Instead of actually going on holiday, I have started dressing like my favourite holiday accessory – my straw basket. Oh, how I love a basket. A basket is a handbag designed for carrying a pair of sunglasses, a newspaper and a paper bag of almond croissants. I rest my case: handbag of dreams. And a straw basket is cool, these days, too. It has shaken off a twee, soap-scented, lady-on-a-bike vibe and become an Instagram star in its own right. You can now pay vast sums to have the exact kind of basket you’d find piled up cheap in a sunny market somewhere delivered to your door, tissue-wrapped in a box. If that’s your thing. And I’m not judging: like I say, I love a straw basket so much that I have adopted the colour as a head-to-toe summer dress code.
Some say summer is a time to wear bold colours – and it is true that a seaside rock pink that looks overly sugary against grey skies has much more sweetness in sunshine. Some say you should wear white in summer because it bounces sunlight away from your hot flesh and up on to your face. And some say you should wear black in summer because, well, black in summer looks cool.
They are all right, because every colour looks better in summer. I won’t argue against any of these theories, which is possibly why I have way too many summer clothes. But my favourite summer colour right now is none of the above. It isn’t one colour at all, in fact, but a paint chart that reaches from the pearl gleam of first light on the beach to the syrupy gold of a haystack in the afternoon sun. From bleached straw to rich raffia. Any colour, as long as it matches one of my baskets.
Camel, beige, blond. These shades are abstract and urbane and coolly chic when you wear them as a classic winter coat, or a tailored blazer, or a fine cashmere knit. But wear them in summer – on an easy dress ideal for Saturday morning errands, or platform sandals that work for an evening spent in a British garden – and they have a more natural charm. The straw basket is a summer style icon. You may not be packing any bags, but you can still get into the holiday spirit.
• Jess wears dress, from a selection at rejinapyo.com. Wedges, her own. Styling: Melanie Wilkinson. Hair and makeup: Alexis Day