Oppressive summer heat is no joke. While many of us look forward to warmer weather, sunnier skies, and the opportunity to spend some quality time outside, it’s also true that tolerating the heat can be downright difficult. And although you might be a sartorial champion, there comes a time when even you might have to admit that you’re style-stumped. What to wear when it’s unbearably hot outside and all you want to do is stay cool and comfortable—oh, and look great at the same time?
This is an age-old concern that has haunted women for decades. While there are some things you simply have to do to stay as cool as you can, like remaining inside during peak sun hours and staying hydrated, you can also dress the part by filling your wardrobe with the warm-weather essentials you need to get through the season. Yep, we’re looking at you, tunic tops, Bermuda shorts, and breezy tank tops. Here are some tips to help you conquer the hottest months of the year in nothing but pure style.
You’ve probably heard it so much that it’s one of the first things that you think about when temperatures spike—and with good reason. Wearing lighter-colored clothes is vital to your comfort during the dog days of summer. Why turn to those airy neutrals and soft pastels in favor of their darker siblings? It’s not for the big reason that most people tend to associate with white. Sure, it’s a great color for the season, but recent studies suggest that the color doesn’t necessarily reflect heat any more efficiently than, say, navy or black.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not the ultimate choice for hot weather wear. Breathable materials in white not only feel great, but somehow also exude a certain airy quality that makes them a welcome option on those balmy days. White also conceals perspiration beautifully, so you can cross that concern off your list when temperatures heat up. A women’s white blouse coupled with a pencil skirt makes a great choice for the workday. When you’re off-duty, try a lightweight tee in a soft hue with denim or Bermuda shorts.
There’s a time and a place for form-fitting clothes. Some silhouettes are ideal for dressy nights out, for example. But on an especially hot day, the last thing that you want is for the fabric to stifle your skin and keep you from feeling your most comfortable. When it’s hot outside, look for cuts that are loose and breezy. Wide-leg pants are great for days when you want to wear longer lengths, while oversized tops and cropped pants also fit the bill.
Naturally, skirts and relaxed T-shirt dresses are also certain to keep you comfortable. Those gentle fits graze your figure, providing a flattering look that helps you combat the heat in style. There are styles appropriate for everything on your summer itinerary, from backyard barbecues and Sunday brunches to beach trips and even days at the office.
Just as you veer toward nubby knits and cozy cashmere in the winter, make sure you choose the appropriate fabrics for summertime wear, too. Synthetic materials are rarely breathable, a factor that’s critical when the sun beats down on your skin and temperatures slowly creep up. Breathability enhances your comfort, allowing for better air circulation and ensuring you feel as cool as possible even when it’s so hot you just want to park yourself in front of the air conditioner with a cold drink in hand.
So what’s best? Aim for materials like 100% cotton or linen. Seersucker and eyelet are great options for the heat, too, and they look oh-so-chic at the same time. Women’s cotton tank tops are easy and versatile—you can throw them on with anything from a pair of capri pants to your favorite skort.
You’ll feel a lot more comfortable if you know that your skin is safe, too. While you should always wear broad-spectrum sunscreen to combat harsh UVA and UVB rays, don’t overlook the value of adding some sun-protective clothing to your wardrobe. Dresses, tops, bottoms, and swimwear enhanced with Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) give you that added degree of security, allowing you to head out in the sunshine with extra confidence.
UPF refers to the garment’s ability to block potent ultraviolet rays responsible for burning the skin. Every piece features UPF 50, preventing at least 98% of rays from passing through the material. Adding a few to your closet, from bathing suits to summer dresses, is an easy way to expand your summer wardrobe with pieces that are as practical as they are stylish.
No matter what your summer itinerary holds, it’s important to dress for every occasion with comfort in mind. The right combination of colors, materials, and sun protection will help you look and feel your best throughout the season.