In the hot and humid weather, it can be difficult to maintain an elegant look throughout the day. I’m the type of person who really feels the heat. I can’t be in the sunshine for too long or I start to melt. I have naturally wavy/curly hair that frizzes up immediately when I step outside on a humid day. What’s a girl to do? Read on for tips on how to be elegant in summer.

Let’s start with fabrics

Choose fabrics made of natural fibers that are breathable and will help you stay cool. Fabrics like cotton, linen, and silk. Silk works surprisingly well in summer.

When I was in my twenties I was hired to star in a short film that took place in Central Park in New York City. It was going to be a hot day, and we were filming a romantic scene with a handsome young man and me running around the park, playing in the playground on swings and generally being in love. I had to look semi-dressed up but youthful and fun, so they dressed me in green silk shorts with a white cotton top that tied at the waist. It was cute, cool, and perfect for the day.

Silk is a breathable fabric that works very well in hot weather. It comes in many lovely colors and moves with you instead of sticking to you when it gets warm. My favorite summer fabric is cotton. It’s comfortable and cool to wear and can look crisp and neat. I also enjoy wearing linen, although it has a tendency to wrinkle easily.

Stay away from synthetic fabrics like polyester, nylon, and acrylic. They don’t breathe and will make you feel even hotter.

Let’s talk shapes

Summer is the perfect season for flirtatious dresses and tops in flowy materials that are cute and feminine but not overtly sexy. There are many styles of summer dresses that look elegant and are comfortable to wear.

I’ve always liked classic summer shirtwaist dresses. They are casual but have a tailored look because of the collar. They work in an office setting or at a daytime party. They are usually fitted at the waist or you can add a belt for more shape.

A wrap dress always looks elegant. It adds shape at the waist and usually has an interesting neckline created by the wrap.

For blouses and tops, looks for details like scallops, ruffles, and pleating that add interest and movement to tops. In summer we usually don’t layer clothing, so these details can add a little polish, and shape.

Silk camisole tops always looks elegant and cool. You can get them in many colors. They work well with white shorts or trousers.

Skip the jeans if you want to look elegant. There are plenty of trousers available for summer in lighter fabrics and shapes. Tailored always look more expensive.

If you’re not comfortable wearing shorts, opt instead for a skirt or casual dress. It’s important to feel comfortable in your clothes. I, personally, am not comfortable wearing shorts. You don’t have to wear shorts just because that is what everyone else is doing. Think elegance and comfort.

Let’s talk colors

Neutrals can look very chic in summer. Think white with beige, white with light gray. In summer, white with anything works elegantly. You can add pops of color with your accessories. Add a red bag or yellow sandals, or a fabulous silk scarf in a color print.

I love black and it can look chic on summer nights, but during the day it can be hot. Black and dark colors absorb the heat, so if you’re going to be in the sun, wear light colors to help reflect the heat. Save your darker colors for the evening.

Summer is the time to lighten up. Wear bold colors or pale colors in stripes or prints. Have fun with it.

Let’s talk shoes

My favorite summer shoe is the Spanish espadrille. I have them in several styles and colors. I love a cute espadrille with a wedge heel and ribbons that tie up the calf. They give you ballerina legs. I also have espadrille flats in a multitude of colors. They are cool and comfortable to walk in. They look more elegant than a sneaker without feeling overdressed.

But I do love a cute sneaker for summer as well. I think cute simple sneakers look adorable with casual dresses. I have some tee shirt dresses that look cute with sneakers for running errands during the day. So much more comfy and elegant than shorts and a tee shirt.

Get some really basic sneaker shapes in colors or patterns, or simply white. They work better in summer than a complicated running shoe.

Of course ballerina flats always look elegant as an alternative. But they can be hot. I prefer sandals and slides with a very low heel. They are comfortable for walking and can show off a good pedicure.

My least favorite summer shoe is flip-flops. You can wear them by the pool or to beach maybe, but there are so many other summer shoe choices that look much more refined than flip-flops.

My tip is to get some sandals or slides that match your skin color, so that they go with everything.

Let’s talk accessories

In summer we dress more minimally. Add jewelry to create interest to minimal looks. Try contrasting colors, statement necklaces, bold earrings, or stacked bracelets. Try new combinations like mixing silver with gold.

Belts add shape to breezy dresses. Try a brown rattan belt with your white trousers for a fun neutral look.

I always recommend scarves for any season. They add color and interest. Tie a colorful silk scarf to the handle of your bag. If you get chilly at night, you can wrap it around your neck or shoulders. Italians always have a scarf with them to avoid getting “hit by air.”

If you’re going to be outside, a hat is a must. I have a soft straw hat that can be folded and put into my bag. A wide brim will help protect your face from the sun. There are so many summer hat styles. Avoid the standard baseball cap and choose an elegant hat instead.

Finally, let’s talk beauty

As I mentioned earlier, my hair has a tendency to frizz up in summer. I’ve learned a few simple updos so I can get my hair off my neck and out of my face, and avoid the frizzy look. This also allows me not to have to use heated tools in the hot weather.

I keep my makeup minimal as it’s only going to melt off anyway. I avoid foundation. Instead I use a blurring powder by KIKO MILANO. I have the color 01 Ivory, but it comes in a variety of shades. It smooths out imperfections and feels like nothing on my skin.

My quick summer face consists of me filling in my eyebrows, adding mascara, blurring power, and a tinted lip balm. For evenings I add more drama to the eyes and a stronger lip color.

Nail colors can be fun in the summer too. I always make sure my toes are polished if they are going to be seen in sandals or slides. In summer I like bold colors like coral, bright pink, and red.  For my fingernails I usually stay neutral with various shades of light pink or white.

I hope you enjoy these tips on how to be elegant in summer while remaining cool and comfortable. If you have any tips, please share them in the comments. I love to learn from you too.

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