How to look polished in the heat

Summer heat can leave us feeling and looking a bit wilted. Here are some tips to help you look fresh and polished, even when it’s hot hot hot. 🌞

How to look polished in the heat: Susan B. wears a green no-iron linen shirt, off-white slim utility pants, leather sandals.

We’ve been fortunate in that our little corner of Southern California has enjoyed a pretty mild summer so far. But our typically warmest months are still ahead of us. And a recent outdoor family event in a much (much!) warmer micro-climate got me thinking about ways to look polished and put-together while staying comfortable in the heat.

Tips to dial up your warm weather style

Just hanging out at home is one thing, but if you have casual social or community events on your calendar, here are a few ideas to help you look put-together without sacrificing comfort.

Opt for crisp, breathable fabrics + structure

✅ Fabrics like linen and cotton poplin will be lightweight and allow for air flow, but won’t look droopy. If creasing or wrinkles are an issue for you, look for no-iron fabrics.

✅ “Structure” doesn’t have to mean a fitted garment. Details like collars, set in sleeves on shirts or creases on the front of trousers provide structure even on more relaxed fits. Rolling up sleeves to expose wrists can also add structure to an outfit.

Chico’s always has some nice no-iron linen shirts. This pretty pink striped number will work for many of you Summers.

Foxcroft no-iron cotton blend navy shirt, plus size.

Navy always looks crisp paired with white pants or jeans. This no-iron cotton-blend shirt (Misses / Plus) is available in several other colors too.

Here’s a linen shirt in a paisley print that’s a bit bolder and a nice alternative to florals. This one’s available in Misses, Petite & Tall sizes (2-20/22). This color scheme is great for you Autumns!

Prefer short sleeves? This little linen shirt is available in several colors, and currently marked WAY down…

This relaxed linen shirtdress can be worn belted, or loose, or open as a lightweight topper. In several colors, Misses, Petite, & Tall sizes.

A maxi dress is one way to stay cool & covered. This one’s linen, and comes in several colors and subtle prints. It’s a relaxed fit, but the collar and cuffed sleeves add structure.

These sleek linen pull-on trousers are a bit more spendy, but have excellent reviews. This is the navy, but several other colors are available (and some are on sale). Sizes 00-18.

These soft cotton-blend trousers are a budget-friendly option, and available in several colors, sizes 0-18. (This cream color is also offered in Petites.)

Go easy on makeup & accessories

✅ Skip the heavy makeup, especially if you’re in an area with high humidity. If your skin tends to get oily, opt for a light powder foundation, or just concealer where needed. If your skin is drier, try a tinted moisturizer. Add your favorite bright lipstick & go.

✅ Here’s my easy “no-makeup makeup” routine

✅ Piling on a lot of jewelry can feel and look heavy with lighter summer clothing. I find earrings and rings are often the most comfortable pieces to wear when it’s really hot.

✅ Leave the rubber sandals and pool slides at home, and opt for a pair of structured sandals in leather or faux leather. If you prefer to stick to closed-toe shoes, here are some styles that will be comfortable in the heat.

More summer styles to help you look polished in the heat…

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  1. Hi Susan,
    That green is amazing on you! Great outfit. Great photo. I also love your yellow toned sunglasses and regular glasses. They give oomph to your looks.
    I recently bought a navy linen shirt from Poshmark (pre-loved Talbots). I think it is was a good buy and addition. Right now I am feeling overwhelmed with my clothes. I have been weeding out the black, except for shoes – I have some comfortable old faithful black shoes that will be hard to part with until I find suitable alternatives, and that’s a project. I have a lot of clothes that don’t really make great outfits, and I’m struggling with pants because I am losing weight and building muscle (yay!) but things are hanging differently. I am hesitant to go shop and summer is a very short season here. I have weeded almost all the black out of my workout clothes and it’s been fun to experiment with that smaller set of clothes.
    It is going to be a very hot 4th here – hope you have a happy one!

  2. Susan,
    Great post as usual. I love that Frank and Eileen linen dress, but it’s a little spendy, as you say. J Jill has something similar this season which I purchased in blue and love wearing.
    Sending best wishes for a relaxing and renewing holiday to you and your family.


  3. Your example with the green shirt and white trousers, is excellent. It reminds me that I really have to be on the look-out for another, good white pair of summer trousers. I have a few, but when it is really warm, you need something loose.
    To tell you the truth, I am still thinking of winter here in the Netherlands, although for a few weeks it is mild. But that incessant rain…So sick and tired of it. I do hope there isn’t a drop left when you come.