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What to Wear Going Out in the Summer: How to beat the heat and still look hot

As you packed up your closet and moved home, or to a new city for the summer, you had to make some choices. The Ugg boots stayed, the rain jackets stayed, the sweatshirts (all but one or two) stayed, and the jeans, closed-toe pumps and amazing leather jacket you just purchased probably stumped you for a brief moment. What is okay to wear when you go out on summer nights? During the day, it’s easy to throw on your work clothes or jean shorts and a tank but what about at night? The heat of July and August definitely rule out some outfits you may have worn downtown in the cool nighttime of March. Professional stylist Wendy Bryant Gow and beauty expert Romy Fazeli gave us the lowdown on what you should wear to keep you looking hot and staying cool this summer. We’ll start from the bottom and work our way up.


As we learned from Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette in “In Her Shoes”, a great pair of shoes can also do wonders for the right outfit. While you may love your black closed-toe pumps, you need to trade them in this summer for what Gow calls the shoe that “everyone needs”: a neutral patent pump in a peep-toe, pointed-toe or any style. A pair of these goes with everything and remember—the higher the better! However, if you’re like me and avoid heels for the fear of towering over all members of the male species (thanks mom and dad for my Avatar-like height), then stick to embellished ballet flats. Gow says almost everything is embellished right now, and while you should be careful not to over-embellish, plain flats just aren’t as cute. If your feet are prone to getting sweaty and swollen in the summer heat, try to stick to open-toed shoes to allow a little bit more air circulation.


If you’re like me, then a pair of jeans and a cute top is pretty much your going out look—that is, until summer hits and all of a sudden you’re stumped. However, you don’t need to avoid jeans this summer. For those of you who can bear the heat in a pair of jeans, then stick to a dark wash or white denim. Faded washes are okay during the day, but at night stick with the dark washes to avoid the risk of looking under-dressed or frumpy. If you’re one of the lucky ladies in a city like Austin, TX where nighttime only sheds a couple of degrees, high-waisted skirts, shorts, and dresses are excellent alternatives. Fazeli also suggests you “throw on the hottest trend item - the romper.  Most of the rompers in stores are loose and very comfortable, and also very in style.” Don’t be afraid to show off your beautiful legs—Gow says it’s important that HC readers know that “this is the best time of your life to be dressing well because you are probably in the best shape you will be, so display your body as fabulously as possible.”


Because nighttime really heats up in the summer (and I’m not just talking about your temperature), show off your arms and back! Gow encourages wearing shirts with ruffles this summer. Extremely feminine and classic, ruffles add a nice accent to many tops and draw attention. But again, be careful not to over-embellish, so wear a ruffled shirt with a simple skirt or jeans. Another style that Gow says is hot this summer is shirts with tab-sleeves (sleeves that fold up and button to the sleeve).  Try to avoid darker colors, as they attract the heat and increase perspiration. Shirts made of light cotton and linen are the best for the summer because they breathe and do not stick to your skin. Fazeli recommends opting for “machine washable, non-iron looks so you can grab, pack and go for the often traveled weekend getaway.”


I know what you’re thinking, “I thought this article was about summer fashion…why would I need a jacket?” But who knows when you might be hit with a sudden chilly night? Fazeli says, “The light cardigan or wrap is key to have everywhere you go. While it may be scorching hot when you are out in the sun, while you are in the office or shopping at your local mall, you will usually feel a little chill if you don’t cover up. I recommend breathable fabrics in a neutral color – try beige or gray – so that it can go with anything and everything. If you want to be a little more daring, and on the fashion front, choose a bright color like hot pink or yellow to jazz up your outfit.”

Finishing Touches

Nina Zilka, co-designer of the twentyten fashion line, described how she completes her looks in the summer: “Don't wear a ton of makeup...usually by the end of the day my eyeliner will be puddled under my eyes if I wear it in the summer. Sunscreen, a bit of concealer, blush and some waterproof mascara are all I wear once the heat is intense and I have the basic summer tan that happens even when I wear SPF. In the summer I like to keep my hair off my face. I usually wash and straighten my hair once or twice a week, and then pull it back into a very high, straight sleek ponytail… It's a style that looks like it takes way more time than it actually does and gets rids of frizz.” 

Wendy Gow concluded her fashion tips with one last bit of very important advice, “There really aren’t many rules with what you can and cannot wear in the summer anymore, it is most important to wear what fits your body, wearing things that do not fit is the biggest faux pas.” Dress to fit your personality and body type, and when in doubt, check out HC’s article on summer fashion faux pas to make sure you aren’t committing any fashion crimes.


Wendy Bryant Gow, Professional Stylist


Nina Zilka, The Twenty Ten


Romy Fazeli, Beauty Expert







Jessica Schwartz is a freshman Pre-Journalism major at the University of Texas at Austin with plans to pick a focus in broadcast journalism or print magazine journalism. Born and raised in Orange County, California, she loves horses, The Office, her family, travelling, and frozen yogurt. She has interned for the Orange County Register in the Arts and Entertainment section and hopes to join the Texas Tribune staff in the near future. On campus, she is involved with Campus Crusade, a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, is a Campus Ambassador, and possibly the biggest Longhorn fan around! Jessica hopes to land a job in the journalism field after college, but for, she now dreads the idea of ever having to leave UT.
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