Hat’s Off: Keeping cool while staying hot

In this week’s Hat’s Off column, Órla Ryan gives us some much-needed tips on how to dress for the weather…Hat's Off

As you all know, we’re currently in the midst of a heat wave. “What’s new?” I hear you ask while mopping down your sweaty brow. Given that Ireland almost constantly basks in the glory of unabated sunshine, it’s hard to believe that certain other countries apparently experience a phenomenon scientists refer to as ‘cold weather’.

With the end of the academic year fast approaching, many students are planning sojourns abroad. On the off chance you end up somewhere that counts three degrees (and I’m talking Fahrenheit here) as balmy, below are some easy to follow tips that will help you to keep both warm and fashionable in colder climes.

Do you view your duvet as no more than a bed cover? How utterly wasteful of you. What you sleep under is, in fact, a fashion statement waiting to be made. As recent style trends have proven, onesies – like Rusks – aren’t just for babies. All you need is some thread in a complementary shade and a sewing needle the size of a large pen and away you go.

The options attached to your duvet playsuit – or duvlaysuit, if you will (and you will) – are virtually endless. You can fashion it as formal wear by teaming it with a tie or smart blazer. Alternatively, it could be turned into a sexy little off-the-shoulder number. If you plan on wearing a duvet to a club or party, be sure to team it with a nice pair of heels and choose a lower tog value to compensate for perspiration.

Any strange looks you receive are most likely the result of so-called ‘quilt guilt’ – an emotion felt by those who had previously viewed their duvet as no more than just that. When you sashayed into the bar wearing the duvlaysuit du jour, you didn’t just change the meaning of the term ‘bed wear’; you changed perspectives and, let’s face it, society at large.

A pillow cover (or indeed several) is the obvious option in terms of accessorising if you’re a hat-inclined person. A polyester throw or mattress protector will add that extra bit of je ne sais quoi to any eiderdown ensemble. For increased insulation, why not sport some rather sensual hot water bottle lingerie?

If the last suggestion isn’t an option, another way of heightening the temperature is to share your duvet attire with another person. Any initial embarrassment you both feel will soon be replaced by the sheer satisfaction of knowing you’ve at least halved the cost of your heating bills.

For those dress-down days, drape yourself in a mini-snuvet, a garment more commonly referred to as a slanket or snuggie. If you find this particular style swamps you, use a belt (skinny, normal or over-sized – this look really does work on every level) to synch in your waste and create a silhouette worthy of a washing line shadow.

If you really want to push the apparel boat out, elastic bands or hair ties will have the same effect on wrists and ankles. As any style queen worth her weight in matter will tell you, it’s all about defining angles while defying the cold this season – think Maggie Simspon in a Christmas episode and you’re more than halfway there.

If you don’t mind your keys and other knick-knacks getting a little bit damp, you could consider using a recently boiled kettle as a bag. One potential downside of this is the fact that it would require you to maintain almost constant proximity to a power outlet. However, if you’re planning on funding your J1 lifestyle through gainful employment in an electrical appliance shop; you are golden.

Although most duvet dresses are quite forgiving, for those who are a little bit self-conscious, let me introduce you to what designers and models alike are calling fashion’s next big thing: cling film Spanx. That kit isn’t just for your kitchen, you know – it’ll leave you feeling as in demand as leftover turkey breast on 27 December.

For full fashion impact, don’t neglect your feet. I may be accused of stating the obvious here, but . . . sand bags shoes are always in style.

For those of us fortunate enough to be staying at home this summer, none of the above looks are feasible – more’s the pity. So how can we stay sun-safe while also perfecting an all-over farmer’s tan? It’s not possible, I’m afraid – it’s just too darn hot here.

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