Q. I’m grabbing an early-autumn break in Rome, rather than heading to the beach. It’s still hot there: what do I need to look cool in the city?

A.Rome in September can be pretty sweltering but you need to dress city (and sometimes Vatican) appropriate. Set yourself apart from the tourist crowd by keeping it chic for the papal venues (and the often overly appreciative male natives!) The best way to keep the heat contained in this environment is to be relatively covered up in light fabrics. Here are a few summer city break classics with a cooling twist:

1. Playsuits have become a summer holiday staple. To keep cool but avoid looking too beach (or too young) go for a tailored style with airy culotte-style shorts in a light silk or linen. Take your lead from Aussie designers who know best how to do glamorous in a warm city. Try ILAND bespoke's navy silk version with a slightly wedged peep toe for a look to take you from Colosseum to aperitifs at the Hotel de Russie.

2. Every fashion editor will tell you that a shirt dress is a key basic for a hot city slicker weekend. The collar keeps you city-smart and you can undo buttons according to the heat. Stand out from the sea of black, beige and taupe with a floaty silk printed version. Keep it synched in at the waist so you can go for any length depending on your body shape. An a-line knee length skirt will give it a very Roman Holiday 50s vibe. Alternatively take the length down to mid-calf or even maxi for a very new season elegance. Antipodean design siblings Ginger & Smart's Poet collared dress has an easy pull string waist tie so you can draw it in or relax it according to your mood. The skirt wafts down mid-calf at the back but is slightly higher at the front for a flattering take on a longer length skirt. The bold print will work just as well layered with tights for autumn in London.

3. The beach dress can be smarter by taking it oversized and accessorising. For strolls through the gardens of the Villa Borghese to the roar of the crowds at the Trevi Fountain, an oversized silk tunic dress will keep you breezy but glamorous. Go for a print or block colour with a bit of a sleeve. Glam it up with a chunky necklace or earrings for the evening.