Kirstie Clements: Looks like autumn is a thing of the past, so it’s time for a fashion rethink

The old dress codes aren't cutting it anymore. There probably needs to be just one code.

The old dress codes aren't cutting it anymore. There probably needs to be just one code. Photo: Getty

As it appears that the weather gods have decided we are not going to have an autumn this year, getting dressed each day in 30-plus degrees and 1000 per  cent humidity has become very, very dreary. Almost distressing.

I just don’t know what to wear anymore in these temperatures. I know what all the other (younger) women are doing. They are in active wear and strappy sundresses, and cut off shorts, and strapless tops. But I can’t/won’t do that.

I am an older person who does not feel “body positive”, and who doesn’t like to show any flesh – not my upper arms, not my cleavage, or my boobs, my back, my legs, and certainly not my midriff.

The heat really gets to me. But neither do I want to walk around in thin cotton Indian kaftans and call it quits. I really like clothes. I like layers ,I like accessories, I like clashing fabrics and textures and I can’t do any of that when there’s perspiration sliding down my face five minutes after I get out of a cold shower.

I was sharing the pain with a colleague this week as we sat in a very swanky up-market restaurant and sweltered through a three-course meal because the air conditioner was struggling and it was too hot outside to open a window.

“Ahh, I have to go to a black-tie event tonight, what am I going to wear in this heat?” I whinged, as she nodded in agreement. We started to reminisce about clothes that made us happy, comforted.

“Oh, the minute the weather cools, even slightly, I’m in a winter coat “ she said wistfully.

“Imagine a day where we could wear a knit,” I said.  “Like, a  cardigan day!”

If we get a cardigan day in Sydney, even a thin cotton cardigan day, in the next two months, I think it should be considered an official holiday. I’m making jokes here, but it is a constant and sobering reminder about climate change and how the world will cope with rising temperatures.

Later that day, I went to collect the friends with whom I was going to the evening event, and they too were struggling with their outfits.

For black tie I would normally opt for an evening tuxedo or a jacket and dress, but given it was 35 degrees at 6pm I instead went for a short-sleeved satin top and satin trousers and looked pretty ordinary.

But my male friends were already sweating in their stifling, long-sleeved white shirts and ties, The mere thought of putting on a wool blend dinner jacket … revolting!

“I don’t think black tie should be a dress code anymore” said my friend, mopping his forehead while I was dabbing my face with a silk blotting paper as my foundation pooled under my eyes.

He was right. Unless it’s in the depths of a winter we may or may not have, I don’t think the old dress codes are cutting it anymore. There probably needs to be just one code: weather appropriate.

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