‘Every year it’s the same. I’m going somewhere really hot and the only thing it’s comfortable to wear is sleeveless,’ acclaimed author Maggie Alderson says to me, ‘Loads and loads of women feel the same frustration. It doesn’t matter if you hate your upper arms, when it’s properly hot, you have to go sleeveless. Please can you do a post on WAFTY summer frocks to wear on holiday?’ Like Maggie, I’m less inclined to suffer Arm Paranoia when on holiday, and agree, we should wear the clothes we feel comfortable in. There then followed an email chat to discover the author’s summer holiday dress requirements:
The only acceptable fabrics are natural fabrics – silk, cotton, linen.
Sleeveless but not a slip dress.
It has to be bra-able.
Quite low at the nape of the neck.
Lovely summery print or something colourful NOT black.
Nothing out of the ordinary there, you’d think, but the British high street is the highly flammable home of summer dresses in synthetic fabrics. Viscose, polyester, various ‘blends’ and bizarrely, holiday frocks with manmade linings – none of which a FAB (Fifty And Beyond) woman wants to wear on holiday, or anywhere else for that matter. What we want is the Waft Factor. ‘Because I’m post menopausal, I’m looking for something loose and floaty,’ Maggie continues, ‘I don’t want any definition. I want to waft about, with a breeze up my armpits and down my neck.’
After a quick look online, I can empathise. It’s not easy finding a style with the Waft Factor in a natural fabric. I suggest a couple of dresses from Eileen Fisher and East but the Iris frock from Hush (£59, available HERE) goes straight to the top of the Waft List. Of course, having worked as an author, columnist and editor of numerous magazines (including Elle), Maggie knows her fashion onions and has clocked this frock already. Admittedly it’s made of rayon – a manmade fabric made from natural cellulose fibres – but it ticks all the other boxes. And comes in three different colourways, including a lovely zebra print. I might give one a whirl on my summer holiday (still nothing booked).