Summer Dressing

Style bloggers often close out the year with a recap of their favorite looks. I have been showing you my favorites from 2016 and explaining why the looks work for my body shape, which is an inverted triangle. Breaking this project down into categories allows me to share the reasons for wearing what I did. Yesterday I showed you some of my favorite looks for cooler weather. Today’s post is all about dressing for hot weather.

Getting dressed proves to be a challenge when the temperatures rise, but your instincts are to cover up. Lightweight fabrics and bright colors serve me well, but I have my limits. I do not have the legs to wear shorts or dresses without pantyhose or the figure to wear cropped pants, so my hot weather choices often include loose-fitting tunics with cold shoulders or some other interesting detail worn over crisp white pants.

Light wash denim, white, khaki, and sometimes lightweight black pants for evening serve me well in summer.

Three-quarter length sleeves and a lower neckline in front or the back, and a non-clinging forgiving knit that flows across my body are warm weather winners for me.

Another designer who understands hot weather very well is Pauline Durban, who created Covered Perfectly. The last time I visited with her, it was more than 100 degrees in L.A. each day for a week. We both wore her tops every day, and they were very comfortable in the heat. (Well, as comfortable as you can be when it is 109.) This tunic is loose and flowing with cutout details at the neckline, and the fabric is even lighter and softer than your favorite tee. These are qualities I look for when I need to dress for hot weather.

We often attend the theater, a music performance, a fundraiser, or another summer event, which requires that I get dressed up a bit more. Panic used to set in because when it is too hot to wear a jacket in the evening, I am lost. When I tried on this topper, I knew I had found the answer. I wore it with the three-quarter sleeve top in the photo above because I feared the A.C. in the restaurant would be too cold. I can wear it over a tank top or long tank dress with strappy sandals and be comfortable even in August. It is open with sequin details, which make it very dressy but not hot at all. I am covered and cool at the same time. Score! The key is to find a jacket or topper, which is light and airy with lots of openwork, allowing for airflow. It gives a bit of coverage that floats across your body without making you hot.

One of my favorite lines is Clara Sunwoo. I have many tops and pants from them, which I have gotten from Their tops are easy and comfortable to wear, and I always feel confident because not even a suggestion of an outline of my middle is showing.

For those times when you have no choice and know you will be out in the full sun for any length of time, wear a straw hat and sunglasses. On this day, with 100 percent humidity in 100 degrees, I threw caution to the wind and wore only a tank top with white pants and flat strappy sandals. I tied a silk shawl to my handbag to drape across my shoulders later when we planned to have lunch in a very air-conditioned restaurant.

I am so glad I bought several colors of these shirts from Express. They are super lightweight, and they fit my bust without gapping if I go up to a size large. The tabs on the sleeves keep them rolled up so that you can’t tell they are too long.

I am often asked about what I wear when I am just lounging around at home. There isn’t usually anyone around to snap a photo for you, but this is a typical, very casual summer look for me. The striped high-low tee is old from Chico’s.

  1. Loved this post…I live in Naples, FL. I bought your sparkling topper and will be wearing it on Christmas Eve. Can you bring it back in a silver and also a gold?

  2. I live in Arizona, so I truly understand how difficult it can be to look put-together and yet remain cool. Thanks for all the great tips!

  3. What would help a VERY short (4’10”) apple figure, with decent calves and ankles but heavy from knees to chins?
    Read you religiously. Make such good sense for dressing sensibly, stylishly, conservatively, and basically while maintaining fabulous fashionable classic thinking. Just my kind of southern appeal. Thank you for your wonderful outlook and for taking the pain away from my closet as I declutter and rebuild after significant weight loss.

    1. Proportion is imperative for petite women Daryl. Always make sure your pieces fit well but never tight, never too long or boxy. Always show as much of the length of your legs as possible. One solid color or the same tone of a color from head to toe will make you appear taller. Avoid any horizontal breaks or lines on your body. Congratulations on the weight loss!

  4. Thank you for these summer looks that aren’t all about showing lots of skin. I sunburn easily, and must wear sunblock at all times. The less exposed skin, the better for me. It’s nice to be cool and covered.

  5. It will be a while before I can put these warm dressing tips into use since I live in freezing NYC! However, the looks are wonderful and summer is just around the bend (hopefully!) I must say that you have some beautiful necklaces which is really my favorite accessory. I love the French Kande necklaces but also the stunning turquoise one you are wearing.

  6. All your posts are so helpful and with these recap posts you have outdone yourself in explaining why you do or don’t wear style and fit etc. Just fabulous and as always you look fabulous. Merry Xmas to you and Mr Mickey.

  7. Hi Susan – I rarely comment but read daily 🙂 Love your site – great tips always! Hope you have a lovely Christmas holiday and a happy new year!

  8. During the summer I prefer to wear bohemian styles and Indian clothes. I look like the lose feel so that it doesn’t cling to the body. This year we are not having a summer so I am mostly wearing long pants and long sleeve tops with a sweater or jacket. Hopefully summer will return next year and I can wear more skirts and dresses.

  9. Susan, if someone still likes Bermuda shorts, what fashion tips would you give them? Tops, shoes, accessories, etc.

    1. If I could wear Bermuda shorts, I would wear them in light neutral colors and hemmed to the most slender part of the knee. Flat sandals, sunglasses and a hat with a smaller summer bag would likely be my only accessories. If I wore any jewelry, it would be small studs or hoops with one finger ring. I would wear a light cotton or linen blouse or a fitted top (not boxy). The hem of the top should land at about mid-butt and have a face-flattering neckline. Another note about casual summer outfits: I cut way back on the makeup and wear a lighter color of lipstick or just a pale plum color gloss.

  10. Ok, Susan, I’m trying to figure this out. Would your Chico and Portofino blouses above be considered boxy? I’m trying to figure out what to wear with shorts. Thanks!

    1. Think of T-shirts and tunics that when laid out flat are just that, flat and square, (the way a man’s T-shirt looks). The blouses you mentioned are not boxy because they are cut slimmer through the waist and the design details such as a V neck and seaming will add feminine details. Look for tops that have a bit of definition at the waist so that you don’t lose your feminine shape.

  11. You look lovely and some good tips. Thank you. Dare I say that with your colouring and hair you could also try some less dramatic colours? PS: you have the MOST beautiful feet!!!

  12. I love the tops. I really need to cover my upper arm, and 3
    Quarter length is perfect. My problem is I’m only 5’ tall and long tunics look terrible on me. Any suggestions?

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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.