How to dress for this not-quite-summer weather, according to top stylists

  • How the hell am I supposed to dress in this weather?

This weird not-quite-summer season is making outfit decisions a lot more stressful than they need to be. In need of inspiration? Here are some genuinely doable, no nonsense tips from some brilliant fashion stylists.

Waking up to grey, rainy weather is far from the “hot girl summer” many of us had in mind. Turning up to your destination overheated or shivering is simply not ideal but is growing to be the norm – at least in my case anyway.

We may be used to experiencing four seasons in 24 hours these days but no outfit can look cute in the hail, wind and humidity, right? 

When it’s too warm for skinny jeans, too chilly for shorts and wearing a jacket feels weird but necessary, fashion insight has never been more needed than in this weird in-between season.

Summer doesn’t mean ditching Spring

Just because the weather’s a little all over the place, it doesn’t mean we should forget what we may already own. “You know that spring wardrobe we didn’t get to wear? Well now’s your chance,” celebrity and talent stylist Jennifer Eleto explains. If you found yourself buying items in last year’s lockdown or optimistically at the start of this year, incorporate them now.

Heavier items can easily be layered and pieces like “trenches, shackets, blazers and cardigans are hero pieces,” Eleto says. “You can easily remove them, add them in and they’re not hard to shop for either. The high street and online are awash with options right now.”

Consider experimenting with materials

Lighter fabrics are ideal for hotter climates but we all know July isn’t July-ing like it’s meant to be at the moment. Now’s your chance to think about adding other materials to your wardrobe.

“Consider materials that will easily keep you warm when there’s a bit of a chill,” Eleto explains, “scuba, crochet, faux leather are a few great options.” Wearing these kinds of pieces would be a no-go for the height of summer but opting for a leather blazer or crochet top right now is a nice way to add in texture and keep the cold at bay.

Opt for a fun shoe

The majority of our shoe-drobe may be black because of versatility but Eleto tells us that bright colours are what we should be gravitating towards. “Think bright colours and embellishments,” she explains. While many of us prefer a monochromatic look for 9-5, adding in a pop of colour with your shoes may give your outfit (and your return-to-office mood) the pep it needs.

Returning to the office may also signal some post-work outfit stress. The ‘fun shoe’ is the answer though: “It will save you and carry through day to night,” Eleto says.

Peep-toes are the perfect all-rounder

Picking shoes that look nice, aren’t trainers and don’t involve hobbling around in strappy sandal heels seems near impossible these days. Style writer, celebrity stylist and ethical clothing store owner Natalie Robinson explains how whole shoes are not the best shoe option right now.

“An ankle boot may seem a little stifling to wear in warm weather but a peep-toe ankle boot” would be a great choice instead. Opting for a pair “in soft matt leather means they are breathable, practical for day-to-evening wear and a better option than sandals in the event of rain,” Robinson says. “There is also more choice for vegan enthusiasts, in terms of vegan leather, due to a rise in ethical brands.”

Bootcut jeans are a trans-seasonal wardrobe staple

Shimmying your way into a pair of tight-fitting jeans is the last thing most of us want to do in the groggy heat. Therefore, getting a bootcut version may just be the answer to your jean prayers. They’re a great staple because they “provide comfort and versatility whilst protecting your skin from the elements,” Robinson says.

Best paired with a cotton shirt, bootcut jeans will keep you cooler during hot weather but also provide additional warmth during colder weather conditions. “It’s a win-win! I would opt for stretch jeans in dark denim. They are flattering on all body types, such as a classic pear, petite, or full hourglass shape.”

Don’t underestimate the power of shirts and shirt dresses

“The classic shirt dress or shirt are very workable in unexpected hail or breeze,” Robinson says. Whether it’s a shirt tucked into trousers or worn loosely, her pro-styling trick is to opt for a roll-tab sleeve shirt so you can adjust the length, depending on the weather.

As many of us are filling our weekends with boozy brunches also, a loose-fitting shirt dress could be the faultless outfit option. “Slightly cinched-in with a belt, they’re complementary and forgiving, especially after a meal,” Robinson explains. Plain, crisp white shirts suit everyone but don’t be afraid to experiment with colours and patterns too. If you’re wanting to liven up a particularly dreary day, a striking, coloured shirt or shirt dress can heighten the summer vibes up tenfold.

Jumpsuits can be a great blank canvas

Jumpsuits aren’t just dungarees and unflattering silhouettes, they’re a great piece to own as they can form the basis of so many outfits. “A three-quarter-length jumpsuit, either in denim or viscose, is my idea of a fit-for-purpose outfit,” Robinson tells us.

Paired with trainers or heels, they can easily be dressed up or down but her styling tip to transforming basic outfits is to accessorise. Opt for “layers of jewellery, a neck-scarf or shawl” she says; they are all great ways to add texture, dimension and colour to an otherwise plain piece of clothing.   

Wardrobe clearouts can help with outfit decisions too

Yes, it’s grey and windy most days but it’s also considerably warmer when it wants to be. Stowing away your thick knits and sweatshirts for a little while will free up space for those other items you’re wanting to wear.

“Knitwear, hoodies and tights can all be stifling and itchy, whatever the weather,” Robinson explains. Replacing them with layering pieces or similar items in lighter materials will make them more reachable and cut down that inevitable outfit-picking stress too.

Images: Photo of Natalie by Jamie Walker Photography/ Getty/Instagram 

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