Beat the Heat in Style
By: Sharon Mosley
With summer in full swing, the temperature isn’t the only thing rising outside. Hemlines, pant-lengths and sleeves are rolling up and comfort levels for women everywhere are taking a nosedive. If you dread the return to bathing suit season most of all, you’re not alone. Summer styles often mean exposing those “problem areas” that most women work hard to minimize throughout the year. Choosing between beating the heat and baring it all can lead to scores of women sweating it out all summer long. But image consultant Marla Tomazin says you don’t have to sacrifice breezy beach days in order to keep yourself covered and comfortable.
“I have found that a lot of women think that summer style is synonymous with showing skin, and that doesn’t have to be the case,” explains Tomazin, an image consultant with twenty years experience. “There are plenty of ways that you can embrace summer style without feeling exposed — in fact, there are a lot of temperature-friendly looks that can accentuate your best features, while minimizing the areas you are uncomfortable with.”
If you want to stay cool and covered, here are Tomazin’s tips for beating the heat in style:
—Keep cool with a summer shrug. You don’t have to go sleeveless to stay cool in the summer, which is welcome news for most women who feel that their arms are a problem area. Tomazin says wearing a sheer lace or knit bolero will give you great coverage without making you too warm. They are also good for keeping you comfortable on breezy summer nights.
—Cool off with white column dressing. If you’re hoping to stay covered up — without burning up — consider color when it comes to choosing an outfit. While it’s a known fact that wearing all black is slimming and classic, an all white look can have the same effect — without attracting the heat! Tomazin explains that wearing a white “column” is a great way to stay cool while keeping yourself covered on warm days. For instance, pair a white t-shirt or tank top with a white bottom like a pant, short or skirt. If you want to keep your arms covered, consider wearing a sheer blouse (in lieu of a jacket) or if you still want a jacket, Tomazin recommends choosing a light, breathable fabric like cotton or linen. You’ll look hot while staying cool.
—Ponder your pool-wear. Before you hit the beach, it’s a good idea to set aside some time to ponder your pool-wear. Tomazin says women often lose track of their current figure and age, continuing to wear bathing suits they looked great in years ago. As each new summer begins, she suggests taking stock of your suits. Make sure you choose a bathing suit that is appropriate for your current age and body type that also covers up the areas you want to hide. You will look sexier and feel more comfortable. Remember, when it comes to bathing suits, less is not always more!
—Keep it classy with a cover-up. Sometimes even the sleekest of swimsuits can still be too revealing. Slipping on a cover-up for lounging poolside or attending a beach BBQ is a must! Tomazin suggests a scarf wrap to accentuate the hips and legs. For a larger waist, consider a dress or a long skirt that hangs loosely with a flattering length.
—Work with illusion. If you want to hide your hips and thighs, but don’t want to sweat-out the summer months in long pants, Tomazin recommends wearing an A-line skirt and a top that tucks in or is belted. This will draw the eye upward and accentuate a smaller waist. If a larger waistline is your problem area, Tomazin suggests choosing a skirt or pant that is slim through the thigh and wearing a blouse or t-shirt over the top — tucking it in will only emphasize the size of your waist. The breezy looseness of the top will provide cooling comfort while keeping you stylish and svelte.
—Choose a cool skirt. Instead of short shorts this season, consider wearing a skirt to feel just as cool but a little more covered. Tomazin says to look beyond shorts and pants this summer. If you are uncomfortable wearing shorts, choose crop pants or long, Bermuda-style shorts. These options will give you confidence and a cool style all season long.
—Pick a hat to beat the heat. In addition to the added protection you’ll get from the sun, hats are also a great fashion look. Fedoras are very much in style this season and are a fun way to update your summer look. You could also choose a larger-brimmed or floppy hat for the beach, your next picnic or pool party.
—Be a shoe-in. Nothing looks worse or is more uncomfortable than wearing sandals or shoes that are too small for your feet. Take the time to choose attractive footwear that looks good but also feels good. Choose breezy styles that will keep you cool, and consider the added benefits of a modest heel or wedge to give your legs a more elongated (and slimming!) look.
“When you dress this summer, consider how an outfit makes you feel,” concludes Tomazin. “If you feel comfortable, it will reflect in your attitude and how you carry yourself. Trust your own instincts and the intuition of your inner-stylist and you’ll stay cool and confident all summer long.”
Sharon Mosley is a former fashion editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock and executive director of the Fashion Editors and Reporters Association. To find out more about Sharon Mosley and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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