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A final fling with summer

Our fashion blogger says goodbye to summer by reflecting on her favourite sun dresses.

I know it’s getting chilly now and we’re resurrecting our warmer coats, but I’m struggling to let go of summer.

I do love the changing seasons, and Sheffield is so beautiful in the autumn when our city’s abundant trees are getting dressed in every shade of gold.

But when it’s time to wrap up warm, I really do miss how easy it is to decide what to wear in the morning.

I freely admit, at 7am before my cup of tea I sometimes can’t make sense of which top and skirt to put together with which coat, then I don’t have the right colour tights, and then I stand in front of the mirror and think, ‘but oh no,wait, none of my shoes seem to go with this combination’. And so it goes on.

Suffice it to say, I’m out of practice with this whole winter dressing thing each time November rolls around and layers suddenly seem quite perplexing.

Some dresses will still look great with tights and boots during the winter of course, but a couple of my favourites only really look right on a hot day.

So, on the last warm September afternoon, I posed in them before they go into hibernation. Thank you for humouring me while I get summer out of my system.

The fit-and-flare dress

I found this amazing hand-made ‘rose bud’ dress at The Front Parlour vintage and collectables on Sharrow Vale Road; it’s one of those rare places where the vintage clothes have real stories, rescued from house clearances and attics. I’ll never know who made this dress, but it was certainly someone with talent. I like to imagine it was worn on classic British beach holidays, its owner lounging in the sun or paddling in the shallows.

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Dressmaking is a relatively specialist skill now; we don’t have much time in our busy working day and it’s not a necessity really with so many great highstreet shops. But in the 1950s and ’60s, my aunties made a lot of clothes, for themselves and my mum. Fashion was very led by film back then, and if you saw Audrey or Marilyn wearing something amazing in the new blockbuster, you’d go out and buy a pattern, and get to work.

It definitely inspires me to get my sewing kit out again, but I think I’ll try and forget the time when I sewed the wrong sides of a skirt together and ended up with an inside-out skirt…dress3

The denim mini dress

Until I dust off my sewing machine though, the thrill of a car boot sale bargain still has a firm influence on my fashion choices, and I’ve had a lot of wear out of this cotton dress this summer.

I actually wasn’t blown away by it when I first got it. When I saw it in a pile of someone’s cast-offs, I’d never have thought it would be so summery and cute, but it’s been an absolute favourite.

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So there we have it — car boot sales throw up the most unusual finds if you’re willing to take a risk on £3.50. It certainly beats risking a whole roll of fabric if my next dress making experiment goes wrong.

So now I can move on, and enjoy seeing the pavements fringed with red and orange, even if the sun is low in the sky and it’s dark at 6 o’clock.

I’m off to try and find some boots that don’t hurt, and some outfits that don’t require caffeine to assemble. Wish me luck…

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