Fashionable Life: Summer Chic 911

by Editorial

Our new style expert offers tips for looking good in the heat. Part 1 of 2.

By Violetta Markelou

How to look good in sweltering temps. (Photo by Violetta Markelou)

It’s finally August and we’ve hit several records for consecutive days over 95 degrees. When the weather gets this sweltering, I find myself reaching for a pair of sheer, black-and-beige printed harem pants, which I found in a New York City street fair, and my vintage ’80s black-and-white, polka-dot short-sleeve jumpsuit. Both have been my lifesavers; I wear them three times a week, much to my husband’s dismay. “You’re wearing that again?” he asks nearly every time. What can I say? I have to stay cool and look fashionable at the same time, right?

Me in my colorful harem pants (Photo by Violetta Markelou)

And my equally popular polka-dot jumper (Photo by Violetta Markelou)

The harem pants get compliments every 2.5 seconds. People ask me where I got them and admire the fact that they “look so comfortable.” The polka-dot jumper gets the same reaction. But my husband’s right. I can’t wear these every time the temperature reaches 100, so I’m looking for options, which means I’m going to tell you how to get them, too!

Throwing on a short skirt or pair of shorts isn’t necessarily the best option for everyone, not to mention they’re a bit expected and boring. These effortlessly chic pieces transition well from the office to a dinner date and will keep you cool.

Colorful chiffon skirt ($46 and $58, American Apparel)

Colorful chiffon skirt (Photo courtesy American Apparel)

These sheer skirts come in an array of colors, as well as in a more office-friendly double layer. Those that dare to wear the very sheer version can try it with a longer shirt to cover the bum or with a matching body suit for after hours.

Harem pant ($59, Urban Outfitters)
A blend of cotton and spandex, a pair of these will keep you comfortably cool. Wear with flats along with a cotton tank and blazer to combat the office AC, then throw on a great pair of wedges and a colorful statement piece of jewelry later and you’re ready for a fun night out.

Sleeveless open-back top in royal blue or silver ($49.95, H&M)
This viscose top with glitter threaded yarn is excellent with a pair of colorful skinny jeans or fitted black pants for the office. Pair with a cotton blazer or tank for a more conservative look. Then nix both for after hours.

Vintage ’80s onesie jumper ($54, Disco Leaf Vintage Shop, Etsy)

Native Tongue Jumpsuit (Photo courtesy of Kimberly Kay of Disco Leaf Vintage, Etsy)

For all my vintage and second-hand lovers out there, here’s my favorite: A jumper with all the style, color and fun you need rolled into one. Wear it with flats, gladiators, wedges or even platforms — you really can’t go wrong. Add a belt with metallic accents to dress it up. Pair with a cropped jacket to make it office appropriate.

UPDATED: But wait — you say you want designer options? Though I’m here to tell you how to save on amazing fashion, I can also tell you how to spend. Read on:

This cute cap-sleeved mini dress with edgy studs is modern and sleek. In ultra comfy jersey, it’s form-fitting and fashion-forward and can easily transition from the office to a night out. Top with a cropped jacket or vest for work. For evening, add a colorful cuff or one with metallic accents, a belt and stilettos.

Nanette Lepore cotton ‘California Dress with Cut-outs,’  $398
I love this dress! It looks vintage and it’s just so cheerful. The cotton material and the cut-outs at the neck and back maximize the “cool factor” in more ways than one.

French Connection Pants ‘Dixie Blaze’ $198
You’ll be the envy of every woman out there with these apricot-hued wide-leg pants. These high-waisted bottoms make us all look taller and leaner — perfect.

Issa London Maxi Dress  $770

You can see the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton in this can’t you? That’s because Issa is one of her favorite designers. With its gorgeously vivid color and vibrant print, it’s effortlessly chic. The cinched waist enhances proportions, making us look and feel longer and leaner, while the slit adds a little “va-va-voom.”

Photo courtesy of

All of these designer looks can be found at Bloomingdales, The Shoppes At Chevy Chase.

Violetta Markelou is a visual artist specializing in photography and makeup in Washington, D.C. When she’s not documenting the art of transformation with her camera, she spends her time uncovering high- and low-end fashion, jewelry and accessories in vintage and second-hand shops. She shares more of her style insights at her blog The Thrifty Fashionista and its Facebook group almost daily.

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