City heat? No sweat!

Panic not, city dwellers. Beat­ing the heat­wave in a stylish man­ner is chal­leng­ing, but we have a few tricks up our (futed) sleeve…

Grazia (UK) - - Contents - wor ds k ath e rine o rmerod

in a case of be care­ful what you wish for, the scorch­ing weather of late has caused all man­ner of wardrobe mishaps. Sum­mer dress­ing sounds so straight­for­ward: foaty, waft­ing dresses, barely-there shorts, back­less vests… oh wait, that’s a pack­ing list for Ibiza and not ex­actly ap­pro­pri­ate for that 9am per­for­mance re­view with your boss. Dress­ing stylishly for real life in the city heat is no mean feat. Linen = hideously crum­pled by lunchtime. Silk = un­sightly sweat patches in places you didn’t even re­alise per­spired. New san­dals = a pat­tern of heel and toe scabs that make you yearn for year-round boots.

So where do you start? Firstly, it’s worth for­get­ting a lot of the fash­ion ad­vice you may have heard. Nat­u­ral fi­bres like cotton are in­deed great sum­mer op­tions, but only if they are crease-proof and don’t mark with mois­ture. While a satin dress might be gor­geous for a day at the races, it will not cope well with a 45-de­gree com­mute. You need ab­sorbent, wrin­kle-free fab­rics and, con­trary to pop­u­lar opin­ion, that might mean a nat­u­ral fi­bre blended with the tini­est per­cent­age of man-made threads. Cropped trousers made with 95% cotton with 5% elas­tane ( great for wrin­kle re­cov­ery) will of­ten look less lived-in by the end of the day than their 100% cotton coun­ter­parts and it’s why denim is such a sum­mer sta­ple.

One prob­lem we Brits have is that sum­mer in the city isn’t de­pend­ably warm, so we lack a go-to uni­form. It’s a bit like leaves on the line: we’re just not equipped. Cast your sights across the other side of the At­lantic, how­ever, and our New York sis­ters

in style are far bet­ter versed at ur­ban swel­ter. There you will find sev­eral blue­prints for fuss-free city chic. Take Olivia Palermo, whose cropped tai­lor­ing bal­ances the cool with the breezy. Else­where, Jes­sica Chas­tain makes a great case for the sleeve­less shift. Even UK ex­ports Sienna Miller and Vic­to­ria Beck­ham seem to hit their sum­mer city best in the Big Ap­ple – VB has made an art of the do-ev­ery­thing dress and also just proved once again how time­less the right pair of jeans and white T-shirt will al­ways be come sum­mer. It’s a valu­able les­son: sim­plic­ity is your friend. On a prac­ti­cal note, dur­ing a roast­ing Fash­ion Week, one New York edi­tor told me all the women in her of­fice brought spare un­der­wear to change into. Not en­tirely glam­orous, per­haps, but needs must.

Stilet­tos are clearly a no-go, it’s all about the flat or mid-heel san­dal. As Ditte Reff­strup, cre­ative di­rec­tor of Ganni, says, ‘In Copen­hagen we bike ev­ery­where, so I’m al­ways wear­ing flats or train­ers and like com­bin­ing more sporty el­e­ments with feminine dresses and vintage T-shirts.’ Sleeve-length is also tricky ter­ri­tory. A spaghetti strap can be too ca­sual for more for­mal of­fices and, if you don’t love the tops of your arms, an el­bow-skim­ming op­tion or fluted an­gel sleeves are your best bet.

While this all might sound a bit strict, don’t for­get that sum­mer style is meant to be more light-hearted than the lay­ers of win­ter. ‘ You can play with colour, print and lighter fab­rics, so you can have fun and take some risks,’ says co-founder and cre­ative di­rec­tor of Borgo De Nor, Car­men Bor­gonovo. ‘A bit of sun­shine el­e­vates the mood, so why not cel­e­brate it with bold choices?’

As for the ab­so­lute no-nos, Ser­a­fina Sama, the de­signer be­hind Isa Ar­fen, says, ‘Stay away from any­thing too clingy, syn­thetic and with tight arm­holes.’ Katie Sturino, founder of the12ish­ blog and Me­gababe, a range of women’s per­sonal care prod­ucts in­clud­ing Thigh Res­cue and Bust Dust, also coun­sels, ‘No leather, no boots, no suede. And no fe­do­ras ever, which has noth­ing to do with heat, I just hate them.’ Or lis­ten to Lau­ren Santo Domingo, the co-founder of lux­ury e-tail site Moda Operandi, ‘Ac­tu­ally, my best ad­vice is to leave town im­me­di­ately. But if that’s not an op­tion, make the best of it. Think of that glis­ten­ing skin as an ac­ces­sory.’ 

heat­wave heroes, from left: olivia Palermo, Jes­sica Chas­tain, Vic­to­ria Beck­ham, alessan­dra am­bro­sio, tracee el­lis ross and Priyanka Cho­pra

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