrobe and are pretty spot on in that they don’t do any of the aforementioned. The only minus is that I can’t seem to get the sizing right. I bought these about two sizes too big to get a bit of an oversized fit, which works when they’re fresh out of the wash, but they begin to look like a saggy nappy after multiple days of wear. Perhaps compromise and get a pair just one size up from your usual, for a snug but not uncomfortable cut.

& Other Stories Spaghetti Tie Black Playsuit. For those times when you feel like if it was socially acceptable to go completely starkers outside that you 100% would, no qualms? This is what you need in that moment. A romper was exactly what my wardrobe lacked and this fits my criteria. It’s black. TICK. It’s simply cut with no bells and whistles. TICK. It’s a flattering slim fit, but doesn’t cling to the body in anyway creating a stream of sweat that flows down every crevice? TICK. It’s like you’re in the nude, but you’re actually not. I can’t recommend it enough and if like me you’re not a natural skirt-wearer, this will fit right into your comfort zone, whilst being summer-friendly.

Photos by Emma Croman

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