Beat the Heat & Look Chic


I’m in Kansas for my Grandpa’s 78th Birthday.  Thus, Miss Alison has contributed her first intern post.  Be gentle.  And come back Monday for the BEST GIVEAWAY EVER to happen on CHS!

See you on the flip side!



As we trudge through August and the mercury maintains record heights, it’s pretty obvious that summer’s going nowhere fast. If you’re anything like me, this heat and humidity leads to odd behavior – coming home half melted, peeling off damp clothes, turning down the AC to arctic temperatures, and sprawling out on the couch until the heat passes. Sadly, this is not necessarily acceptable behavior.

In fact, there are certain times that require you leave the safety of a controlled indoor climate – quelle horreur! –  and brave the elements.

But wait before you commit to giving up on style or personal comfort-slash-safety; there’s another way. Believe it or not, it’s possible to look lovely and feel pretty decent (given the foul weather) no matter what your plans are.

The keys, of course, are lightweight, breathable fabrics and loose cuts. And no, that doesn’t mean you will be dressing like your vegan yoga instructor (unless of course she’s incredibly stylish, too).

Trip to the farmer’s market? No need to get all dressed up; try keeping it cool and casual in linen shorts. I’ve chosen this pair by Tucker for their high waist and striped pattern, both trends that I adore.

Tucker High-Waisted Striped Linen Shorts (Net-A-Porter, $100)

Sadly, I do not adore the $100 price tag, but a girl can dream…  No matter which pair you snag, remember, few things look as atrocious as ill-fitting shorts, so make sure you use healthy discrimination in the dressing room. Pair it with a loose fitting pocket-tank or tee, and remember to take it easy on the accessories. Nothing makes you look more wilted than pounds of heavy jewelry, scarves, bags, hats, glasses, makeup, anything; less is more in this kind of heat.

Out to lunch? Shorts and a tee are better than your skivvies, but some engagements require you actually look like an adult while keeping cool. For this, I love a sweet, summer sundress. Still trying to keep the accessories sparse? A printed dress like this one from Parker helps.

Parker Printed Silk Cami Dress (Bloomingdales, $188)

An interesting pattern holds enough interest to forgive a lack of accessories, and these tribal zig-zags are, for good reason, quite trendy right now.  I like the dress worn with LLBean bluchers and vintage Ray-Bans, but it would also look great with sandals or, if you’re into it, some super-high, super-chunky clogs.

Night on the town? The Sun has set, but the temperature hasn’t. When you head out for the night, you need to prepare for big, sticky crowds in poorly ventilated locations – yuck. As far as I’m concerned, you must be borderline insane to venture into a crowded bar or party in weather like this, but obviously people are doing it. In hordes. While I would only wear this gorgeous J. Crew dress on a fancy dinner date with Mr. Alison or a cocktail party, may I also suggest it to the rest of you braving the crowds?

This stunner gives just the right amount of sparkle and architectural intrigue to, yet again, allow you to go easy on the accessories, and silk chiffon and organza let you breathe easy all night. Just grab some nude pumps or sandals and clutch and you’re ready to paint the town red. You’ll look infinitely more stylish than most of the crowd when you get there and even more so at the end when you aren’t dripping sweat.

Grecian Moon Dress (J. Crew, $298)

So next time you’re forced to emerge from your urban igloo, remember the fundamentals of staying stylish and comfortable in the heat:

  • Forget accessories when you can. They can become extra heavy and extra uncomfortable when it’s this hot out. I usually stick with small studs and my ubiquitous gypsy ring, which I will never take off due largely to tan-line embarrassment. Hats or sunglasses, however, are a must in the daytime.
  • Cottons, linens, silks, anything organic sounding… these are the fabrics to work with. They are naturally breathable, which will help to keep you cool. You should, however, pay attention to the weight. I sweat a lot, so I either want mine heavy enough that my sweat stains don’t show through, or light enough that I may not get them. Yeah, whatever, I’m not perfect.
  • Fit matters in the heat. I can’t imagine you’re going to be particularly comfortable when things are clinging tightly to your hot bod, so make sure everything fits your body, not the body that you had four years ago or the one that you’re working towards. And don’t be afraid to embrace a looser look: the dog days of summer are a great time to embrace the cool bohemian look.

And finally, for the love of all that is holy, do not even bother trying to wear your hair down. We all know you’re sweating under there. Looking uncomfortable? So not chic.


    leave a comment

  1. Maggie says:

    Good, relavant first post. I love the look of the last dress but not the price. If I can offer any critique it would be to use shorter paragraphs and provide some high-low options (or links to alternatives at different price points).

    August 6, 2010/Reply
  2. A says:

    Don’t center the text! it looks silly!

    August 6, 2010/Reply
  3. Bonnie says:

    Those shorts have got to go. They’re not even attractivr on the model. The printed dress is adorable though.

    August 6, 2010/Reply
  4. anon says:

    So…does that mean you’re from Kansas?

    August 6, 2010/Reply
  5. A says:

    Cute shorts. Great tips!

    August 6, 2010/Reply
  6. Stephanie says:

    I love the shorts! I love the retro look the high waist gives them.

    I agree about centering the text, though–it’s a little too reminiscent of a high school yearbook for me. I also agree that a wider range of price options is needed. $188 for a sundress? I mean, I love cute sundresses, but there are so many available for $50 (or even $30) that I’m not spending $188 on one.

    August 6, 2010/Reply
  7. Allison says:

    Welcome to the blog Alison! Great post, you hit the nail on the head with encouraging women to downsize the accessories. I keep seeing women in DC wearing huge scarves, sunglasses and fedoras all at once, which I think can look cute if you rock it correctly, but in this heat you can actually watch them melt. And, well, it’s gross. I love the last dress, yes the price is high, but you’ve got me thinking about it for my five year anniversary. (Constructive criticism: shorter posts, not centered. I like that your writing style is polished.)

    August 6, 2010/Reply
  8. Valerie says:

    Great post Alison!

    August 6, 2010/Reply
  9. Alison says:

    Hey everybody,
    Thanks for all the feedback! And sorry about the weird alignment – I’ve got to get used to all the funny little formatting tools. Looks like it’s fixed now though.

    August 6, 2010/Reply
  10. Dr. Jean Grey says:

    Alison. Good post, but you are trying too hard. Write less. Stick to the clothes, not weather commentary. Keep up the good work.

    August 6, 2010/Reply
  11. ~M says:

    I like the longer post. I say keep it up.

    August 6, 2010/Reply
  12. P says:

    Love the dresses you chose, and agree that less is more when it comes to accessories. Great job! Looking forward to reading more!

    August 6, 2010/Reply
  13. LL says:

    Great first post! Keep it up!

    August 6, 2010/Reply
  14. Melissa says:

    You’ll never please everyone! I say it’s a good first post! Really like the Jcrew dress and the tips re: downsizing on accessories.

    Also, whoa, Belle let you put shorts on here?

    August 6, 2010/Reply
  15. Espie says:

    Great post! You’re a good writer and I like that you elaborate. ­čÖé

    August 7, 2010/Reply
  16. Louisianna says:

    longer post = longer escape from work. Thanks Alison!

    August 8, 2010/Reply