How To Dress For An El Niño Summer

An El Nino summer is on it's way but what should we be buying in preparation for hotter and drier weather?

Summer is officially on its way, and according to experts—its going to be a hot one.

While Australian meteorologists haven’t officially declared it an El Niño summer yet, those overseas already have and Australia is on alert for an official El Niño declaration in coming weeks. 

What does that mean for us? Well, with or without an official El Niño declaration, we’re in for a hot, dry summer. After three years of rainy La Niña, this news might be pleasing to your ears—but remember, the extreme heat comes with its challenges too. From an increased risk of bushfires to simply spending your days lying under a fan trying to get cool, there’s no doubt that this summer will be an intense one. 

As summer nears, here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming season, and most importantly how to dress for it. 

What Kind Of Weather Will An El Niño Summer Bring? 

In Spanish, El Niño means “little boy” and describes the warming of the ocean’s surface in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean. This brings more heat and a lot less rain. Compared to the wet La Nina summers of the last three years, we’re going to experience drier and hotter weather. 

The last time Australia experienced an El Niño was in 2019. This was not only Australia’s hottest year on record but also the year of the Black Summer bushfires. However, this necessarily doesn’t mean that we’re in for another serious bushfire season—there are lots of other factors that determine that.

However, what we can be sure of is that you’re going to want to invest in a good fan, and a few choice items of clothing

Thank us later. 

How Should I Dress For An El Niño Summer? 


Embrace the linen crinkle to stay cool. (Credit: @monikh)

If we have learnt anything from past heatwaves is that light, breathable fabrics are the way to go. This is why people who live in hot climates often favour linen and bamboo materials. While cotton is relatively good at absorbing moisture, it doesn’t dry quickly—which may leave you sweaty and sticky. Likewise, crochet and denim are cute to wear in the summer—but they are certainly not going to keep you cool. 

So, for this reason, we encourage you to embrace the crinkle and slip into those breezy linen trousers this summer. 

linen pants

Francois Pants Wheat, $249 from Faithful The Brand.


Aere Linen Shirt Collar Midi Dress, $160 from The Iconic.

Long-Sleeved Shirts 

Dua Lipa Summer
Take a leaf out of Dua Lipa’s summer look and opt for the long-sleeve. (Credit: @dualipa)

In the heat, you’re probably going to want to take everything off, which is why it might sound strange to put more clothing on. However, anyone who has spent time in the extreme heat will know that more fabrics (as long as they’re light and breathable) will actually protect you from getting too hot. They also come with the added bonus of protecting your skin from dangerous UV rays—and we can’t argue with that. 

So, this summer, take a leaf out of Dua Lipa’s book and throw an oversized long-sleeved shirt over your bikini while you enjoy the sun. 

Tommy Hilfiger

Tommy Hilfiger Icon Oversized Shirt, $199 from The Iconic

long-sleeved shirt

Piper Long Sleeved Oversized Shirt In Rust, $69.97 from Myer

Maxi Skirts 

Long skirts are breezy and pretty. (Credit: @matildadjerf)

You can’t go past a flowy maxi skirt in hot weather—just walking in one can generate a breeze on the stillist of days. For this reason, we encourage you to skip anything mini enough that’s going to give you sticky thighs when you sit down, and opt for comfort in a breezy maxi instead. 


The Fated Island Maxi Skirt, $76.00 from The Iconic

Faithful The Brand

Cataline Skirt Tuscan Sun, $269 from Faithful The Brand

Light colours 

Save your darker colours for winter. (Credit: @mimiarr)

It’s not an urban myth that light colours keep you cool—they really do dispel the sun, while those darker shades absorb the heat. Luckily, the fashion industry knows this too, and there’s an abundance of beautiful light coloured summer pieces to bring into your wardrobe. So, forget the navy blues and chocolate browns, and opt for whites, soft yellows, ice blues, beiges and creams. 


Shona Joy Mahalo Runched Panel Midi Dress, $290 from The Iconic


Rollas Dallas Linen Vest, $129 from David Jones

Related stories