Hot Outside, Cold Inside

Nic & Zoe blue linen tunic top. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Climate Control…

Every summer I am driven absolutely bonkers by people and businesses that insist on keeping their air conditioning set to “meat locker” levels. While I don’t argue that a/c can be a blessing on the hottest days, there’s nothing comfortable about a cold draft blowing down on the back of one’s neck for an extended period. (Perhaps I’m in the minority, but I run cold and am sensitive to sudden fluctuations in temperature.)

The best solution I’ve found for indoor/outdoor comfort is a loose, breathable top with sleeves. I’m especially fond of linen, but a lightweight cotton works too. I have a couple of Easy White Shirts that are summer wardrobe workhorses, but am keeping an eye out for some other styles and colors. Above, a pretty blue tunic that would probably be just as versatile. (Plus option.) Just roll the sleeves up a turn or two when you go out in the heat.

Versatile Linen Shirts

Linen shirts like this one with blue and white stripes help you stay comfortable in fluctuating temperatures. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

This blue and white striped linen shirt is offered in Misses, Petites, Plus, and Tall sizes.

White eyelet linen v-neck top. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I like the set-in sleeves on this top, and the eyelet detail isn’t too twee. It’s on sale too.

Cactus print linen shirt from Rails. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Here’s a fun little cactus print. The nice thing about a button front is that you can also wear it open over a tee or tank, and just remove if you get too warm.

Striped peasant top from Anthropologie. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

If your style leans a little more Boho, this is a nice option with a Jane Birkin-esque vibe.

I don’t worry about linen looking rumpled, but rather embrace its nature. I’ll often “broomstick” my fuller linen shirts to make the creases look intentional.

How do you deal with fluctuating summer temperatures?

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  1. Sarah
    July 10, 2018 / 2:40 am

    The OTT a/c drives me crazy. And don’t get me started on the wasted energy to achieve a temperature so radically different from the outside. Ugh.

  2. Lynn
    July 10, 2018 / 4:15 am

    I’d freeze in a loose linen shirt. Jacket jackets must have jackets – and my fave is the j crew camel sweater jacket you recommended a while back.

  3. Claudia
    July 10, 2018 / 4:17 am

    completely agree!! although I share the same thoughts for winter time: really cold outside and tropical heat indoors!! unbearable!! It actually makes us so much more prone to getting sick, and less tolerable to weather in general, it just doesn’t make sense, it’s costly, unecological, etc… ok for a few degrees, but otherwise…
    Here in Portugal it happens less often, but unfortunately that habit is spreading fast…
    greetings from Lisbon 🙂

    • Kellee
      July 11, 2018 / 11:21 am

      Claudia – you live in my favorite country! I love Portugal and the weather reminds me of my hometown of San Diego, California.

  4. Lisa Shoemaker
    July 10, 2018 / 5:02 am

    I love the pure functionality of a long-sleeve linen popover or button-down in the summer. It keeps the sun at bay, so it really is a cooler option than many sleeveless choices, and it is a natural fabric that just feels good next to my skin. So many places have them on sale right now!

  5. Greetje
    July 10, 2018 / 5:30 am

    I agree, I hate A/C for the same reasons. I know that women in hot climates often have scarves or throw-ons in their bag for when they enter an overly cooled room or building.

    • Greetje
      July 10, 2018 / 5:32 am

      Oops.. spelled my own name wrongly

  6. July 10, 2018 / 5:46 am

    Lovely choices! I am not close by to many of the stores mentioned. If not too personal, do you buy online and then return what doesn’t work fit or style wise? I enjoy your blog very much! Thank you.

  7. July 10, 2018 / 5:53 am

    I tend to wear three-quarter length sleeves here in Florida when I know we are going to a COLD restaurant. Here in Florida, it is 90 degrees with high humidity outside and about 68 degrees inside. We went to the theatre on Sunday and I wore a above elbow length sleeve top and took my cashmere wrap. Who knew you could wear cashmere in the summer in Florida!!!

  8. Tess
    July 10, 2018 / 6:26 am

    I hate excessive AC. It’s bad for health, the environment, and the budget, yet it persists. I have to carry warm sweaters, scarves, and even socks.

    • Rita
      July 10, 2018 / 7:44 am

      Tess, I’m glad you mentioned socks – I thought I was the only one 🙂

      • Tess
        July 10, 2018 / 10:17 am

        At conferences I’ve been so cold that I’ve bought socks at the souvenir and other odd shops near the convention center. Ended up with some heavy Afghan sock/boots that I liked so much I now wear them at all conferences. (A “privilege” that is one nice thing about getting older, I guess.)

        • Jill Ann
          July 10, 2018 / 6:44 pm

          I recall going to my daughter’s orientation at the University of Texas a few years ago. It was July and steamy hot; I wore shorts and a short sleeved top, which I thought was appropriate. I was SO COLD at the sessions that I went to the college bookstore at the lunch break, and purchased a sweatshirt to get me through the afternoon session.

          • Kellee Thorburn McCrory
            July 11, 2018 / 11:24 am

            I did that last summer! I was in Jackson, MS in June and had to buy a Jackson State sweatshirt to keep from freezing in the conference space. It was 90 outside with humidity of close to 90%!

  9. risa Wolfson
    July 10, 2018 / 6:59 am

    You are so right about the air conditioning! I leave a jacket in the car so that when I go inside the grocery store I don’t freeze! I found that a pretty scarf goes a long way in keeping my neck warm. I have my eye on that cactus linen shirt! Just look at that print!!!! The fact that it is on sale is encouraging me to buy it!

  10. Darling Lily
    July 10, 2018 / 7:32 am

    Those of you intolerant to the cold are lucky; all you need to do to alleviate your discomfort is carry something to put on. When you have heat intolerance, you don’t have any options. There is only so much you can take off! :o) I spent most of my childhood summers vomiting and passing out. Had my first heat stroke when I was 8. Needless to say, my friends who are cold-sensitive know to bring a sweater to our home when they visit! ( 65 year round, often lower in July and August) I also keep lots of throws on hand!

    • July 11, 2018 / 3:15 am

      Living in excessively warm Dallas, I agree with you. I am very intolerant to heat, especially since I wear thick medical stockings all the time (which are like wearing winter long johns). Yes, we keep our house at meat locker temperatures so that I can get work done. Even so, the summers are tough. We keep our thermostat at 69 degrees most days at our house. Needless to say, in the winter, we do not overheat our house.

    • RoseAG
      July 11, 2018 / 2:43 pm

      I live and work in Maryland and I always have a sweater when I go to work or out someplace I know will be air conditioned. I take it off when I go outside, but once I’m inside and settled I put it on. The fashion business is pretty good at offering up summer sweaters, it’s an opportunity to accessorize!

      I’ve sat in offices that had cold drafts, and complained about it, but after a co-worker told me about an office he’d worked in where the A/C wasn’t good and how hot and cranky everyone got there, I decided to view good A/C as plus.
      Sometimes you need to look for joy 🙂

    • valletta
      July 13, 2018 / 11:41 am

      I run very hot, always have. I keep my fans on almost 365 🙂
      I’ve never even turned the heat on in my home, which I know sounds crazy. I can’t remember the last time i felt cold. I know I”m in the (very small) minority! Makes dressing a bit difficult though I’m used to it by now.

  11. July 10, 2018 / 8:03 am

    I live in Texas where it really gets hot for most of the summer; however, I NEVER go anywhere without a sweater! And I usually need it inside any air-conditioned space.

  12. Pam
    July 10, 2018 / 8:22 am

    I also live in FL, formerly Dallas and New Orleans – all 3 hot as Haydes in summer. I always wear 3/4 sleeves or a tank plus popover or lightweight knit jacket – at least – even on the hottest days when I’m out shopping or dining in. Don’t miss the days before retirement, where my office was like a freezer in the summer. Used to have to go run hot water over my hands or walk outside to thaw out my numb fingers.

  13. Val
    July 10, 2018 / 8:52 am

    I’ve decided that I suffer from “Goldilocks Syndrome”….I always want the temperature to be juuussst right!

  14. Lyn
    July 10, 2018 / 8:55 am

    Apparently you don’t run as cold as I do — those linen shirts aren’t enough for AC. I wear them outside when it’s 90 to keep the sun off my skin. Indoors, I need a sweater! And I keep a pashmina in my car for times when a sweater isn’t enough. I’m another Floridian in cashmere.

    • Susan B
      July 10, 2018 / 1:29 pm

      Hi Lyn, if I’m going to a movie theater or new restaurant where I know I’ll be sitting for long periods of time, I definitely bring a wrap or cardigan. The linen shirts are great for going between indoors and outdoors (grocery shopping, running errands, etc.).

  15. Char
    July 10, 2018 / 9:39 am

    Some of us run hot, so can’t begin to relate! For those of you its easier to add long sleeves or jacket than need to take something off Not to mention the challenges of sleeveless or not with less than perfect arms!! I can’t wait for the cold to wear jackets and lovely wraps!

  16. Jill
    July 10, 2018 / 11:03 am

    I always have a light cardigan with me as in Texas the A/C tends to be at Arctic levels especially in restaurants..

  17. Nancy
    July 10, 2018 / 11:31 am

    Agree! I’m not a fan of artic temp. A/C either! It’s 93 and uncomfortable humidity here in Chicago. Beautiful choices. I sometimes bring a light open cardigan sweater with me to places like restaurants where I know it will be cold inside.

  18. Kathryn Gillett
    July 10, 2018 / 3:30 pm

    Here in Ontario Canada, I am always disappointed when I go into an air conditioned space. We don’t get a lot of summer here – when it’s (finally)warm outside, I’d dearly love to leave the wrap at home. alas…

    And, in response to last post, I have ordered Everlane shoes after reading how much you love yours. After a rather awful accident in which my knee was injured, I figured now is the time to try a few pairs of pretty and sensible flats that could work the day for me.
    Thanks for the info. I look forward to my delivery just as I look forward to your posts.

  19. Lori
    July 10, 2018 / 5:12 pm

    Oh my goodness, I just endured a freezing restaurant last night and wished I had brought a cardigan or jacket. It was truly unbearable. I keep telling myself I will remember to put a scarf in my bag at all times.

  20. July 11, 2018 / 1:49 am

    Usually our summers fluctuate between cool and slightly less cool (Scotland) and a/c is not a feature of homes or restaurants. When I’ve been in countries were a/c is widespread it’s the electricity use that alarms me.

  21. Robyn
    July 11, 2018 / 3:35 am

    I was having this same discussion with the people in our vets office. In Virginia our summers are hot and humid but every place you go in is so cold. Resorting to long sleeve shirts that I can roll up and down is the best option I can come up with. I also bring a cardigan or jean jacket to restaurants and the movie theater.

  22. Rondi
    July 11, 2018 / 9:53 am

    Another post where I love the topic. I didn’t know I had so many kindred spirits that are also suffering from the misuse of air conditioning! As another Florida dweller I find the extreme sudden change from outside to inside very uncomfortable. I always keep a jacket in the car. I take a sweater or wrap when we go out to dinner. I think I will start leaving a neutral colored wrap in my car also for those unexpected stops. I don’t know why they keep restaurants so cold. And my feet freeze too. I have been known to take socks to the movie theatre. Even my church is freezing! I do love linen and the linen shirts featured here. And I also embrace the natural wrinkles.

  23. Clariza
    July 13, 2018 / 11:19 pm

    Bay Area California always requires you carry something for warmth.
    Vacations in any tropical place also needs a scarf, sarong or sweater for indoors.

  24. Michelle
    September 27, 2018 / 11:55 am

    My Mom always runs cold. She always has at least a sweater with her. I live in AZ where it’s not uncommon to get 120 during the monsoon season. I run very hot to begin with. In my workplace, the other girls are freezing and I am bright red and sweaty. Gross, sorry! I have them put their hands on the back of my neck to warm them up and cool me down. I have just been diagnosed with lupus and was told to wear long sleeves because my skin now hates the sun. This article has been helpful. Living in the middle of nowhere makes it hard to find what I need sometimes. Thanks,

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