The other day, someone on Instagram mentioned that the hydrangeas were starting to die off, and I hit a hard panic. Do I love hydrangeas that much? No, I love them a normal amount, but I MAXIMUM LOVE summer and hydrangeas are a summer flower. The end of hydrangeas means the end of hot days, open toe shoes, sheer fabrics, minimal layers, and the best fashion of the year (in my opinion).
I immediately determined that it was time to eke out every last drop of summer style, and that for me was this tshirt tied at the waist and this sheer silk skirt. I went to the supermarket, I went out for brunch, my friends came over for a feast of cheeses and cakes, I went to the dump, I bought a new iron, it was a jam packed summer weekend day.
Since then, I’ve been sensitive to the idea that I might in fact be wasting my summer outfit opportunities. I have absolutely moaned about how it has been too hot to sleep at night, I was seriously unimpressed when I had to soldier through a heatwave when I was packing up Now that there’s a risk that I might have to abandon my extensive collection of summer culottes, I rue my complaining. It’s time to deploy the summer wardrobe to the very last day that I can.
I think the end of February is a real danger zone for fashion and style, for two reasons: you’re super bored of wearing all your summer clothes so you’re excited to have something new, and (conveniently) all the new season is dropping into stores. As the person who has already participated in Kowtow’s new season very aggressively, I speak of what I know. But I also know that soon enough you’ll be bored of chunky knits and ankle boots, so I have a few tips to keep you on task for the next month or so.
First up: there’s stuff you haven’t worn. It’s a statistical probability that there are perfectly good summer bits and bobs in your wardrobe that you haven’t worn this year. There are a few things that didn’t get as much play this summer as I intended them to, including my strappy black sandals and at least one dress (this one!). I’m pulling those things out and challenging myself to wear them in the next two weeks.
Secondly (and I find this hard): don’t look at new season magazines or editorials online. If you’re reading a fashion magazine that is exhorting the excellence of autumn and winter clothes, you are far more likely to yearn for a good rollneck merino. Don’t do it! Instead, image search online for summer looks, or scroll through Instagram via geolocation so you only see summer beach inspiration. Whatever floats your boat - if you don’t engage with imagery too much, then skip this one.
If you’re open to a bit of late season shopping, this is the time to hit number three: pick up a bargain in the sales. This is the best time to stretch your fashion budget and support a New Zealand designer instead of shopping on the high street (for more of my tips on sale shopping, check out this post: here). There are plenty of things on sale that can be work trans-seasonally. I bought a marigold yellow dress from Wilson Trollope that I will wear layered over a merino base layer and with boots as the weather starts to cool down. For now, though, it’s perfect with sandals or a pair of sneakers.
Number four: find a mate who’s about your size and do a temporary swap. You let her pick one thing from your wardrobe; you pick one thing from her wardrobe. Challenge yourself to style it up (and send each other pics, oh I love this idea). Next week, having washed the item you borrowed…swap again! This is a great way to bring a new colour or style into your wardrobe, and to keep the summer wardrobe stretching out as the temperatures change.
And finally, plan some classic summer adventures for the next few weeks. Go to the beach, which in Wellington will soon be a windswept desolate landscape of freezing cold sand and faded chip wrappers moving at 100km per hour. Plan a long walk with a mate that features ice creams. Insist on sitting outside at every restaurant or cafe you visit over the next fortnight. See every day as an opportunity to drink up the last bits of summer and make sure you’re dressed appropriately at all times.
It’s been a good summer. Let’s give it a proper farewell.