Thursday 22 August 2019

Transitional dressing: what to wear when it’s too warm for tights and too cold for bare arms

What do you wear when it's too warm for tights and too cold for bare arms? Meadhbh McGrath suggests some chic ways to layer and pair your wardrobe as the weather cools down

Massimo Dutti
Massimo Dutti
Black trench, €149 from Massimo Dutti

It's hot! It's humid! Suddenly, it's raining, you're being blasted by a gust of wind and before you know it, the sun's in your eyes again. 'Variable' doesn't seem a strong enough word to capture the weather we're experiencing at the moment. Those floral sundresses and espadrilles won't stand up to the showers, yet it's still too early to be pulling out the opaque tights and diving into our winter wardrobes.

When you've waited months to wear your summer clothes - and likely splashed out a decent sum on them too - you don't want to abandon them midway through August. As the weather starts to change, here's how to keep yourself covered while making the most of your sun-ready pieces.

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Jumpsuit, €259 from Whistles
Jumpsuit, €259 from Whistles

My sandals are soggy

Choosing footwear for a rainy summer is always a challenge - it can be gloriously sunny when you leave the house, until you find yourself dodging puddles a few hours later, muddy splashes streaked across your feet.

What to do? Resist the temptation to break out your winter boots just yet. A pair of leather trainers or loafers will do the job nicely, but for those averse to close-toed shoes before September, there are other options. Most sandals won't be of much use to you in a rain shower, but thankfully, the shoe of the summer is the Teva sandal - a sturdy, waterproof design engineered for the great outdoors.

The latest entry in the 'ugly shoes' trend, they join Birkenstocks, Crocs and dad trainers, and are already a street-style hit, used to toughen up pretty dresses and skirts, or add a sporty finish to jeans and a blazer.

Jumper, €39.99 from H&M
Jumper, €39.99 from H&M

On the catwalks, Bella Hadid modelled a red flatform pair from the brand's collaboration with designer Anna Sui, but you don't need the designer version; the classic Hurricane Drift style with chunky rubber sole and water-resistant straps will keep you elevated and comfortable for just €70 (

I need clothes that work at 6°C and 26°C

In changeable weather, we face the gargantuan task of planning outfits that can transition seamlessly from high humidity to thundery downpours. Preparing for the day ahead seems near impossible when you're likely to encounter all four seasons before arriving home again.

Play it safe with some skilful layering. A lightweight knit is your friend here, and those in neutral colours, such as beige, cream, tan, grey or navy, are not only on trend this season, they are easy to mix and match. Toss on over a dress or tuck into a skirt, trousers or shorts.

Jumpsuit, €49.95 from Zara
Jumpsuit, €49.95 from Zara

You can extend the life of your summer dresses by adding a plain white or black T-shirt underneath, or breathe new life into them by picking up on one of the tones in a print with a bold, block colour tee.

To help balance out more summery pieces, go for a crisp white button-down, which offers coverage with its long sleeves and comfort with its breathable fabric.

I'm bored of my summer dresses

At this stage in the season, many of us will have grown tired of the ditsy florals and ubiquitous polka dots that so excited us back in May. Try mixing things up and using your summer dress as a layer over tailored trousers - midis with high leg slits work particularly well.

If you can't stop yourself from shopping, seek out a style that will work all year round. The autumn catwalks boasted vast quantities of moody floral prints, which are a great option, as with a few adjustments in styling, they can look fresh in summer and winter.

Whistles' floral jumpsuit is a winner: the shape will give you a break from all those midi dresses and be much more versatile come the cooler months (just add a sweatshirt or jumper on top and voila, separates), while the print is less 'holiday' without looking prematurely wintery.

My beauty prep has worn off

The beginning of summer is often when many of us commit to some proper grooming, but by the middle of August, your pedicure is in tatters, your tan has faded and your hair is likely dehydrated and frizzy.

Get that chipped polish off your toes stat, and apply some fresh paint - vampy reds, deep purples and rich oranges will take you from those long summer evenings into autumn days.

To make your pedicure last longer, try using cuticle oil to prevent chipping, moisturise regularly and rinse feet with fresh water after a dip in the pool or the ocean to reduce the drying effects on your skin.

To prolong your tan, cut down on the long hot showers, exfoliate very gently (steering clear of those with glycolic or salicylic acid, which cause tan to fade faster) and moisturise as often as you can to fend off peeling.

Finally, for your hair, this season's myriad headbands and hair accessories can serve as a playful distraction from dry, damaged locks. To battle the humidity, look to John Frieda's recently launched Weightless Wonder, a new version of Frizz Ease which will tame fly-aways without weighing down hair.

I've got to cover up

Heavy outerwear looks so incongruous in August, yet still people are resorting to their wool coats at the first prediction of rain. Hold off! You'll have more months than you could ever want to wear them, plus they scream 'afterthought'.

For a more considered approach, try a utility jacket or a light cotton trench which will sit happily over midi dresses, jeans and T-shirts, or trousers and blouses. Muted shades of khaki, tan and black will prove most versatile, while the slightly oversized shape and relaxed fit will allow a cardigan or jumper underneath too, if you're worried about the chill.

I'm still sweating, though

Even with dull and overcast skies, we have to brace for humid conditions, which can make travelling on public transport particularly miserable. Arriving at your destination with sweat patches can leave anyone feeling self-conscious, but with some forward planning, this can be avoided quite simply.

Think about colour: black, white and prints will conceal sweat patches, while block colours - grey is the worst culprit - will put a great big spotlight on them.

Your choice of fabric can help too. Natural fabrics such as cotton and linen will dry more quickly, although linen can crease, so look for a linen blend with elastane or cotton to limit the wrinkles. Satin and silk are generally a no-no in transitional weather, as they watermark easily in a rain shower and when you sweat.

Finally, get yourself an aluminium-free deodorant to combat those deadly yellow stains that form when sweat combines with the aluminium in most antiperspirants.

Irish Independent

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