And she doesn't mean the heat. What Vicki Woods objects to, on the hottest day of the year, is our dress sense
So it is a warm old week and Britain's gone potty. People had umbrellas up at the Queen's garden party, to shade their faces from the hellish sun, and a friend rang to say she had seen umbrellas in a) Balham and b) Wandsworth Bridge Road, like so many Edwardian ladies. But at least Edwardians were demurely dressed under their lace parasols and not displaying 80 per cent of their body-mass index to the public gaze.
The TUC issued earnest advice to employers saying that front-line staff should be allowed to loosen the dress code during the current emergency. "Clearly, vest tops and shorts are not suitable attire for all front-line staff, but those not dealing with the public should be able to discard their tights, ties and suits."
An alternative use for brollies: parasol style Tights? The TUC should catch up: no fashionable woman has worn tights for five years. But what really worries me is that the TUC clearly thinks that some (not all, but some) front-line staff may go to work half-naked. I think not. I really think not. Italians don't do it and neither should we.
Why can't we dress for the heat? Shouldn't we be getting used to it by now? These are still only the little low foothills of global warming, after all, and we are going to have to live with these hot patches.
Do people really think that nylon running shorts and sports vests are a) acceptable civil dress and b) going to make them feel any cooler? No, no, people, please. Put that flesh away. It is not only deeply unattractive to gaze upon but also the spreading patches at groin and underarm smell like high old mutton.
It is not easy in Britain, I know. I spent Wednesday in London going to appointments where I needed to look dressed, rather than in athletic-wear like half the people in the streets.
In my oppressive bedroom, I picked out a thin silk wrap skirt (reason: floaty, and silk is nice and cool). But my floaty blouse is in the wash, so I had to put a linen jackety thing over the top. It looked cool, but wasn't. I wore nothing underneath but a bra (reason: might get enough air to the armpits by vigorous flapping and blowing down my neck).
It didn't work that well, blowing and flapping. Maybe a sports bra would have worked better, because of its magic "moisture-wicking" properties? Maybe not, though, because where would it wick to?
Women are all very armpit-conscious suddenly, aren't we? Because of poor, shamed Trinny Woodall artlessly displaying thickets of damp underarm hair, and under the cap sleeves of a rather lovely cocktail frock, too. Tut-tut.
Damaged the brand, Trinny. Maybe irrevocably. It will take much penitential high-level grooming over many fashion seasons following this faux pas before she can reassert her bossy authority over the rest of us on what not to wear.
At Waterloo, the Evening Standard headline said: "52C buses, 47C Tubes". Blimey. Decided to avoid Tubes and buses because of the need to arrive looking decent. Walk, woman. It is greener, anyway.
After half a mile, I fell into the first taxi that stopped (most cabbies had their lights off and were clearly heading home to strip). I rode along with my entire top half hanging out of the window to fan self down in the slipstream, thus wrecking any hope of civilised hair. In general, women prefer taxi windows tightly closed. We all remember how John Prescott once made his chauffeur drive the 200 yards from a Blackpool hotel to a Labour Party conference because "the wife doesn't like her hair blown about". A remark that caused much scornful comment for the DPM - and not for the last time.
But this week, fright-wig hair was the least-disgusting option. Because if the current scorchio can melt Tarmac, what do you think it does to mascara? Which is mostly made of wax, by the way. Even Chanel's Extreme Cils Intense in Brun (at £16.50) is soluble in bubbling rivulets of sweat. Nobody wants to see other folks' bodily fluids oozing out in public, do they?
So I wind-dried the tomato-pizza face and wrecked the hair, and cursed John Prescott. Somebody has to and as often as possible, and it may even be justified, heatwave-wise. A friend rang to say he had overheard somebody in London moaning about their journey to work: "It's really hot out there. Some of the pedestrians were really suffering. It's clearly the Government's fault." Yep, clearly. All ministerial motors are temperature-controlled and that is not good for the climate, is it?
What not to wear in a heatwave: The Daily Telegraph contributor Quentin LettsLook, I can do heat. I can dress for it really well. Scorching Dubai, sweaty Mississippi, sweltering New York City -- they are all perfectly cope-able. Taxis aren't air-conditioned in New York, but since everything else is (planet-wreckingly) iced beyond all reason, you know exactly what to wear for dressy appointments. Thin, smart dresses, no stockings and Manolo heels. You leave the frigid hotel with a cardi on, hit the street and doff it smartish, ride five blocks feeling nicely warmed up and then put it on again in the Arctic lobby at the other end.
Dubai has the coldest air-con I ever encountered and you cannot turn it off in the hotels. Even the taxis are icy. You never have to doff your jacket in a lobby; you huddle inside it for warmth. Emirati men dress better for the climate than anyone else I have seen. Their dishdashas go down to the ground, very smart, very cool.
Would Jermyn Street-type dishdashas work for British men? Possibly not. But I just wish the guys would adopt the Western version of an Eastern robe: the loose white flapping full-length trouser, the collarless untucked shirt, the sockless deck shoe.
As for women, who in this country dress better than their menfolk anyway, I wish they would adapt their dress for heatwaves. People do feel gloomy when boiling to death and gloom is not lifted by all this panty-presentation under thin pale frocks.
White underwear, especially thong underwear, is not cool. Flesh-coloured underwear doesn't show. Acres of cleavage, when it is so hot that steam rises off the mounds, looks disgustingly like boiled duck. Midriffs … God, I can't even think about the midriff horrors that pop up in the heat.
I dropped into the offices of Vogue and everybody looked dressed. Crisp city shorts, floaty kaftan tops, floaty wrap-dresses and tea-dresses. Like a bunch of flowers, they looked. Calming. Cool, Mind you, the offices are air-conditioned and they were all moaning it wasn't high enough.
I was quite glad of my linen jacket, but it throttled me on the way home. My neighbour who runs the village coffee bar said: "You should have worn an all-cotton bra. Florence and Fred at Tesco: dirt cheap. I've bought loads."
"It is not money that makes you well dressed: it is understanding."
It's weird, I picked up this week's issue of Grazie y'day and in it was candid streetstyle shots of 'How to Look Chic in the Heat'. Not the same idea exactly, and by no means did I invent it, but I swear to you, Grazia 'journos' lurk around here. This isn't the first time a very similar item from tfs has appeared a week or two later in their mag.
I agree, I think they esp hang around the Kate thread, and I think there's Heat journo's here too! The conspiracy!
__________________ The world is moving so fast now that we start freaking long before our parents did because we don't ever stop to breathe anymore. the last kiss
I live mostly in Singapore and spend Australia's summers over in Melbourne so I'm pretty used to dressing in the heat. I love linens, shorts, cotton skirts and dresses, voile. One of my favourite looks is a skirt belted on the waist or right at the top so than it forms a top/dress. I usually wear my Birkenstocks, miminal make-up, and impossibly large sunglasses.
God, i hate the heat. But in summer, i tend to wear alot of oversized. I have a white, very deepcut v-necksweater, very oversized in viscose that's a lifesaver. Some looser tanktops etc. I always wear jewellery in summer to make the look more personal. It's harder to "dress up" in Summer IMO
I'm in Thailand and it's 'winter' here at the moment - so that means a low of 27degrees celsius. Is always warm or hot and sometimes humid and muggy. Silk is absoutely a no go zone - water stains silk and there is nothing worse than armpit marks (unless its white or black and so doesnt show). You would think that Thai silk, this being Thailand and all, would be good but again it stains.
I'm all about cotton and linen - they remove the heat from you whereas silk actually insulates. At the moment i am using belts which I love but in the hot season I cant. And definitely open toed sandals (and high heels for evening only - its just too hot to wear them and move around for any length of time during the day). When it all gets too hot it's into one of Bangkoks famous shopping malls for freezing cold temperatures.
it's getting as hot as hell here ..35C/95F everyday, plus himidity at 90%
i've been wearing shorts and dresses a lot, also tops and blouses. light fabrics, and light colors. for shoes, flats or flat sandals of some kind. i ocassionally wear jeans, but i end up feeling like they're attached to my skin after being outside.
as far as the silk discussion, i'd never wear it on hot weather. i tend to sweat a lot too, and that'd show ten times more if i was wearing silk. i prefer fabrics such as cotton, linen or anything really light and thin.
Sounds lovely, Neddie. I'd love to see pictures of this... interesting colours
I know you're asking 'ladies' but I'm going to answer anyway
I am going to dress simple and clean like Chloé but not minimalist
and it will be all my designs I usually wear mixes of navy and dark grey and black all year-round, and I've found colour actually looks alright on me, so I'm going to start to incorporate cobalt blue with mixes of transparent whites and blacks... The colour palette will be from a few pieces from Marni s/s '06 like light yellows with greys and muddy reds with greens and a soft black with a nice brown...
The blacks, whites will only be accents and with the greys and neutrals, it will help to break up colours because I can't wear too much colour all at the same time The white is also to lighten and clean things up
The look is something of a mix from uniforms (school, military etc) and mod and sportswear (racecar, soccer)... and accessories like bags that I'll wear will be the only real unusual thing since I will go all out on the design
gius - the whole look sounds wonderful. I would love to see pictures. I just recently became interested in menswear, as my fiance started to actually care about fashion
for me, last summer, I was very neutral in a lot of black, grey, and cream. This summer, I'm adding a bit of navy and some accents of green into the mix. I tend to wear a lot of cropped pants and skirts with floaty tops and cardigan and almost always flats. I've been interested in trying out some pleated cropped pants, we'll see how that goes!
anyway, here's an outfit that I will be living in during the summer. The proportion looks a bit off, because I took the picture too close to the mirror!