I Tried on Every Hot-Weather Piece From Topshop, Zara and More—I Love These 22

Here at Who What Wear UK, we're all about delivering the latest and greatest shopping edits, as approved by our team. That's why we've created a new shopping column, The Joy of Shopping, which will see me, Joy Montgomery, heading to all your favourite stores to test out new-in pieces IRL. From summer dresses to the brands you might've forgotten about, prepare for changing room selfies aplenty. Is there something you'd like me to cover? Make sure to tweet or Instagram me your requests!

I'm writing this in the middle of what can only be described as a countrywide meltdown. Temperatures are threatening to push 38 degrees over the next 24 hours, and the capital is slowly but surely grounding to a halt. And what was I doing this fine morning in the Costa del London? Shopping, of course!

We've brought you plenty of summer styling content over the last couple of months, but it can be all too easy for me to sit in my chair and dictate to you the tenets of warm-weather dressing without putting myself in the trenches, as it were. So what did I do? Head out to Oxford Street alongside the harried commuters and hot tourists, and in the midst of the heatwave, try on my favourite items to determine whether I actually want to wear them when the mercury skyrockets.

Here's what I discovered: Anything that was remotely clingy was instantly vetoed in favour of loose-fitting fabrics, namely silk and linen. Topshop Boutique is a cornucopia of billowing dresses, jumpsuits and light separates right now, while Whistles is seriously acing it in the linen stakes.

I also concluded that while it might seem counterintuitive, it's generally better to be more covered up, so try and resist throwing on those beach-ready denim cutoffs. Floaty midi skirts and long dresses are essentials in your heatwave wardrobe arsenal, as they will help keep the heat of the sun at bay. Repeat after me: The shade is your friend.

So what's the moral of this story? Don't go shopping in Oxford Street when it's hotter than Greece (a no-brainer, really). Also, when it comes to heatwave dressing, it's all about staying covered up with smart, skin-friendly fabrics. Scroll down to see and shop my heatwave picks.

Heatwave shopping picks: Topshop playsuit

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Joy Montgomery

Style Notes: Okay, this jumpsuit is literally a heatwave dream. It's baggy without being unflattering and comes in a chic, printed silk. I think it would also look great belted if you prefer a little more shape. 

Heatwave shopping picks: Zara dress

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Joy Montgomery

Style Notes: There's been a bit of a surfeit of white cottony, nightie-style dresses on the high street, but I'm certainly not complaining. This Zara iteration is less overwhelming than some, thanks to its shorter sleeves and hemline. 

Heatwave shopping picks: Topshop silk dress

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Joy Montgomery

Style Notes: Topshop Boutique nails is again with this floaty silk dress. I've loved all the black pieces that have surfaced this season and I think it's a particularly chic way to wear a summer dress. 

Heatwave shopping picks: Zara co ord

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Joy Montgomery

Style Notes: Zara is a good one to keep in mind for floaty midis (this pleated khaki number being a good example). I've paired it with a draped matching top, which offers a flattering cinching finish.

Heatwave shopping picks: Reformation dress

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Joy Montgomery

Style Notes: I've never tried on a Reformation dress before, but was quite impressed with this linen midi. The cups are quite structured, which might be tricky for bigger busts (I'm wearing a size 8), but generally, the fit is flattering without being overly clingy. Shop a similar style below.

Heatwave shopping picks: Whistles dress

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Joy Montgomery

Style Notes: And the checked dresses just keep coming. Our latest favourite? This Whistles waist-tie style, which comes with a very S/S 19 halterneck and drop waistline. This would make a great wedding guest dress on a hot summer's day.

Heatwave shopping picks: Faithfull the Brand mini

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Joy Montgomery

Style Notes: The fashion crowd have been all over Faithfull the Brand's cute summer dresses, and I can certainly see why. While I'm leaning toward midi lengths, I will make a concession for this floral wrap mini, as it's loose enough to pass the heatwave test.

Heatwave shopping picks: Zara skirt

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Joy Montgomery

Style Notes: This is a great example of a warm weather–ready skirt. The fine pleating allows it to flow nicely and hang in a flattering way while the waistband nips in at the smallest point. 

Heatwave shopping picks: Whistles co-ord

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Joy Montgomery

Style Notes: Quite a few of this season's clean-lined separates have a distinctly minimalist feel to them, but this Whistles co-ord offers up something a little different. I love the combination of safari shaping with the bold animal print and linen fabric. Cool in every sense of the word.

Heatwave shopping picks: Rixo top

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Joy Montgomery

Style Notes: You can always rely on Rixo for fun prints and retro styles, and this shirred top makes for a perfect pairing for high-waisted trousers, skirts or shorts. I've thrown it together with Staud's white linen trousers (aka your heatwave saviour if you're not a skirt-wearer). Shop a similar pair below.

Heatwave shopping picks: Zara midi dress

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Joy Montgomery

Style Notes: This khaki dress caught my on the Zara app, so I was looking forward to trying it on IRL. I was a tad disappointed in the fact it wasn't silk, but I still liked the utility aesthetic and hue. I'd just recommend sizing up to avoid it feeling too clingy.

Heatwave shopping picks: Theory cargo trousers

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Joy Montgomery

Style Notes: I never would've thought I'd be the sort of person to fall in love with cargo trousers, but here we are. It helps that they're in a luxe fabric that feels and looks smarter than the traditional styles. They'll look just as fab now paired with sandals and a T-shirt as they will in autumn with a navy knit and brogues.

Heatwave shopping picks: Zara white shirt

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Joy Montgomery

Style Notes: You really can't beat a white shirt for a smart yet low-effort way to cover up in the sun. This Zara blouse features a waist-cinching wrap fit, which will be great for all body shapes. Also, the cropped style means it's perfect for styling with high-waisted trousers.

Heatwave shopping picks: Kitri gingham dress

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Joy Montgomery

Style Notes: If in doubt, just bung on a cotton dress. You can't get much better than this gingham number from Kitri, which is easy to style but packs a punch, thanks to its bright colouring and off-the-shoulder style. Just add espadrilles and an oversized sunhat.

Heatwave shopping picks: Topshop co-ord

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Joy Montgomery

Style Notes: This Topshop Boutique co-ord is the sort of look that toes the line between dressed down and pulled-together so well. Coming in a loose silk and vibrant print, the pairing will give plenty of mileage since they can be worn together or separately.