What do I wear when it’s so hot my knees are sweating?

Linen – that’s what, discovers Frankie Graddon

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By Frankie Graddon on

Places I didn’t know you could sweat: between your tummy rolls, the crook of your arm, underneath your eyes, underneath your boobs, between your boobs, inner thighs, backs of knees, bottoms. That’s a big one (no pun intended) – bum sweat. The bit where the bottom of your bum cheeks meets the top of your legs and overhangs a bit (or a lot in my case). Yep, that’s a prime sweaty bit. Apologies if you’re eating.

Somewhat unexpected, bottom sweat (sorry to keep saying it) has become quite the issue in The Pool office. In fact, “What do I wear when it’s so hot my arse is sweating?” was the intended title for this column, but I didn’t want to put you off your tuna sandwich. “F, this isn’t normal. My butt is sweating its, er, butt off,” declared one Pooler the other day. “The paranoia of leaving a wet patch on the seat!” cried another. “Mortifying.” “Every time I stand up, I’ve been doing that thing that makes you look like a dog chasing its tail when you try and see the back of your skirt,” chimed in a third. “But everyone gets it, right?”

Right. Very much right. I think we can all agree that, over the last few weeks, it has been a veritable sweat-fest. Sweat has poured from every feasible part of our bodies and it shows no sign of letting up any time soon. Especially, God forbid, if you’re using public transport. The other day, it was so hot on the Tube that, when I tried to cross my legs, the top one slid straight off the bottom one – SPLOOSH. It was all I could do to stop myself using the Evening Standard to fan up my dress. How glamorous.

Of course, this sweaty stuff is all very tricky, not least when it comes to getting dressed. For what do you wear when even your sunglasses feel too hot? The answer to this lies in the natural, the breathable and the lightweight. The answer lies in linen.

“LINEN?! Isn’t that a bit Saga holidays?!” I hear you cry. Well, actually, no. Of all the fabrics in all the world, linen has been decreed the fabric of the summer by the fashion powers that be. And it’s pretty good news for the rest of us. First seen on the catwalks at JW Anderson in the form of tea-towel-striped dresses and slouchy, sage-green skirts, linen was also spotted at Loewe, Rejina Pyo and Jacquemus (the French brand behind that giant sun hat you’ve seen all over Instagram), meaning that it was only a matter of time before the high street cottoned (or should that be linen-ed?) on. In fact, linen has proved so popular this summer that several brands have entire shopping sections dedicated to it.

For what do you wear when even your sunglasses feel too hot? The answer to this lies in the natural, the breathable and the lightweight. The answer lies in linen

Purveyors of all things wholesome chic, Toast has seen a 150% increase in sales of linen year on year. Its bestsellers have been the Delave linen jumpsuit and the U-neck dress in paprika, both of which look like enticing hot-weather office options – just add flats.

Monsoon, which is currently enjoying somewhat of a style renaissance, has also proved to be key in this summer’s linen offerings, having reinvented its sellout Dolly dress in blue linen stripe. Also, have a look at the Cora dress, the Iris skirt and the Reena jumpsuit.

Fellow high-street-linen endorsers are Jigsaw, Whistles and Next. Check out the former’s classic striped T-shirt (great for those feeling trepidatious about linen – wear with jeans or tucked into wide-leg trousers). & Other Stories has come up trumps with the sunflower-yellow button-down midi dress; Warehouse has a similar style, currently in the sale but in limited sizes. And do check out Zara’s myriad styles – my pick is the olive midi.

Cool-and-breezy factor aside, the benefits of linen lie in its low-key look. Slightly crumpled and a bit beachy, it has a relaxed, throw-on-and-go appeal. It’s all very barefoot and freshly showered hair – which, when I’m wilting on the Central line, is exactly the vibe I want to be channelling.

Click here for the best linen pieces on the high street


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