I’ve been listening to those of you from Texas and North Carolina and Arizona asking me for hot weather outfit tips for fashionable but functional looks.
Well, the heat just rolled into the Bay Area and it’s suddenly coming back to me what it is that helps me stay as cool as possible while still looking like a person who could have written a few books on style.
Let’s start off with this outfit I wore last week when it was in the high 80s/low 90s. Although the pant styles will vary as well as the tops, there are some features I want to share with you that I consistently favor in hot weather.
The looser the top, the cooler you’ll be
I’ve been wearing this Dressori top layered with sweaters or long-sleeved T-shirts underneath during these last few chilly weeks. I bought it for warm Sonoma days and finally, I got to wear it with nothing on underneath it but my bra. Woohoo!
Deeper than normal armholes will keep you cool
Here’s my summer comfort rule of thumb: the deeper the armhole, the cooler you’ll be. The armhole of this Dressori silk top is close to 10 inches deep which is kind of at my minimum for the hottest of days.
The armhole in my yellow print blouse below measures 8 inches deep. It’s not tight by any means but every additional inch allows more air to circulate and keep me cool.
Wide sleeves give natural air-conditioning
Another thing I look for is open sleeves—no buttons, no cuffs, no rolling up. Again, the wider the opening, the more air can move around. This sleeve is wide all the way down and then has a vent to boot.
The wide-bodied top allows for more ventilation
The other feature of this top is the width of it through the body. It’s not tight across the bustline, waistline, or hips. I especially love the way it dips longer on the sides and gives it more interest. Function and fashion is the best.
Eliminate the need for a traditional waistband, zipper and button closures
There’s nothing like a flat front, pull-on pant for easy summertime wear. Although my summer jeans are pretty thin, nothing beats this no-fuss approach. Have you worn pants with waistbands, zippers, and buttons and as soon as you got home you had to get out of them as quickly as possible? All that fuss at the waistline makes me feel extra sticky and uncomfortable in the heat.
When I slip on a pant like this I’m always wearing a top over it so no one will see the waistband. My waist won’t enter my mind all day and that’s a treat! This So-Slimming stretchy pant is from Chico’s a couple of seasons back.
Wear “cool” jewelry
I want to wear accessories even when it’s hot out (more blog posts about this to come) but I want them to feel cool and uncomplicated. This necklace was a perfect choice. It was originally an earring that I purchased from an artist thirty years ago. I never wore the earrings, even though I tried to many times. One day Erin saw them in my jewelry stash and said, “This would make a great necklace.”
A week later we each had a necklace! I love the look of the stone with a small diamond in it. I cool down just looking at those materials. The double fine chains are light, not heavy. I’m accessorized without adding bulk.
Adding just a little more fashion flavor
Handbags play a big role in summer dressing. My canvas vintage red, white, and blue Gucci bag fits right into my blue and white color scheme.
Although I thought about wearing my white sneakers with this outfit, I decided to dress things up a little more with my ankle wrapped Paul Green flats. Isn’t it fun how the criss-cross of the ankle strap echos the criss-cross in the design of the top and for bonus points, the criss-cross design in the Gucci handbag? I love when things like that happen!
If you’re interested in where these items came from, here are my sources. My top and pant both came from stores on the Sonoma Square. The Dressori top is from Artefax Art-to-Wear and the pants came from the Sonoma Chico’s brick and mortar store at 29 East Napa Street. My blue framed glasses came from nearby Petaluma at Uber Optics. My shoes were purchased in the Corte Madera Nordstrom in the Village Shopping Center and the vintage handbag came from SAX Consignment in San Anselmo.
Summing up hot weather outfit features
When you look at putting together your next hot weather outfit, see if these three things can help you feel cool.
- Loose top
- Flat-front pants
- Lightweight jewelry
Now let’s hear from you well-experienced dressers out there. What are the features that keep you cool in hot weather? Do share!