Non-Monotonous Summer Dressing

“This is inspired by your post on winter dressing… and your post on T-shirts seems to have anticipated my question, so hopefully you will feel up to tackling my problem, or at least giving me a few links in the right direction. Unlike you lucky people who are moving into winter (my favorite season – seriously!) I am living in Tokyo and things are getting hot and humid very fast. Apart from simply wearing less, do you have any suggestions for dressing for summer? Somehow I am hoping that I can layer things, even though it will probably just make me unbearably hot. I just feel that having a top – say a t-shirt – and a bottom – say a pair of cotton trousers – gets monotonous. Advice? Yoroshiku ne!”

Hello mademoiselle!

Layers are a nice idea but usually pretty impractical in summer, except for in the evenings (if it somehow, miraculously, cools down). As much as I wanted desperately to sling something on over the top of my outfits this summer, it was just too goddamn hot.

Melbourne really heats up in summer, & I was unaccustomed to weather which makes your elbows sweat (seriously!), so this summer was a bit of learning experience for me too. I practically lived in my oversized white bedshirt with shorts, cowboy boots & a headscarf. If not that, then one of these two silk dresses by Kate Sylvester, or vintage slips. Really, anything lightweight is your best friend — big t-shirts, loose dresses, wide-cut pants. Try looking on Ebay for vintage babydoll nighties in bright colours, cool vintage t-shirts & long, sleek skirts.

I think the real key to looking good when you’re not wearing much is to accessorise like mad. Since you don’t have a lot to work with (say a dress versus a shirt, pants & sweater), everything you pick to go with it needs to be a perfect match. It has to add something to the outfit, rather than just chucking it on because “it goes” or you don’t know what else to do.

Take a scarf, for example. (Silk or cotton, not wool!) You can wear it on your head (in about a million ways), around your neck, tied around your upper arm (this works best for gym bunnies), around the handle of your handbag, or around your waist as a makeshift belt. That is just one item which can be worn a multitude of ways. Admittedly, a square of fabric is very versatile, but if you endeavour to think this way about all of your accessories, you’ll really stand out.

Hair accessories are always good (& sometimes you can adapt them slightly & clip them onto your clothes like a brooch), as are lightweight stockings (if you can bear it), fun shawls & crazy shoes. Buy a summer bag in a colour you wear often (or combination of colours), dye your hair blue, stock up on eye-catching jewellery. I know that parasols are big in Japan during summer, why not buy one & dye it yourself?

Of course, you need to play with colour too. White is a fabulous colour for summer since it reflects light (as opposed to black which attracts it). White is beautiful & classic & suits almost everybody. Say you were wearing a plain white cotton sundress. Try playing up the purity of the colour with a huge hot pink flower in your hair, hot pink shoes & a whole lot of jangly bracelets in the same colour. This will really make your outfit pop, as opposed to just being a girl in a dress.

Good luck to you, my darling!

P.S. I also recommend keeping an eye on Tokyomade for Japanese treats & trends!