Hot (Town) Style – Summer in the City.

The time has finally come Imagettes, for all us wonderful, hard-working women to pack our lustworthy Louis Vuitton monogram suitcases, and jet off to paradisiacal foreign shores for some much needed (and definitely much deserved) rest, relaxation, and quality time with the family!! But what to pack in that stylish suitcase? Naturally we all want to look phenomenal, and feel fantastic when we’re on holiday, but then there are all those pesky practical considerations to bear in mind when choosing chic, Summer holiday-worthy clothes. From luggage restrictions, and whether your style is suitable for your holiday setting & activities, to the fact that carting your entire shoe collection halfway across the globe just isn’t feasible – the list of potential wardrobe problems is endless.

The Image Mistress’s splendid solution to this particular style dilemma? Building a capsule holiday wardrobe comprised of versatile style staples which suit your body-shape, colouring, and personal sense of dress, and can be mixed & matched easily to create phenomenal, fashion-forward outfits which are appropriate for your indulgent Summer break.

On Friday we brought you inspiration for your sun-soaked beach holiday wardrobe in ‘Summer (Style) Lovin’ – Your Beach Holiday Essentials Sorted’. Today’s post features fashion which is appropriate for a culture-filled Summer city break, highlighting key pieces which seamlessly blend sophisticated style, incredible comfort, and fabulous functionality. So whether you’re off to romantic Paris, mesmerizing Marrakech, or idyllic Istanbul (personally I have a strong desire to jet off to a very glitzy Las Vegas) The Image Mistress has your city break style essentials sorted!

Dress to Impress

You could be strolling down the quaint cobbled streets of Montmartre Square in picturesque Paris, or drinking in the fascinating fusion of heavenly aromas and colourful sights in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar as you haggle with local merchants over their products. Perhaps you’ll embark on an exhilarating exploration of Portland, Oregon – the new capital of cool – or experience the beauty of Rome’s Spanish Steps when the azaleas are in full bloom.

Whatever your city break entails, a relaxed, light-weight feminine day dress is a key piece for your Summer city vacation wardrobe. These gorgeous gowns (below) are perfect for achieving effortless urban-chic whilst keeping you comfortable during visits to popular city sights, and can all easily be worked into your everyday wardrobe when you return from your adventures abroad!

Everyday Summer Dress in Lime Starburst, from Boden – A gloriously gorgeous dress fashioned from feather-light, printed cotton, which will keep you stylishly cool in those tropical Summer temperatures, yet will work equally well in cooler city climates when teamed with a pretty, feminine cardigan or jacket.

Boden’s beautiful empire-line ‘Everyday Summer Dress’ is a wonderful choice for apple and inverted triangle women, with the V-neckline, elegant empire waist, and softly flared A-line skirt enhancing the figure & bring beautiful balance to the body. The exotic starburst print, defined waist, and gather detailing around the bust & under the waistband will create curves on willowy rectangle-shaped figures. An excellent choice for sightseeing & shopping in the city, or a sun-kissed sojourn in the surrounding, spellbinding countryside.

Soft Safari Dress in neutral tone, from Karen Millen – An ideal figure-flattering Summer frock for apple, hourglass, and pear-shaped ladies, Karen Millen’s Soft Safari button-through dress is a stellar style choice for a city vacation! A beautiful tie belt will cinch and define the waist with the bow adding a little feminine flourish, with the button-through style allowing you to create a modest V-neckline which will enhance the upper half of your body.

This dress will work wonderfully as part of a chic, laid-back daytime look for shopping on the Champs Élysées, wandering around the magnificent Imperial Palaces of St Petersburg, or simply relaxing with a coffee in a pretty little cafe by the Vltava in Prague. However, it’s versatile enough to be dressed up for evenings at restaurants & bars – simply add a pair of high-heeled peep-toe courts, a tailored cropped blazer, and a chic clutch.

Moroccan Embroidered Dress by Rebecca Taylor, at Matches – Work a little ethnic bohemian vibe into your attire, by wearing this graceful, Moroccan inspired Rebecca Taylor maxi-dress embellished with exquisite blue embroidery. Soft, fluid fabric styled into a simple straight skirt which slims and minimizes the hips, an elasticated waistband cinching the waist, and alluring azure embroidery adding curves at the bust & creating balance between the body’s upper and lower proportions, make this maxi-dress an ideal option for hourglass, pear, and rectangle figured fashionistas.

Don this divine dress to discover the ruins of ancient Greek temples in Athens, tour the bazaars of Marrakech, or check out the cosmopolitan district of Beyoğlu – Istanbul’s bohemian quarter.

Accessorize With: 

Blue graphic batik print scarf by Bindya, from Liberty London.

Satin Gold Coin necklace by Kenneth Jay Lane, from My-Wardrobe.

‘Elina’ Gem beetle ring, from Ted Baker.

Chic Separates.

Exquisitely pretty, stylish separates such as skirts or shorts and a top, are brilliant alternatives to a dress. Below are some uber-chic Image Mistress approved separates, which will allow you to work that sophisticated urban-cool look with grace & ease!

‘MINI’ A-line printed midi-skirt, from Reiss. – An A-line skirt helps to balance the lower body with the upper body, and this divine colourfully printed skirt from Reiss will form the basis of some stunningly unique, stylish looks.

Lace trim top in white, from Kew 159 (left) – Romantic lace ruffles at the neckline, and around the bust will help rectangles and pears to create the illusion of a more curvaceous upper body. The loose-fitting smock style of this exquisite lace-trimmed blouse will also help to disguise any fullness in the tummy area! Will work equally well with relaxed jeans, smart city shorts, or a feminine skirt.

Navy cotton twill shorts, from Jaeger – Achingly cool and so chic, these beautiful cotton shorts (right) are lightweight, making them perfect for wearing in warm climates, whilst the knee-length style ensures that they will conceal & flatter fuller thighs.

Button detailing at the hips will help to draw attention to the lower half of the body, making these perfect for hourglass, apple, inverted triangle, and rectangle-shaped ladies.

Short sleeve stripe jersey, from Jaeger – Always a fashion classic, the Breton top is a wardrobe staple. This Jaeger version of the Breton tee (left) in soft jersey will look effortlessly stylish when worn with jeans, chinos, simple A-line skirts, or fluid, flowing maxi skirts.

However, for an ‘Image Mistress’ take on Parisien chic with a creative twist, team this top with the navy city shorts from Jaeger, tan leather brogues, and the Marni horn pendant necklace from MyTheresa, which is featured later in this post!

‘Jinny’ contrast sleeve print top, from Reiss – A fabulously fashionable printed top from Reiss (below), which will look divine on pears, rectangles, & hourglasses as the contrasting colour detail on the top will enhance and emphasize the upper body, and help to soften the angles of the shoulders, creating more roundness there. 

Accessorize with:

Slouch shoulder bag, from Jigsaw.

Marni horn pendant necklace, from MyTheresa.

Isabel Marant ‘Birdy’ bangle, from Matches.

It’s All in the Jeans.

If you have young children who quickly tire of all the walking, queuing and crowds that come with city sightseeing (and perhaps even if you don’t) chances are you’ll be planning a couple of day trips to various attractions outside the great metropolis such as wildlife reserves, country parks, and petting zoos. Such excursions require comfortable & functional clothing, that allows for ease of movement so you can run around and play with the kids, and will keep you warm in open countryside. In this case a trusty pair of jeans or casual trousers like the stylish, yet relaxed garments below, will be your fashion fail-safe.

Hudson Crop Straight jeans in Sicily, from Donna Ida – Cropped jeans are perfect for Summer, and these ultra-stylish straight leg Hudson jeans in gorgeous light-wash denim, will be a brilliant addition to your holiday wardrobe. Straight leg styles such as this work beautifully on all you apple, inverted triangle, and rectangle-shaped women by emphasizing and showing off your slim, shapely legs!

Although ideal for day time wear when teamed with a relaxed tee & plimsolls, flat pumps or wedge heeled trainers, these will also look wonderful for informal evenings with a smart pair of wedge sandals or pumps, a tailored blouse and a chic boyfriend blazer!

1969 ‘Perfect’ bootcut jeans in a medium wash, from Gap – Bootcut jeans are brilliant for bringing body-shape balance to any figure, and this pair from Gap live up to their ‘Perfect’ title. The medium-wash denim makes these jeans an especially good choice for pear and hourglass shaped women, as it is dark enough to have a slimming effect on heavier legs and fuller hips, whilst the cut creates the illusion of a perfectly proportioned silhouette. Pair these with a light-wight sweater or cardigan and pumps for a feminine take on city-chic, or add a subtle hint of rock-chick style to your look by wearing them with the divine Farhi by Nicole Farhi linen biker jacket.

Stone Bootleg trousers, from Mint Velvet. – An excellent cut and style for any body shape, and in a light neutral hue, Mint Velvet’s stone bootleg trousers will allow you to work luxe Summer style in amazing comfort.

These are incredibly versatile trousers, capable of working wardrobe wonders with a tops, blouses, and jackets in a variety of colours and styles, to create laid-back daytime and polished evening outfits, as well as sophisticated work wear looks for when your holiday is over!

Full Coverage.

With a perfect paradisiacal climate sending the mercury soaring on a regular basis it’s all too tempting to pack the bare minimum of outerwear, and even more tempting to leave any jackets, cardigans or cover-ups you have brought, back at your hotel. But apart from the obvious practical considerations about the possibility of cold, windy, or even wet weather hitting during your city break, garments that cover your arms, shoulders and upper-torso are a necessity when touring round some of the famous landmarks in different cities, particularly sacred places & religious sites.

Many religious venues which attract hordes of tourists, such as the breathtakingly beautiful Blue Mosque in Istanbul or Vatican City in Rome, will deny you entrance if you are not appropriately covered up. Of course, some of these places sell cover-ups for a modest price or even provide them free of charge, but it is always best to come completely prepared. For one thing, having a suitable blazer, cardigan, or jacket with you in case temperatures cool or you get caught in a summer shower, is sensible as it will keep you comfortable & super-chic. More importantly though, remembering to dress more conservatively when you’re visiting any religious venue, shows respect for the local culture, religious customs and traditions.

Farhi by Nicole Farhi Cool Grey Linen Biker Jacket, available at My-Wardrobe – Biker jackets are the outerwear ‘du jour’ and this luxurious linen biker is a sublime trans-seasonal piece which will work all year round! Particularly suited to hourglasses, rectangles, and pears, with detailing such as the zip pockets, loosely draped lapels, zip feature at the shoulders, and stud-button tab at the waist all serving to highlight the upper body and add volume & curves there. Plus, the soft grey shade is incredibly versatile and fabulously chic, making this a fantastic piece for throwing on over a dress, jeans & a tee, or a city shorts & blouse combination to complete a polished outfit!

‘Boston’ nude jersey blazer by American Vintage, available at My-Wardrobe – Garments such as the ‘Boston’ jersey blazer in neutral nude shades are hot property this season and a current favourite of the fash-pack. And no wonder, as soft nude colours complement almost everything – from vibrant brights and pretty pastels, to bold prints and striking jewel tones – and always create a beautifully refined, fashionable look. This simple, yet style nude jersey blazer is no different, and will easily complete chic Summer looks working equally well with relaxed jeans or casual trousers, and feminine dresses, shorts, & skirts.

‘Artur’ heart patterned cardigan in ivory, from Ted Baker – This is a really fun, feminine piece which will suit a range of body shapes and style personalities. The pretty heart pattern will draw the eye towards the upper body to emphasize it, so while pear, rectangle, and hourglass women will look wonderful wearing the ‘Artur’ cardigan, inverted triangles and apples should avoid it. A mixture of creamy ivory, metallic, and soft dove-grey hues ensure that this is a versatile piece which will complement many skin-tones and can be matched with a range of garments.

White tie-front shrug, from Wallis – Simple, yet undeniably stylish, this pristine white shrug from Wallis will look heavenly on apple, inverted triangle, and rectangle figured fashionistas.

The tie waist will lend definition to their upper-bodies, whilst the lack of embellishment and adornment serve to minimize broader upper halves, and the shape will enhance curves on the torso. An ideal piece for warmer days, it will keep your arms and shoulders covered without feeling uncomfortable in the heat. Plus, it will be the perfect accompaniment to chic evening looks!

Accessorize with:

The Print Scarf, from Isabella Oliver

‘Hellina’ facet bead bracelet, from Ted Baker.

Blue & White stripe duffle bag, from Wallis

Step Out in Style.

A few years back when I jetted off to Paris to soak up some culture during a mid-week break, I thought I had everything totally sorting in the shoe department. Knowing my relatively short break would involve a lot of walking as I toured all the sights, and anticipating warm May weather, I set off for The City of Light with a stockpile of chic, flat strappy sandals thinking they were the ideal footwear choice for my trip! But 2 hours and several painful blisters into my first day of sightseeing, I realized that they weren’t – even the super-stylish women of The Image Mistress team are vulnerable to making the occasional fashion faux pas!

The moral of this story? Keep the strappy sandals for the beach or poolside sunbathing, and choose stylish, yet practical & ultra-comfortable footwear with a strong, flexible sole which will support the joints in your feet & ankles to prevent pain during all that walking. Also, you should try to select shoes which feel soft against your feet and fit well, as anything too tight that puts pressure on the delicate skin of your feet, or feels like it is cutting in to your skin will cause blisters. Below are some fabulous footwear options which will protect your feet in style during your city vacation.

‘Cadiz Treasure’ flat pump in midnight suede, from Clarks – Classically stylish, the ever-popular ballet pump is always a fabulous fashion choice. With durable rubber soles, and soft underfoot cushioning, the Clarks ‘Cadiz Treasure’ pumps are perfectly designed to offer functionality and comfort whilst keeping you super-stylish.

‘Elizabeth’ court shoe in beige with wedge heel, from Jaeger. – Wedge heels offer optimum comfort and superb support to your feet, so the ‘Elizabeth’ court shoe is a great choice for day time – particularly on days when you don’t plan a huge amount of walking around. Team them with a gorgeous day dress, a feminine skirt, or chic city shorts to go shopping, or enjoy a relaxed stoll along the Seine.

‘Breezy Day’ natural leather lace-up brogues, from Clarks – Lace-up brogues add a hint of androgynous style to your outfits, and never fail to look sophisticated. These Clarks beauties have a strong sole to support your feet and ankle joints, and are fashioned from butter-soft leather which will not irritate the fragile skin of your feet, reducing the likelihood of blisters!

Chloe suede wedge sneakers, available at MyTheresa – Personally I adore these ultra-chic, unbelievably cool Chloe wedge sneakers – they’re currently right at the top of my fashion lust list alongside a classic Chanel boucle jacket! And speaking from a stylist’s point of view, I can’t sing the praises of these stunning sneakers highly enough! The wedge heel gives the advantage of a little extra heigh to elongate the legs, whilst also providing great support to the feet, and ensuring this is a shoe you can easily wear all day long. Sublimely soft suede & canvas will offer incredible comfort and feel, as well as look luxurious.

Well, those are The Image Mistress’s style selections for a city break full of culture, sightseeing, shopping and quality family time!! Hopefully you’ve found some wonderfully chic inspiration for your Summer vacation wardrobe!

Bon voyage lovely Imagettes!! Stay stylish,

The Image Mistress xo - UK

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13 Comments on “Hot (Town) Style – Summer in the City.”

  1. May 3, 2012 at 3:56 am #

    Okay, see what you ladies do to me. Now, after reading this post I’m going to go embark on a vacation (holiday) just because. No particular destination. I just want an excuse to use your fashion wisdom and knowledge you just shared with me. I will keep you updated and let you know just where I end up, lol.

    • May 3, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

      Hehe, sorry Tamisha! Though that actually sounds like a good plan to me😉 I also want to jump on the first plane to anywhere right now after writing that blog post!! Thanks so much for reading, & for your wonderful comments honey:) xoxo

  2. May 3, 2012 at 9:02 am #

    iI like grey linen biker jacket! it is perfect!

    • May 3, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

      Thank you lovely:) I really want this grey linen jacket – so chic, and I could wear it with so many things:) Thanks for reading & commenting!! xoxo

  3. vsdresscode
    May 4, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    oh packing! there is nothing i hate more! ahaha, it’s always a catastrophe for me. I just can’t plan, i hate planning, and every time i do the last minute 30 minutes packing and end up with all the wrong things or with nothing! lol Just the shoes could take the whole luggage;) Love your dress suggestions, especially the Rebecca Taylor one:)

    • May 4, 2012 at 11:15 am #

      Hehe, thanks V:) Actually, I am the same myself with packing – I can organize everyone else & help them to pack but when I have to pack for myself I can’t bear to choose between my clothes & shoes – I want to bring my entire wardrobe with me, it’s a nightmare!! Thank you, I love the Rebecca Taylor dress – really want to buy it, or something similar! So gorgeous & it will be stylish for years to come!! xoxo

  4. terry
    May 6, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    for me the boden dress and the Boston blazer or wallis shrug. feel i need another holiday now

    • May 6, 2012 at 2:20 pm #

      Thanks Terry – good choices! Sure you never know – maybe you’ll go away again sooner than you think😉 xoxo


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