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My Complicated Relationship with my Summer Wardrobe

Now that London’s never-ending and brutal winter has come to an end, I have ceased questioning my life choices, only to find myself grappling with a new complication. I’ve written before about my challenges in dressing for summer. This time, I’m digging a little deeper. So deep, in fact, I’ve discovered and had to face some stark realties about an unhealthy relationship I have with my summer wardrobe.

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I first got an inkling of the problem last December. I returned to my beloved home-country of Australia to spend a month in Melbourne, with visits to Sydney and the Gold Coast while I was at it. I packed my summer best in a large suitcase, yet once I was in the warm embrace of an Australian summer, I found I had nothing to wear. NOTHING. None of my outfits suited the hot weather and nothing suited the laid-back yet sophisticated Melbourne aesthetic.

Melbourne, and Sydney for that matter, has a distinct style. It’s all about that sunny, beachy, casual lifestyle. Yet the stylish women of these cities somehow manage to make it look so incredibly chic. Like they’re about to go to a cocktail party on a yacht. But they’re not trying to look amazing. But they do look amazing. I, on the other hand, looked like I was going to work. In London. To look at spreadsheets.

I was overheated. I was pissed off. Which sent me into an anger shopping spree which was not the best thought-through expedition and resulted in me buying pieces that didn’t quite meld together in quite the coherent way I intended. This then triggered a self-esteem downward spiral and I just wasn’t myself for most of the trip.

Sounds pretty crazy, I know. But hey, this is me. Nice to meet you.

All this did was highlight to me how much my self-esteem and identity are tied up in what I wear. And the crazy comes out mostly in the summer, when I just haven’t quite nailed my signature style. And that comes from a  number of factors. Having lived in London for the last ten years or so, I haven’t invested in many beautiful summer pieces. We just don’t get the weather for it. I’ve forgotten how to dress summer-apropos.

I have long subscribed to the theory that fashion is all about self-expression. And taking that one step further, I (like so many other people) feel better when I know I look like the best version of myself. There’s nothing better than heading out for the day in a pair of “outta my way!” trousers teamed with a pair of killer heels. Or the dress that nips in and flares out in all the right places and magically makes bits and bobs look amazing/invisible. Is that so bad?

In addition to this, I love fashion. I love writing about it. I love studying it. I love looking at it in the street. Taken in this light, then personal style and attachments to my outfits should be a positive thing.

On the other hand, my self-esteem should not be so dependent on something external like what I’m wearing. When a love of fashion becomes a mood-changer for the worse, then something’s up. Surely confidence should just come from within, and I should love how I look no matter what I wear, blah blah blah.

Can you see the dilemma!?!? I wish I could say I’ve found a resolution to it. I haven’t. I’ve got to continue to indulge my love of fashion, while also recognising its limitations. I am not my summer wardrobe. I have a personality that some of my friends find delightful. Maybe the answer lies in a more thoughtful planning of my summer wardrobe this year. Palazzo pants perhaps… Let’s see.

While I continue to grapple with this, I’ve found this gorgeous summer top from the divine Swedish designers at Toteme. Which has only added to my next existential dilemma as I try to figure out my summer style. Do I take this Scandi minimalist summer aesthetic and run with it? Or should I go full-blown boho (a la Spell & the Gypsy Collective)? Uptown problems…

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Top: Toteme; Jeans: Filippa K; Sandals: Scanlan Theodore (old, similar here); Basket bag: Zara; Sunglasses: Le Specs.

4 thoughts on “My Complicated Relationship with my Summer Wardrobe

  1. I completely relate to what you’re going through. Every summer is the same: I don’t know who I am anymore! I find myself shopping like a maniac, way too late, and I end up looking less sophisticated, less stylish, less put together. I haven’t solved it yet so please ping if you find a solution!
    Thank you!

    1. So I’m not the only one! I think part of the solution is to go summer-outfit shopping early! And not to faff around when you see a nice piece (even in early spring), get it!

  2. I know EXACTLY what you’re saying, I feel the same every time the warm weather starts I think living in England we just don’t get enough summer to practise the whole summer look, but looks like you nailed it with this outfit, it’s great xx

    1. Hi Avril, you’re right – it’s about being in the practice of dressing for warm weather. And I just can’t justify any major investments in summer clothes for the limited summer season here! I’ll just have to keep at it though!

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