We wait all year for summer here in the UK. We spend 10 months complaining about the rain, the drizzle, the wind and the freezing cold. We talk incessantly about summer plans, hopes and dreams of picnicking by the riverside . Then, from depths of hell itself, an unspeakable heat descends upon us so unexpectedly. Taken by complete surprise, our un-pedicured tootsies shudder as they are thrust into the trusty Havaianas once more and we fret about how to keep cool.
What’s happened to the spring season I remember so fondly in the 80s? One day we are wrapped up in our down and duck parkas, the next, frantically searching for the denim cut offs we panic made last summer.
It’s too hot!
The general moaning begins within 24 hours of summer’s unexpected arrival. And I admit to it myself because there are times when it’s just too damn hot. I used to LOVE the heat. I would slather myself in tanning oil and roast from dawn to dusk in a bid to achieve the ultimate tan. These days I’m more concerned with melanoma and happily shade when I can and cover the rest of me in factor 40. I’m dreading the thought of hot flashes in the summer. During lockdown we invested in Dyson cool tower fan. Although it was insanely expensive, it’s worth every single penny even if we only use it for 3 days a year!
What’s a girl to do?
How to keep cool
I keep the ice packs from the Gousto box. They are fantastic for when you need a quick cool me down. I put them on my head, back and tummy, quick wipe down with an antibac and back into the freezer. I keep mini ice packs to hand for the wrists and back of knees. If I’m desperate I simply run my wrists under cold water for a moment to regain my composure.
As I’ve gotten older, I really struggle with what to wear in the summer. Varicose veins now plague my once perfect pins so short shorts are simply not an option. I prefer to cover my arms a little due to the 18 year old me that wanted that tattoo that time. I still like it because it’s a part of my history but there are times I wonder what the f*ck I was thinking. If there’s a secret to keeping the bingo wings at bay in the humidity without risking a faint stench of b/o do let me know.
What to wear
Meet style consultant, Penny Bennett. The first time I met Penny, my jaw dropped. She was not only beautiful but she was wearing the most fabulous ensemble. She was destined for the fashion world and it comes as no surprise to see her thriving in her empire.
Penny has trained Personal Shoppers from the High Street’s top clothing brands and regularly teaches Personal Styling at the London College of Fashion. She has also been reviewed by Grazia magazine, and been interviewed by the Telegraph, FT and featured on Talk Radio.
I talked to Penny about summer recommendations. Here’s what she had to offer:
‘As an Aussie in London, I take to high-summer dressing like a duck to water but I know so many of my clients struggle when temperatures sky rocket. Here are 5 things you can do to look and stay cool.’
1. Elevate your basic T-shirts with the right jewellery. Asymmetry is interesting for the eye and I love the architectural earrings from COS.
2. Get playful with colour. Summer is a great time to go brighter and lighter shades will keep you cool.
3. The right shoe can do all the hard work in levelling up your dressing so you feel pulled together when wearing your relaxed summer basics.
4. Swot up on your fabrics. Some textures may feel like cotton but are actually synthetics like polyester that don’t allow your body to breathe (read: make you sweat… a lot). Massimo Dutti has a great range of linen shirts. Just remember to go oversized and roll up the sleeves.
5. Add a sleeveless jacket to your favourite cotton maxi dress and suddenly you feel work appropriate without working up a sweat. I just bought this one from H&M.
We hope these tips help you get through the next few months. As if we ever need an excuse to online shop!
Do leave a comment and connect with us on Instagram here where we love to chat all things being in your 40s.