Wednesday 20 June 2012

summer shadows.

I am notoriously bad at dressing myself in the summer.  I don't think I do too bad a job at looking presentable for the rest of the year, but as soon as it gets warm enough to qualify as 'hot', which doesn't take much in England, any fashion smarts I do have go out the window.  I have so many memories from last year which involve me sitting at my desk, torn between closing the window or continuing to let wasps into the office (a dilemma akin to Sophie's Choice), feeling hideously overheated and unattractive, only to remind myself that it's probably because I'm wearing thick black trousers and a knit top (three quarter sleeves do not make a garment summery).  I only had myself to blame.

And so, every year, usually around May when the sun makes a dazzling appearance before disappearing behind dull clouds for another few weeks, I made the same desperate plea to some nameless deity of summer wardrobes.  "Please!" I would beg, lying prostrate on the ground wearing a completely weather inappropriate outfit (jeans and a heavy cardigan are probably involved), "Show me the way!".  I longed to be a summer girl, as defined by Bernard Black, a bright and breezy lass who wears floral prints, pastels and chiffon, who never gets hot and bothered and who can wear flip flops for more than five minutes without nearly crippling herself.  Unfortunately my prayers went unanswered.

This year, however, while frantically trying to find a plain black dress for my recent choir concert (do you know how hard it is to find a plain black dress without lace and sparkles?) I stumbled across a real gem on the high street.  I'd heard of Mango before, but the fact that their poster current is currently Kate Moss made me think that their clothes would be too chic and trendy for me.  Turns out I was wrong to write them off.

Because the fantastic thing about Mango is that their summer collection includes a hell of a lot of black.  And, oh, how I love wearing black, so much so that some of my friends act like it's a major event when I wear something colourful.  It's just so easy - if you have a handful of really great black pieces in your wardrobe you can pretty much get dressed in the dark and look good.  Here are a few of my favourite pieces:

Now I can't quite put into words how unusual it is for me to dig dresses.  I'm not really a dress kind of girl.  Mango, however, has some great wardrobe staples - not too short, asymmetrical shapes and interesting mixes of fabrics.


I could've gone wild here and posted many more examples, but I restrained myself.  I think my favourite is the ethnic burnout t-shirt, the fabric falls really well (although modesty means I wear a camisole underneath!).

So, on the cusp of turning 26, I have finally discovered my perfect summer wardrobe.  Fine, I may look like a gloomy Gladys over the coming months when everyone else is looking floaty in pale maxi dresses, but I believe that you have to go with what works for you.

Photos from  

In the grand tradition of the British summer, over the two evenings that I've worked on this post it's gone from brilliant sunshine to torrential rain, so I'm not quite ready to break out the summer threads yet.


  1. This post made me chuckle, especially about wearing three quarter sleeves. :P I'm not much of a summer girl either! It's only in the past few years that I've started embracing dresses and skirts. And can't go wrong with black! Glad you're finding your summer style, this shop looks very cool! ;)

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