The British are utterly “hopeless at dressing well in hot weather,” said Jan Moir. Give us “a rainstorm on a windswept hillside” and we know exactly the costume required. Our overcoats, our waterproof wellies, our scarves and woolly hats—these are the British uniform, and we mix and match the pieces with dash. Come the first heat wave, though, and “we wilt like parched tulips.” It’s not our fault. We have little experience with weather that is even pleasant, much less oppressive. Here is what passes for summer: From June through August, the average high in London tops out at just 70 degrees,
while the average low plunges to 51. Men tend to cope with the heat by either “dressing like toddlers” in shorts and button shirts or by wearing sporting getup intended for the cricket field or soccer pitch. “In public. They think it looks nice.” They inflict upon the rest of us “their unspeakable feet,” exposing their toes in sandals. Covering them with socks but keeping the sandals, as many do, is, of course, even worse. Women, meanwhile, make do with frocks of linen, which shrink and wrinkle and make them look sweaty and rumpled. I, for one, can’t wait for fall.