Cream of the cover-ups: Throw on the lightest of summer layers

Cream of the cover-ups: Throw on the lightest of summer layers with this season’s luxurious silk and linen blends

  • Jess Wood shared her advice for mastering the ‘light coverup’ this summer
  • British style expert recommends knits made of 100 per cent natural fibres
  • She picked out a selection of cover-ups from High Street stores and online

To my mind, there’s one phrase guaranteed to cast a dark shadow over the sunniest day: ‘light cover-up’. During summer, neither a day nor an occasion goes by that isn’t disrupted by this fashion dilemma.

Whether I’m dressing for a picnic or an al fresco dinner, I’ll jump joyfully into my favourite vintage sundress or a cool cropped-jeans-and-tee combo — then remember that I live in North London, not St Tropez.

An extra top layer is a key component of any good British summer outfit, but lighter knitwear options have historically been dismal. Confronted with a sea of mumsy waterfall cardies and oatmeal scoop-necks, I generally decide that I’d rather be cold (or insist my other half literally gives me the jumper off his back).

Jess Wood shared her advice for mastering the ‘light coverup’. Pictured: Sunglasses, £29, jumper, £90, midi-skirt, £85, jigsaw-online. com; bag, £49, Jigsaw at johnlewis. com; shoes, model’s own

Cardigan, £39.99, top, £17.99, jeans, £25.99, and sandals, £49.99, mango.com

This year of the staycation, however, High Street stores have upped their game. There’s a feast of stylish ‘transitional knit’ choices falling into two camps: the slouchy masculine look, or pretty and dressy.

What they have in common is a sophisticated approach to fabrics. The pieces pictured above are all knitted from either 100 per cent natural fibres or clever blends. The cool, oversized, boyfriend-style Cos cardigan (above centre) made from linen and mulberry silk is ideal for throwing over a smock dress or denim. Reiss has produced 100 per cent cotton draped knits, including this glamorous off-the-shoulder number (second from right).

I’ll be overcoming my summer knit phobia with some immersion therapy: wearing it head to toe. Chinti & Parker’s delightful checked sweater-and-skirt combo (third from right) is in a beautifully light blend of silk and cotton. I’ll pair it with flat, leather, Greek sandals for my next picnic — and my husband can keep his old jumper.

Sweater, £250, and matching skirt, £295, chintiand parker. com

Jumper, £65, trousers, £90, and heeled sandals, £70, reiss.com

Knitted top, £19.99, trousers, £35.99, and leather sandals, £39.99, mango.com

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