Friday, June 19, 2009

Warm Weather Dressing

My favorite summer ensemble may feel a bit pajama-like but certainly doesn’t look so. By layering my favorite linen wide-legs, with a camisole top under a floaty cardigan, I can have the appearance of sophistication without looking as though I am wearing lounge wear. The secret to this is donning tasteful jewelry and accessories with clothes that allow the air to move under them. Warm weather dressing can be challenging as the last thing one wants is to look like a rumpled bed instead of a soignée sophisticate making her way to the office on a sultry morning.

I once thought that the only women who looked pulled together in the summer were those who live with a central air conditioning system, but now I know it is possible to be chic in hot weather. Of course, this involves a well thought-out plan.

  1. Always have your clothes ironed and pressed before the heat wave sets in. Is there anything as uncomfortable as standing over the ironing board the morning after a 70 degree night with hot rollers in your hair, desperately trying to remove the creases in your linen blouse before work???

  1. Wear light colored clothing or cooling pastels so as not to retain heat when you are walking at lunch time in the midday sun. Save your chic black items for the fall and winter.

  1. For pants, select wide legged ones or tailored ones of stretch cotton. Polyester need not apply.

  1. Wear tops that are slightly loose and never clingy. If one is uncomfortable with the appearance of arms, ¾ length sleeves offer cover without being restricting and still look summery and elegant.

  1. Powder the inside of sandals and ballet flats and avoid socks and stockings as much as possible. Remember to only wear sandals that fit well and do not rub. Blisters on one’s feet can be seen in facial expressions! Pas de chic.

  1. Classic, conservative dresses look attractive in lightweight fabrics. Go for a simple line such as sheath in a cotton sateen or linen.

  1. Instead of a confining jacket, keep a tissue weight pashmina folded neatly in your handbag, tucked away for that blast of air conditioning in a movie theater or shop. A soft, light weight cardigan dropped across the shoulders and held together with a silvery brooch will look nice too.

  1. Keep makeup simple. A light tinted moisturizer with SPF for daytime, a bright and cheery lipstick, and a swoop of mascara is all that is necessary in the summer. Anything more can melt like frosting on the face in bright sunshine.

  1. Find a light elegant scent and keep it stored in the ice box. Spray liberally before leaving the house for a nice jolt of cooling.

  1. Wear hats. Every summer beauty needs a stunning straw hat with a brim wide enough to shade the face. Ditto a fun canvas beach hat that can be crushed into a beach bag.

  1. Wear head scarves to hold back the hair when taking a ride in a convertible. Take a page from Grace Kelly’s book and wrap it securely around the head and double wrapped tied around the neck. So “To Catch A Thief”.

  1. Go for simple jewelry with impact. A strand of faux pearls, opera length, diamond stud earrings, coral or turquoise all look wonderful in the warm weather months and mimic the elements of the sea.

  1. If possible, lighten your handbag. A structured rattan bag is so charming in the summertime and it will hold all the extras that are required for the season: sunscreen, water bottle, pashmina, scarf, sunglasses, summer novel.

  1. It is tres important to have a handcream on hand that contains an SPF.

  1. Never underestimate a tepid evening bath to lower the body temperature and induce a good night’s rest.

  1. Don’t fuss with elaborate hairstyles. Fluff whenever possible and make use of headbands and silk scarves to keep a fallen hairstyle in line.

And don't forget to take siestas. Lots of them.

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