If you are a British woman who hasn’t been 18 years old within the last 10 years, read on.
For as long as you are UK-based in the Summer season, you have only two sartorial options: cover up or stay inside.
You weren’t born to do this, it’s not your thing. You’re good at table manners and online shopping- Summer clothes, not so much.
Forget skin colour (though acres of the grey-blue sort could always be saved for the wretch who put a ring on it- just a thought).
It’s about colour colour- the stuff that says you’re alive within and sassy and eat anchovies at tapas bars after hopping off your Vespa.
Home-grown gals shouldn’t attempt it. When the mercury rises above 23 degrees, our sensibility goes into free-fall.
Suddenly we’re off-piste; complaining and sweating at the same time is bothersome and sarcasm feels wrong. We start to sleuth frantically for the style secrets of our Continental sisters but something gets lost in translation, a few miles outside Bradford.
So you’ve found a sunny picture of your Mum looking soignee in the 60’s with a bee-hive, in some crepe de chine?
It was a one-off; she never wore Summer clothes either- that’s why she got someone to take a photograph of her when she did.
Slogans and surf motifs and ‘brights’. Tunics, playsuits, florals, halter-necks, waist-high shorts. Blazers, linen, gingham, gypsy tops, tie-die, Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday. T-shirt dresses, floppy hats, beach bags, capri pants. Kaftans, festival gear, sunnies (expensive), jewellery (cheap). Jean Seaberg stripes, whispy scarves, floaty skirts. Skorts. Camp blouses. All safari-wear. Anything ‘sportif’. Every single piece of Cruise Collection apparel that has ever been made. The preponderance of peacock blue and burnt orange. An entire wardrobe’s-worth of ‘You don’t have to be mad to work here, but it helps!’
It’s like a desperate romp through the inspiration vortex of Karl Lagerfeld’s brain after he’s got wind of a rival’s catwalk triumph.
Maxis, minis, camis: all tragi.
There isn’t one single trend in which you won’t look a disaster, and the optimistic way you’ll try and fail to wear it, will only make matters worse.
‘Actually, I’ve got this rather sweet…’
No! How can I put this? That’s the one you look worst in. Book groups talk about you in ‘that dress’ and not because it’s held together with saucy safety pins.
Shoes are even worse. Strappies, platforms, ‘fit’ flops, sandals- like Russell Crowe in drag walking off the set of Gladiator into sun-congealed Leyland paint pot samples.
Pedicures do not equal pampering or ‘you’ time. They’re trotter worship. Toes are, de-facto, nasty little items. Keep them away from thongs and jewels and stuff them back into polyester socks, where they belong.
You don’t look frivolous or glamorous or less like the psychotic bunny boiler your Winter clothes allow you to be, just because you’ve sailed down the road in poplin.
You still look needy and almost bursting with a desire to bitch about the domestic chores your partner doesn’t help with.
Plus you are, in fact, wearing holiday clothes, which are an entirely different species to everyday Summer clothes. And no-one wants to see your sun-downer sex look at the school gates.
So heed the kindest thing anyone will say to you this Summer…
You’re only 6 weeks away from depression.
Don a pair of wincyette pj’s and stock up on St John’s Wort.