Confession: I have an unhealthy obsession with ITV’s show The Durrells. I’ve read the books on which the series is based, watched every episode so far and the theme tune is even my alarm clock ringtone each morning. This may all sound excessive but for some reason The Durrells has an incredibly calming effect on me, which I’ve found to be strangely addictive. Watching the family soaking up the Greek sunshine while surrounded by animals in their big old house feels as comforting as a great cup of tea, which is hard to beat after a tough day.
Based on the books by Gerald Durrell about his family’s move to Corfu in the 1930s, the show (now in its 4th and final series) is a picturesque portrayal of a simpler time, full of laughter, family adventures and friendship. However, one of the main highlights of the show for me is the fabulously chic wardrobe of Keeley Hawes' character, Mrs Durrell. Here are just a few of the summer style tips to glean from Louisa Durrell...
Getting dressed is easier when you work to a colour palette
As a single mother of four, Louisa Durrell has often struggled to make ends meet throughout the series, so it makes sense for her wardrobe to work as hard as she does. Without the luxury of an extensive clothing collection - much like being on holiday with one suitcase - a curated colour palette will be your saving grace. Louisa Durrell’s simple colour scheme allows for many well-loved pieces to be worn in different combinations, which has inspired me to streamline my own summer wardrobe. I’m keeping to neutrals, navy and some pops of green and burnt orange- a few well made basics are vital here. Palmier London’s high-quality linen pieces have been a recent discovery and have already proven incredibly useful on recent holidays.
Accessories are essential - and add a vintage feel to your outfit
A couple of cheap and cheerful accessories will always brighten up pared-back looks. Mrs Durrell often sports a straw hat and woven bag in the show, which are a great place to start. She’s also a fan of using red lipstick to perk up a monochrome outfit or to make a patterned dress pop.
Another vital addition to my holiday wardrobe is the silky scarf, which will act as a neckerchief/headband/bag charm/belt and takes up no space in a suitcase. I usually tie mine around the handle of my hand luggage on a flight so it’s ready to keep my hair tied back as soon as I land. As for a bag, I’d take inspiration from Mrs Durrell and opt for a woven style, preferably with an added cross-body strap for when I’m out and about.
Polka dots are a great alternative to florals
Polka dots feature heavily in The Durrells’ female characters’ costumes and I’ve been inspired to add the pattern into my own wardrobe as a result. I’m not a huge fan of a floral print and I mostly wear black or navy day-to-day, but when summer arrives I end up panic buying jazzy, floral clothes, which feel very unlike me. A polka dot print is a much better alternative - still summery but less obvious than a bright floral pattern. A short-sleeved polka dot blouse is a great entry level item (and very Mrs Durrell), while a simple polka dot dress will see you through many a summer event.
Don’t leave your midi dresses at home
Louisa Durrell’s resilient, no-nonsense attitude is portrayed through her clothes in the show. Practicality comes first with her, which means each outfit is carefully considered for a number of tasks/duties to be performed throughout the day. This doesn’t mean dresses are out of the question though, in fact they’re a staple of her wardrobe - and for good reason. The printed midi dress should not be overlooked when packing for your holidays. A button-up style can be worn open over shorts and a t-shirt to cover shoulders and keep cool in the heat and then, come dinner time, just add statement earrings and a summery sandal for a fail-safe evening ensemble.
Less is more
On previous holiday shopping missions, I’ve been faced with rails of Coachella-style items, adorned with pom-poms, fringing and colourful embroidery. This year it seems the high street is moving away from this maximalist way of dressing in favour of a Mrs Durrell-esque look and I’m happy to follow suit. Mango has a particularly chic offering with plenty of button-down dresses, linen skirts and wide leg trousers. Marks & Spencer has some excellent midi skirts which will work as well in London as they would in Corfu - Louisa Durrell often sports a beige linen iteration which seems to work effortlessly with her short-sleeved blouses. Zara, Topshop and & Other Stories also have some lovely printed pieces so you’ll be spoilt for choice on where to get your Mrs Durrell look from.