Why it’s A-OK to embrace your inner hot mess this summer

Hot Mess | Soho House

It's time to stop worrying about how you look in the heat and just go with it

Friday 12 August 2022     By Billie Bhatia

There are few things I can claim to be ahead of the curve on, but I was an early adopter of hot girl summer. Not the Megan Thee Stallion trope that Instagram is so fond of – cool-looking girls in Hunza G, artfully balanced on striped towels around the periphery of buzzy rooftop pools sloshing pitchers of Picantes – no, my hot girl barometer is firmly pointed towards hot mess in the heat.

I have tried and failed for a hot girl summer, to meet the aesthetic of these curated creatures who thrive in the heat. But my reality is a world away from high legs and highlighter. Where the tiniest smattering of sweat beads gathers on a hot girl’s Cupid’s bow, my upper lip is balancing a small reservoir. Where a single droplet of seductive sweat rolls down the temple of someone in White City House gym, my forehead is forecasting 100% certainty of torrential downpour. Where hot girl’s hair is all fluffy Matilda Djerf Airwrap- achieved bangs impervious to humidity, mine is giving Monica in Barbados – or, more appropriately, Soho Beach House Canouan. Put simply, I’m a hot mess in the heat melting faster than the ice in my glass of Lady A.

As long as I can remember, as soon as summer hits I’ve battled my rising body temperature, employing any means possible to disguise my discomfort. Tissues, fans that circulate around your neck, anti-chafe shorts, talcum powdered toes, ice packs stuffed down my jeans – my arsenal of tricks was plentiful and yet the resulting look was still as if I’d undertaken an Iron Man in the Sahara, when all I’d done was make the trek from London’s Oxford Circus down to Greek Street on a warmer than average day.

This summer, as temperatures have soared by a chilling rate, I decided to quit the fight, resign my efforts pretending to be something I’m not, and lean wholeheartedly into hot mess in the heat. In the same way Instagram is just a narrow lens on a wide life, hot girl summer is a chance to be just that – a hot girl in the summer. 

As a professional hot mess, here’s my advice. Carry a fan at all times. Categorically nothing electrical. A chic handheld fan, preferably one in neutral tones with a scalloped edge sourced from a small Sicilian market. Wear linen, a lot of it. Dresses, trousers, shirts, skirts, shorts – there’s no such thing as too much linen. Matteau, Alemais and Fil de Vie are your best friends for dresses. For shorts and shirts, head to Arket and Deiji Studios. And if it’s a bias-cut, high-slit flippy linen skirt you’re after (FYI, it should be), make a beeline towards Mango before everyone else realises they’ve got the skirt of the summer. Invest in hair accessories, namely large printed scrunchies and ribbons of a similar nature. Now scatter these in every bag you own, so you can topknot as and when required, like you intended it to be that way the whole time.

Drink water. Repeat after me: one tequila, one water, one tequila, one water. I’ve tried and tested three tequilas, one water and that just landed me in mess territory. When drinking water on the move, make your water bottle an extension of your outfit. In an attempt to look like a rich mum on my morning walk, it’s an iridescent Starbucks straw cup. When I’m walking over Waterloo Bridge to 180 House, it’s a pink and black Hay water bottle, and never the two shall meet.

But most importantly, embrace your hot mess. Not just because it’s hotter than Dante’s Hell right now, but because does it really matter that your cheeks are on the radish side of flushed, or that you look like you’ve just been dunked in the Shoreditch House pool after a five-minute walk? The short answer is no, it categorically does not. Not when you have much more pressing things to worry about, like will you finally get caught nicking another striped towel? 

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