Style Notes: Frankie Graddon

For the latest instalment of Style Notes we asked The Pool's Head of Fashion and Beauty, Frankie Graddon, to help navigate the annual dilemma of dressing for work in the heat, share ways to switch up the sun dress formula and tell us which key pieces she'll be investing in this summer...

How do you navigate dressing for work in the summer – striking that balance between not overheating but also not looking like you’re off to the beach?

When it comes to summer dressing solutions, solving the workwear issue is among the trickiest. What is office appropriate, feels cool and looks stylish? That’s a lot of box that needs ticking. 

Of course, office dress codes differ from place to place but I always consider a midi dress a good place to start. They’re smart, chic and easy to chuck on of a morning. I’d look for something that hits mid-calf and has straps wide enough to accommodate a bra. I love the versatility of the Twist Back Dress which can be belted for a smarter look, or worn loose when it’s really boiling. A pair of summery gold hoops, cross body bag and not-too-high heels give a sophisticated finish. 

We all love a summer dress, but what’s an easy alternative if you want to switch up your summer style?

Midi and maxi dresses are undoubtedly the star of the show this season, however if you’re not a dress kind of person, or if you’re looking for something a bit different than an easy alternative is a jumpsuit. I love the ease of an all-in-one – no mixing and match required, just pull on and go. My pick is the wide-legged Palermo Jumpsuit  which I’d wear with a pair of chunky flat sandals

However, if a jumpsuit doesn’t do it for you then have a look at the printed, pyjama-style culottes. These Piped Printed Culottes have all the waft-appeal of a summer dress with the practicality of trousers, not to mention the comfort-factor of pjs. To keep them on the stylish side of loungewear, pair them with a pretty black camisole and sleek flats.

What key pieces should we invest in for summer – and how should we style them?

This season the denim jacket is big news. They were all over the catwalks and have cemented themselves as the summer cover-up of choice. The good news is that they are really easy to wear – throw them over whatever you happen to be wearing – and you probably already own one. If not, go for something classic like the mid-blue Fleetwood Denim Jacket which has a stylish twist by way of frayed hem detailing.

I’d wear my denim jacket over the top of a summer LBD – another seasonal hero. Be it day, night, beach or food shopping, a little black dress like the Canterbury Dress in a light, breezy fabric will be something you wear again and again.  

Finally, you’ll want to invest in a great piece of swimwear. Whether you go one piece or two, look for something well-cut with attention to support and useful details such adjustable straps. If you go for a bikini, mix and match styles are a good idea as you can buy different sized tops and briefs to make sure you get the best fit.

What accessories add an instant summer feel-good vibe to your look?

Accessories are perhaps the most fun part of summer dressing and this season there are some brilliant options to pick from. Basket bags have been a smash hit and are set to continue their reign as ‘beach bag du jour’ throughout the summer. Perfect for summer strolls and big enough to fit all of your holiday bits in, I’m going for a style like the Santorini Bag with a long strap so that I can wear it slung over a shoulder.

A great pair of sunglasses are also a must. I’m dodging the mico-spec trend and sticking to a classic style in go-with-everything tortoiseshell.

I can never do heels in the summer (far too much effort) so a pair of jazzy flats are always on my wish list. A chunky, double-strap style is a classic shape that will work with most outfits and is, not to mention, incredibly comfortable. Black is a failsafe, silver is surprisingly versatile, but leopard feels really special.

What are your top five picks from the new hush collection?

I like anything you can throw over your head and walk out the door in, so I instantly fell in love with the leopard print Mia Dress. I can imagine wearing this with a khaki or denim jacket while in the city, then over a swimming cossie on holiday. You could even dress it up with earrings and heels for an evening out.

A soft, cotton shirt always comes in handy over the summer, whether you throw it on with jeans or sling it over a bikini. I love the embroidery detail and the relaxed fit of the Fay Tunic Shirt.

Although I love the colour of the Lace Back Dress, it’s the lace back detail that really makes it. The combination of red and pink is spot on for this season and feels like a doable way to tap into a key summer trend. I’d glam this up with a pair of strappy sandals and drop earrings.

When it comes to summer sandals, you simply can’t beat the Brigstock Sandals. Comfy, versatile and oh so chic, I can imagine wearing them right through until September.

I’m a sucker for a striped top and although I have a zillion in my wardrobe, there’s always space for one more. The C'est Si Bon Striped Tee is a real summer no brainer, pop it on with jeans or shorts for a simple, stylish weekend outfit.

Follow Frankie on Instagram @frankiegraddon or on Twitter @FrankieGrad, and keep an eye out for more 'Style Notes' next month...

Illustrations by Joanna Gisborne-Land.