How to dress for a staycation | Jess Cartner-Morley

Today, I am not in the Guardian studio, but in my garden. Doing my job from home if I can do my job from home, and all that. An English garden feels appropriate, anyway, because I don’t know about you, but I doubt my summer is going to feature any exotic holidays.

This is a staycation dress, but with tropical attitude. There is no reason why a staycation wardrobe need be any less joyous than the wardrobe you would take on a holiday abroad, it just needs to be a little different. Starting with the weather, obviously. You might go to Cornwall for a fortnight and see nothing but blue sky, but you wouldn’t want to bet on it. So you need clothes that bring the holiday spirit even when the weather isn’t playing ball. Sleeves. Maybe longer skirts as you can’t count on the tan.

But let’s hang on to that dreamy holiday feeling. A staycation, but make it fashion. Your British holiday wardrobe needn’t be all nostalgic rose-print shirtdresses and practical polka dot rainmacs and shirts with jaunty little sailboats on them. There is something a bit cheerful-through-gritted-teeth about that aesthetic, I find; and anyway, you are going on holiday, not staging a village fete.

I love this dress because it reminds me of a kaftan – my favourite kind of holiday dress – but I could wear this to sit on a sea wall and eat fish and chips. Kaftans are super-practical for hot lazy days. They have built in sun protection, and then when the sun starts to go down you can order a cold beer and carry on reading your book safe in the knowledge that the mozzies won’t have a pre-dinner feast on your calves. (My devotion to the kaftan is such that I am the only person I know who has ever managed to wear one out.)

On a holiday when the 5pm dream is a bitter shandy and a packet of crisps, you need a dress that makes this feel like the perfect place to be. You might not be going far, but you are still going on holiday, so pack that spirit in your suitcase. Oh – and maybe an anorak, just in case.

• Jess wears dress, £240, Shoes, her own.


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