Beat The Heat

I live at an elevation of 1,634 feet in the Great Smoky Mountain Range’s foothills, where we consider ninety degrees sweltering. This week, I will show you how I dress to be as comfortable as possible for different summer heat events.

The type of fabric you wear can make you feel even more hot and sticky. I reach for open weave fabrics with a bit of texture, such as cotton, linen, crepe, and some rayon. Seersucker is another great summer fabric. Don’t give up on polyester; research has come a long way since the days of pastel leisure suits.

Designs that stand away from the body without waistbands or collars are much more comfortable because air can move freely over your body. The best option for achieving this goal is a dress. This navy blue sundress ticks off all the boxes. It is 100% cotton with bra-friendly straps. If there is a chance of a glimpse of your bra, make sure you wear the bra’s color that is close to the color of your top. Dresses with a flattering long uneven hemline are great for those of us who do not want to show all the veins in our legs. I wore comfortable platform sandals to give the illusion of longer legs. There are also patch pockets, which will come in handy for a soft cotton hanky. Never touch your face with your hands during the day. When you do, bacteria gets deposited there and will cause breakouts later.

If I am going to be spending hours outside (attending a music festival, for example) instead of just a few minutes in the park, I always wear sunscreen and a wide brim straw hat, which I do not remove until the end of the day. Ladies do not remove their hats when they go inside.

Light colors are cooler and reflect light better. Navy is a better option than black if you are like me and want to look smaller than you are. I keep a scarf with me for air-conditioned spaces. I tie it to my bag’s handle or fold it up and stow it in the bag.

The look shown here is what I wore for a brief stroll through Founder’s Park in Johnson City before we joined friends for a light lunch on Saturday.

  1. I recently purchased a dress the exact shape but blue and white. It is surprising just how flattering it looks once on.

  2. Cute dress. Will you be offering it in an XL or an XXL? Which size would be equivalent to a size 18?

    1. A size large might work for you. The style is a very loose fitting style with extra large arm holes. I am wearing a size medium, but I could have easily worn a small.

  3. Susan I am so pleased that you are selling your own jewelry designs!
    I know you have an issue with your hands – perhaps you could design the necklaces (or earrings or bracelets) and have someone else assemble them? Another option might be to create a package that contains all the pieces of the necklace with a photo of the finished piece and the buyer can have it assembled themselves. Many of us are creative enough to put the pieces together, just not able to come up with the original design.
    Just a thought…..

  4. Love your blog site! I have been following you for a while now and love your take on fashion for the ‘vintage lady’

  5. Susan..have been a follower since your earliest 50notfrumpy days. I saw your photo and had to giggle. I must be learning and following your suggestions. Yesterday for church I wore a longer length navy column dress, nude leather sandals with semi wooden wedge heel, 2 opera length pearl and gold necklaces, and carried my favorite straw barrel clutch…btw.. this little handbag was a graduation gift in 1969! Timeless pieces never go out of style! Thanks for allowing us to follow your journey. Happy 4th and good wishes for the remainder of the week. Smiles…Susan

  6. Thank you for the information you share with us…especially reminding us to keep our hands off our faces! nothing like smudged makeup or a finger print right in the middle of your cheek color. It was nice to read that you also carry a ladies handkerchief. I pick them up wherever I can find them…usually quaint antique shops.

  7. I like the outfit & well as the adorable puppy. Tried garlic stuffed olives for the 1st time recently based on a meal photo of yours some time back…very good! Thanks for sharing & Happy 4th.

  8. What a fine post. We are at 75 degrees in Seattle and that’s about our normal July temperature. It will get hot in August and September. I wonder if you might do a post on wearing tunic tops. You are wearing them so that they lengthen your leg line. It looks like some are shorter in the front and some shorter on the side.

  9. Thank you so much for the beautiful idea on dressing in the heat! It’s pretty hot over here in Texas everyday in the summer.

  10. LOVE the navy blue sundress! I live at 3500 feet in a high-mountain desert climate at the base of the Cascade Mountains in Bend, Oregon. Cool, dry weather is the norm. Your article came at a good time as I pack for a trip to HOT, MUGGY New Orleans this weekend! Thank you for your wonderful blog.

  11. I LOVE your blog. Yours is the best! I like this dress however I am 5’4″ and sometimes these dresses make me look like a walking tent. Any advice? When I go back to school in August this will be the perfect dress. I live in NE Ohio and it does get hot here and my building is not air conditioned.
    Have a happy 4th.

  12. So very pleased to see you wearing a sleeveless dress. There is so much rubbish written about mature ladies not showing their arms with no regard given whatsoever to the climate we might live in. I will be attending a wedding this year in Fiji,a hot Pacific island and have chosen a lace dress with short sleeves as a compromise. Maybe will see if I can squeeze a folding fan into my clutch.

  13. As always you look cool and collected. 95 is hot no matter where you are! Happy 4th-Laurel

    1. Of course, it is! I was thinking of all the people who write to me from CA and TX where it is regularly 100. Ninety degrees is over the top for us here in the mountains.

  14. Susan, in a few of your recent posts, you mentioned getting 4 haircuts in as many weeks. I realize it may be asking a lot, but I would love to see the different cuts and why you didn’t like them. My hair is almost identical to yours in curl and color, but just past my shoulders. I am planning to get it cut this week and would love advice! I enjoy your posts! Thank you so much, Shelley

    1. If you look back at my posts for the month of June, you will see most of the cuts I got. It may not have been that obvious, but my hair was much harder to style on some days. It stuck out at the sides in a most unattractive way, and it was rather flat on top. If I had known, know I was going to have four different cuts in such a short amount of time, but I certainly would have documented them all.

  15. Hello!
    I followed your link in this blog and looked all over trying to find this dress. Unless I am overlooking it, I don’t see it in your store. Could you please redirect me? This dress would be perfect to take on a vacation I am going on soon.
    Thank you for your help!

  16. the link to the blue dress does not come up correctly. the ones that do come up are very different

  17. Susan, I have been following you for about a year now, and this is the first time I’ve seen you in a dress. I would love to see you wear more.

  18. Great look for hot, humid days! Love navy blue in the summer and the sandals and minimal accessories are perfect.

  19. You look lovely in a dress. Would like to see you in a dress more often. I don’t see the “roundness” you keep referring to. You always look very attractive and well put together.

  20. I really appreciate all of your fashion ideas, healthy eating, suggestions and hair and makeup advice. I am 86 years now and definitely am trying to stream line my wardrobe and beauty routines. Your suggestions are so helpful.
    I would really would like to use less makeup but find I have quite a few age spots. I try to make them disappear with concealer and a light brush of powder. What would you suggest?
    Thanks for your wonderful and thought views on living healthy and happy. You’re great. Katy l

    1. I have a few age spots too. My dermatologist calls them wisdom marks but says lasers can remove them. So, for now, I’m just letting them be. You might be able to use some fade creams that are available across the counter.

  21. Hi Susan, I love all of your fashion, health and beauty advice. Your ideas are so well thought out. I am 86 now and feel strongly that I need to streamline my fashion and beauty routines. Thanks so much for giving the sources for your fashions. It’s so much easier to order online than to go shopping. I love your suggestions. Thank you so much! Sincerely, Katy Nastanovich

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.