What to Wear in Summer When You Hate Showing Any Skin

Oh summer, why do you come and taunt me so? I’m very happy in winter clothes—thrilled, in fact: I love tights (yes, I know that puts me in 1% of the fashion population), roll-necks are my homies, knee-high boots or over-the-knee numbers are joyful go-tos for as long as climatically possible, scarves and hats are wonderful accoutrements and there’s nothing more satisfying, IMHO, than wrapping up in a lovely coat. You get the picture—I like being covered-up. But the summer season and random bursts of incredible/insanely muggy weather clearly don’t make such a modest fashion quest an easy one.

The thought of baring my arms or revealing anything above my knees (maybe not even my knees at all) brings me out in a cold sweat. Skin, for me, is a holiday thing. Something to be revealed to the world only when it’s absolutely necessary and hopefully slightly sun-kissed on day six into a seven day holiday. So I spend all summer, every summer, finding ways to literally and sartorially keep my cool, while remaining entirely under wraps.

I don’t do body-con. I don’t do whimsical mini-dresses. I don’t do bandeaus. Or halter-necks. Or rompers. Or vest tops. And I definitely, at all costs, avoid wearing shorts. I’m certain they are the devil’s spawn in clothing form. It’s not that I’ve got a mile-long list of restrictive body hang-ups, I just feel so much happier and confident being covered-up and ladylike than putting everything on show. Call me old-fashioned or prudish, but if any designers are currently pondering the concept of stylish tents as ready-to-wear, I would urge them to run with it.

Fortunately for me, modest fashion and demure dressing are in demand right now—never before have there been so many hipster-approved culottes, sack dresses, baggy trousers or long-sleeved boho blouses in the offing—2016's is actually the simplest summer wardrobe I’ve ever assembled. So scroll down to see how I put together a hot-weather closet that keeps me well and truly covered up—then shop some key pieces if you agree with me!

Off-the-Shoulder Tops (When You Don't Want to Show Your Shoulders)

Photo:

Phill Taylor

On Hannah Almassi: Jigsaw Pima Cotton T-Shirt (£29); Isa Arfen Checked Cotton And Silk Off The Shoulder Top (£605).

Love that off-the-shoulder top, but don't feel quite prepped to wear it yet? Then a white T-shirt is your very bestest friend. 

Summer Tailoring, Solved

Photo:

Phill Taylor

On Hannah Almassi: Lacoste jacket; Apiece Apart Tayana Slub Woven Wide-Leg Pants (£355); New Look shoes; Prada sunglasses.

It's not too stuffy and warm to wear trouser suits all year round; it's just a case of looking for summer-friendly cottons and linens. In fact, forgo a top altogether and stay cool with a belted jacket.

Demure Wedding Attire

Photo:

Phill Taylor

On Hannah Almassi: Vintage dress; Tabitha Simmons shoes; Mawi earrings.

I'm fairly certain this is a 1970s dressing gown (so?), but the colour and fabric still nod to summer weddings and a certain slinkiness, without making me feel like I'm that potentially overdone miniskirted girl at the party. Also, very good for twirling moments on the dance-floor.

Everyday Workwear

Photo:

Phill Taylor

On Hannah Almassi: Lisa Marie Fernandez Striped Shirt Dress (£395); Maryam Nassir Zadeh Sophie Suede Sandals (£340); Raoul scarf.

A roomy shirt-dress like this is my summer saviour—but I always have to safety pin in-between buttonholes. If I undo one more we're in brassiere territory; if I do one more up, I'll look matronly. A neckerchief adds a further dash of coverage.

Sightseeing in the Heat

Photo:

Phill Taylor

On Hannah Almassi: Loup Charmant Hydra Off-the-Shoulder Dress (£330); Helen Kaminski hat; vintage belt; Paloma Barcelo shoes.

When it comes to covering up on holiday, I always opt for jumbo, tent-like dresses that feel breezy and easy but can be simply belted so that I'm not swamped. Balance out the volume with nude shoes.

Go through the gallery below to shop some of my favourite modest summer fashion pieces.

When a city heatwave comes, you'll be pleased to have this lined up and ready to go.

You could easily layer this, but it already gives a substantial amount of coverage in comparison the other cold-shoulder tops.

Make like this model and layer a culottes-style jumpsuit with a white shirt for work.

Wear this well into winter with black tights and a pair of ankle boots.

This belted jacket is suitable for wearing without a top.

The smocked detailing on this top really helps control the volume of fabric involved.

Super-wide strides will always keep you feeling cool in the heat, especially with a little ankle on show.

Update this with one of your own belts for extra mileage.

Do you prefer covering up when the hot weather kicks in? Let us know in the comments box below.