How to dress well during summer

by Sylvia

How to dress for summer
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I have had the opportunity to watch many women on the streets this holiday and I must say that overall I was not that impressed. I realise that for many women, dressing for the summer is a true challenge.

For example, a lot of the ‘mistakes’ I saw on the street included:

  • All kinds of underwear clearly visible through clothes (like bras and briefs)
  • T- shirts that were too tight and looked unflattering
  • Uncovered bellies
  • T-shirts that were worn in an unflattering way over pants in incorrect heights for body type
  • Many, many capris and other shorts that were worn in an unflattering way
  • The strangest combinations of colours and patterns
  • Too many too comfortable sandals that had no style at all

Why is dressing well more difficult in summer?

Much more than in winter, many women over 40 just don’t look their best in summer. I can think of a number of reasons as to why this is.

  • Perhaps you own less clothes for the summer season
  • There is less reason to wear layers and clothes that were only meant to be worn with additional clothes are now worn on its own
  • You want to be comfortable and cool first (style comes in second place)
  • That is why you want to wear capris, wide short pants, shorts, tops with cut-outs etc. even when they don’t flatter your body type
  • Perhaps you are in holiday or summer mode and don’t care so much about your appearance.

Still, I think it’s a shame. I feel that women would feel better if they look better and putting in a bit more effort. I certainly would be far more pleasant to the eye for people like me who appreciate stylish dressing.

So here are a few tips for dressing for summer:

  • In this season in particular, it’s very important to dress for your body type. Look at some of the guidelines in my articles on the pear, apple, inverted triagle, hourglass and rectangular shape. Apples for example look much better in tops that are fitted around the bust and wider around the tummy. The same counts for dresses.
  • Keep it simple. You really don’t need much to be elegant. Just a simple dress (selected for your body type) will make you look elegant. I feel that my little flower dress which I featured recently is a good example of that. It’s breezy, yet elegant.
  • Although it can be fun to play with colours and patterns (as you know I’m all for that), it’s better to stick to basic solid colours if you’re not confident about mixing and matching. Stick to basic proven colour combinations and combinations such as the ones mentioned in my article on Ines de la Fressagne’s book.
  • When you really like the feel of capris, follow the guidelines in my article on how to wear capris.
  • Make sure your clothes fit properly. Very important in summer since you can’t cover up an ill fitting t-shirts and blouses.
  • It’s really not very stylish to show your underwear. Be careful when selecting under garments in summer. It’s very clear when your bra doesn’t fit. White will show everything, so either pick a fabric that is not too thin, or wear invisible underwear underneath. I also don’t want to see much of your bra. Try to find a bra that matches the shape of your t-shirt and that fits well.
  • Frumpiness seems to increase tenfold in summer and it’s really not necessary. Just some simple white pants and a simple shirt is all you need. I often get the most likes on my simplest looks, for example these white pants with black shirt (see below). Super simple, cool, practical, yet stylish.
  • Many of you like to wear sandals including me. There are now so many stylish sandals available so it really isn’t necessary to go for the really boring ones that just make you look frumpy.

black and white in Barcelona

This site is full of summer outfits since I live in a sunny climate year round which you can find in the what I wore section, but you can also check out my recent summer holiday outfits,  outfit 1, 2, 3 or 4.

 I’m sure I’m forgetting some useful tips here, so let me know your tips for looking great in Summer!

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeannie@gracefully50

Great tips! You look wonderful Sylvia!
I hope you had a wonderful vacation!

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Sylvia

Thanks Jeannie. Still enjoying it… In London now for the Olympics….

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The Style Crone

I always appreciate your recommendations. Your summer looks do not disappoint! Lucky you to be in London! I’m absorbed by the Olympics.

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Sylvia

Thanks Judith. Yes I’m lucky indeed. Today there may be time for some shopping in King Street, then 3 sport events tomorrow!

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Joni

Sylvia,
I find this post so very helpful! I struggle with summer clothing just because I do love to layer so much and love to cover up as well.

I went on to read more about “How to wear capri pants” etc…and found that very helpful too. I realized tonight after reading that I really do need two things in my wardrobe now to help make my summer outfits more creative. Colored cropped summer weight pants and neutral or cream colored cropped summer pants. I think it will help me tons as I wear way too many pairs of jeans and it bores me. ;)

I combed through your “What I Wore” section and could see as a collection how the outfits are great for warm weather. Thanks for your great writings!

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Sylvia

Thanks for your lovely feedback Joni. It’s always great to know that my articles are helpful!

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Greetje Kamminga

You are so right. Could not agree more. As for bras, most women could use some help but do not know it. Every woman should go to a really good bra shop once in three years and get some advice. It is amazing what is possible. You find out f.i. that you have been wearing the wrong style or the wrong size for years. Apparently wearing the wrong size happens to 70% of all women. (I read that somewhere.)

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Sylvia

True. I think I could use a few more good ones myself!

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Greetje

Inspired by this, I decided it was time for me as well to buy some new underwear. And I found out I have another size. Again. Even though I changed size only 3 years ago and have not changed weight that much (3 kilos max).
I was really surprised but felt instantly that the shop assistant was right when I tried the bigger size on. Pff when does this stop?

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Sylvia

I’m going to to a Triumph presentation shortly. Should be interesting to see what they have on offer and if they measure us. Will keep you posted!

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Greetje

See whether you can find out why two bras of the same brand which look identical apart from a pattern can give you such a different look in a dress.
I am talking Marie Jo.

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Marianne

I keep on wearing layers in somertime as well, the underneath
ones are very thin. So it doesn’t make any difference for the temperature. It makes me feel more dressed and you don’t see any bras. I must admit I don’t wear anything without sleeves, I think when you are over sixty it doesn’t look nice anymore.

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Sylvia

Wearing very thin layers is a very good idea Marianne. Great tip!

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Heather Fonseca

First of all that black blouse with the white linen pants looks amazing. I wouldn’t be surprised if you got a ton of compliments on that!
And I do think hot weather, like really cold weather, is challenging. The extremes are always difficult. Like you I live in a warm climate, but even I don’t know what to do when the temperatures get beyond 90 degrees. A simple cotton dress is probably the best route.

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Sylvia

You are right that the extremes are hardest to dress. I’m used to the heat extreme now, but would very much struggle with extreme cold!

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Jean at Dross into Gold

Wonderful suggestions, all of them. Your site is absolutely essential for people like me who struggle with hot weather style. I don’t think it’s going to cool off anytime soon, either, so I’d better deal with. Hibernating in air conditioning isn’t the best solution. :-)

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Sylvia

Thanks Jean!

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Jody

I only wish all of us could wear stylish heels… you talk about the frumpy, comfortable shoes that many of us wear. I have a condition called “orthostatic tremors.” When I stand I tremor uncontrollably. Very few people can dectect the tremor, but to me it is like every molecule in my body is banging together. If I wore heels I would topple over. I’d like to be trendy, but it’s just not possible. I’ll soon be 60, but aside from my tremors I feel very young and try to keep the rest of me in good fashion. So instead of emphasizing heels all the time, please give those of us who just can’t wear them some alternative suggestions.

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Sylvia

Hi Jody. Thanks for your feedback. I just reread the post, but nowhere in it do I mention that you need to wear heals to look good. I only talk about flat sandals, of which I mention that there are many variations to get, so you don’t need to go for the frumpy ones. I understand that many women over women have certain conditions with their feet that prevent them from wearing any really fashionable shoes, so I will certainly pay attention to this and write about super comfortable options in the future. Thanks for your suggestion and if there any brands that you can recommend, please let me know!

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Fiftyfabulous

Lovely post, very flattering outfits!
FF

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