7 heatwave wardrobe updates to see you through the high temperatures in style

Picnic checks, smocked tops and a dress style that can’t crease. The summer trends that will see you through this heat wave and beyond

& other stories Ganni Whistles dress blouse trousers
Smocked tops, seersucker dresses and cargo trousers are this summer's heatwave essentials

When we entered lockdown it was winter. I, for one, was still going to work in boots and a hefty navy pea coat. Yet here we are now, emerging (gradually) in a heatwave. 

For those of us who have spent much of the last two months comfort dressing in cosy loungewear, it’s a shock to the system and warning signal; the weather’s changed and some iteration of a Proper Summer is back on the agenda, so you had better get dressed for it. 

From Quarantini-time dresses to roots-covering headbands, and the perfect bag to take to a socially-distanced picnic, summer 2020’s fashion wish list is different, but no less desirable. These are the pieces that will see you through...

The picnic check bag

It is unlikely that you’ve seen a proper handbag in weeks. As we are released from lockdown, attending socially-distanced park gatherings or solo jaunts to the beach, you might like to be reacquainted. Woven bag styles have flooded the shops - there are new straw It bags to be found in Loewe’s collaboration with the Ibiza boutique Paula’s, while crochet totes are leading on the high street at Zara and H&M. I love the idea of a bag that looks like it matches the checked picnic blanket; independent British brand Lalo’s gingham styles are made from recycled plastic materials.

Lily bag, £45,Lalo

The seersucker dress

Enough with all the linen. I don’t intend to spend any unnecessary time indoors, tediously ironing my favourite summer dresses. Enter the seersucker dress, the easy breezy alternative that you can screw up and roll around on the grass in with no creasing consequence. In crumply cotton or viscose, it’s just as airy as linen, and comes cut into flattering tiered dress silhouettes and dyed in spring-worthy pastel shades. It’s ideal for a socially-distanced barbecue, sure, but also in life beyond lockdown where you could dress it up with heeled sandals and take it to a wedding - one day. 

Puff sleeve dress, £95, & Other Stories

The bandana sandals

Since it first appeared on the Prada catwalk back in 2016, the clunky EVA foam-sole sandal has been steadily rising in popularity - but it’s a trend which looks set to peak this summer. French label Arizona Love wraps its trekking shoes with pretty vintage cotton bandanas in paisley and leopard prints. The alpha move now, though, is to go ‘bespoke’; buy a plain black pair from TEVA (£40, ASOS) and twizzle ribbons of fabric which you’ve tie dyed yourself during lockdown through the loops. 

Trekky sandals, £100, Arizona Love at Net-a-Porter

The statement hat

By ‘statement’, I just mean very, very large. Raffia sun hats look great in selfies, protect the face from UV damage and can fully disguise hair that hasn’t been cut in 10-plus weeks. This summer’s mantra is the bigger the brim, the better; Topshop and Mango have the best selections on the high street, including some with brims exceeding 30cm in diameter that will even throw shade over the shoulders. There are finer details to obsess over too; will you pick something with a delicate contrasting ribbon woven through, or a contender like this one by Lack Of Color with a showstopping scalloped brim. 

Dolce raffia hat, £160, Lack of Color at Selfridges

The smocked top

Smocking is set to be one of the summer’s key micro-trends, a detail now found on everything from handbags to dresses. Pictured here is the top version of Copenhagen-based brand Ganni’s latest It dress - you’ll observe that it has generous smocking across the bodice providing extra stretch, making it ideal to wear for a big, leisurely lunch. I like that it also has a flattering square neckline and puff sleeves, meaning it’ll translate beautifully on a Zoom call. If your upper half is all that can be seen, you’ve got to throw everything at it. 

Check smock top, £155, Ganni

The cotton cargo trousers

Sometimes, even in a heatwave, you don’t want to wear a dress. There are many busy-looking summer trends to choose from (I’ve seen florals, checks, smocking and fringing all in action on a single garment) but there are also plenty of more relaxed, pared back options. Cue the cotton cargo trousers, an update on winter’s utility trousers trend, but now found in lightweight fabrics and sun-soaked colours; try beige, khaki or terracotta. Find a flattering wide-crop style that a) allows for a breeze up the leg and b) shows off good sandals. Then just tuck in a simple vest top.

Amenia cargo trousers, £89.25, Whistles

The knotted headband

Call it a hangover from the VE Day street party, but 1940s-style bandana ties are the heatwave’s answer to winter’s padded velvet Alice band trend. I’m not talking about anything over dramatic or millinery-esque. It’s about short, neat, efficient bows that will keep your hair off your face and neck, cover your long-neglected roots, and add a touch of colour and print into the picture on your next virtual pub quiz call. Find an old silk scarf in a drawer, and voila. For those who can’t be bothered with the slight faff of tying one, you can even buy them already affixed to a headband. Now pour a Quarantini, close your eyes, and imagine you’re on a yacht off the coast of Mykonos, rather than, yep, still in the garden.

Gingham knot headband, £33, J Crew

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