Summer holidays taken you by surprise? Can't remember what month it is, let alone, what you're meant to be wearing (thanks Covid-19!) Haven't a clue whether boho is a yes or a no-no? Worry no more. Here's TAE's definitive guide to summer...
A - Armful of bracelets
Tanned arms looks so much better with a stackful of bracelets. Turquoise is the perfect colour for summer, as is white, although let's face it, any of these gold-plated Bangle Up bangles look amazing....
B - Boho
You're a minimalist, you like clean lines and a bit of structure. You'd love to own a bit of Jil Sander and your winter wardrobe is an ode to chic, tasteful style. But then, the sun comes out and immediately you yearn to dress like Sienna Miller during her Jude Law period, or Talitha Getty on that rooftop in Marrakech. Summer is the time to indulge your inner hippie, so bring out those beautiful maxi skirts and floaty dresses and you'll feel all the better for doing so. If you just want to dip your toe in, then go for a beautiful boho bag - my tasselled Balearic Boho bag is this summer's must-have.
C - Cool Cottons
There's nothing like wearing a face mask to make you break out in a sweat. It's not just the fact that the man in the Aisle number 3 looks like he's stifling a suspicious cough, it's just so darn hot wearing one (and let's not even talk about the heat-inducing stress of wearing one with steamed-up glasses). Bring your temperature down by dressing in cool cottons like these beautiful dresses from DREAM. Designed in Greece and block-printed in India, they are made for hot weather (and face-mask induced temperature spikes!)
D - Dodgy tan lines
Yes, you. You with the bright red shoulders and white strap marks poking out of your bandeau top, I'm talking to you. If you must sunbathe (see T for tanning) then please remember to think of your marks, dodgy tan lines are never a good look. And while we're on the subject, those cut-out swimsuits, sure they look great on a hot bod around the pool in Ibiza, but in the garden during Lockdown? Not so much.
E- Eating Outside
So inside dinner parties are off the menu, but hurrah! eating outside is A-Ok. And really is there anything better than eating outside on a summer's evening? Just keep a jumper or cardigan nearby for the inevitable late evening chill.
F - Flip-Flops
Should you wear them outside of your own garden? Is there an age limit on them? Are they just too chillaxed? Is there even a word 'chillaxed'? Do you even care? Bring them out with the kids, for the supermarket, the beach, the park...Since we no longer go to the office, parties or weddings, there's no need to upgrade them to uncomfortable sandals anymore. Long live flip flops!
G - Grooming
Ok ladies, it's time to up your game. During Lockdown you may well have let everything slide and let those legs grow scaly, those armpits go hairy and those toes turn into those of the Hobbit. But now we're allowed out again, the bright light of summer is a harsh critic. My best Lockdown purchase? An epilator. I'm obsessed!
H - Holiday Envy
When holidays were off the cards, you secretly punched the air with delight. Yes! No more looking at sun-drenched pictures on Instagram whilst you huddled under an umbrella in windy Norfolk. But no, holidays are back on and some lucky souls are jetting off to the sunshine. Envious? Moi?
I - Icons
Some women were just born for summer. Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Lauren, Bridget Bardot circa 1963 (in fact, all of them circa 1963). If you're looking for more modern inspiration then think Kate Bosworth, Olivia Palermo and Alexa Chung all of whom have summer dressing nailed.
It may be summer, but it is the UK. Jumpers are required at all times, so make sure you have a good one. My beautiful Brooke knits by Saint Tropez DK are stunning - in pink, navy or oatmeal, they look amazing with almost everything.
I struggled finding something summery or fashionable for this one, but then I thought kindness. There's nothing better than that!
L - Light Evenings
By far the best bit of summer. Early morning wake-ups courtesy of the flimsy blinds you swear to replace every year. Not so much. So, make sure you have an eye mask - it's honestly a game changer.
M - Make up
So easy in the winter, you just slap it on and it sticks in one place. Besides, it's dark nearly all the time, so no-one can see your dodgy foundation lines anyway. But come summer, your face turns into an oil slick and applying make-up is a whole new game. Factor in bright summer light, slidey skin (yes, that's an official term) and your make-up routine is fraught with worry. The solution? BB/CC cream, blotting paper and powder. And, cut down on the slap. It's the only way.
N - No School
Ha,ha,ha,ha.....and to think how we used to moan about having to fill 8-week long summer holidays. Well, after three months of trying to work and home-school, I say throw out the textbooks, let them go feral and bring it on.
O - Office Dressing
A tricky one. We're not really 'doing' offices anymore, are we? Except that people are starting to pop back into them. Or meet up in a socially-distanced fashion, which means workwear is back. Sort of. Summer styles (see boho) don't translate well to an office environment (unless you work in fashion, media or by the side of a pool), but neither do old-school suits. The answer? Think about simple separates such as these gorgeous ruffle blouses twinned with a skirt and you'll be more than fine.
P - Pouches
For keeping all your summer essentials safe and looking stylish in the process.
Q - Quintessential Summer Day
What would your quintessential summer day involve? Cucumber sandwiches, homemade lemonade and friends over for a socially-distanced lunch? Drinks in a pub garden? Boating on the river? Lying around a pool? Whatever it is. Make it happen. These are days of which memories are made...
R - Rosé
How good does it taste on a hot summer's day? How quaffable. How refreshing. How easy to drink another glass. And then another. Oops and then another. Another bottle? Hic! Why not....Rosé - I love and hate you in equal measure.
S - Statement T-shirts
The humble t-shirt is the new must-have. The backbone to any wardrobe, a beautifully-cut tee will become your best friend, teamed with shorts and skirts in the summer, and layered under a blazer in the autumn. Add a beautiful logo, and your summer wardrobe is basically sorted.
So old-fashioned, so uncool, so TOWIE. I so do it. Not all the time and not really at home. But, on holiday, I can't resist getting my legs out. I would love to be one of those people who has translucent white skin, but nope, that's not me. A light tan just makes me look better. And brown legs, how good are they? Just make sure you use good sunscreen so you don't end up looking like Magda from There's Something About Mary. My favourite is by Institut Esthederm.
U - Unbelievably cool rings
Ok, ok, this A-Z idea was harder than I thought! But, if you really want to look on trend this summer, then wear a cool cocktail ring. Even when you're wearing the plainest outfit, you'll stand out with one of these on your finger.
V - Volume
We're talking big hair. Spray some mousse, backcomb like your life depends on it and seal with hairspray. Your summer hair look sorted (and not a hint of frizz to worry about).
W - White is wrong
So chic, so summery, so impractical. If you don't come home at the end of the day without a coffee stain, dirty fingerprint or strange mark that you just can't place, you're a better woman than me. Stick to colour and you won't go wrong.
X - X-rated
I'm talking to you Mr Workman with your top off and your beer belly hanging out. You're not in a Diet Coke ad, you'll never be in a Diet Coke ad and no, I do not want to see you in all your sweaty glory. However, if you do look like you could be in a Diet Coke ad, then by all means strip off (I'm all for equal opportunities when it comes to sexism).
Y - You musn't....
I'm not generally one to throw out 'rules' (ha ha she says having written an A-Z of what to do during the summer), but there are a few 'musn't's we all should abide to. You mustn't wear too short-shorts. You mustn't forget to wear the right bra with a sheer top (the pole dancing club is thatta way). You mustn't forget to wash your feet after a day in flip-flops. You mustn't moan about it being too hot. You mustn't listen to a word I say. Whadda I know?
Z - Zoom Calls
Are we still Zooming? Are Zoom drinks/meet-ups/hangovers still a thing? Even if you're not planning elaborate quizzes anymore, you're probably still using Zoom/Teams for work, which means what you wear waist-up is important. Think ruffles, think earrings, thing headbands. 2020 is all about Table Up dressing.