We didn’t dare to believe it would happen, but after a non-starter of a summer, we are being granted a small stay of execution next week when, just as everyone’s back to work and school after the holidays, temperatures are set to (sort of) soar to the high 20Cs. It’s hardly a heatwave, but it will be warm enough for a last warm weather dressing hurrah.
Great news, in a way, but also somewhat confusing if you’ve already begun the mental shift towards autumnal colours, layers and knitwear.
In recent weeks I’ve found myself looking forlornly at the summer pieces in my wardrobe that I never got round to wearing as there wasn’t a long enough stint of high temperatures to really settle into the season.
Top of my list of summer style regrets is the waistcoat. I bought two back in May but never quite got my head around wearing one (even fashion editors can take their time getting used to a look). So as soon as it warms up next week, I’ll be trialling the look I’ve admired on others. Luckily, waistcoats are going nowhere so you can wear them into autumn layered with a blazer or cardigan. Other trending summer looks you might like to grab a chance to try; linen co-ords and grown-up crop tops (which show just a slither of skin).
Linen blend waistcoat, £99, Mint Velvet
There are still some summer sales live. Until a few days ago you’d have dismissed these as having nothing that will be relevant to you for many months but now that an Indian summer is upon us, they’re worth another look.
My scrolling has revealed some beautiful sundresses still available to buy, including some very special designs by haute boho labels such as Sea, Dôen and Ulla Johnson at Net-a-Porter. As long as it’s not overly beachy, a summer dress can work into autumn, too, with the right styling - extra layers like quilted jackets or fine sweaters will offer extra warmth while keeping up that sunshine spirit.
Puff-sleeve dress, £75, Wyselondon.com
Lace-up dress, £288, Sea at Net-a-porter.com
If you’ve been dreaming of new season shades of fallen-leaf ochre, red-wine burgundy and hot-chocolate brown then I’m afraid you’ll have to rewind for a moment, because if there’s one way to make the most of an Indian summer, it’s to give a summer palette one final good showing - dig out your fruitiest “tomato girl” dresses, your lightest and brightest linens and your crispest cottons for a final sunshine outing.
Instead of stomping straight into boots, the incoming spell of warm weather calls for something cooler. You may like to get some extra wear from your sandals but if that doesn’t feel quite right when children up and down the country are breaking in fresh black leather school shoes, then try experimenting with one of the plethora of in-between styles now in stores.
I love Massimo Dutti’s delicate pointed buckled flats, which have a sandal feel but don’t require a pedicure while Russell and Bromley’s classic Penny loafers will look sophisticated with bare legs.
The skirt is back this autumn after several years of trouser domination. Which is excellent news for the looming Indian summer as they tend to be much more versatile. Take two of the key skirt options for autumn 2023; the denim and the slip.
Whether you opt for maxi or midi, denim skirts are having a moment and they work as well styled with a blouse and sandals as a polo neck and boots. Equally, a slip skirt exudes effortless minimalism whether it’s teamed with a T-shirt or a cosy jumper.
A pared-back hero piece of summer 2023 has been the sleek tank top. An item which appears simple but conveys a very “now” kind of polish. The tank could come into its own as Indian summer hits thanks to its ability to make almost any ensemble warm-weather appropriate.
Even jeans could work paired with a tank. And if you’re worried about your arms, I challenge you not to be - they’re about to be put away under big coats and chunky jumpers for winter so please forget any hang-ups and give them one last blast of sunshine.
Tank top, £79, whistles.co.uk%n