Recently, while fidgeting in my office garb on the sweltering subterranean subway platform, I caught sight of a woman so chic and composed, she seemed to exist on an entirely different plane. Her easy-breezy ensemble—a loose dress, comfortable-but-stylish sandals, and a head scarf holding her long hair off her neck—made me instantly rethink my outfit. Luckily, there are more than a few ways to stay cool in hot weather without sacrificing style (or showing more skin than you want to). The trick is ditching heat-trapping fabrics for lightweight, breathable blends (think: cotton and linen) in chic, breezy shapes. Follow our guide to looking great without breaking a sweat—even when the temps hit the 90s.
Nothing says simple, sophisticated summer style like a sunny, patterned dress. We love the long, slinky cut of a maxi dress, especially this brightly striped version by Dusen Dusen. Pro tip: Avoid maxis made of silk, which tend to stick to the skin and show perspiration.
Jump into a Jumpsuit
Summer 2014 has seen the return of some of our favorite retro trends, many of which offer ventilation and pizzazz. The most comfortable style rewind? Overalls. These comfy-casual dungarees from Topshop pair well with a tank for an on-trend look you don’t have to think twice about. Going out? Throw on a patterned jumpsuit with a necklace like this dainty offering from Chloe and Isabel, and out the door you go.
Separates more your bag? Swap those restrictive skinny jeans for slouchier cuts. Try these patterned cotton trousers—or shall we say fancy pants?—from Uniqlo. Worn with a linen-blend tank or sleeveless button down, this get-up will pass the subway heat test while still looking office-appropriate.
Embrace Hat Hair
Not only are hats a practical way to shield your face from skin-damaging UV rays, they’re also an easy way to add personality to any outfit. Try this colorful, oversized style or take a note from the guys with a dressed-down, matches-everything denim cap. And remember to follow our tips for making the most of this summertime trend.
Ditch the Flips
Flip-flops are great for a grocery store dash or a day at the beach, but for slightly less casual occasions (or a creative office environment), consider this riff on Birkenstocks from Asos. If you’re trekking through the city on foot, opt for something with a thick sole and reliable tread, like these trendy slingbacks. And don’t forget to pair your sandals with a pretty polish.
Hot weather hair is a category all its own. When dealing with frizz, flatness, or dryness has you throwing your hands up in surrender, reach for a stylish headscarf. This twist scarf from ban.do combines fashion and function by rescuing your neck from sticky hair and adding a bit of flair.