Stacey Duguid: Dressing for summer

Noon's fashion friend, Stacey Duguid, gives her take on summer style and tells us that joyful dressing isn't the same for everyone.

Summer Woman — you know her. She floats around in off-white linen with an instant tan and toned legs. She loves the sun and can sit for hours in it, jangling summer jewellery hanging off wrists, neck and toes. Don’t get me started on the belly chain. Delicately sipping rose, she can be found beneath a ginormous hat looking radiant in the heat.

I’m not that woman — no. I’m a bit sweaty and pale, and no matter how hard I try, or how desperate I am to be her, I just can’t pull off the pom-poms and frill. Instead, I mostly ‘do’ black dresses. What a miserable woman I am.

I’m not a fan of summer clothes.

My first thought, as I open my eyes on a hot summer morning, either in the UK, or on holiday, is “oh my God, I have nothing to wear.” I’m not a fan of summer clothes. They feel too light, too optimistic, too carefree. I love winter boots and heavy knits, thick tights, warm coats, clothes that soothe and hug like hot chocolate.

Summer fills me with dread and for months, my legs practically glued to the insides of black skinny jeans, are back on show. It’s too hot for jeans, it’s too hot for clothes. It’s just too bloody hot. Honestly, I envy women in spaghetti strap dresses; I so wish I had the chutzpah.

As for colour! Bring it on, except, um, ok, but not really. The only two summer dresses I’ve bought so far are jet black. Pulling one of two Mara Hoffman purchases from its hanger, I like the fact both dresses land mid-length on my shin. With half-sleeves, they’re the kind of dresses an older, chic Italian woman might wear to aperitivo on a blistering hot summer evening in Milan. I have always admired the way Italian women in their sixties and beyond dress. Molto chic in a way that looks so effortless and natural. All long hair and no-makeup faces etched with lines.

Like anything in life, snazzy summer wardrobes don’t just happen overnight.

Peeling off clothes when the sunshine hits is never easy, but if you play to your strengths and properly plan, you’ll find summer dresses that work. Easier said than done if you live in suits for work and jeans at the weekend. Like anything in life, snazzy summer wardrobes don’t just happen overnight. No woman walking down the street wearing all the right summer ‘stuff’, got up and pulled it out of the bag. She planned it. She figured it out and it took time. I know this because I just returned a pile of summer clothes ordered online that just didn’t work. Brightly coloured shorts, zingy tops with neon orange stitching seemed like a good idea at the time, but they are so not me. I felt like I was off to the circus, not Sainsbury’s.

Wear what makes you feel good and if that’s neon pink, then go for it, it’s your body, it’s your summer.

So, yes, my summer dresses are black with half-sleeves, my sunglasses are black, as are my sandals. Wearing head-to-toe black brings me so much happiness and I feel comfortable and ready to deal with just about any scenario (erm, hello divorce lawyer). Wear what makes you feel good and if that’s neon pink, then go for it, it’s your body, it’s your summer, just don’t feel bad if you can’t pull off the full-blown ‘Summer Woman’ look.

And so, if like me you’re not in the mood for bombastic print, head to COS for minimal summer dresses, ARKET for shirt dresses and & Other Stories for the perfect black smock dress (that’s currently lingering in my virtual shopping basket). As for my covered up and mildly funereal dresses, they’re proof to me joyful dressing needn’t come packaged in sunshine yellow. Still, how I long to be her, the perfect ‘Summer Woman’…

Stacey Suggests:

& Other Stories Buttoned Tiered Midi Dress

& Other Stories Belted Shell Button Midi Dress

ARKET Line Tunic Dress

ARKET Voluminous Cotton Dress

ARKET Thong Summer Slides

COS V-Neck Scuba Dress

COS Leather Flip Flops

Loewe Oversized Square-frame Acetate Sunglasses



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