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Survive summer: the definitive essentials

At the risk of plunging us into rainstorms for the next three months, I'm declaring that summer seems to be actually happening this year. And not just for three days; so far most parts of the UK have been blessed with weeks of good weather, with yet more forecast to come.

For many of us, that means needing to think about surviving summer in style for the first time after a handful of washout 'warm' weather months. For me, it's meant trawling my wardrobe for the old faithful summer essentials, and adding a few carefully chosen new pieces, as well as stocking up on a few non-wardrobe must haves.

If you've been struck by summer panic, I'm sharing my can't-live-without list of summer essentials to help you survive that rarest of weather systems - the British Summer:

1. Your ideal sleeveless top - however you choose to style it, and whether it's strictly beach and garden attire or something you're heading out in every day, the perfect sleeveless top is a summer essential. My absolute favourite is Kettlewell's Long Vest, but you may prefer the daintier Lace Camisole, or perhaps the smarter Soft Square Vest.

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2. Sun cream - No summer essentials list would be complete without it! Slather it on, reapply regularly and enjoy not having to worry about damage to your skin.

3.Cashmere Gauze Stole - Heading out for an afternoon party? Pop a cashmere gauze stole in your bag for when the temperature dips and warm up in style with a splash of one of your wow colours.

4. Sandals - The holy grail here is a pair that manages that sensible vs stylish balance to perfection, giving you lightweight footwear you can wear all day without needing to carry a stock of plasters!

5. A skirt - when trousers just seem a layer of clothes too far, but maybe your legs aren't quite ready for ultra short shorts. our range of flippy summer skirts will keep you cool when it's hot.

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6. Sunglasses - Every outfit becomes instantly more cool with the addition of a great pair of sunglasses. Go for a pair in your best dark neutral for timeless sophistication, or go for one of your wow brights for a little more fun!

7. Biker jacket - Weather taken a turn for the worse? Cool days will hold no style fear once you've got one of our Alexa Jackets. They genuinely go with absolutely every outfit, and add a layer of warmth without being bulky to carry if you need to take it once the sun reappears.

8. Straw bag - Whether you're headed there every weekend or not, a bag fit for the beach adds instant summer to your outfit. Pair it with a bright dress to add a fun touch, or pair with denim shorts and your favourite vest for instant beach chic.

9. Accessories - these are your summer secret weapon. In a season when we want to dress more simple and don't have layers of coats and scarves to add colour and interest to an outfit, accessories can fill the gap and take your look from drab to fab.

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Artist Helen on Jun 27, 2018 12:48 PM

I’d add the maxi skirt, too. I wear these with boots and tights in winter but love them with sneakers or sandals in summer. Cool, elegant and great with all the summer tops. More for AW18 please!

Julia Singleton on Jun 27, 2018 12:38 PM

How about the retired 'lady who lunches'?