My wardrobe is one of a woman who lives in London, not the Middle East. It is crammed with multiple pairs of jeans, shirts, leather and a sizeable collection of knitwear. In almost seven years of living and working in Dubai I have grown from a twentysomething stylist – who arrived in the UAE with a suitcase full of Topshop summer dresses and bikinis – to a fashion director equipped with a wardrobe that would see me through the chilliest winters in the northern hemisphere. Let’s not forget, I still live here in the Middle East.
For the purpose of this piece, I’ve looked in my wardrobe and counted four cardigans, five sweaters, and four chunky knits. But my consumption isn’t due to vanity, it’s often mandatory, especially when working in an office that has air conditioning units set to minus 3C. Name me one woman who doesn’t have a chunky cardigan hanging off the back of her swivel chair for this very reason? Not forgetting, there’s also a certain joy you get from wearing cabled wool that you just don’t get with linen. This month I found myself in a pool of envy when my London-dwelling peers filled my Insta-feed with cosy jumper dresses, bare legs and boots. With humidity still stinkingly high in Dubai, I think I would end up in the casualty department if I ventured out of the house in any sort of knit. But I am currently living in a cashmere Massimo Dutti tracksuit within the four walls of my office at home, and will shed layers accordingly if I need to nip outside.
However, dear reader, it appears – as the Saturday Night Live ladies put it in that clip that is doing the rounds – that “sweata weatha” is almost upon us.
I know I share my joy of knitwear with a surprising number of Dubai-based friends, and I feel it is my responsibility to say that it’s A-OK to bring out the knits as the UAE climate drops a notch or two from ‘scorching’ to ‘hot’ by the end of October. Maybe it’s a sign of being homesick as I look back on past times during autumn when I was cosied up in a cafe wearing mohair and clutching a steaming cup of coffee, but I’m inordinately excited to welcome leather, denim, tights (look, it gets chilly in January!) and of course, the knitwear drawer.
For those with raised eyebrows, bear with me and take the lead from the AW19 runways where we’ve seen excellent styling ideas that will ensure we don’t reach boiling point. Fine-knit roll-necks are pretty much on point every season; style them with anything and everything but for work, wear one under a summer slip-dress for modesty. Strike the balance with bare legs and a wool-covered top à la Tibi and Isabel Marant, or shoulder robe a pretty Fair Isle cardie over a summer dress. Basically, roll those sleeves up and let’s get cosy!