Emily e-mailed me this question:
I’m fairly new (2 years) to this whole style thing and I’m encountering a problem. The long and lean look looks great on me (I’m 5’3 and a size 20ish) but I can’t figure out how to do it in the summer. I’d love your help with how to do this so I can be stylish and comfortable this summer.
The long over lean dressing formula can feel a little covered-up for hot weather, but it is possible to make this look work for summer! Here are some ideas:
Short-sleeved or sleeveless tunic, slim bottom, open footwear
The quickest route to comfortable long-over-lean looks for summer is to lighten up your tunic. In addition to considering fibers and weight, lop off some sleeve length. Short-sleeved and sleeveless tunics still look elegant and edgy with leggings and skinnies. You can do booties or other closed shoes if you prefer – my toes freeze all summer, so I sometimes do – but sandals or ballet flats that expose a bit more foot real estate will help make your look feel seasonal.
Lightweight tunic, cuffed or cropped denim, sandals or booties
As you’ve likely guessed, how summery you want to make this look is directly related to how much skin you feel like showing. In this variation, a lightweight sleeveless tunic and sandals paired with cuffed skinny denim will give you the most ventilation and may feel the best during the true Dog Days. But ankle boots (show an inch or two of lower calf between boot and jean) worn with half or 3/4-length sleeves can work just as well. Ballet flats are always a comfy, cute option for summery long-over-lean, too.
Lightweight tunic, clamdiggers or capris, flats or sandals
This is definitely the trickiest of the three options, as a slim bottom that hits mid-calf or higher will divide your leg line. Add a tunic that hits mid-thigh and you’ve created another division. If you’re concerned about breaking up your figure or creating odd proportions here’s my main tip for making clamdiggers and capri-length leggings/pants work with tunics: Shoes that are nude to your skin tone will soften the break at your ankle, and a tunic and leggings that are similar in tone will soften the break at your thigh. So the blue tunic and black leggings outfit is totally adorable, but does create some very hard lines along the legs and lower body. Something to think about if those breaks concern you. (And yes, I know that middle image doesn’t feature terribly “lean” or slim-fitting bottoms, but it shows a wonderfully summery way to style a light-colored linen tunic.)
A few other considerations:
- Palette: There’s a lot of black in these example images, but lighter colors, pastels, and white will help your long-over-lean looks feel seasonal.
- Asymmetry: Jagged hemlines have a lot of movement to them, which aligns nicely with breezy summer weather. Asymmetrical hems also look fabulous on sleeveless tunics, so they’re a natural for hot-weather tunic wearing.
- Fibers and footwear: OK, these have already been mentioned. But I’m calling them out again! Linen, cotton voile, and other summer-weight fabrics are great choices. And consider sandals and open footwear to lighten your look.
Are you a fan of long-over-lean looks for summer? How do you create yours so you don’t overheat? Any other tips for making proportions work?
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