Fashion Intelligence: Dressing for High Humidity
by ATFDC Contributor Susan Stipanovich
While retailers are filling inboxes with advertisements for their fall merchandise, most Fashiontonians are still battling the sweltering heat and humidity that plagues the Capital every summer. Everyone has experienced the nightmare of dressing for a very important meeting, only to step outside and walk five steps before becoming completely drenched in sweat. With many Washingtonians working in offices with conservative dress codes, it is a challenge to stay fashionable and be appropriate for the office when most days one would rather be sipping cocktails poolside. An article by the Washington Post reveals, “Three-quarters of employers do not relax their dress codes during the summer, according to an Office Team telephone survey of 508 HR managers.” For a city that runs on politics, the Post advises, “It is a judgmental world. You are judged by how you dress. Don’t take risks.”
Stylist Angélique Cox has some fantastic suggestions for dressing for hot and humid weather; “believe it or not, it’s possible to be cool, calm and collected instead of a sweltering, sticky mess in extreme heat”. Her tips: look for items made of lightweight natural fibers like cotton, linen, muslin and silk. Also, try to find items that don’t need to be layered, such as dresses that are suitable without a jacket or sweater. A sleeveless, flowing, knee-length, knit or woven, A-line dress that’s fitted on top and flared at the bottom is very ventilating. Voluminous tops are also very forgiving and help to keep you cool. Trapeze tops, empire cuts and banded tops in both knits and wovens are brilliant in the heat. Paired with a streamlined skirt you’ll be wonderfully chic in the heat.
Of course it’s not terribly difficult to simply put on lightweight fabrics and walk out the door. It’s quite another to be fashionable in the overwhelming heat, which takes a bit more effort and creativity. The key here is accessories. Starting out with a sheath dress for work (Michael Kors makes fantastic dresses if you’re looking to invest, also Zara and Ann Taylor offer great options) and then adding interest pieces with jewelry or your shoes/handbag will have you looking chic and breezy no matter what the temperature. The masters of accessories are of course the likes of Kate Spade, Coach, and Hermès, though also keep in mind the fantastic vintage shops in the District, such as Annie Creamcheese or It’s Vintage Darling, which are sure to keep any Fashiontonian stylish season to season. Also, if you’re looking for a more polished option than a ponytail to pull up your hair, try this Ficcare Maximas Clip, which is a great piece to throw in your handbag for humidity-induced frizz emergencies.
It’s been a long, humid summer, and one of the marks of a true veteran Fashiontonian is to have a versatile wardrobe that meets the challenges of the temperamental weather patterns of our dear Capital.
photo courtesy of FlirtSkirt
Susan Stipanovich is a stylist and writer who lives and works in Washington D.C. She researches counter terrorism methods and international security sector reform in Africa and the Middle East by day as a Department of Defense associate and spends her free time curating a fashionable lifestyle through her blog Hepburn Loves Givenchy.