Simply wearing fewer clothes does not adequately answer the question of how to dress for an Australian heatwave. No — there are a number of scenarios to consider, as well as an overwhelming number of style choices.
Scorching sun and high humidity make for an unforgiving combination at the best of times, let alone when you’re called on to look fresh and fashion forward at a high summer wedding. Or worse – trying to keep your cool at the office in 40-degree heat. But dressing for a heatwave doesn’t have to be a sartorial nightmare – with a few simple tweaks to your summer wardrobe, you’ll sail smoothly from your morning latte to sunset drinks regardless of how high the Celsius soars. Read on for how to dress for a heatwave for all occasions.
The setting: weekend brunch
The girls in the 1975 Australian classic Picnic at Hanging Rock might have met a mysterious end, but it has to be said they went out (however it happened) in style. The white lace frocks they favoured were as dreamlike as the film and perfect for a summer’s feast with friends. Look to Australian designer Alice McCall for equally ethereal white lace dresses and separates, paired with Aquazzura espadrilles for heat-proof style.
Crisp white ensembles, be they lace, linen or lightweight cotton, are a no-brainer when dressing for a heatwave – the lighter the colour, the more light it will reflect, whereas dark hues like black and navy absorb heat much more readily. Designs with cut outs and peekaboo lace encourage air flow, so stick to flowing designs – bodycon bandage styles have no place in the height of summer, lest you want to be a sticky mess in matter of seconds.
Billowing bohemian designs and breezy 70s styling make how to dress for an Australian heatwave refreshingly simple. Australian label Zimmermann, arguably the country’s biggest sartorial success story and one of the few local labels to show at New York Fashion Week, truly comes into its own with the arrival of the summer sun: consider their patterned shorts and loose-fitting floral-print blouses, embroidered linen jumpsuits and flowing cotton maxi-dresses for effortless fashion for a heatwave. Just add bejeweled Roberto Cavalli sandals, statement sunglasses and a golden tan (faux, of course).
For the boys, opt for linen shorts with a woven leather belt and an impeccably cut T-shirt for your go-to weekend heatwave dress code. Try styles by Strateas Carlucci and, while you’re at it, consider the label’s cropped, tailored trousers to up the fashion ante on balmy summer nights.
The setting: the office
Who knows how to dress for an Australian heatwave better than the country’s leading designers themselves? These fashion-forward men and women know first-hand how torturous heading into work in the height of summer can be.
Maybe it’s a bad case of sunstroke, but we could bow down and worship Sydney-based designer Christopher Esber for his sophisticated summer pieces. Fusing the artesian with the avant-garde and precision tailoring with a post-modern edge, his structured black-and-white separates – often punctuated with eye-catching embellishments like resin beads – are an example of directional nine-to-five dressing at its most exciting.
Australian labels like Camilla & Marc and Kitx also offer office-appropriate heatwave fashion that’s cosmopolitan with a nonconformist edge. Both brands favour lightweight, breathable fabrics that help keep the body cool without compromising on current season trends.
Audrey Hepburn’s winning 50s style in Roman Holiday is great inspiration when deciding on your office fashion for a heatwave – a belt at the waist instantly pulls together a breezy summer outfit, while mid-length A-line skirts offer a look that can be comfortable as well as creative – it’s all in the material you choose. Ginger & Smart offers an eclectic array of embellished, below-the-knee skirts that makes a seamless transition from work to play.
The setting: sunset cocktails
Look to up-and-coming Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki’s turn as the irresistibly elegant Jed in The Night Manager for all your poolside cocktails cues – the willowy star makes a strong case for flowing caftans and barely there silk gowns that could have been made for hazy Australian nights. As Jed demonstrates, a high-necked cut on a summer dress adds instant refinement for more formal events.
The SS17 catwalks have offered up the next iteration of head-turning fashion for a heatwave, from the diaphanous, pleated perfection at Chloé to the floaty, pastel confections at Rochas. How to dress for an Australian heatwave in style is as simple as adding a pair of show-stopping Gas Bijoux earrings and sweeping you hair up into a warm-weather-proof top knot.