The sun, apparently, rarely shines in England or at least if it ever has previously we have decided to forget about it and only catalogue memories of particularly harsh winters and rising flood levels.
As I write this from my desk in England, the sun is indeed shining on this happy day of 30th March 2012. Perhaps it is this inability to retain any memories of when the sun shone down upon this pretty isle that leads people to only possess a summer wardrobe suitable for a Greek island. For as soon as the temperature reaches above 18° the towns become congested with swimwear, beach shoes, hot pants and masses of uncovered skin. Unless I am missing a trick regarding the whereabouts of multiple municipal lidos dotted throughout the country, I can see no reason why swimwear is suitable shopping wear. There is a heavy clue in its name alluding to its proper purpose (and that purpose is, to many, also undesirable in England).
Particularly given that the temperature is often not that hot in the summer months, yet we are frequently blessed with delightful-looking spring days, it is puzzling why the majority of UK residents have ceased to master spring/summer dressing which doesn’t involve waterproof underwear.
A belief that our sartorial choices are physically restricted by what is available in the shops does not hold true in this matter. A quick sweep across the high street dislodges a massive amount of beautiful, easy-to-wear day dresses, along with – for those who shun overt femininity – colourful cropped Capri pants and innovative uses of jersey.
This season, Oasis is particularly attuned to the first of these groupings. Particular highlights of their collections include several 1950s-style sundresses adorned with unique floral designs on light backgrounds, including their too cute Placement Print Dress which is the only item I have ever witnessed that makes the art work of Gainsborough or Royal Doulton china desirable.
Alternatively, building on the principle that Barcelona and Madrid are over populated with examples of suitable city dressing in hot climes, head to Zara where it is being proven that black is not just a winter colour. Dolce and Gabbana have been preaching this for several years and it is a good rule to follow if your outfit is plunging but unintended for la plage. Zara’s monochrome arabesque print trousers, along with their Beetle Juice-inspired vertical striped palazzo pants are both jolly enough for June, whilst not allowing the wearer to shiver.
If, even when hibernating, you shy away from dark shades, then the sweet pastel hues of S/S12 are a fantastic way to introduce ideas of ice cream and pansies into your wardrobe when balking at a bikini. On colder days and on smart occasions, a pastel coloured blazer is a versatile cover up that will also nod to the trends in a sophisticated manner.
Final thoughts: fellow citizens, the only acceptable waterproof wear in a British town centre is a trench coat.