Play It Cool

Ways to (Look) Cool This Summer

Plan for a warm-weather wardrobe, and you too will look cool even when you’re really not.

By Sarah Rufca Nielsen July 25, 2016 Published in the July 2016 issue of Houstonia Magazine

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The next time you see someone looking effortlessly chic in the heat, remember this: There was effort involved. Plan for a warm-weather wardrobe, and you too will look cool even when you’re really not. Our tips, below:

Just Keep Breathing

Seersucker is every Southerner’s best friend for good reason. Fabrics made from natural fibers like cotton and linen absorb moisture and don’t cling to the body. “You want something that’s going to allow your skin to breathe,” says local stylist Lisa Powers.

Dress Like a Virgin

Just like your physics teacher taught you, white repels a broad spectrum of UV rays, while black absorbs them, drawing extra heat to the body. So make like a cherub, a maypole dancer or a guest at one of Diddy’s parties and stick to light-colored threads: beige, khaki and the ever-popular white.

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Upgrade your Workout Wear

If your yoga pants were going to come off right after the gym, any old spandex blend would probably do. But we both know you’re going to wear them all day—did you even go to yoga?—so make sure they’re made out of fabrics labeled as sweat-wicking to pull the moisture away from your body and help it evaporate.

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Accessorize Appropriately

Layered looks will mostly have to wait until fall, but there are plenty of accessories that can pull an outfit together while helping you stay cool. A wide-brim hat or visor keeps your face in the shade, a light scarf can give your shoulders a respite from the hot sun (or provide protection from frigid air conditioning), and sunglasses make you look cool enough to pull the whole thing off.

Stay Breezy

Save the skinny jeans for fall and choose flowy, loose-fitting dresses and tops that shield your skin from the sun while allowing cooling breezes to circulate. “My go-to is a Sibel Saral top in white—it has a square, boxy fit that doesn’t stick to you, which I love,” says Abejas boutique owner Christina Mitchell.

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Don't Sweat It

Guys who struggle not to sweat through their shirts should start with moisture-wicking undershirts by brands like Under Armour—the better to stop the sweat before it hits your button-up. Some dress shirts also have sweat-wicking capabilities including performance-fabric shirts by J.J. Watt’s preferred brand, Mizzen + Main. If all else fails, stick to white, which camouflages wetness better than gray or bright colors.

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