How to dress comfortably during a heatwave without melting

Written by Naomi May

If the thought alone of dressing in the heatwave makes you break out in hives, this is the foolproof fashion guide you need to summer dressing.

Waking up sweating and irritated from a bad night’s sleep in the heat is far from the ‘hot girl summer’ many of us had in mind. 

Said situation is made even worse by turning up to your destination overheated, sweaty and uncomfortable. But alas, welcome to the Great British summertime, which, if you ask residents of the UK, will no doubt refute the use of the word ‘great’.

If there’s one thing we Brits know how to do, it’s moan about the weather, and when a heatwave takes hold, that moaning cranks up a notch. After all, there’s getting dressed in the morning in all our puffy-eyed and under-caffeinated glory, and there’s getting dressed in the morning in all our puffy-eyed and under-caffeinated glory in the sweltering heat.

The short takeaway is that it’s too warm for most items of clothing but, aside from becoming a nudist, how does anybody keep the warm weather at bay in actual clothes?

Which is where we come in, with this warm-weather wardrobe guide. A foolproof list of fashion formulas for riding out the heatwave in style (you’re welcome). 

Try different materials to keep cool

Reach for cottons and linens during the warmer months.

Forget relying on the same stable of pieces you’ve worn before. In case you’ve missed the news, the world is getting hotter with each passing year, which means you in turn need to stay cooler. The remedy lies in embracing breezy, barely-there fabrics. Think natural fibres such as linen and cotton, which are breathable for the skin and enable it to keep cool and, more importantly, keep the sweat at bay.

This style of dress is your friend

Trapeze dresses are a summer styling dream.

The humble trapeze dress – a sort of souped-up, glorified, wearable tent – is the ultimate heatwave hero piece. Loose enough to keep you cool when the wind decides to blow a little to cool us all down, the trapeze dress is the sort of wardrobe foundation you’ll want to stockpile for every time you’re ever hot for the rest of your life. A true warm-weather wardrobe saviour.

Don’t underestimate the power of shirts 

A crisp colourful cotton shirt will elevate even the most monotonous of outfits.

Come rain or shine, few style staples endure as relentlessly as the crisp cotton shirt. However, in case you’ve coasted your way through this article without actually reading its contents, here we’re referring to its virtues in withstanding the very, very hot weather. Our favourite way to wear it is to throw on nonchalantly over the top of a fitted white tank (for reference, see Julia Roberts in every 90s romcom she ever starred in), but it also works as a cool, calm and collected accoutrement to slip dresses too. A piece nobody has ever regretted snapping up.

Boilersuits can be a great blank canvas

Dungarees and boilersuits are a no-brainer for keeping summer dressing easy.

No, that doesn’t mean ensconcing your body in a toasty long-sleeved and long-legged jumpsuit, but instead embracing breezy silhouettes or dungarees and short-legged jumpsuits, which make getting dressed while it’s hot a walk in the park. The breezier, the better (there’s a theme appearing here), so reach for slightly oversized fits and breathable fabrics to allow your skin to stay cool. 

Images: Getty

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