How to dress for a city holiday

How to dress for a city holiday

Recently, I took a much-needed week off work and headed north for some fun in the sun.  I’m all about relaxing at the beach, but I’m always up for some city time too – and when I go overseas, it’s always the cities that I find the most inspiring and stimulating.  Since autumn (and soon winter) is now upon us in New Zealand, I know lots of us are dreaming and planning for a break in the northern hemisphere, hitting the streets in Europe or America.  I felt like I totally cracked dressing for a city holiday in summer with this outfit!

You are going to be walking a LOT, on hard surfaces.  You could definitely wear sneakers (don’t wear Converse though – I’ve learned the hard way that they have zero support) but that can feel a little too dressed down if you’re planning to hit the fancy restaurants.  Having said that, I went to Chanel in Paris wearing short khaki shorts and a sweaty gleam of pollution, so you do you.  Here I went for a platform sandal to give a little height, and a slight lift toward the back of my foot.  These sandals are super light and I drove my car through Auckland traffic and walked in them all day (and evening) without any problems.  Had zero accidents, didn’t get lost, and didn’t get any parking tickets – it’s a veritable city miracle that I put firmly at the feet of these sandals (oh, how punny I am).

 At least   I find my jokes funny

At least I find my jokes funny

It’s hot in the city, and as I’ve said before I’m a big believer that a hot day calls for a long and breezy skirt.  I picked up this one from COOP at Rumor, in Cambridge, in le sale.  I LOVE this print, and the ruffle around the bottom is both super flattering and makes the skirt look more special, rather than just being a slightly A-line tube on an elastic waistband.  I breezed it up in this skirt, which in addition to being sun smart (I am no more tan now than I was pre-holiday, except for the sweet as trucker tan on my right arm) was forgiving when I decided to eat All The Potatoes at Amano for an early supper.

A black tshirt was possibly a bold choice for a sunny day.  I definitely felt the warmth from time to time in this, but the reality is that much of the city is made up of shadows from tall buildings.  The key is to go full cotton with anything that will be close to your body, or other natural fibres, so that your body heat can escape and not create a sweaty greenhouse effect in your polyester prison.  100% cotton also has a nice structure to it that you don’t get in viscose or similar, which are designed to drape, and with this skirt I wanted to make sure the tshirt would hold some shape. 

I bought this for $8 (on sale) from the youth section of AS Colour after strolling in and announcing that I wanted a tshirt with a high neckline - it has taken me years, but I’ve finally realised that this style is much better on me (with the petite bosom) than things that are scooped.  Black was a very safe choice with this skirt, but with the black sandals this allowed the skirt to really pop.  I’ve also seen it worn with a vibrant red, which I think is a better option, but I didn’t own quite the right shoes to make that work.

City holidays call for accessories – you’re not going to rock out the delicate rings sur la plage (unless you’re cool with losing them in the surf) but in the city, statement earrings and a few pretty rings finish off an outfit beautifully.  These earrings can run a little “pirate” but with this combo of items, they just added a fun bit of drama to the top half of my outfit.  My rings are a reasonably recent splurge from Iko Iko and are by an Australian jewellery design company called Kerry Rocks.  I first came across the brand when I was searching for a present for a friend, and I think it’s safe to say I’ve found my new go-to for rings.  I deliberately didn’t go the necklace route, because I wanted the tshirt to remain blank (and because statement earrings are very very modern and “now”, so a stronger overall look).

I don’t know about you, but shopping is a key element of any city expedition (even if it’s just window shopping!), so a bag that’s big enough to fit everything, including a water bottle, and allow you to go hands free is a MUST.  I find these days that I wear cross body bags almost exclusively, and my shoulder bags sit quietly in the top of my wardrobe, awaiting their return to favour. 

I felt v swish in this outfit, without sacrificing comfort.  I was just as happy sitting under a tree in a park (I also felt v hot, Auckland was a little steamier than this Wellingtonian could easily cope with) as I did going to meetings, as I did doing a bit of “shopping and café culture” time.  This little combo will definitely go in the suitcase if I manage to make it away for another city adventure this year – hopefully somewhere a little further afield (fingers crossed!).

Many thanks to Lucy of The Residents for ignoring the confused middle-aged men in the bar next to us and taking these photos for me!