Style and Styling

Keeping Cool in Style

Happy day, reader dear!

We are there. We’re well into the dog days of summer you hear about… (Which has to do with the appearance of the Dog Star in the night sky. NOT with the fact that it’s so hot that your dog walks around all day with his or her tongue hanging out, or that paws burn the minute they step on the pavement.) Not to be confused with salad days… Which is what happens in our house when dinner salads become the default. At our house that’s temps over 95 degrees. Oops… Time to go start the rice cooker for tonight’s salad!

I’m back! Thanks for waiting! So how do you stay stylish when the temperatures wilt everything in the garden and your will to live? The obvious answer is to stay out of the heat as much as you can, but even then, you want to adjust what you wear for a cooler feel! Some of these tips are about physical cool, and others are more cerebral…

Choose Lighter Colors

Color has both physical and psychological components! Darker clothing is hotter to wear when out in the sunshine. It’s basic science. Dark clothing absorbs more of the suns rays, making you warmer than if you choose to wear white which reflects all the visible light spectrum rays. That would be the reason that white, light stone and tan, pastels, and other light shades are popular every summer.

When wearing color, make color psychology work for you! Colors with cool overtones, like blues, greens, and aquas “feel cooler” than warm overtoned yellows, reds, and oranges! If you are worried about flattering undertones, there are both warm and cool blues and greens!

Opt for Natural Fibers

Natural fibers are more cooling than synthetic fibers. The looser the weave, the better! Linen, silk, lightweight cottons and tencels are more breathable than polyester and other synthetic fibers. (Yes, there are breathable synthetics out there. Please don’t use fabric softener on them. It damages their breathability.) Woven fabrics are generally cooler than knits of the same weight because they stand away from the body rather than cling. Air circulation is key!

Fan, Hot, Cold, Air, Critter, Plant, Green, Black, Cool

Minimize Contact Points

Where do your clothes touch your body? Those are the contact points, and in hot weather, the fewer the better! Contact points are also about air circulation! A loose flowy sundress has better air circulation than shorts with a fitted waistband and a tee shirt. My aunt used to say “If you can’t give it sun give it air!” Take it from someone who has lived in both Greece and southern Spain (With no air conditioning.) Give it air! This works for your body AND your home… And pantyhose or tights? Too much contact!

Avoid Heavy Metal

Not the music… If that’s your jam, no judgement!

Avoid heavy metal jewelry. Metal is an incredible conductor of heat! Most metals, that is. (More science!) I’ve gotten into a hot vehicle more than once just to have my earrings toast up and burn my neck as my seatbelt brushed against them. Opt for natural stones or pearls. Let’s add straw or wooden bangles to this list, too! These options don’t heat up in the same way, and they cool down much more quickly than metal. (For an extra chill, pop those stones or pearls in the fridge for a few minutes before you head out the door… Ahhhh!)

Bare Your Toes

More of the Give it Air school of thought! Shoes, and toes in particular, can be a contentious issue, especially depending on work dress codes.

If your work requires closed toes for safety or sanitation, please follow those rules! I want you safe and healthy! You might be able to wear sandals to or from work to take advantage of the breeze. For those working from home, why not select a pair of sandals to wear with your trousers or dress?

More conservative business dress codes (Like law and finance) may prohibit sandals but be open to sling backs or peep toes. Even that little extra bit of air helps!

Don a Hat

A hat creates its own shade, and one with a high crown gives hot air a place to escape from above your head. Wearing a hat with a wide brim protects your face, ears, and neck from dangerous (and aging) rays. I know we all are putting sunscreen on our faces (RIGHT?), but the ears and neck are often ignored; let’s protect them, too! Also, a light hat on dark hair harkens back to the first item on our list, and keeps your dark and lovely locks from absorbing all those heating rays!

How about you? Are you in the thick of summer? Or is your challenge staying warm? What is your favorite keep cool dressing strategy? Living like a vampire and only coming out after sunrise? Do let me know in the comments below… I love to hear from you! XO

Stylishly (and sweatily) yours,


  • Leslie Susan Clingan

    Not only do I appreciate your fashion sense but I love your writing style. Hope the rice turned out well. Good tips for staying cool. We are just miserable here. First with triple digits and now our monsoon season (which for most places would be a week of rain). Going to the dentist today and need to get dressed in something that will be comfortable, cool outside and warm enough inside the office. Off to dig in the closet.

    • Liz K

      It’s all about the layers on those kind of days, Leslie! Hope the dentist went well! Thank you for the kind words about my writing style. I really struggled with that whenever I started the blog; I’d love to go back and reformat/rewrite all those posts, but that’s not how life works! We learn as we go, and I am all about real rather than perfect…

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