Shop the post: What to wear for summer in the city

shorts for summer in the city by Margaret Howell

See, this is the problem. When you live in a city that’s damp and moody 90% of the time (especially even in summer), you come unstuck in a heatwave. I rarely buy full-on summer stuff because it just seems too much like tempting fate. Inevitably if I buy anything remotely holidaymaker-ish we’re beset with weeks of floods. (Context: it’s 40 degrees in London today.)

So here I am in need of shorts, smart tees, a big airy dress and some sort of dress-up-dress-down shirt. Warning: don’t Google ‘women’s army shorts’ like I just did. Instead of cutely baggy Ralph Lauren-esque Bermuda shorts, my search threw up pages of market stall-worthy camouflage hot pants. So I searched my Pinterest instead. The best baggy shorts are by Bottega Veneta, Chloe and a brand called The Great (from the founders of Current Elliot). And these heavyweight linen-cotton ‘Henry’ shorts by L.F. Markey are pretty perfect.

I’m not at all into the mega-chunky trainers doing the rounds so my shorts would go with updated ballerinas like these Jil Sanders or an upscale Teva. Or a minimalist gym shoe – Muji’s ‘water repellent’ trainers are amazing and now half price.

On the dress front, I look to Alexis and Brittany for pointers. Brittany Bathgate is tiny like me but doesn’t look swamped in voluminous dresses. My problem is I forget I’m 5’2″ and then wonder why I feel like I’m drowning in acres of fabric. Which is why I stick to jeans. But then I look at Alexis Foreman and think, this looks sooo comfortable!

Casey Casey Pasha Rouch Dress from Tiina The Store

Shirt-wise, I’ve realised bedsheet-sized white shirts don’t actually work for me. I’m better in blue, stripes or khaki. In fact, my most worn shirt is a blue Ralph Lauren button-down Oxford from Topman vintage (a fake, I suspect). I think it was £25 and I’ve worn it every summer for about 10 years. Right now I love this soft linen-blend shirt from Black Crane, which I saw in Couverture, my favourite local indie store. The balloon sleeves aren’t too ridiculous and all the proportions are just so. I also really like this cotton-silk voile blue shirt from Forte Forte, although I’ve reached the age where I think I need to start ironing my shirts properly.

One thing that makes a big difference to hot weather city wear is smart accessories. I like my classic tan Mallet & Co tote (press gift) and all the straw-and-leather bags doing the rounds. Jil Sander’s leather bags and phone pouches are particularly brilliant at the mo. And not forgetting the most important accessory of all, a good sun protector. For the face I’ve been using La Roche Posay Antithelios and for the limbs, Institut Esthederm Adaptasun.


WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Margaret Howell; Casey Casey/Tiina The Store
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