What not to wear this summer

Still struggling to get your head around this summer’s fashions? Avoid splashing out on expensive style mistakes with our guide to what not to wear this summer.

The summer sales have started in earnest, and we finally have the weather to match! But like us you’ve probably only just started to think about your holiday or high summer wardrobe.

Thankfully, Karen Skagerlind from the blog Mums Wear Daily is here to navigate you through the fashion maze with her guide to the summer style haves and have nots. So whatever you buy won’t just look great this season, but will have longevity long after the hot trends have been forgotten.

Are you a fashionista – or fashion phobic?

Hands up those of you that can reel of the biggest designer influences on the high street, the on-trend shapes and colours every brand will have an option of, or the must have shoe style for this summer?

Before I get into what you need to avoid and invest in this summer, I thought it would be fun to run a short quiz. When it comes to fashion, I generally sort people into one of three categories:

  • Fashionista.
  • Fashion aware.
  • Fashion phobic.

Take my quick fashion quiz

To help you identify which one you may fall into, answer these four questions:

1) Which actress has the same name as an on trend neckline?

  1. Elizabeth Taylor
  2. Brigitte Bardot
  3. Sophia Loren

2) What is a ‘cleat’

  1. A pleat in culottes
  2. A type of sole
  3. A type of small bag

3) Which decade inspired a lot of the catwalk collections for SS15?

  1. The 20s
  2. The 70s
  3. The 90s

4) What is a micro trend?

  1. A type of skirt
  2. A minor theme seen on several but not all catwalks
  3. A tiny fashion item

The answers – which one are you?

So, which one are you? Find out:

  • If you answered 2 to every question then congratulations! You got them all right. If your style reflects the answers you are a fashionista!
  • If you answered 2 to most questions then you are fashion aware.
  • If you answered all 1s or 3s you are fashion phobic!

Personally I’m not a fashionista. I can appreciate the ‘it’ item but I won’t buy for the sake of it. Instead I’d class myself as fashion aware – it’s part of my job to keep up to date on the movers and shakers of the fashion world, but when I buy for the new season I pick looks from the catwalk that complement my style and will fit alongside my existing wardrobe staples to refresh or update my look.

And it’s this philosophy that I base my guide to what not to wear this summer on. Whichever fashion category you fall into, I hope my tips help. Of course you can wear anything you want, but if you’re reading this article I am going to assume you’re at least mildly curious about this season’s trends (and not fashion phobic).

What not to wear this summer

If I had to give you one single piece of advice for this summer – and every season – it would be to warn you against buying or investing your hard earned cash into fashion one hit wonders, and instead buy items that you’ll get your cost per wear out of.

By all means buy all the fashion trends from the cheaper end of the high street, but if you’d rather have some keepers then don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Over the decades, while culling my own and clients’ wardrobes, I’ve seen many former hot fashion must-buys slung on the ‘to go’ pile, while items that have never been key on-trend looks get worn season after season.

So, aside from that piece of wisdom, here is my go-to guide for the shapes, fabrics, shoes, bags and patterns to avoid buying this summer – and a few pieces I do recommend spending your cash on.

Shapes to avoid this summer

Flares may have been the major jeans trend of the season, but there are too many rules of thumb to looking good in them – such as always wearing a heel, and keeping them slim on the thigh and kicking out from the knee. This makes them a tricky addition to your existing jeans section, so only buy if you want to overthink your outfit every time you wear them.

A-line skirts are another no-no (I’m talking structured rather than flowing). Again, they may be a key shape, but they’re so synonymous with the 70s that it cam be difficult to look fresh or know what to team it with. They may look great on Alexa Chung with a pattern silk blouse and heeled ankle boots, but it’s neither an everyday look, nor one that works on most women.


Fabrics to avoid this summer

Avoid suede. M&S may have had a press hit with their £199 suede skirt, but by the time you’ve factored in the logistics and cost of getting it to and from the dry cleaners it will be even more costly! That goes for a suede shoe too… it’s not great in the rain, on grass and the odd scuff is hard to hide!


Shoes to avoid this summer

Criss cross slides may be everywhere but aren’t the most flattering of styles. They cut through the widest part of your foot and look too heavy on slim legs. They are also in the same category as a mule –on trend but not so practical when on a rushed school run!


The ‘Chloe’ style long wrap gladiator sandals look fabulous on a long-limbed goddess, but if you’re not blessed with their height or levers stay clear. Instead opt for the ghillie style gladiators which are more flattering on a thicker ankle or fuller thigh.

Bags to avoid this summer

While I love Anya Hindmarch, the trend for branding or logo-loving bags has a definite shelf life. So if you don’t want your bag to scream the season you bought it in, then step away and buy something that won’t have an expiry date. Think Ola Jordan at Royal Ascot… bet she doesn’t use it again!


Patterns to avoid this summer

Marine life. The trend for all things ocean going washes up again, but I’d avoid shells, netting, and any other maritime emblems or sea creatures and stick to the classic nautical colour palette or Breton stripes to look ship shape.

So what should you wear this summer?

Now I’ve covered off everything I recommend you about, I suppose I should give you some ideas for what you can invest in!

Do invest in the ultimate summer dress – one that’s not too hot or tight (you need to be free from another layer of shapewear), and can forgive a run-in with suncream or a blob from the BBQ. It can’t be too long, nor too short either, as you want to be able to sit for a picnic without worrying when your next bikini wax is! It should also be versatile enough that you can wear it from dusk to dawn, dressed up or dressed down.

Not too much to ask then! I’ve always bought a white dress every summer. Maybe it reminds me of tennis whites and the start of the social season, afternoon teas on the lawn and a rise in temperature.


My high end choice would be a dress from Self portrait or Mes Demoiselles (my best dressed lady at the Polo was wearing a blue spotted cotton gauze creation). Mid range, I love my Somerset by Alice Temperley tile print dress, and Zara or Mango from the high street.

Invest in a leather gladiator sandal or espadrille for a flat, or block heels or wedges for those summer social events that require a more practical heel. I love Massimo Dutti, Topshop and Zara for footwear and I always find affordable key styles at Next.


Invest in tailoring, too. A navy or white blazer will always be a staple go-to item in your wardrobe. While not necessarily on trend, I’ve rarely chucked one out that hasn’t actually been worn out!


I know this list is not exhaustive, however I hope it gives you some tips before you get buying or packing. So don’t follow fashion but follow your own style this season and get a summer wardrobe to last!

Karen Skagerlind shares style advice to help inspire your daily outfits on her blog Mums Wear Daily.