Wardrobe Oxygen: Stay Cool Fashion Trends to Beat the 2011 Heat Wave


A heat wave has spread across much of the United States; while writing this I am hiding out in my house blasting the A/C and keeping the shades drawn. Us fashionistas, however, need to leave our homes for work, errands and of course having fun.

How do you stay cool in such weather while still looking stylish? Chic and Crisp Cotton

I’m not talking about jersey, I mean crisp, cool cotton. Cotton dried quickly, doesn’t cling to the skin, and will catch any chance breeze. Last week I bought a sleeveless cotton shell with a ruffle-trimmed scoop neck that works tucked into a pencil skirt for work, worn over a pair of white jeans for Casual Friday, or paired with twill shorts for the weekend. I swear by my 100% cotton sundresses for evenings and weekends.  Paired with a little crossbody bag and wedge espadrilles, the look is quite on-trend yet cool and comfortable in this sweltering heat.

Lovely Linen

Linen is another fabric that is perfect for this weather. Pair flowing drawstring linen pants with a fitted tank and beaded necklace, a linen shift with gladiator sandals and a wrist of bangles. Linen is supposed to wrinkle, so it’s best to choose loose silhouettes that can carry off a few creases.

Beautiful Braids

Heat and humidity can be brutal to your hair. The weather can cause frizz, your locks to go limp, the ends look dry from the sun as well as salt and chlorinated water. We’re lucky that braids are back on trend. Braid your bangs to keep them off your forehead and still look cool; Pull back your locks into a fishtail braid for an easy way to keep your hair manageable yet quite fashionable. There are many styles that can get your hair off your neck and looking chic.  Check out this post I wrote about heat-friendly hairstyles for ideas!

Beauty-full Balms, Creams and Stains

Summer is not the time to layer on the makeup–it will melt, smear, and clog pores. Look to stains, creamy formulas and balms for color that can withstand the heat.

I love Tarte, they have cheek stains that can also double as lip stains. Their “Blushing Bride” Cheek Stain is a perfect berry red color that gives a natural flush to your cheeks and lips, can handle heat, humidity, and even a dip in the pool. They also have other colors, one that should flatter every skintone! Tarte’s EmphasEYES waterproof liner is a cream eyeliner that you apply with a brush and it stays on all day, even if you hit the pool or ocean. All that, and Tarte also is a line that is free of parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, and petro-chemicals.

Burt’s Bees has recently come out with a new line of tinted lip balms and I am a major fan. Their “Rose” color makes my lips look as though I just sucked on a cherry popsicle, but also leaves a lovely subtle shine. Burt’s Bees tinted lip balms are made with shea butter, which is one of the only moisturizers that can be absorbed at regular skin temperature. This means that this lip balm not only looks good and feels good, but it can help with long-term hydration and prevention of wrinkles.

Sun Protection

Where there’s heat there’s usually sun. Protecting yourself from the rays not only keeps your hair from drying out or getting a sun burn, but it will also save your eyesight, slow the aging process of your skin, and keep you feeling cool.

Hats are hot this summer. Top your sundress with a big floppy sunhat for a chic way to beat the heat. Even a straw fedora can keep you cool and keep the sun off your scalp. Sunglasses are always chic, whether you prefer the classic aviator or the feminine cat-eye style. Look for 99% UV protection to give the best protection to your peepers.

Finally, whether you are spending all day at the beach, or only walking two blocks to the market, you need to apply sunscreen everywhere. Look for brands like Aveeno which offer body lotions that also have sunscreen, and always choose a facial moisturizer with sunscreen. This will prevent sunburn, as well as aging of the skin. Every minute you’re outside and not protected, your slowly aging your skin. To look beautiful now as well as years from now, slather on that SPF!

How are you keeping cool during the heat wave?

Alison Gary has over ten years experience as a personal shopper, stylist, and visual merchandiser. Her blog Wardrobe Oxygen provides fashion advice to all women, regardless of age, size, budget, or lifestyle. She is a full-time working mother, blogger, wife, and frugal fashionista located in the Washington D.C. area.

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