Five Ways to Wear Black in Summer

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Studded lambskin jumpsuit by Saint Laurent by Hedi SlimaneAnOther Magazine S/S15. Photography by Collier Schorr, Styling by Katie Shillingford

Dressing like a goth in hot weather needn’t be stressful

Black is modest and arrogant at the same time,” Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto once remarked. “Black is lazy and easy – but mysterious. But above all black says this: I don’t bother you – don’t bother me.” Indeed, the most dramatic hue of all – the result of a total absorption of visible light – has long been imbued with cultural symbolism, from overt sexuality to religious conservatism.

Nonetheless, wearing black during the summer can be problematic, as any self-respecting goth will attest. During a heatwave, a once-provocative ensemble can become a damp nightmare, with the sun’s rays eagerly drunk up by your clothes. What’s more, the summer months are also often reserved for ‘jolly hockey sticks’ outdoor activities such as camping and walking holidays – pastimes in which black strictly refuses to partake. But fear not, reader; here we share five tips to make the shadiest of non-shades work for you during July and August, accompanied by images from AnOther Magazine’s spring/summer archive. 

1. Skimpy leather 

Wearing black leather garments in the height of July is usually an extremely bad idea, lest you have plenty of anti-chafing gel and talcum powder on standby. There is a way around this, however: by skimping on the material you will remain cool, sexy and (mostly) perspiration-free – as exemplified by this Saint Laurent lambskin jumpsuit, which bares plenty of flesh.

2. Topless

A similar principle to tip number one: if you forgo half your outfit, it won’t matter that your black Céline skirt has warmed up so much in the midday sun that it could stand in for a disposable barbeque. Sausages, anyone? 

3. Nail varnish

A chic little black dress will stand out effortlessly in a crowd of floaty pastel linens and garish foam flip-flops. Pair it with open-toe sandals to show off your equally gothic pedicure, each toe painted with two high-gloss coats of Chanel Le Vernis in the shade Black Métamorphosis.

4. Hair dye

Refusing to inject colour into your wardrobe does not mean you cannot brighten your summer aesthetic in other ways. A large bottle of bleach and some copper-red hair dye can work miracles, for gothic Lady of Shalott realness. 

5. Rainy day

Alas, all good weather forecasts must come to an end, and in British summertime this usually means that inexplicable amounts of rain are nigh. A rainy day can also offer some much-needed relief for those who prefer cooler climes, however – and a black wool turtleneck from Prada, paired with an ostrich feather and mink stole, can help facilitate trans-seasonal dressing. But for the love of Miuccia, do not forget an umbrella.