How to Look Chic in Hot Weather: 9 Classic Summer Clothing Items

In this style guide, we’re going to be discussing timeless and classic summer clothes - how to look chic in hot weather. While I love basking in the sun and enjoying the warm evenings, staying comfortable during the peak period of hot weather can be quite difficult. However, you don't have to

sacrifice style for comfort in the heat.

White linen dress

1. Linen all the way

The top way to stay cooler in the summer is by embracing linen; the more of it, the better. Top your wardrobe up with lightweight fibers that are comfortable to wear and breathable. I love linen tops, pants, and dresses in summer and find new ways to style them year after year.

Dressing to stay cool in the summer

2. Dress for style not summer trends

Comfort has to come first in the heat. We're all guilty of trying out new trends and sacrificing our comfort. However, when you're in 30-degree heat (86°F) you'll wish you wore the cool oversized cotton tee, not the slinky trend piece.

This isn't to say that you should altogether avoid trend pieces, a couple here and there are great for adding variety to your wardrobe, but I will always champion classic styles and timeless pieces for every single season.

Invest in some lightweigh and neutral basics that you know will work on hot days.

French style in the summer

3. Borrow some French style 

French women build their style around neutral tones and eternal basics. When summer arrives, French women gravitate towards flattering silhouettes, lightweight blazers, and breathable fabrics.

European ladies in general tend to avoid super-short summer dresses or anything overtly sexy. Though these outfits can look great, there's nothing comfortable about constantly having to readjust your outfit or being stuck in a tight dress during a heatwave.

Caroline de Maigret's Parisian style

A great example of French summer style is Caroline de Maigret, author of How to be Parisian. Caroline opts for long maxi dresses with sleeves and a hint of cleavage, proving comfort can be sexy too.

Wearing light colors in the summer to reflect the heat

4. Light colors 

Light colors reflect the heat. When the warmer months arrive, your best bet is to retire your black or dark clothes for a few weeks. Lighter colors leave you feeling cooler, so embrace those neutral whites, creams, and beiges.

Pastels are also a great option and I never mind investing in these tones as I know they can be hugely timeless for my wardrobe too. 

Wearing a midi skirt with a slit in the summer

5. Embrace the midi skirt 

While lots of people love a tight mini skirt, they're just not the best option for a hot day. Instead, I like to opt for a midi skirt in a lightweight fabric that I know will keep me cool in hot weather. The slit in this skirt makes it work better for the heat.

Another perk of the midi skirt is that it can go from day wear to nightwear without too much fuss; all you need to do is change into some sandals, maybe with a heel, add some jewelry, and you're ready to see where the evening takes you.

Wearing an oversized shirt to keep cool

6. Oversized shirt 

In the warmer months, it's goodbye to tight blouses and hello to their distant relative, the oversized shirt. Forget wearing your shirt as just a shirt though, an oversized one can be styled as a jacket, a dress, and in many different ways just as a top too. This is one of the most timeless summer pieces especially as it's really breathable and loose-fitting.

Comfortable sandals for the summer

7. Comfortable sandals 

If you're spending time sightseeing on your holidays, make sure you wear the right shoes. There's nothing worse than walking around a city with blisters and uncomfortable shoes. Opt for a classic style of sandals that looks good and feels good too.

A great example is Birkenstocks or any other flat sandals that hold your feet really well. Alternatively, canvas sneakers are perfect for hot weather.

How to style your hair in hot weather

8. Functional hairstyles 

Summer isn't the best time for your hair. If you have longer hair like me you will know that you don't always want it over your face in a heatwave. A key example of style with function is the Alice band trend. This contemporary look works with a range of sophisticated outfits and it also keeps your hair out of your face in the heat. 

Classic and timeless summer hairstyles

Low messy buns also work well for summer, swooping your hair away from your face without looking out of place. Also, consider investing in a timeless sun hat.

How to look chic in hot weather

9. Loose pants

While denim will always be close to my heart, it's not my favorite thing in the heat. A better option is lightweight pants: linen and wide-leg ones particularly. Choose loose pants in lighter colors; these feel great and they link back to that timeless Parisian look.

How to look chic in hot weather

While it's harder to balance elegant style and comfort when the hot weather arrives, hopefully, this guide has shown that it's not impossible at all. You just need to make a few simple tweaks here and there, choose your fabrics and shapes wisely, and you can create that perfect hot-weather style.

The author may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.

Join the conversation