Style and the Sunshine

Clare Edwards

It was lovely and warm on Saturday, wasn't it, and this week it's going to be hot and I mean Spanish hot. While this is a lovely excuse to bring out all those strappy dresses and playsuits you only get to wear for about a fortnight a year, it also means many feel the need to flash all the flesh they possibly can without breaking any indecency laws. Not only is there minimal clothing on show, there also seems to be minimal use of sunscreen too as burnt shoulders are a common sight.

Just because you may not get to wear your High Summer Wardrobe (HSW) very often it does not mean it should be an after-thought. Your HSW needs to be relatively small and perfectly formed and it is the ultimate capsule wardrobe. Once you've got it sussed you can pack it in your suitcase for all your warm weather holidays as well as wearing it when we get continental temperatures at home. Your HSW should be made up of the following:

Maxi dress - Ideally patterned as this will help break up the large amount of fabric. Wear it with flat sandals to the beach and wedges to the bar. If you're under 5'4" shop in the petite section to make sure your maxi is well proportioned.

Playsuit/Jumpsuit - You can interchange here depending on whether you're happy to show your legs. Again go for a pattern as you'll be wearing it on its own mostly. If you're going for a playsuit go for one with a collar and front buttons. For a jumpsuit you can get away with thin straps that can be tucked inside for a strapless option. If you go for elasticated ankles you'll be able to wear it with flats or heels.

Shorts - Choose a pair that you can wear as a bikini cover up in the day or with your wedges in the evening,

Vest top - A plain vest top is a summer essential.

Shirt/lightweight cardigan - This is your cover-up for both daytime and those slightly chilly evenings.

T-shirt - To be worn with your shorts, skirt and over your jumpsuit for a different look.

Lightweight trousers - Cropped straight leg trousers are your friend and can easily be dressed up or down.

Above the knee skirt - A-line skirts are the most universally flattering. Go for a lightweight fabric and you can wear it with your t-shirt, vest and interesting top.

Flat sandals - For the beach. Metallic colours will match with everything.

Wedges - For your beach to bar look and those alfresco dinners.

Clutch bag - For evenings and for keeping all your valuables in on the beach - you can then just take the clutch with you when you're away from your lounger.

Tote bag - This can be your day bag/beach bag/carry-on luggage.

Statement necklace - Add this to your maxi dress, playsuit/jumpsuit, skirt/shorts and top to take your look from day to evening.

Choose items with a complimentary colour palette so you can wear everything together. And remember the most important part of your HSW: sunscreen - lobster red is sooo last year.