In wintertime, my work uniform usually involves leather pencil skirts, snug turtleneck sweaters, boots, and pants pants pants. So when it’s hot and my choices seem to be all-floral-all-peasant-everything, I’m screwed. I can only get away with wearing a Mets tank to the office so many times. Allure’s fashion director, Rachael Wang, came to the rescue and shared her top pieces for looking and staying cool in the heat.
1. Menswear button-down tops. Cotton means breathable. Plus, with this style “you can unbutton and push up the sleeves, you can have it tucked in or tucked out, and you can go really oversize and do a half-tuck into a skirt,” says Wang.
2. Wide-leg pants. “I really love a breezy palazzo pant; it’s work appropriate and can also be sexy,” says Wang. She recommends pairing them with a blouse and lacy bra to keep the look flowy without veering into hippie. “Culottes are also really nice in a lightweight fabric like silk or linen so air can pass through.”
3. Sandals. It’s a little obvious, but when you’re feet are covered, the trapped heat can warm up your whole body. Flat gladiators or sandals with a little heel allow your toes to breathe. You may still want to consider alternate footwear if you commute to avoid dirty feet, though. “I’m totally the commuter lady who wears sneakers on the subway,” says Wang.
4. Kimono tops. Versions that have wrap waists and full sleeves bring a little structure and tailoring to summer dressing. The cut may seem like a lot of material, but in light fabrics, it’s actually pretty cool.
5. Dresses. If you want to avoid the frilly, ruffled look, wrap dresses and shirtdresses tend to have cleaner silhouettes that are feminine, not girlie. The skirts can be as straight or full as you like. “And I generally think mid-calf is appropriate, but you can go above-the-knee if you want,” says Wang.
6. Midi skirt. They’re the Vans of bottoms—comfortable, classic, and easy to wear with anything. To sneak sexy into your midi skirt, look for one with a slit up the leg. The most important detail is fabric. “Choose cotton, silk, linen, any of the natural fabrics,” says Wang. “You obviously want to stay away from wool, and also polyester. You could probably pull off rayon if it’s really breezy and doesn’t touch your body, but anything synthetic is going to trap heat and make you sweat.”
PHOTO: MELODIE JENG/GETTY IMAGES
Check out more of Wang’s fashion favorites here: