Woman carrying an umbrella

Do you feel ready to embrace summer and all it has to offer? Or are you preoccupied with…

  • Looking good in a skirt without wearing tights

  • Trying to stay stylish and warm /cool enough during British summertime?

  • Finding the right footwear now that your winter boots are no longer appropriate?

We take the unpredictability of British weather as a given. However, many women still find themselves stressing over what to wear, knowing that they are likely to face four seasons in one day.

At least the colder months are predictable, the only option being to wrap up warm under lots of cosy layers.

Smart/casual dressing can be problematic in summertime. My clients want stylish solutions that will help them to transition from spring to summer with ease. They want separates that can easily be mixed and matched and that will serve them well whatever the weather brings.

Here are my 3 very simple ways to do smart/casual in the summertime.

 1. A beautiful mac is an absolute MUST.

A three-quarter length mac is extremely versatile. It can be worn equally well over dresses, skirts and trousers.

When you throw a mac over an outfit you will look instantly stylish. It adds a layer of warmth and protection without being hot and heavy like a winter coat.

On a chillier morning add a patterned scarf for an extra layer and when/if it the weather improves during the day, tie the scarf around the handle of your handbag so that the print remains part of your outfit.

Your mac will look great over jeans as well as with smarter outfits, which makes it well worth the investment. Having said that, our wonderful UK High Street means a gorgeous mac doesn’t need to cost the earth.

Check out the offerings at & Other Stories, Marks & Spencer and Arket.

Trench coat from Marks & Spencer

One note of caution. If you have a thick waist, tie the belt at the back rather than around your tum to avoid the “bag of spuds” look.

2. Choose flattering footwear

This season “the flat” is the shoe to be seen in.

From dainty ballet pumps to edgy brogues there is a stylish flat for everyone.

On an unpredictable weather day the safest option is to wear an ankle-length trouser with a flat shoe.  Your legs will stay warm and protected if it gets cooler (or it starts to rain) and you won’t overheat if the sun decides to shine.

If you like to wear skirts and dresses but worry about choosing the right footwear you are not alone. It’s an issue many women struggle with and getting it right is all about optical illusion. The wrong length skirt with the wrong kind of footwear will make your legs appear chunky.

Your hemline needs to be at a flattering point on your leg. It will be different for everyone but the golden rule is to avoid a hemline on a wide part of your leg or knee. Look in a full length mirror to decide on your most flattering lengths. Most people have a nice narrow part just below the knee which is almost always a good length.

If you like the idea of a calf length skirt its a good idea to avoid having the hemline sit across the widest part of your calf.

Metallic pleat skirt

Next you need the right kind of shoe. The most flattering is one that elongates your leg. This could be a nude coloured court shoe, a loafer or a ballet pump. The key to longer looking legs is to avoid buckles and ankle straps which can dramatically shorten and widen your lower leg.(see above)

A style that shows a lot of foot will lengthen your legs (rather than a high front or ankle straps which shorten).

Another great tip that everyone can easily follow is to match your shoe colour to your hemline which is a really effective way to give the illusion of longer legs.

3. Layering is key.

I’m sure this isn’t the first time you will have heard about the virtues of layering but it can be tricky to get right. You don’t want to bulk up too much.

In summertime you should be able to wear any of the layers on their own (unlike winter when you know no-one will see your thermal vest!).

The first layer could be a vest top or a camisole. If you have broad shoulders or a large bust, avoid the shoestring straps of a cami and go for a vest top with medium to wide straps.

The second layer could be a light fabric, half-sleeved blouse, shirt or jersey top. Try to get out of the habit of making one of these layers black. Wearing pastels together, or bright colours teamed with lighter ones looks much more stylish and summery.

The third layer could be a cardigan, light-weight jacket, blazer or mac (see step 1). Think about your proportions when you are choosing the right third layer for you. The length and fit need to flatter your figure, which I will cover in a future blog.

Cardigans needn’t be frumpy. Look for one with an interesting texture or print which makes a cardigan look something closer to a jacket. John Lewis always has a great selection – especially within the Mint Velvet concession.

Mint Velvet cardigan

And finally, don’t forget those essential grooming tasks that revealing more flesh requires.

1. De-fuzz your legs.

2. Start using a gradual tanning body moisturiser to encourage a touch of colour to your skin. (Much easier to get right than fake tan).

3. Book yourself a pedicure. A gel -pedicure will last weeks and weeks…one less thing to worry about.

Do you have a fail-safe springtime outfit? I’d love to know. Please leave me a comment.

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