Why Summer Dressing Gives Me “The Fear”

I love summer. I’m a summer girl through and through – give me a BBQ and a “I’m-way-too-hot-I’m-putting-my-hair-up” top knot over DVD’s and blankets any day. Harry Potter marathon in PJs with a mountainous hot chocolate? Psh, I’d rather have an afternoon of hobbling together a ‘cocktail’ out of cupboard rejects and lazing in the garden. You’d also think that, given I count updating my ASOS Saved Items as one of my hobbies, I’d be pretty excited about the new summer wear collections. Truth is, however, as soon as the temperatures start creeping up alongside hemlines, I start to feel “the fear”.

If you’ve ever purchased chaffing gel before, you’ll know what I mean. “The fear” is that creeping and ominous knowledge that inevitably, I will find it difficult to find well-fitting and comfortable pieces now it’s warmer. Take one glance in Topshop, and all you will see is hot pants, strappy vests and crop tops. Everything gets smaller, shorter and tighter.

This is all well and good if you’re a total babe with a gym body to match, but if you’re, well, a little on the chubbier side like me, this makes summer dressing a lot more difficult (as I say in every single one of my posts that tackles body image in some way or another, I am never bashing any body type or shape. Those who work hard for a fit bod deserve to look as enviable as they do, and more power to them!).

I’m all for dressing for your taste, rather than your shape. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – fuck Trinny and Susannah. That mentality is incredibly damaging, and your first thought when picking out an item should always be ‘ooh, I love the look of this!’ rather than ‘hmm, not sure this is going to be flattering on my shape’. That being said, however, I’m also realistic. I want to be comfortable, and squeezing my thighs that clap when I run up the stairs into a pair of Daisy Duke hot pants is never going to end well.

Top – Lost Ink via ASOS
Shorts – ASOS
Sunglasses – Miu Miu via Sunglasses Shop*
Bag – Zara (La Redoute alternative)
Sandals – ASOS

More than that, teeny tiny denim shorts wreak havoc in terms of chub rub. For those who don’t know what chub rub is, it’s the result of your skin rubbing against itself when it’s sweaty and sticky, and causing a friction which is painful and irritating to the skin. It can happen wherever on your body, but for me, it’s always been the thighs. This can be avoided with jeans, trousers, culottes etc. as the pesky blighters are covered up, but when it comes around to shorts season, I’m always wondering in the back of my mind if shorts will have a low enough hemline to protect me.

And then there’s the simple issue of being able to cover parts of my body that I don’t like. The tops of my arms, for example, are a real problem area for me, and yet as soon as summer rolls around, everything is strapless or sleeveless or somewhere in-between. And if the sleeves aren’t chopped off, then the v-neck is deep enough to accommodate for the extra skin. What I would give for a wrap top with short sleeves and a neckline that doesn’t drop down to my belly button.

I understand that complaining about the lack of well-fitting clothes is relatively useless. We all want different things when it comes to cut and style, and there’s no way that retailers can fully accommodate for everyone. I’m not calling for a ban on all denim shorts – these Mom shorts from ASOS are evidence enough that a good pair can be found, given enough searching – I’m just asking for a little more variety. Why can I find 1000 skin tight midi dresses, but barely any looser, belted shorts that aren’t shorter than my attention span?

Shop the look:

And don’t get me started on the warmer weather petite offerings. Someone along the line has associated ‘petite’ with ‘pretty’, and all I can ever seem to find in the shorter sections are poofy prom skirts, florals and unicorns. Where is the soft tailoring? The statement shapes? The *god*damn*variety*?

I also find working with brands more difficult. Where, in the autumn and winter seasons, I could opt for knitwear and denim pieces, I’m now confronted by the same series of problems I have when shopping for myself online. Brands understandably want to push their summer ranges, but I find myself presented with a range of hero pieces that would each look awful on me in varying degrees. From bikini tops and skirt combos to body con dresses with cut-out detailing and, of course, sleeveless finishing, my job as a clothes-horse-come-over-sharer becomes measurably more difficult.

And this is what happens each summer, on repeat. The sun starts to shine, and I instantly feel “the fear” creeping in. On the other hand, the silver lining is that the pieces I do pick up tend to stay with me; I have a loose fitting denim playsuit from Monki that is now seeing me through my third summer, and another Primark playsuit that I’ve now had for about 6 years. When you experience “the fear”, a good fitting find is a long-lasting find.

If you too suffer from “the fear”, let me know if you have any top tips for beating the hours of online searching and what pieces have lived with you for years, and come and share your stories with me over on social @chloeplumstead on Twitter and Instagram.

Until next time lovelies x

  • Most clothes are made for one body type for sure. I perfectly understand what you mean, I sometimes shop and feel like my body is too huge for the clothes when the clothes should fit US !
    Anyway, you look lovely !


  • I know exactly what you mean. I have absolutely got 'the fear' at the moment and don't even get me started on swimwear. I think I need to have a look at those shorts you are wearing though because they look great and so much more what I'm after than all the tiny hot pants I'm seeing about at the moment, which would be chub rub hell for me. That top is gorgeous as well!
    Sophie xxx | Sophar So Good

  • Although I dropped a couple of stone a few years ago I still suffer from 'the fear' you speak of every damn Summer. I don't feel comfortable with my limbs fully exposed, nor my midriff or my cleavage. I prefer to be covered up, especially as I get older (and hopefully more mature – ha).

    So yeah, I too am frustrated by the lack of variety in clothes shops come Summer time, and like you, I have a few key pieces that have stayed with me for YEARS. A maxi dress from Miss Selfridge (it's started to go bobbly, I've worn it that much), a skater dress from Topshop and several pairs of loose fitting trousers to name a few.

    The fear is even worse this year, as I'm currently 7 months pregnant – eeek. I think I may just steal my other half's t-shirts and just be done with it. x


  • I don't like my legs and I especially hate chub rub so I bought pairs of ladybloves shorties and they are brilliant for summer dress days, I feel a bit better now


  • I definitely don't think you should have "the fear" as I think you look beaut in anything you wear! I'm the same though – I'm hating my arms and my stomach.. Makes me feel so insecure sometimes. xx

    Jessie | allthingsbeautiful-x

  • I hate The Fear! 🙁 ive just decided that cycling shorts/leggings under all skirts and dresses will have to do.
    You look wonderful in those shorts!

  • First of all Chloe, you look absolutely gorgeous in this post! This post is so relatable, I totally suffer from 'the fear'. I had such a bad chub rub the other day when it was so hot out. As much as I love the summer season, I HATE shopping for clothes for this season. I hate my arms, my legs my stomach… And shopping for summer clothes makes me feel so insecure.

  • Love this post girl, you always get it spot on! I am all too familiar with the fear, and can''t even remember the last time I wore a sleeveless top without a jacket to cover my arms! Dreading the day I have to get back into swimwear x


  • Totally hear you on the shorts front. I'm quite tall and carry a lot of my excess poundage in my arse and thighs, and shorts are virtually impossible! I get the chub rub (lol), plus often they ride up and cut off circulation when I sit down. The only loose shorts I can find are the soft, belted kind that I'd rather avoid because the belt adds extra bulk. Long tailored shorts look like I'm going to a country club. It's a bloody nightmare.

  • Chloe, you look incredible here, I love this whole outfit!
    I really wish I could pull of denim shorts.. I may try again this year..
    But yes, I suffer from the 'fear' every Summer. Plus being a near mid thirty mummy, finidng niceon trend pieces but that don't make me look like I'm re-living my 16 year old youth is difficult sometimes. As you say, everything gets shorter!


  • Such an interesting post! I'm 100% with you – I want something that will keep me cool but doesn't bear all and preferably allows some kind of bra…

    Also a big fan of ASOS' Mom Shorts, I have them in two colours and they see me through every year. This top is perfect too!

  • You look beautiful and that top is so pretty! x

    Gemma Louise

  • Suddenly, I feel less alone.
    Most people find it weird when I say that summer is my favorite time for clothes (everything is so pretty and comes with that "I'm freeee" feeling) BUT it gives me so much anxiety because of the way I look with gain weight. It's even more difficult to get dressed during this season because of everything being small and light and short…etc Easier to hide behind layers, cardigans, sweaters and coats. So, each year, I'm collecting clothes in advance for my summer holidays: for a year, I'll buy dresses, shorts, anything that looks okay on me and I will store it until it's time to put it in my suitcase (hoping I won't gain weight, because if I loose weight, I still have my old clothes or I can tailor my newest ones). That sounds crazy, I know. This year, I was supposed to stay home but I'm finally going on vacations so I didn't plan my outfits ahead and I feel "the fear" now that I have to buy it all now (or going through my closet to see if old things can work). But yeah, that chub rub is plain awful, I have it between my legs too because that's where I gain most of my weight (big tights and big belly, oh how lucky I am :D).


  • This !!! As soon as someone announces it's going to be a warm day I get 'the fear'


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