Many parts of the world are experiencing a heatwave right now. Having lived in tropical Hong Kong and Mediterranean Cape Town for much of my life, I know how hard it is to look and feel your best in hot weather. Here are 12 things that you can do to feel fresher, more polished, and more pulled together during the day, despite the heat. 

Wear Natural Fibres

As far as possible, stick to wearing clothing made of cotton or silk. Linen is another excellent high Summer natural fibre, but you have to be at peace with the crease. Semi-synthetic fibres like viscose and rayon are also great in ultra hot weather when they feel silky and soft to the touch.

Keep Silhouettes Loose & Lightweight 

Choose silhouettes that are lightweight and less formfitting. Fluid and oversized fits are especially great in hot weather because they provide natural ventilation. It’s a wonderful feeling when the breeze fills out your billowing silk blouse in scorching temperatures. 

Wear Dresses, Skirts & Shorts

Dresses, skirts and shorts are breezier than wearing full-length trousers or jeans. A lightweight and roomy cotton or silk dress is about the breeziest item on earth. 

Go Sleeveless 

Sleeves get damp in ultra humid weather, which makes you feel haggard and hot. Sleeveless can be the answer, but be aware of your exposure to the sun.

Cover Up with Silky Sleeves

If it’s a dry heat, then there’s something to be said for covering up with silky sleeves. Personally, I like to wear a very lightweight and loose sleeved silk, cotton or linen top because the coverage also protects me from the sun. It’s no coincidence that in many of the hottest countries in the world, people cover up. 

Wear Open Footwear

Cool feet can go a long way to keeping the rest of you cool, which makes sandals a popular choice for hot days. But you needn’t expose your entire foot if that’s not your cup of tea. Sandals can have covered toe boxes and open heels, or closed footwear like oxfords and loafers can be perforated with holes for extra ventilation. Personally, I prefer the latter two styles to sandals in hot weather. 

Have Regular Pedicures

Keep your feet well groomed during the Summer months and you will be completely comfortable when you expose your bare feet, be it at home, swimming, or in yoga class. There is something about seeing my own pedicured feet that makes me feel more polished about my Summer style. 

Touch Up Your Make-up  

Carry a make-up bag in your handbag, especially if you work in an office. Touching up is worth the effort if you’re feeling hot and flushed after a morning’s commute, or racing around on your lunch break. It’s also worth touching up at home after the heat has melted or smudged your make-up.

Second Base Camisoles

If you need to wear a camisole under a top in hot weather, choose a Second Base camisole. They are made of an eco-friendly modal and spandex blend that’s extremely soft and lightweight. You can’t even feel that you’re wearing the cami, it’s THAT ventilating and unobtrusive.

Sport a Hat

Hats are the best way to keep the sun off your face. Choose a few fun silhouettes and integrate them into your style. Think fedoras, floppy straw hats, haute baseball caps, cowboy hats and Panama hats. 

Adapt Your Hairstyle

It might be worthwhile to adapt your hairstyle to hot weather, especially if your Summers are humid. That might mean cutting it, growing it, leaving it curly, tying it back into a cute style, leaving it flat, slicking it back with gel, adding some colour, or using a different range of hair products. You’ll feel better about your overall appearance when you’re having a good hair day. 

Take Multiple Showers

Coming home from a hot commute and need to go out again at night? Start again by having a quick shower before you put on a fresh set of clothes. Do the same if you’re feeling hot and bothered at home. 

Of course, these guidelines won’t help you to survive one of my pet peeves: arctic air conditioning. It becomes almost impossible to dress for the scorching heat outside when it’s freezing cold inside. I wish that buildings would turn down their A/C a notch in Summer.  

How do you stay cool in hot weather? Please add your own tips in the comments below.