I see a lot of summer style tips around the blogosphere and in magazines, and I must say that a lot of them are not really suited for serious hot weather and definitely not appropriate for work unless you can wear cutoff and a spaghetti strap tank or dress. The key to staying in cool is not showing skin, it's more a choice of fabric and fit, which is great because you can be comfortable no matter what size your pants are and what sort of style you prefer.
How to stay (and look) cool when it's miserably hot:
- Lean towards natural fabrics as opposed to acrylic or rayon: Cotton blends and linen will let air flow through and help sweat to evaporate rather than accumulate. A lot of the flowy, inexpensive tank tops you see in stores like Target and Forever 21 are actually made with non-breathable man made fabrics that are going to soak up sweat and show some embarrassing spots. (Hint: If it's made to look like chiffon or crepe, it's not going to breathe much)
- Cover as much skin as you'd like, but keep your clothes fairly loose: The tighter your clothing, the quicker you'll sweat through them. The same rule about air flow applies here - you don't need to go sleeveless as long as the sleeves you do wear are breathable. One of my favorite summer looks is an easy button-down shirt paired with shorts because it keeps the sun off of my arms, which in turn keeps me a bit cooler.
- Buy moisture-wicking versions of basic pieces: I discovered this little secret a couple of years ago, and love telling people that some of my basic tanks and tees are actually made by GapFit and help to keep sweat from accumulating. There are basically cut tees and tanks that don't have skimpy racerbacks, and they come in all the usual colors plus lots of great brights and patterns.
- Dress in layers that you can peel off outside: Oddly enough, my office gets colder in the summer because the A/C runs constantly and I'd be miserable if I went sleeveless. Thankfully, thin cardigans and blazers are the perfect way to look polished inside, but can be removed as you leave without leaving you looking undressed.
- Avoid polyester linings: A sleeveless dress lined in polyester or acrylic is going to stick to you and make you miserable!
- Keep hats, glasses, sunscreen and blotting papers handy! Even lunch on a patio can leave you with a sunburn, and at least looking a bit disheveled. I like to carry a little survival kit in my purse and car just in case I get caught outside.
- Have a chic way to get your hair off your neck: Thank goodness that top knots and messy buns are de rigeur! If you're at the office, sometimes you need to be a bit more polished, so it's also a good idea to keep a classic clip and some pins on hand so you don't look like you're about to go for a run after your presentation.
Ok, fellow hot weather experts, what are your favorite tips for staying cool when it's hot?