I use the word ‘summer’ in the loosest sense of the word here. I was lucky enough to be somewhere hot last weekend: Bulgaria. Who knew it was so nice there? But the weather’s been appalling in the UK since I got back. Still, I do have a family holiday to look forward to next week, so I’m certainly not complaining. Instead, I am grateful to myself for booking a family holiday abroad this summer. Are you also the one that books all the holidays in your relationship? Honestly, if I didn’t do it, we would never leave the bloody house. I’ve booked the flights, the hotels, the meals out, the car hire, the excursions, the person to look after the pets, the lot. Every year for the past 26 years. If you want something doing, do it yourself.
Usually around this time of year I’d be wafting around in a nice floaty dress. But I’ve not really been feeling them this summer. I hope to get my dress mojo back at some point, but otherwise I’ve been leaning much more towards the humble shirt. It’s a somewhat overlooked item of clothing, but one that works very hard. I love to layer my shirts over my ‘how-did-I-ever-live-without-these’ Uniqlo bra vests. Honestly, get one, and thank me later.
Layering is a must for me at the moment as the hot flashes are erratic and powerful. I need to be able to disrobe at a moment’s notice. Thanks to those who suggested taking sage tablets; in fact, I’ve started with them and can see a marginal difference already. But this isn’t a blog about my menopause symptoms – we’ll leave that to Davina and Meg Mathews for now. In the meantime, let’s have a look at some great shirt-based outfits…
NEUTRALS & CHINOS
One of my go-to ‘it’s summer, but you know, it’s not actually THAT warm’ looks. Pair your classic chino trousers with a neutral shirt layered over my favourite vest. Don’t be alarmed that it says it’s cropped. It IS cropped, but only enough to sit on the waist band of trousers with a slightly higher waist. You’d only flash your stomach if you’re doing an S Club 7 and reaching for the stars.
- Uniqlo ribbed cropped sleeveless bra top
- Free People Georgiana aviator sunglasses
- Sessun Botan stripe shirt
- Carhartt organic cotton twill trousers
- Novesta Star Master canvas trainers
- Dragon Diffusion small woven leather basket bag
A LITTLE BIT OF LACE
OK, so more of a blouse than a shirt, but what actually constitutes a ‘blouse’? I’d say anything with a collar should, by rights, be a shirt. I love this waistcoat from new brand House Of Disgrace: it’s a great shape and goes perfectly with your wide-leg cropped jeans. These from Rag And Bone are an excellent and flattering fit, and are inexplicably now 80% off in the sale. I’d wear them with my new Mango ‘Cinderella’ shoes if it would just stop raining long enough. Mesh and crystal shoes do not go well with puddles.
- House of Disgrace Stevie quilted waistcoat
- Lisa Angel personalised pressed birth flower necklace
- Rag and Bone Maya wide leg crop jeans
- Boden Broderie puff sleeve shirt
- Mango rhinestone ballerina flats
- Maison M quilted balloon bag
BACK IN BLACK
A couple of things to note here: yes, it’s OK to wear black in the summer, and always have a look at the men’s department when browsing for shirts, especially short-sleeved ‘resort’ style shirts. They’re made to be loose, and the men’s section often has a much better selection. Abercrombie & Fitch do some lovely embroidered ones.
Top tip: if you’re planning on doing a lot of walking in a hot country this summer, get yourself a pair of Tevas. They are the ONLY sandals I have tried that don’t give me any blisters. They might not be the prettiest on the market but, trust me, they’re the best for sightseeing.
- Chantelle soft sleeveless camisole top
- Le Specs black cats eye sunglasses
- Abercrombie camp collar linen blend embroidered shirt
- COS high waisted wide leg trousers
- Jigsaw Melbury black leather handbag
- Teva original Universal sandals
Even if the sun isn’t shining, you can bring the summer with a bright shirt. Brazilian brand Farm Rio have really cornered the market in bold tropical prints that will perk you right up, even on the dullest of days. If you’re feeling extra daring, this shirt comes with matching trousers. For a more budget-friendly version of this look, check out this shirt and matching shorts from Oasis.
- Farm Rio crochet trim printed cotton shirt
- LHHMZ large straw shoulder bag
- Mango slouchy fit shorts
- Hunza G Domino swimsuit
- Birkenstock Arizona natural vegan sandals
KEEP IT CLASSY
Creams, whites, blacks and khakis. Always a winner, and the perfect colour combination for any of your LMD outfits. This oversized gauzy shirt from H&M would make the ideal beach cover-up too. We love a multi-tasking item for our holidays, don’t we?
- H&M oversized crinkled cotton modal shirt
- Loewe leather Flamenco bag
- Free People Madison City denim jacket
- ME + EM cotton summer boucle skirt
- Boden multi strap flat sandals
A good striped shirt will take you anywhere and go with so many things in your wardrobe. It will also work all year round. At the time of writing, the green striped Sambas were in stock in most sizes on the Adidas website. I don’t see this style going anywhere for the new season. The demand is still high. I’ll definitely be wearing mine throughout the year. I find them really comfortable. I’d say maybe go 1/2 size up.
- M&S secret support cotton rich vest
- Rachel Jackson gold plated rainbow spinning happy pendant
- Monica Vinader siren muse hoop earrings (use code KATEH20MV for 20% off)
- River Island green stripe linen blend shirt
- M&S denim split front midi skirt
- Adidas Samba green stripe trainers
- Loewe Paulas Ibiza leather trim straw bag
There now follows a short summer break. I will be back with you at the end of the month. If you are going away, enjoy. If you are staying put, also enjoy, just in different way…