How to Be Utterly Cool During a Heat Wave

Quiz time: What do we love talking about as much as fashion? The weather, of course! As a nation, we’ve managed to turn pining for the elusive great British Summer into a hobby, and when it finally hits, well, it all gets a bit much doesn’t it? It’s just that bit too hot, that bit too stuffy. We quickly realise we’re not programmed to properly function during a heat wave—never mind commute into work and look unflappable in the process. So how do others do it with such grace?

We’ve found that effortlessness is a good place to start—and we mean that in the truly authentic sense. Simple silhouettes and quality fabrics will reward you with comfort—a must when the temperature makes you feel like you could melt on the spot. And while it may sound obvious, if you can’t escape to the coast, then always consider your immediate surroundings when dressing for scorching weather; flip-flops and off-the-shoulder dresses have no place in most offices, so it pays to invest in a few versatile staples that won’t leave you looking underdressed in all senses of the term.

We’ve dissected the outfits of some of the most stylish women on the scene to inspire your heat wave wardrobe, and the good news is that there are plenty of approaches to be gleaned. Summer doesn’t have to equal citrus brights and pedicures.

Scroll through the gallery below for some of the most covetable looks and how to shop them.




Style Notes: A crisp cotton skirt with a paperbag waist is a timeless investment you’ll never regret making. A neutral colourway, like Lisa Aiken’s Joseph style, is ideal for work and simultaneously manages to tick off making a statement while elevating the simplest of wardrobe basics. Heeled mules are a slick addition.



Style Notes: Katherine Ormerod’s crisp cotton Warehouse dress is perfect for when you can’t escape to the beach. A wrap style minus the frump, its neckline is proper enough to get you through a day in the office while its peplum hem adds just the right amount of whimsy. The addition of black accessories helps ensure that this is a sharp look.



Style Notes: Proving that successful summer style needn’t equal dressing like a fruit bowl, blogger Aria Di Bari’s outfit shows that black and white separates can be just as weather–appropriate. Stick to crisp cottons, as opposed to polyester, and remember that a slingback is a great compromise in the shoe department if you don’t want the world to see your toes.




Style Notes: Are you guilty of neglecting the short suit? Us too, but Soraya Bakhtiar is making us reconsider this classic bit of suiting—and see how effortless she looks in the process. Best of all, think of how many times you can recycle the accompanying blazer.



Style Notes: White jeans are one thing, but white trousers are much more democratic. Lizzy Hadfield’s wide-leg pair is perfect for combating the heat and add a luxe edge to a simple camisole.



Style Notes: A flippy dress and a pair of killer shoes are all you need to see you through a scorcher. Said shoes can be flat—just check out Natalie Lim Suarez’s choice of Valentino Rockstuds over espadrilles or sandals. And throwing a tonal hands-free handbag into the mix will only serve to emphasise how you’ve got this heat wave dressing nailed.