26 pieces of ill-informed advice to get you through June, July and August…

henry-holland-alphabet-tights-profileI can’t be sure, but I think I got a little tear in my eye when I pressed upload on my final piece of coursework for this year. It’s not that I’m going to miss writing about meta-ethics (still not actually sure what they are, really). It’s more because of the fact that, aside from exams (a minor inconvenience, I feel), I AM NOW FINISHED THIRD YEAR… OH GOD. In a year’s time, I will cruelly be cast on to the streets of adulthood, wandering blindly and alone through the barren and hostile realm of maturity. Awful.

Still, there’s got to be something good to come of all this, right? Ah, yes, a final long summer. The time when the sun’s timid head peeks through the clouds, encouraging people to tear off their clothes, light barbeques and eat undercooked meat while sitting on rusting deck chairs. Somehow, my press passes for exotic hotels with monkey butlers and Nutella-on-toast room service appear to have been lost in the post, and so as a result I doubt I will be venturing anywhere more exotic than the grey shores of Aberdeen this year. But you, dear reader! You are quite likely to be jetting off to far away places! Lucky you! (Not bitter, not bitter…). And so, in a gesture of goodwill (not bitter), I have kindly assembled a whole A-Z of sartorial advice to get you through the summer months! Let’s just hope it doesn’t rain for your fortnight in paradise (not bitter)…

A is for… Aftersun

I have no idea if it actually does anything, but the time I burnt off half of my whole body falling asleep in the sun on a “Girlz Holiday xox”, putting some of this stuff on issued some mild relief to my magenta skin.

B is for… Bikinis

You literally have 4 triangles and some string to cover yourself – so chose wisely, young one. Call me Amish or whatever, I actually quite like those ones with high waisted bottoms. They’re kind of pretty in an Old Hollywood kind of way, and at least will probably stay on if, like me, you find yourself perilously trying to dive/bellyflop in an attempt to impress the hot lifeguard (yeah, still single everyone!).

C is for… Conscious by H&M

Last week I went to post a letter and by some strange twist of fate, ended up in H&M. For fear of incurring the wrath of whichever god planned this merry coincidence, I decided to have a look at their new Conscious Collection. It’s actually pretty bloody awesome because: 1. Everything is sustainably manufactured, meaning you can eliminate the crippling feeling of guilt about supporting third world slave trades and fascist regimes when all you wanted was a new dress. 2. The colour scheme is all whites, nudes, khakis and jungle prints, which is good for running around pretending to be an explorer when really you’re really just on your fourth pint. 3. It’s modelled by Vanessa Paradis, who could probably convince me to buy a top made of cabbage and stitched together by blind monks.

D is for… Denim shorts

Doesn’t have to be Daisy Dukes… Just a good pair of mid-thigh turn-ups to throw on with anything.

E is for… Earrings

Two things you can never go wrong with are small gold hoops and small pearl studs. But since it’s summer, you can probably get away with some jewels, or even a cheeky feather if you’re feeling really mental.

F is for… Festivals

Thanks to the iPhone’s selfie feature, festivals appear to have become more about instagramming a picture of yourself in a floral dress and wellies holding a warm pint, than about the actual music you’re there to see. But really, you couldn’t be dressed better. It’s practical and pretty. So I’ll let you off. Now go sing the wrong words along to a band you’ve never heard of until today.

G is for… Geometric prints

Spots, stripes, zigzags… If there’s a time you can pull off looking like the contents of a maths textbook then it’s on holiday, cocktail in hand. Keep everything else simple.

H is for… Hats

Nothing says “twat” more than a straw trilby on a beach. It’s like wearing a full suit made out of leaves and brogues made out of playdough. If you must wear a hat, go for one of those floppy 70s style ones, which will give you the opportunity to slowly raise the brim and look disapprovingly at the people around you.

I is for… Ice Cream Colours

I love a good pastel. Sorbet shades are perfect for singing “Summer Lovin’” and sitting around in diners with teddy boys. Just avoid pairing with anything dark.

J is for… Jumpsuits

Tricky, but can be extremely effective. Wear loose, with hair up and heels. Anything else will make you look like you’re wearing a particularly odd boiler suit.

K is for… Kaftans

I was surprisingly stuck for this letter, and sought the help of some gal palz in my alphabet mission, providing a welcome attempt to avoid reading about Hume’s account of the senses (I mean, really). Finally, after much pondering, a shout of “KAFTAN!” broke the silence. The three of us agree that these little guys will take you from beach to bar in one swift move, and you should definitely invest in one if you’re inclined to make such journeys. We certainly are.

L is for… Lipstick

Corals and pinks are good for sunshine, and you can generally get off with a shimmery tone during summer. No7 at Boots do one of the biggest ranges, and once applied they have excellent staying power. Guaranteed to last through Pimm’s, rain and kisses.

M is for… Mascara

People talk about getting their makeup wet and ending up with “Panda Eyes”, which sounds kind of cute, right? But where the hell did that comparison come from?! There is nothing remotely cute about the mess occurring when your eye makeup streams down your face in lines of humiliation… If you insist on wearing makeup to the beach, just make sure it’s waterproof.

N is for… Nude

I don’t mean just strip off and merrily skip down the street, feeling the breeze absolutely everywhere (that may be all fun and games for a while, but then you would end up in custody). Instead, I mean the kind of skin colour that looks really good on footwear. Apparently, Kate Middleton only owns one pair of shoes, and they are LK Bennett patent nude courts. This is the reason that the British economy is crumbling into a dark hole of oblivion – she has a favourite pair of shoes and wants to wear them more than once, instead of inspiring us to splash the cash on 8 inch fetish boots from local artisans. I read it in The Daily Mail, so it must be true.

O is for… Ombre

Ombre, dipdye, or deliberately looking like your roots have grown out. Whatever you call it, its time has passed. Yes, it was cool for a while. But when abominations such as Cher Lloyd start jumping on that bandwagon, it’s time to move on.

P is for… Poolside hair

Ignore all these intricate tips claiming you can be a “Beach Babe” with “luscious locks”. You can’t. Neither can I. None of us can. That’s a fact. Your hair will get ripped to shreds by chlorine, salt and sand. Just condition it as often as you can, and tie it all up in a bun.

Q is for… Quick Drying Nail Polish

You thought it couldn’t be done, but I have found something vaguely relevant for the letter Q. Let’s be honest, nobody enjoys painting their nails, which is why Rimmel’s stuff dries in 60 seconds – leaving you more time for having arguments in the drizzle about how best to light that damn BBQ.

R is for… Ruffles

Approach with caution. If you get it wrong, you’ll look like the love child of a mad bride and a puff pastry. Keep everything else fitted and simple.

S is for… Sunscreen

Don’t be an idiot. Skin cancer is not a good accessory, dahling… If you insist on looking like a member of the cast from Made In The Only Way Is Geordie then read on…

T is for… (Fake!) Tanning

I give up. Despite better judgement, you’re probably going to want to do it. Hell, even after painstakingly writing a article called “Dr Strangetan: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Pale”, I’m still not completely happy with my ghostly complexion. I’ve been informed by a reliable source (gay flatmate #1) that the more expensive the fake tan, the better – so worshipping at the alter of St Tropez is probably the way to go.

U is for… Umberellas

You thought just because your topless Robert Pattinson calendar says that it’s after the 31st of May and before the 1st of September, that it’s going to be all blue skies and sunshine? HA! Fool on you. If you’re the kind of person who carries packets of pocket tissues, antibacterial hand gel and paracetemol in their handbag, then you probably already have a fold up brolly in your bag. If not, it’s worth thinking about. Years of cynicism have taught me that you can trust nobody. Especially not weathermen.

V is for… Varsity jackets

I should hate these and their frat boy connotations, but I kind of don’t. They’re actually pretty cool, and if you can pull one off then you’re probably pretty cool too.

W is for… Wedges

Finally, shoes that won’t make you want to attempt a double amputation upon yourself. Wear with bare legs, painted toenails and a swagger you can’t get in stilettos.

X is for… Xtra daylight

Xtra daylight = Xtra time to wear nice clothes. Also, Xtra time to learn the Xylophone and refine your X-raying skills.

Y is for… Yellow

Only acceptable in the summer months. Looks especially good when clashing with dark hair.

Z is for… Zzzz…

How I feel about this article, having gone from A-Z. Also, it apparently makes your skin nice. So that’s what I’m going to do. Peace out.


Anna Samson


Image by Henry Holland