How to cope with the annual London heatwave.

Here in London, We only get a few days a year of really hot weather. And we don’t know how to cope- -we do go crazy…absolutely crazy! We make ridiculous fashion choices, drink excessively and sit in the sun till we go beetroot red.

At least that’s what we used to do. Seasoned Londoners know better. I still drink a few glasses of wine or enjoy a couple of beers or a peach Bellini. Just not all on the same day!

What to drink: Natural flavoured filtered water
I try really hard to limit my alcohol intake. We keep a jug of Filtered or mineral water in the fridge and flavour with mint leaves and thinly sliced cucumber. A couple of drops of rose water can also add some delicate scent  and of course if One can get home made iced lemonade, it’s a real bonus.

I love adding a couple of drops of rose water to filtered water.

What to do at home 
A good nights sleep is a must, I change the bed linen at least weekly and the pillow cases twice a week. 100% linen or pure, crisp cotton is best for sheets and mulberry silk is a real indulgent choice for pillow cases.

What to wear:
Wise choices:

1. Loose fit silk or linen trousers. These never go out of fashion, just keep to good tailoring and away from fussy details.

2. Linen or pure cotton shirts (the sleeves rolled up looking non chalant)

3. Silk tops are divine for work. (I just had to train myself to wash them properly and master the near lost  art of ironing)

4. Silk, linen mix or cotton shift dresses. The way to wear them now is with chunky boots or trainers.

5. Boyfriend jeans (destroyed can be good as they let the air circulate) or linen chinos with Breton tops. Summer classics!


6. Buffed & oiled skin. Up the grooming routine. Keep long hair squeaky clean, soft and shiny, bundled up in a loose chignon.

7. French knickers- silk are best. (Post here)

8. Silk or modal mix scarves. No elaborate knots are necessary, just keep them handy to protect from the sun or as a cover up.

9. Voluminous skirts, these last for many seasons and practically never go out of fashion, just choose a flattering length. Vintage or second hand options are plentiful.

What NOT to wear:
1. Skinny jeans. It pains me to see people wearing those on a hot day. It’s like the Victorian corset, returning to haunt us.

2. Anything Polyester & Acrylic will not allow the skin to breathe, therefore will get hot & sticky in no time at all. Check the fabric labels on your clothes people, sometimes these fabrics are hard to distinguish from silk.

3. Leather pants (remember Ross from friends?) or their cousin “faux” leather pants. These can actually give you a nasty heat rash and people have been know to faint in them. Comfort is the mother of finesse people.

4. Talking of comfort and finesse, do not wear hot pants in the city or to work, no matter how hot. It’s uncomfortable for all. (Exception to these are tailored shorts, providing full coverage for ones gluteus maximus

5. Tourists sometimes take the concept of ‘comfort’ to extremes. Dear London visitors, if you want service when you go to a pub or a restaurant, wear a freshly washed top and clean shoes. No one wants to see gnarly toes and leave the cut-off shorts for other pastimes, (gardening or hiking perhaps.) Remember to dress for the occasion. It makes life so much easier.

6. Personally, I never wear flip flops in the city, because I like to keep my manicured toes intact. The streets of London get very crowded you never know who might tread on yours.

Would love to hear from blog friends who live in really hot climates, how they cope with the heat and what are their wardrobe secrets for looking soigné … please share.

Dream summer bags Bags being one of my on-going obsessions, I like to use straw baskets or something metallic and mildly distressed. That means my beloved Kelly bags get a summer break.

Dream summer bag: my own beloved Kelly's are all dark and get a summer break, as I don't like them with soft floaty clothes.

Dream summer bag: my own beloved Kelly’s are all dark and get a summer break, as I don’t like them with soft floaty clothes.

Finally! the perfect straw bag! I feel cool just looking at it…

So- what are your own wardrobe staples for cool, chic, city living? © Ladysarahinlondon Welcome to the blog of my London adventures & wardrobe fixations   Access to password protected posts: To get your password please support our favourite animal charities such as Save the Wild Elephant Or rescue a baby elephant!Donate now and save our wildlife from extinction!


11 thoughts on “How to cope with the annual London heatwave

  1. happyface313

    🙂 Enjoy the heat wave 😉
    The straw Kelly is stunning.
    But I like the “cheaper” version from MaiTaiCollection just as well.
    Have a very HAPPY week 🙂

    1. lady sarah in london Post author

      The straw Kelly is a photo I took on an h exhibition, it’s not mine. They are beautiful bags, but actually quite cumbersome and heavy. Not really what I am looking for in a stress free summer bag…😃

      1. Pret a porter P

        In the US, Jiffy is the retail standard. Rowenta is good. but I have a Conair, does not feel as solid as a Rowenta, but it’s been doing the job for the last 8 yrs. Don’t bother with the portable kind and get one with a removable water tank.

  2. dottoressa

    Dear Lady Sarah,I must say that you’ve mastered The Art of Dressing in a Hot Climate,I have almost nothing to add (suffering the first one of a couple of heat waves predicted for this summer)
    I don’t mind wrinkles (ha,ha…),so linen,silk and cotton are my choices for the season,nothing too tight,often with sleeves . I air dry my hair and fake that I like beach waves in my hair (natural state of my hair and I hate it). Low chignon or pony tale with a hat works well,but,for me, driving with the hat is quite impossible
    I drink a couple glasses of ice cold water as a treat,with lemon slices ,but realized that only a -little -colder- than -room temperature – water works better for me. Drink enough water or light tisane
    Wear lighter cream and high SPF
    Choose side of the street with the shade whenever you can
    Always carry a scarf or a light sweater with you- for over-cooled airconditioned spaces
    I have blinds in the apartements down during the day,it is cooler,and open every window early in the morning and late in the evening,for air to flow
    And ok,I’m guilty to have an aircondition,but use it only in emergencies 🙂
    I actually love summer (not heat waves),so,I try to enjoy it

    1. lady sarah in london Post author

      Great summer weather tips! Thank you dear Dottoressa. Especially the one about closing the shutters – I was surpirsed when I saw people in Morocco do that, but everyone who lives in a hot country apparently knows the secret. In Britain most houses are not designed to cope well with heatwaves. Too much carpeting and heavy curtains. Old houses are best because the higher ceiling allows air to circulate.
      Also good point about avoiding ice! Cool is best, but ice throws the system off balance….

  3. Sandra Robbins

    Living in South East Queensland just off the coast on an island, I wear cotton and linen all summer. This can actually mean close to 8 months of the year. I have 6 pairs of loose white cotton/linen pants. Basis of my wardrobe. All cotton T shirts and light cotton blouses. Silk for a dressier look. We wear sandals a lot so that requires fortnightly pedicures. Italian straw hats. I love holidays in Europe in cold weather – such a treat.

  4. Sandra Robbins

    I have had straw bags for as long as I can remember. I bought my last one in Bali. So big I can’t lift it if it is full. Not clever.

  5. silkpathdiary

    Perfect! I would only add not to rush about. If there’s one thing I learnt from the elegant ladies in the Middle East and that is to glide around calmly and never to be hurried. Also of course keeping cool is not about exposing as much flesh as possible, it’s about natural fabrics and loose, flowing shapes, nothing tight or too fitted.
    Personally though I don’t like fizzy drinks, I crave fizzy water when it’s hot! I try to avoid denim altogether in the Summer months.


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