Look And Stay Cool This Summer With These Hot Weather-Friendly Pieces

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Summer heat is upon us, and while I love a good hot weather wardrobe, the reality is: Not all summer clothes are created equally. Ever been trapped in too-hot knits or unbreathable jeans when hanging outdoors during summer months? It’s sort of the worst.

That’s why it’s a good idea to find items that keep you cool while still, well, looking cool. Here are a few of my summer favorites that feel great even on the hottest of summer days.

An Athletic Dress

Shorts, cutouts, and a sleek dress silhouette? Yes please. Photo Credit: Outdoor Voices

Summer is the perfect time to sport an athleisure look, and the Court dress ($108) from Outdoor Voices is perfect for the job. It comes in vibrant colors like orange and green, but I prefer this crisp white look (it also reflects light to help with the cooling factor!). Side cutouts make this breezy, while the fabric is quick-drying and offers a nice amount of compression. I wear it on and off the tennis court.

A Gauzy Button-Down Shirt 

Never underestimate a breezy button-down. Photo Credit: @houseofharlow1960

On sunny days, I like to protect my arms and shoulders from the sun. Button-down tops work well for this, but you need to pay attention to the fabric. I like House of Harlow’s Raphael Shirt ($178) because it’s slightly oversized (see also: breezy) and made from lightweight woven materials, such as cupro, viscose, and polyester. It keeps me cool and comfortable while avoiding sunburn. I usually pair it with matching shorts or pull-on pants and a pair of strappy sandals.

A Semi-Sheer Layering Top

This airy crop top is perfect for evenings out. Photo Credit: Revolve

Chic crop tops are always a summer must-have, but this Belinda Button top ($64) takes the cake. Its sheer silhouette makes it a great date night pick (and it looks great with a pretty, lacy bra underneath!). This super versatile top is great to have on-hand when things cool off at night and you want a light extra layer.

A Versatile Little Black Dress

Contrary to popular belief, wearing black is cool in summer. Photo Credit: Madewell

Here’s a hill I’m willing to die on: LBDs are a classic, and they’re never seasonal. While I make it a point to avoid wearing black in summer (because, heat), I can’t say no to Madewell’s cute Flex Fitness dress ($88). This fun, stretchy dress wicks sweat away and offers UPF 40+ sun protection, making it a great summer dress no matter the color choice. Bonus: this piece is also great for working out. It’s even got built-in biker shorts for extra mobility. 

A Pair of Linen-Blend Balloon Pants

These balloon pants are basically socially acceptable pajama pants you can wear in public while still looking polished.  Photo credit: Madewell

Balloon pants. Pull-on pants. Resort pants. Whatever you call them–I’m just glad they’re back in style. They’re billowy, graceful, cool, and make for the perfect summer bottoms. My current favorite pair is Madewell’s Lightspun Pull-on balloon pants ($64.99). The stitched design adds a bit of detail, and it lends some vertical interest to these breezy pants. I usually pair these with a solid-colored crop top and a pair of Birkenstocks.

Lightweight Cotton Overalls

These lightweight overalls are petite-friendly and very cute. Source: prAna

Another throwback fashion piece that I enjoy wearing in summertime: overalls. There's just something easygoing about this look that makes me feel effortlessly cool. If overalls are what you need, prAna’s Sancho Overalls ($129) are a no-brainer. For one, they're light-colored, so they’re great in hot temps. Second, prAna's fabrics have four-way stretch, so I feel *very* comfortable wearing these overalls. Third, there are pockets everywhere–chest, front, back, and one of two sides. Need I say more?

A Good Sports Bra

There's more to this sports bra than just working out. Source: Free People

I love a versatile sports bra that can double as a simple crop top, and Free People’s Square Neck Good Karma sports bra in light blue ($48) does just that. The right blend of spandex and nylon creates a piece that’s both supportive and breathable. The square neck and ribbed detail make it super transitional so you can wear it on a summer run or pair it with a cute skirt. Your call.

A Colorful Cupro Midi Dress

This midi dress is a summer must-have. Photo Credit: @wearkada

Dressing up during summer doesn't mean you have to break a sweat (literally and figuratively). Kada’s The Sculpt Racerback midi dress ($208) is all about style and comfort. This seamless dress is made with the silky-soft Cupro fabric the brand is known for. Not only is this material sustainable, it feels soft against the skin. Additionally, the top bodice is lined with Italian mesh, so you can wear it without a bra if you'd like. While I appreciate the plain black and white versions, I find the mix of fuchsia and orange offers a much-needed splash of summer color.

A Pair of Poplin Shorts

Dog walk or mountain climb–this pair of shorts are versatile enough for all outdoor activities. Photo credit: DU/ER Instagram

Shorts are a summer staple, but instead of the usual denim pairs, I prefer something soft, like this pair of Poplin shorts ($79)  from DU/ER. They’re made from a blend of light cotton, nylon, and spandex, offering a comfortable feel and fit. They also feature a flattering design on the sides that give these a more athletic look. 

A Quality Pair of Knit Pants

The perfect drapey knit pants for summer are here. Photo credit: M.M. LaFleur

Summer temps require more breezy fabrics…even if you’re headed into a formal event or sitting in an air-conditioned office all day. When the days get hot but I need to look business-casual, I reach for the Marijane Pant from M.M. LaFleur ($225.) Yes, they’re a bit pricey, but these are the knit pants of my dreams. Great for petite gals like me and with a perfect drape, they’re worth the investment and are a capsule wardrobe staple.

Let these summer essentials help you beat the heat this season!

Summer doesn’t have to be so miserably hot. Take a cue or two  from this list and grab some easy-breezy summer fashion pieces that will keep you cool  from these amazing DTC brands:

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