5 ways to stay stylish in the heat

Heat waves can often leave us a bit confused. We’re never happy in the UK are we? Unless there’s mild drizzling, we struggle to cope. We’re either immobilised and depressed by how cold it is or, when the heat hits, a brief moment of joy swiftly turns into grouchiness, swelling and discomfort. And that’s even without going through menopause!

Stylish woman

If you’re like me, right now, as the heat wave continues, your fan has become your best friend. However, as with all relationships, you can’t remain joined at the hip forever. And there are important things to do and people to see. There need to be other ways to keep cool in the weather and stay pulled together.

So here are my top tips for surviving the heat without compromising on style:

1. Choose the right fabrics

Typically we’re encouraged to opt for cottons and linens in the heat. The former is breathable and light while the latter is highly absorbent while retaining its shape. And yes, these are great fabrics to wear.

Also embrace viscose. There are a lot of misconceptions about it, and it is often classed as synthetic. But in fact it’s a semi-synthetic fabric as it’s made from wood pulp. It’s more moisture absorbent than cotton and has the feel and drape of silk, so make sure not to dismiss it!

But also consider synthetics. Yes you’ve read that correctly. While some synthetics, such as polyester and nylon, are best kept for colder weather, new technical fabrics have been developed especially for keeping the wearer cool and can be more effective than cotton and linens. Just think of sportswear. It’s made of moisture-wicking synthetics designed specifically with that purpose in mind. So keep an eye out for them. And with that in mind…

2. Embrace athleisure style

The athleisure trend isn’t set to be going anywhere as it’s continuing to dominate the catwalks. This is great news for the summer as it means you don’t have to reserve your moisture-wicking sportwear strictly for the gym.

From pairing jogging pants with heels to leggings with a fun t-shirt, mixing your performance clothing with your normal wardrobe will freshen up your look as well as you. And, even better, you’ll get more wear out of those sports clothes you invested in.

3. Keep it loose

One of the biggest problems many women face with the heat is how to cover up and still stay cool. But layering will just make you sweat. Instead, pick looser flowing garments such as a maxi skirt, palazzo pants or culottes. These will create a layer of air between your skin and clothing, also covering up areas you’d prefer not to show. In fact, longer flowering garments will keep you cooler than shorts as they promote better air circulation.

Similarly, if you wish to cover your arms, choose tops with looser-cut sleeves. Alternatively pair a short sleeved/sleeveless garment with a light, breezy summer jacket, blazer or cardigan. That way you won’t have multiple layers, but can still avoid having your arms on show.

Also keep an eye out for designs with sheer panels, such as on the arms, or at the hem. These will offer modesty and coolness, keeping you looking chic and stylish.

4. Look at the lining – or even better, don’t have one!

A well-cut quality jacket or blazer is expected to include a lining. But linings are typically made of silk, satin or polyester which will do you no favours. Instead, for the reasons explained above, look for a viscose lining to keep you cool.

Alternatively, avoid linings completely and opt for a jacket that is unlined or only partially. Now, I know you might be concerned about quality, but don’t be. Contrary to popular belief, an unlined or partiality lined jacket is more often than not a sign of great quality. This is because a lining hasn’t been used to cover up poor work; the designer will have worked hard on the inside, just as much as the outside, to ensure it looks perfect.

5. Adapt your beauty regime

As well as wearing the right clothes, make sure to change up your beauty regime. Avoid foundations or powders as they will just run – instead opt for a tinted moisturiser that will give you coverage without the streaks. Just don’t forget the SPF first!

Move over to using waterproof eye make-up to avoid smudges, and use oil-free blotting sheets to erase shine and sweat on the go without ruining your makeup. Also keep cleansing wipes and a facial spray in your bag, so that you can freshen up and keep your skin hydrated on the go.

Finally, control hair frizz with a leave-in cream or hair oil. Also, if you can bear it, give your hair a cold rinse post-shampoo as it will shut the hair cuticles to reduce fuzz.

Let’s enjoy the heat while it lasts. And let’s do it in style.

Jacynth Bassett

About Jacynth Bassett

I'm the founder of the-Bias-Cut - Shopping With Attitude Where Ageism Is Never In Style. Swiftly becoming recognised as one of the UK’s leading pioneers of style at every age, I have written on the topic for The Guardian online, The Huffington Post and have contributed to an internationally published book. I also regularly speak on panels and podcasts, am a ViewVo accredited business mentor, and the weekly ‘Style Advisor’ for The Menopause Room. In my spare time, I love to dance, specialising in hip-hop, and to dine out with family and friends.