Linen. I love how it feels so summery the second you put it on. Its ability to instantly make a day feel very ‘together’ and a low-key look become something very polished. Hello, love-worn creases and crinkles! Then there’s the cooling feel, the way it crunches down in your suitcase before being hung in the hotel bathroom, pride of place, to straighten out in the heat. Clever linen, managing to be just a little bit safari, beach hut, balearic and south of France all rolled into one. You can’t beat it.
There’s a few linen pieces that are always on my summer cast list. The classic linen shirt for example, worn with rolled sleeves, often open over a white tee. While the traditional blazer tricks a Mom jeans and sliders duo into looking brand new. A well cut, loose wide leg trouser simply needs a breton top and minimalist trainer to pop although – sob – unless I find a fab maternity pair I can wave goodbye to those until next year. Now, the checked button through linen dress has caught my attention and is a strong contender to join the linen capsule collection.
Every inch the summer saviour you can showcase this linen wonder in the work place, on holiday, in the supermarket, on a dinner date and it’s also a seriously good option for event dressing. Summer wedding, big birthday bash, day at Wimbledon/Henley/Ascot, I’m looking at you. This delight is by Joules and you can tell… it’s all in the details. Perfectly cut slim and neat collar, matching belt long enough to create an impressive (big) bow finish, thoughtfully positioned pockets and a full swishable skirt. And while the straw hat and clutch (also Joules) may bring the polish, my next move is to style it with a pair of plimsolls and a denim jacket which will most likely be my combo of choice for the majority of June/July.
Summer Linen: The Capsule Wardrobe
Fast reinventing my summer flats collection are Clarks Pure Blush white leather mules. There’s something about white shoes in the summer that just gives everything such a lift. Ditto a white mani/pedi (Cheeky The Great White, £8 is my go-to should you be wondering.) Last year I had a pair of white two strap slides that I lived in but this year I wanted something a little bit more elevated, suitable for work and those chillier summer days when toes-out isn’t on the agenda. Also something that would look fab in the evening instead of a heel. These are it. Great with every pair of jeans, summer frock and palazzo pant around.
Being pregnant means trying on every item of clothing before I can commit. I like to shop from the main collections in regular stores, rather than live in a couple of maternity pieces, but it does take time. Time to hone in on the pieces that work, that have bump and boob room and won’t ride up over bump or pop open when I’m not looking! With shoes I get that instant fix without all the pregnancy belly dressing drama. These are butter soft, pure easy summer styling and a great option if you’re a flats-addict like me.
So I’m predicting about another month’s wear for Joules Alisandra dress before bump well and truly takes over. But as suggested by team Joules while on a trip with them last week, it would be great worn open over jeans and a cami too, so maybe there is scope to stretch it further into the summer after all. On the lovely Joules trip we headed over to The Ivy Chelsea Garden for lunch before hitting the Chelsea Flower Show to soak up all the gardens, design brilliance and join in the floral celebrations. The Ivy Chelsea was a great place to kick off our day of flora and fauna, it’s a botanical haven inside, bringing the outdoors indoors with huge open doors leading to a covered terrace and further on, a garden perfect for sipping rose wine and quaffing their famous truffle arancini balls. And have you seen the majestic floral display covering the entrance? For lunch, I picked black cod, with a side of zucchini fritti. Delicious.
It was my first trip to the Chelsea Flower Show and I must say, it didn’t disappoint. The show gardens on Main Avenue really commanded attention, I was totally in awe of the whole vast scale and construction side of things. How they turn the gardens around in such a short time I’ll never know. The attention to detail is impeccable – purpose-built dry stone Yorkshire walls that looked like they’ve been there for years, water features installed that could easily be mistaken for natural running streams, stand out sculptures and that’s not even mentioning the flowers and planting. I left brimming with ideas and a wish list for our garden. A huge thank you to Joules for inviting me along for such a wonderful day out. I’m now considering visiting Hampton Court Palace flower show this year too. It’s local to where I live and seeing as my husband works in Hampton, it’s a no brainer. Who’s been and who recommends a trip? Is it baby friendly?
On the bump front, I’ve just entered week 14 and the pregnancy symptoms aren’t dwindling. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know I’ve really been suffering this time around. I know each pregnancy can be completely different, but this is next level different! Part of me is putting it down to running around after a 15 month old all day long and being totally exhausted, but it’s rubbish when you feel all out of sorts for the majority of the day. There seems to be a window in the afternoon where my energy returns only to disappear by 7pm when I’m crashing out on the sofa. Although there are some constants – like the fact I’ve got Gestational Diabetes again, which is essentially pregnancy diabetes. I’ll go into that in more detail another time.
How are you styling your linen for summer? And have you been to Chelsea or Hampton flower shows? Let me know in the comments below and step on it if you fancy snapping up Joules checked frock – it’s going fast!