How To Look Cool When You’re Sweating Bullets

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

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Hey, you — the one slowly turning into a puddle. It’s hot out there, huh? Between the muggy atmosphere, the relentless rays, and the climbing temperatures, you swear you can literally see cartoon-type, wave-y heat vapors emanating from every surface (your own body, included). Putting anything on in this weather feels akin to doing another rep at the gym when our legs are already jelly — but short of leaving the house in just your birthday suit, what’s a girl to do to stay cool (without getting fined for indecent exposure) in this oppressive heat? Forget 30 summer fashionessentials…we’ve been stuck in a shorts and tank rut for weeks now, and hankering to break out of it. 

While none of these tips will keep you from sweating in 100-degree weather, it will keep you from feeling quite as uncomfortable. From little tips to prevent sweat stains and uncomfortable chafing to advice on summer-specific items to look for the next time you’re shopping, here’s a comprehensive guide that isn’t just a lot of — ahem — hot air


Tip 1: Built-in Ventilation — If you’re down for a dare, strategic cutouts can help keep the air circulating against your body without making you look like a slice of Swiss. A shirt with a cutout back or side can make the difference between enjoying your day in the park and melting throughout it. 

Tip 2: Rely On Shorts — Regardless of what size you are, the majority of women out there have to deal with sweaty thighs that rub together during the summer. Shorts are the best way to combat the chafing. A loose-fit pair in a lightweight (but structured!) fabric won’t ride up throughout the day but will keep you cool. 

Tip 3: The More Straps The Better — If the base of your sandals are flat, like these, you’re going to need plenty of straps to hold your foot in so you’re not slipping around. 

Tip 4: Choose A Canvas Tote — For ladies with a lot to carry, don’t suffer through it with a heavy, leather bag that’ll make you feel like you’re carrying a furnace under your arm. A canvas tote won’t heat up, and helps you wick away sweat from your body — not collect it. 

Something Else Crop Tank, $57, available at Bona DragAncient Greek Sandals, $209.01, available at My WardrobeTibi Diamond Short, $295, available at TibiYves Saint Laurent Nose Bridge Aviator Sunglasses. $325, available at Bloomingdale’sForever 21 Retro Lips Canvas Tote, $3.80, available at Forever 21.


Tip 5: Go For A Drop-Waist — A clingy dress can feel like you’ve wrapped yourself in saran wrap. Go for a loose-fit drop-waist, trapeze, or swing dress that just grazes your body. 

Tip 6: Choose Rope Necklaces — If you’re going to wear a substantial necklace, make sure it’s long enough so it doesn’t make too much contact with your bare skin. A natural material like rope is also more durable — and rust free! — during the sweaty season. 

Tip 7: Get Height With A Flatform — It’s easy to slip out of a heel with too intense a pitch in the summer, but flatforms are an easy way to comfortably get height. 

Cynthia Rowley Drop Waist T-Shirt Dress, $129, available at Cynthia RowleyTarnish Short Brim Cap, $35, available at NordstromTinley Road Necklace, $19.99, available at PiperlimeTopshop Flatform Sandal, $64, available at TopshopRebecca Minkoff Camera Bag, $195, available at Rebecca Minkoff.


Tip 8: Look For Breathable Fibers — Linens, cottons, and bamboo fibers will feel much cooler than polyesters and silks. Stick to lightweight fabrics in colors that won’t easily show moisture, like creams, navys, and blacks. 

Tip 9: The Flowier, The Better — If you don’t like showing off your legs, you’re in luck; culottes are making a comeback this year in a big way, and midi-lengths are super-flattering. 

Tip 10: Choose Sunnies With Nose Pads — Sunglasses without a proper nose pad will slide down your face when you start sweating. Choose a super-light pair with two smaller nose pads to keep them in place. 

Tip 11: Find A Shoe That Breathes — You can wear a real shoe (sans socks!) in the summer. Just find one in a canvas or other cloth material that fits snugly, like a pair of espadrilles or little sneakers. 

H&M Linen Top. $17.95, available at H&MPour la Victoire Bailey Espadrille, $29.75, available at Neiman MarcusTopshop Culotte Shorts, $80, available at TopshopLinda Farrow Rounded Sunglasses, $387, available at FarfetchChloe Terry-Top Backpack, $395, available at Saks.


Tip 12: Always Go For Prints — Anything printed helps camouflage sweat stains, so always opt for a thick stripe, all-over floral, or another graphic, bold print when the temperatures soar. 

Tip 13: Raffia Clutches — If the occasion calls for something fancy, and you’ve got to bring a clutch, make sure that it’s made for raffia or straw. Even when you have to tuck it under your arm, you’ll feel assured that it won’t get ruined. 

Tip 14: Wear Heels WIth Straps — If you need to wear heels, choose a pair that totally wraps around your foot and keeps it in place. Big woven straps and a peep toe allow the air to circulate, but won’t have you slipping out of them. 

Tip 15: Go Easy On The Waist — A skirt with too tight or wide a waistband is a magnet for sweat. Instead, find a skirt lightweight enough to not need a substantial waistband. Avoid tucking in your shirt, too, if you can! 

Madewell Soft Cami Tank, $39.50, available at MadewellUniqlo for Suno Skirt, $19.90, available at UniqloLaurence Heller Embroidered Straw Clutch, $98, available at Luisa via RomaEddie Borgo Pave Cone Tassel Earring, $440, available at Kirna ZabeteOpening Ceremony Woven Heel, $166, available at Opening Ceremony.


Tip 16: Think Dramatic With A Maxi Dress — It’s hard to find a maxi-dress that doesn’t touch your body in at least one part, so the key to keeping cool in a longer-length dress is to make sure the fabric is super-light. And though it may seem contradictory, a double layer of fabric helps hide any sweat stains and prevents the top layer from sticking to you. 

Tip 17: Accessorize With A Headscarf — If you want a pop of color without layering anything on, choose a summer scarf that you can use to tie up your hair. 

Tip 18: Rely On A Crossbody — The main strategy to hot-weather bags is to minimize the amount of points of contact it makes with your body. A small crossbody with a thin strap is the perfect size to weather the weather. 

Club Monaco Tia Headscarf, $89.50, available at Club MonacoDorothy Perkins Check Dress, $57, available at Dorothy PerkinsCharlotte Ronson Canteen Bag, $148, available at AritziaJ. Crew Crystal Earrings, $68, available at J. CrewRachel Comey Sandals, $298.20, available at Rachel Comey.

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