My 5 Summer Staples for Not Sweating Your Ass Off

I’ve had to develop strategies to dress even somewhat fashionably during the dog days of summer without feeling like I’m going to sweat myself to death. You're welcome.
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Kathleen Braine
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I’ve had to develop strategies to dress even somewhat fashionably during the dog days of summer without feeling like I’m going to sweat myself to death. You're welcome.

I have always paradoxically hated the hot weather, but loved the summer. The summer means sangria on city rooftops, summer Fridays, and pulling my old bronzer out of storage. In New York City, the summer means weekend getaways. And, also, although I have learned to accept my pale-as-the-driven-snow Nordic skin, I can’t deny that I always love how I look with the slight rosy glow that the sun is able to give me.

Yet, with summer comes heat, and with heat comes humidity, also known as my number one enemy. The northern Virginia summers of my childhood were full of popsicles and slip n’ slides, but they also came with a special kind of swampy heat that used to leave me sticky, frazzled, and frustrated. I can distinctly remember being one of the only kids who needed to go inside during backyard BBQs because of my dual emotional and physiological reactions to the blistering heat and humidity.

Luckily, as an adult living in New York City I’m usually limited to about one month of brutal heat and disgusting humidity per year (though the other summer months aren’t exactly a picnic, but I digress). However, because I love clothing and fashion, and I also have a job that requires I wear at least moderately appropriate clothing, I’ve had to develop strategies to dress even somewhat fashionably during the dog days of summer without feeling like I’m going to sweat myself to death (jean shorts don’t really work in these situations, but again, they’re still awesome).

Below, I’ve catalogued my five favorite solutions for not sweating your ass off this summer. Tell me, what are you wearing (or doing) this summer to combat the heat?

Rompers

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Rompers are divisive, always, but as I’ve stated before, I fully believe that everyone can find a romper that works for them and their body. I love long sleeved or full length rompers for the spring-to-summer transition, but for the hottest heat, I’m all about the sleeveless rompers. The one I’m wearing here is an LF purchase circa 2013, and is only work-appropriate when I’m wearing a cami underneath it. 

Boy oh boy though, is that thing cool in the summer. It’s my go-to Sunday Fun-day outfit. I’m tall, so I sometimes have trouble finding rompers that don’t threaten to split me down the middle, but when I do find ones that work, it is completely worth it for the relief from the summer heat.

Some Rompers I Love

Wide-Legged Pants

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I found the wide-legged, flared cotton pants I’m wearing in this picture at Anthropologie last year, but they unfortunately don’t sell them anymore. I bought them on a total whim, but was completely sold on the concept once I realized how light and airy they were.

Some of My Favorites

Shift Dresses

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This may seem like a no-brainer to some of you, but it took me a few years to fully embrace the loose shift dress. I think I was caught up in the fact that they weren’t tailored in any way, which initially gave me pause. However, like rompers, though it’s sometimes harder to find that perfect flattering version, I fully believe that the shift dress can work on anyone. This type of dress is also perfect for staying cool and collected in the summer while not sacrificing style or personality. The one I’m wearing in these shots is an old purchase from American Apparel, but you can check out some other awesome versions below:

Cut-Out Tops

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Though not all cut out and side slit tops are fully work-appropriate, the style is definitely able to take a standard shirt or blouse and make it palatable in the summer heat. I found the one I’m wearing here at a thrift store in NYC, but I have many other versions with cut out backs, slit sleeves, and side slits that I wear almost daily with loose skirts or pants come July.

My Favs

Pulling Your Hair Back

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I know, I know, this isn’t exactly a fashion staple, but when you absolutely must wear pants or a blouse in the dead heat of summer, there is only one way to effectively combat the heat, and that’s getting your hair out of your face. My hair in particular tends to get very greasy and sweaty the second the temperature reaches 75 degrees, so for me, this tactic is a necessity. I don’t really like wearing my hair up, because I have a round face that I feel like is more pronounced when my hair is up, so I usually opt for a half up, half down solution. In these pics, I’m rocking a dutch-braided faux hawk done by the amazing Halli Bivona of John Barrett Salon. but there are tons of different ways you can get your hair out of your face this summer. 

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My favorite solutions — and summer staple number five — are braided headbands, french twists, or classic braided chignons.

Photo Credit: Nick Wiesner