As as the weather turns warmer here in the Northern Hemi, many gals are pondering how to dress for summery temperatures without exposing their extremities. Self-consciousness about upper arms, knees, exposed leg veins, cellulite, and all manner of biological normalcy gets forgotten in the midst of winter layering. But that self-consciousness is awakening now. Which breaks my heart because LADIES if you get hot you are allowed to wear less clothing. You are! You do not have to have Angela Basset’s pipes or Angelina Jolie’s legs to wear tanks and shorts. You do not have to subject yourself to a summer’s worth of heat rash just because you aren’t a Goddess of the Bicep. If you want to wear shorts and short-sleeves, DO IT. Period.
However if wearing shorts and a tank will cause you to spend the entire summer loathing yourself even harder,* or if you prefer to keep covered for reasons of personal modesty, or if you live in a climate or work in an office where warm temps turn cool without warning, here are some tools and tips for creating covered-up warm weather looks.
The sweater in the photo above? IT IS MAGICAL. It’s black and has 3/4 sleeves, but since it’s got an open, loose weave it allows for breeze! Any loosely-woven accessory – be it sweater, poncho, shawl, scarf, or even jacket or bolero – will give coverage without impeding air flow to your pits and arms.
Actual tights in summer may feel oppressive and awful unless you’re working in a meat locker. At least, that’s been my experience. But sheer and sheer-patterned hosiery can help a gal feel less exposed while allowing her legs to breathe a bit.
Maxi skirts are unflattering and make you look short and are too casual and so hippy-dippy and BLAH BLAH BLAH. Whatever, maxi-haters, these longer hemlines are both breeze-admitting and leg-covering, so they get two thumbs up from me. I adore my legs and tend to do everything in my power to show ’em off, but on days when I want some coverage, I turn to my maxis. I prefer the floor-sweeping kind with just a hint of shoe showing.
Boleros and shrugs
My love affair with boleros and shrugs is long and well-documented, and with good reason. A garment that makes a sleeveless dress sleeved but only drops down to boob level? Ideal for warm weather wear. The benefits of a blazer without the heft and length and hotness. Three-quarter sleeves are my ideal, but a wee bit hard to come by.
I hear you saying, “WHAA?” But hear me out. Tall boots may seem heavy and oppressive for a humid summer’s day, and a pair of thick leather knee-highs will definitely make you sweat. But here’s how you work ’em: Buy a pair that fit looser so you’ve got some air between your calf and the shaft. Then pair with a sleeveless dress, or a tank and some shorts so the REST of your bod gets plenty of air. Buy in a light color like tan, taupe, or ivory. Or, even better, nab a perforated pair. Breeze-admitting boots RULE.
Again, every woman has the Right to Bare Arms. And Legs. Do not let any magazine or celebrity or style guide convince you that your parts aren’t good enough to show. And do NOT interpret this post to mean that I think sleeveless dresses and short skirts are the exclusive domain of the tiny or toned. Just wanted to give you some options, should you choose to keep a bit more covered in the hot, hot heat.
*I feel this could be a chicken/egg conundrum. Forcing yourself to wear shorts and a tank may be so liberating that your self-consciousness will lessen. But it could also create such intense personal discomfort that you’ll spend endless energy worrying and obsessing about how you look. I leave it to each of you, as individuals with good judgment and highly personal needs, to make the call for yourselves.
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