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Top Tips for a Stylish Summer

When I wrote my book, one of the first topics I researched was whether those in the UK preferred dressing for winter or summer. The answer was overwhelmingly "Winter, because it's easier" which led me to wonder if it was because we simply don't have much practice in warm weather dressing in this country. So with the May weather still trying to make up its mind, I've created a list of tips to make getting dressed less of an effort, should the sun ever come out again.

My tips for stylish Summer dressing:

1. Sleeves - We don't give this much thought in the winter but the length of your sleeves will make all the difference to the shape of your outfit. If you have a larger bust, a sleeve that ends at the same level will make you look bigger, a puffed style even more so. If you're self-conscious about your arms, avoid sleeves that cut you off at the top (cap sleeve) or in the middle of your bicep. An elbow-length or bracelet sleeve will be more comfortable and much more flattering. 

2. Fabrics - Opt for natural fabrics for a breathable wear; cotton is cool obviously but a more sustainable option is banana fibre which comes from the non-fruit bearing banana plant abaca and uses far less water and minimal chemicals - it's also bio-degradable. I'm not a fan of linen due to its creasability but a waistcoat or jacket is far less likely to look crumpled within five minutes so I'd recommend tops rather than bottoms in this fabric!

3. Skirt lengths - As with sleeves, it's all about where the cut-off is so if you're not sure try on different lengths and take a selfie of yourself to identify where the hem looks best. As a rule of thumb, mid-calf is usually the widest part of the lower leg so if you're after a midi skirt or dress, go for just north of this point or opt for the full maxi style. With the upper leg (if you're comfortable with bare legs at this time of year) just above the knee or right on it will look elegant and suitable for a professional setting. It's trial and error usually but you'll know the best length when you see it - and you may be surprised too!

4. Summer jackets - Don't underestimate the power of a lightweight jacket. You've probably got a failsafe denim jacket for casual days, but how about a smarter alternative for work days to elevate a stylish summer dress or skirt? There are plenty of options around this season so as well as the classic camel blazer you could consider a colourful bomber style or a cropped Chanel-inspired button-up that'll add instant polish to the go-to 'jeans and a white tee' look.

Summer jacket over a midi dress
Summer jacket with midi dress

5. Flat shoes - If not now then when?! If ballet flats feel too predictable and you're bored of your white trainers, this is the time to invest in a pair of metallic or colour pop Mary-Janes or a lovely little kitten heel. I really wasn't a fan of the kitten heel thanks to Theresa May, however paired with denim they take on a much fresher vibe. 


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