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How to waft your way through a heatwave

— by Alyson Walsh

Photography: Claire Pepper

 

Having navigated Naples at 40 degrees, I feel like I’m ready for this week’s skyrocketing temperatures. First stop, this go-everywhere dress. One of those reliable items that’s easy-to-wear and easy to move in, I can put it on and forget about it. And that is exactly what is needed in a heatwave. The versatile cotton shirtdress is perfect for travelling in – and not in a dressing-for-an-upgrade manoeuvre (they don’t so that kind of thing on EasyJet) but because it’s great for holiday evenings. It’s also a cracking piece to wear for summer business meetings. During a heatwave is the ultimate time for a faff-free, less is more approach – when choosing simple silhouettes makes life easier. Natural fabrics, lightweight layers and a slightly looser fit are cool in all senses of the word.

On the flight to Italy, I was bemused when the woman sitting next to me went from reading The Times on her iPad to what looked like a scantily-clad music/porn video. When we reached Naples airport, Mr That’s Not My Age explained that it was Love Island. Another type of hot weather dressing. Ahem. For me, IRL, the kaftan or shirtdress replaces the jumpsuit in a heatwave, and there’s a fair chance I might be sashaying around in silk pyjamas, this summer. For Peak Waftiness, choose easy, elegant pieces in natural fabrics all the way.

 

 

The Super Shirt in white cotton, or white and blue stripes (try J. Crew and Uniqlo and take a look at this Equipment sale bargain) is another item that sees a lot of summer action. Team with a maxi or midi skirt for a wafty, winning combination. Wide leg, linen trousers are another heat-swerving option with the possibility of a lightweight matching jacket for the air-conditioned office. And I’m a fan of Winser London’s silk v-neck top which looks chic in the heat, with both trousers and skirts.

Pale neutrals and white always provide an easy-breezy summer feel but don’t dismiss colour. Last week, I met a fashion editor friend looking as cool as an iced latte in a red cotton dress and white plimsolls. Navy and black are versatile summer stalwarts and shades of green, orange or yellow add a brilliant boost. When the heat is on, I tend to dial down the accessories and stick to less bothersome, simple silver pieces of jewellery, keep footwear uncomplicated and comfy and carry an essential, reusable water bottle and portable fan. And hair will be tied-up from now on; no woman in her 50s needs to feel even more of a hot menopausal mess…

 

Stay cool, people.

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  Having navigated Naples at 40 degrees, I feel like I’m ready for this week’s skyrocketing temperatures. First stop, this go-everywhere dress.