Monday, May 30, 2016

The seasonal wardrobe - Summer

My new tortoise-shell reading glasses

Continuing with my wardrobe posts, today's post is about the summer wardrobe.  During the hot and humid days of high summer the simple dress is my best friend.  The collection below is what I had on high rotation this past southern hemisphere summer.

The first three are cotton knit from Banana Republic in Hawaii two years ago, and the next two are pure linen by a New Zealand company Wallace Cotton and I have been wearing them with a low-slung belt (hanging from each hanger) to have them be a bit more flattering than floating free.  I used to iron them damp after each wash (much easier with linen than ironing dry) but recently I decided to wear un-ironed because I've seen a bit of the wrinkled linen look lately and I like it for a change. I am a little relaxed about ironing, but I truly would not wear something unironed if it looked terrible.

And the last dress is an Australian brand - Sportsgirl - which I bought probably in the late 90s and it still looks in as good a shape as it did then.  It predates 'Made in China'.  An Australian dress brand actually made in Australia.  Revolutionary!  That's probably why it has lasted so well.  It is some kind of synthetic but the writing has long gone off the care label so I don't know what type.  You can click on each photo if you want to see them bigger.

As you can see from the varying ages of my dresses, if you find one or two flattering ones that you love each year, you can add to your collection. Because they are such a seasonal item I might only wear them for three months so they last longer than something that I might wear more often.

You will see one of my strategies in the dress photo too – when I find a shape I like, I buy all the colours available (as long as I like them and they're good for my colouring of course).  I did the exact same thing just last week with my new winter wardrobe.  The black merino cowl neck top I bought a few weeks ago was so cosy and flattering that I went back and bought the other two colours they had it in – teal, and berry (the top I am wearing in my reading glasses photo).

And below are the shoes I wear with these dresses.  Please don't think my Birkenstocks and tan sandals are dirty - that's just what happens when your feet rub against the leather.  I don’t know if Birkenstocks will last another fashion season, time will tell, but I will still wear them at home because they are so comfortable and supportive for your feet, knees, hips, spine etc.

I usually wear the flat sandals with my three knit dresses (on the left in the photo), and the wedges/heels with the three dresses on the right – they are more flattering to my legs with those dresses.

So that's what has worked well for me in the hot weather.  Summer used to be my biggest problem regarding what to wear.  I was too hot in jeans, but skirts felt frumpy on me and still do.  I do have a couple of jean-style skirts that are too short for work that I wear at home because I feel too masculine in shorts, but they're different.  I'm glad I have collected together dresses that work for my current job and that I think are age-appropriate.

With dresses the cut and fit has to be right, but after you've found that, they are a dream to wear - one piece and you're ready! Plus accessories of course, but there's no matching top and bottoms.

What's your summer go-to?  What are your summer wardrobe plans?


  1. Hi Fiona, nice glasses!

    My summer go to outfits are skirts and tops. A-line skirts in particular. Just past the knee, or mid calf length. I only wear skirts and dresses now, I never wear jeans or pants. Skirts and dresses are so comfy and easy to buy. Buying well fitting jeans and pants was always a long laborious process. And five likes here or there, would make them ill fitting.


  2. I live in jeans & tees, although in really hot weather I'll wear cotton pants rolled up to mid-calf, a loose cotton shirt & sandals. I'm retired so thank goodness don't have to worry about a "work" wardrobe but there's no way I'm comfortable doing housework, gardening or hiking in dresses. I got rid of probably 85% of my wardrobe in my "post-retirement purge" & am slowly adding things back in & this post has *almost* convinced me that at least one dress wouldn't kill me. I used to wear long loose cotton dresses & skirts with embroidered tops back in my hippie days but I think I'm a bit past that . . . or maybe not! LOL! Thanks for the inspiration. You are SO right when you say that "chic style" comes from being comfortable in your own self, and when you find a clothing style that works for your lifestyle and personality, go for it!

  3. I love that you are real about your wardrobe Fiona! Such a good share with your lovely dresses, then you well loved shoes.

    Your new glasses look terrific!

  4. I'm not sure how costly it is, but you can send your Birks in for repairs to the sole and the cork footbed if you want another season out of them.

  5. I love your dresses, especially the linen ones. They look so chic and I can imagine how comfortable they must be in the summer. I recently got a pair of birkenstocks and they have become my favorite shoe for wearing at home. I agree, the support is amazing.

  6. My problem is the frigid indoor temps from the air conditioner blasting. So I've stocked up on cardigans and shrugs in a variety of colors. The cardigans are used year round so if I try to get cashmere if I can, warm in winter and cool in summer plus they last forever.

  7. A-line tee shirt dresses in a cotton blend are my "beat the heat" favorites. I use jewelry and, occasionally, a scarf to dress them up. I have a number of dresses, all bought post-retirement, that I enjoy wearing for almost anything. I wear simple cotton shorts and tee's at home. I hate capris so I have a few ankle-length pants that I wear with flowy tops, but when it is really hot, dresses win.

  8. You look gorgeous as usual. When I find something I like and is comfortable, I buy more in different colors as well.

  9. I live in Mississippi, i.e., HOT AND HUMID! I wear mostly linen in the summer. I have several "outfits", mostly white, pink, or blue. After seeing your blog, I am going to add dresses. It is the only way to stay cool. Especially since my son plays baseball.
    I really enjoy your blog! Thank you!

  10. Mary, thepoutingpensioner.blogspot.comMay 31, 2016 at 11:14 AM

    I love the glasses, Fiona, I hope you don't mind me asking but what make are they? I need some new specs.
    I try to treat myself to a dress each sunmer, usually flowery, worn with cardis or open shirt. But despite my build up I keep going back to a 15 y.o. simple ivory linen strappy A-line cut dress. I slip it on and feel instantly great! It shows no sign of aging. The lack of clutter around the waistline makes dresses very cooling in heat.

  11. Hi Mara! When I've worn skirts, the best ones for me are a-line as well.

    Susanne, I say go find yourself a boho style dress that you love, and wear it often!

    Rose, very real :)

    Sarah, yes, they offer this service here in New Zealand too. I actually meant 'fashion season' because Birkenstocks have been so hot the past few years I wonder if the fashion girls will wear them again this summer or have they moved on... I'll still wear them though!

    Stephanie, I'm glad you got some Birkenstocks! Your body will thank you.

    Anonymous, frigid air conditioning isn't so common here, but having a cardigan sounds like a great solution. Mmmm, cashmere. I've never owned any but I'd love to. Must look into that.

    Kristien, we sound similar!

    Anonymous 2, yay for a fellow stocker-upper

    Virginia, it's hot and humid here too. Have fun dress shopping :)

    Mary, my spectacles are by Kate Sylvester, a New Zealand designer. The model is 'Fitzgerald' in Dark Tortoise.

  12. Your eyes look huge in those glasses! I just bought myself a couple of those short cotton-jersey-drawstring skirts. (they look really sporty for tennis/hiking/etc.) I love them and they look really flattering. Not a huge fan of shorts. Do you wear shorts or capris in the summer? Thanks, Carla.

  13. Hi Fiona,
    Thanks for your summer wardrobe inspiration from all of us in England hoping for some lovely warm weather! Where I am in England, I can probably get away with jeans all but the occasional hot day, butI too love dresses. I especially love jersey ones as they are so easy to throw on and care for, I've just treated myself to a couple from Hobbs sale (sadly I can't afford their full price clothes!). I just can't get my head round linen yet, I don't know if it's just me, but I always look a mess in it - I see other people who look fantastic in slightly crumpled linen, but I just look as though I can't be bothered!!
    Looking forward to your new book too.

  14. Hi Carla, your new skirts sounds really cute! I'm not a fan of shorts, they make my legs look bad, so I stick to dresses/skirts or jeans when it's not as hot.

    Anonymous, I love jersey dresses too, they are so easy to wear and care for. The new book is almost there!

  15. Fiona, this post is a lifesaver!! It is heading into summer season right now in the US. I am at a total loss for what to do. Or should I say, I *was*. I found a few dresses the other day that I loved - same brand/style, in a few different colors. And I thought ... am I silly to buy the same dress in many colors? Glad to know I am in fact, not silly at all! :) I love this capsule-style wardrobe idea. I am excited to work on mine for summer. And I also love that you mentioned age appropriate and work appropriate. I dont like to have to buy different dresses for work vs. non-work. And getting a bit closer to 30 I have wanted to dress a little more modestly but still look pretty, chic, and polished.

  16. Hi Candice, lovely to hear from you. I'm so happy to help! It sounds like you are on the right track for summer.

  17. I'm big on skirts and dresses for summer. My go-to dress is amethyst linen in a princess cut front buttoned style. No matter how hot and muggy it gets, this dress always works and looks nice. I was at a rummage sale today and bought two more skirts, one purple print (I am a purple person) and a floral print in purple with green leaves. Four dollars, and they both fit just right and look great! I have a bunch of nice cotton knit tops that I wear with my skirts. I want to get more dresses- maybe I'll get lucky again!

  18. Hi Aurora, it sounds like you are building up a lovely collection that makes you feel happy. I love that we can have a bit of fun with summer dresses/skirts in terms of colour and print!


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...