I always dread summer dressing. Covered footwear and covered legs mean misery in hot and humid weather, and draping tops and bottoms are unflattering on my frame.  Last summer, I took comfort in my BF jeans and t-shirts, even though it's not the most flattering look combined.  

I haven't really looked at much for the season yet but there do seem to be an abundance of sheer and semi-sheer knits every year. I have both black and white semi-sheer tanks which I like to layer under other semi-sheer tanks in the summer. For this season I'm hoping to find a semi-sheer silk high low sleeveless blouse to pop under; a cream silk blouse under a semi-sheer white tank would be ideal!

EDIT: For my last paragraph, I've deemed that my "active casual" capsule and it's the only real capsule I have. Still working on it, and still finding it a huge challenge. I posted a bunch of casual summer outfits last year, many of which could easily fall into active casual by swapping out footwear or jeans or whatever.

Shiny! This is fantastic - I need to know how to do this capsule imaging! I know what you mean about a column of dress - until about last summer, my favourite thing was a striped below-the-knee tank dress from the GAP. That kind of thing though is swork-wear for me (w a jacket tossed over) and not for everyday casual. Same with a shirtdress - that's my summer work uniform , really. The boy short thing is something I've tried once and cried after trying them on after purchasing and threw them straight into the garbage I have zero body confidence in summer other than my arms and legs . But - I believe you, and want to investigate the cotton boy short thing further.

texstyle - i want both of those tank tops, now . And you're right - i should try to find a slimmer fit slightly-longer pair of cut-offs. I still think I'm 25 and want to wear ripped up shorts and tank tops - then look in the mirror and see my 55 year old self - yeah, no.

AJ - thanks for taking the time to repost these! I'll dive into them shortly.

Hang on. I haven't read all the responses yet so this is not my full response. But didn't you buy some fabulous dresses last year at Anthro and Aritzia? I am sure I remember a couple of really cool pieces (in both senses of the word).

I haven't read the other comments yet, but this is fascinating! I think you're really onto something.

My summer/hot weather season lasts 5-7 months on "average." It's already been in the upper 70s several times this month (mild winter, so our episodic spring is triggering early) and I've been giving thought to it. It's why I got the plain A-line black skirt I posted about earlier this week: My uniform of black skater skirt, tights, and boots will be unwearable shortly. Same for leggings and all combinations that depend on them.

I'm fortunate, I guess, in being a dress girl. I really enjoy dresses, and feel like I never have enough. For casual wear, I find skorts and short shorts the easiest to wear with t-shirts, especially now that fashion sneakers are a thing. I like the look on me (out side of work and church), so I'm okay with it.

The challenge, as you touched upon, is classy/trendy separates. I'm not sure how I'll do that. Or even if I should. Maybe it would be better to get (yet more) trendy shoes, like ghillies and/or gladiators, and rely on those to update my skirts and tops. Maybe a couple trendy tops, and a denim skirt or two if I can find good ones. If eShakti does a slim-profile one, I might be able to handle a half-tuck; the half tuck with a full skirt is a no-go.

Angie, thanks for the shout out for YLF's Aussie contingent.

Lisa I totally hear you. It has taken some time for me to work out summer dressing. I don't like summer and I my preference is absolutely for Autumn / Winter clothing and as Angie says it seems we have summer for 6 months of the year and our summers can be very hot. What temperatures are you dealing with over your summer??

Our summers can be quite hot with long periods in the 40's. The advantage many of us have is that we live and work in air conditioning which does help.

I know you have specifically mentioned outfits for casual. I tend to wear my clothes for all occasions dressy/casual/ etc and just dress pieces down. I do try to find summer versions of my winter clothing:)

This year I have enjoyed wearing sleeveless asymmetric tops over jersey cropped pants and a tube skirt. I often wear the tops back to front with the higher neckline to the front. Also draped square tops that can be worn loose over a slim summer weight bottom have been great. Soft lightweight culottes with a loose top has also been a bit of a go to for me as well. These pieces work for casual and work. I have been exploring the use of accessories more over summer and a statement accessory can lift a really simple summer outfit.

The fabric seems to be key for summer so I look for fabrics that are light, easy to look after and are essentially wash and wear.

I also have two long vests (one softly tailored, the other draped that are fantastic when I do want to add a summer third piece.

Just some thoughts:)

Suz - yes, you're right. But those are work-type pieces. I can manage to dress myself for work (sort of, lol) but it's the what-to-wear in my off-time that confounds me. I just do not look good in denim shorts with a t-shirt tucked into them - or even semi-tucked. I guess I'm striking back at having to succumb to the cropped leggings and tunic look - which I feel is so old- but , maybe my challenge will be to try to make it look sharp and new. Like all of a sudden come summer,I have to change my style completely and wear things that are not me!

Deborah - thanks for chiming in. I was hoping you would What do you do for shorts though ? We have a couple of months where it ranges from mid twenties to into the thirties - and I'm outside a ton. I am not a fan of a/c in the house at all and only when I have to put it on I will. My DH and I fight about it from May to September

I don't know how good your legs are but I like loose shorter shorts and a longer tank top for summer ultra-casual. Mid thigh looks terrible.
ETA: No denim shorts? Are you trying on the loose kind?

Jackie liked the zella capris. They seem to be universally flattering.

I like summer dressing because I guess I'm naturally preppy and boho, which are styles that work well in the summer. You seem to be very sophisticated and that doesn't translate as well.

Lisa, I found longer loose activewear shorts/capris to be pretty useful in that active casual capsule. I could take them hiking with, say, a woven tank and sneakers; then later swap the sneakers for flats/sandals if necessary and pop on a light cardigan or jacket. I personally don't think I can do a "single outfit to rule them all" for this type of activity need AND still feel as sharp as I'd like to, so I've just accepted that in most cases I will need to change out at least one item.

Also really like Tencel/lyocell for bottoms on hot days where I still need coverage, though it wrinkles (not as much as linen but still). I expect to get a lot of wear out of those GAP olive cargo pants we both have

I like warm and hot weather so much that I can't really bemoan the third piece too much. I like dresses from Madewell and Crew chino shorts in summer. My biggest problem is kind of like Aida's: I would like to be able to take my afternoon dog walk and not sweat in a woven top that will then need hand wash, iron or dry clean.

Lisa I have a pair of cut off denim shorts that I wear at home when its really really hot. I am not a lover of shorts, however one on my HEWI'S is a pair of black soft harem shorts (a la rick owens). If I could find them they would definitely end up in regular rotation. The What about a tailored pair of shorts to provide some structure? I do like the look of that type of short but I feel weird in them lol. But for the moment on those types of day you describe I would wear my dress in the find below. It's simple, shapeless with a slight high low hemline.

BTW I would encourage you to keep an eye for a harem pant. I couldn't live with out them and in the right fabric they are such an easy thing to wear in the heat.

Lovely to get a shout out from Angie and Sally but I also find summer dressing very challenging. It's not just the challenge of looking stylish it's also the challenge of feeling cool and collected when temps are soaring and your skin is prickling with the heat and your hair is fuzz-balling etc etc
For day to day at home wear (including gardening and dog walking) I wear denim shorts. I try to get tees that are in natural fibres (preferably cotton as linen can be scratchy) that have a bit of shoulder coverage for the sun. This year my most successful tee has been a gap cotton tee that is almost sleeveless but has some shoulder coverage and a split front neckline (could not find it on the U.S. site). Flattering and practical (a rare combo!) so I now have 3.
I also tried these dressy wrap/crossover shorts this year. They have been a big success. I wouldn't wear them dog walking or gardening but they are perfectly comfortable for every day.
And I bought this patchwork denim skirt. Very light weight cotton not heavy denim like some skirts. It is also working well for me for casual wear.
Apart from that I am now experimenting with wearing a skort when walking the dog. I kinda like it because it feels right with sneakers. I don't wear a gear top (because most of mine are fitted). I combine it with a loose tee (usually the Gap one). Yes, I have become one of those Aussies who does everything in their active wear.

I haven't read the whole thread yet but YES I can completely relate. Summer dressing is hard for me. I don't have beautiful legs (or arms for that matter) so I have to suck it up and just go with what is comfortable in heat and humidity and bare some parts of me that are really best left covered.

But on the other side of the coin, the loose sack dresses and shifts that look so cute on so many of you look horrible on me -- I become a big block because the dress obscures the part of me that actually shows I have a shape and emphasizes my width and my not-so-slim limbs.

I'm not much of a hot weather fan anyway, so dressing for summer definitely challenges me. I have done some dresses in the past, but it seems harder to find good casual dresses that fall to the knee and have something interesting or edgy about them. Ugh.

Last summer I defaulted to the Athleta cropped pants a lot, but I'm afraid I may be tiring of that look, and it's probably not all that flattering anyway (I caught a glimpse of a photo of me from the back and was horrified). So, I guess I'll be wearing long (clamdigger length) cut offs more this year. So not edgy.

Summer dressing definitely highlights all the problems of dressing my body in a JFE way. I'm getting depressed just thinking about it.

Ah. Okay - I get it now. It's the truly casual wear that is throwing you.

You know, I used to loathe summer fashion. Now I like it more than winter fashion! Part of that is the terrible winters we've had the past few years. Part is my lifestyle. No fun booties or jackets for me in winter. And in a slushy period like the one I am living through, not even any wool coats. I'm on foot in waterproof snow boots, in my puffer coat, and I have to choose uber-practical in order to survive. This is what I wear every. single. day. For months on end.

Meanwhile, in summer, I can wear a skirt or dress, fun and different footwear, sleeveless tops, jeans on a cool evening, jackets in AC, shorts for casual, so many options!! I have variety!!!! Which I love.

Having said that, during the dog days, I do sometimes miss the third piece even in my dressier outfits -- though shoes, a cuff, great earrings help. TexStyle has been an inspiration there.

For at home super casual (my typical wear) I pretty much have a uniform and I don't really expect it to be terribly fashionable. Just fresh for each season. I have a couple of pairs of shorts that I don't hate (despite the fact that my legs are not great). These are the essentials. For me, white shorts have been a fantastic addition; for you, looking for your light neutral might be key.

Meanwhile, I mostly try to focus on tops and footwear. A really flattering and current top makes a big difference, along with the low heeled sandal of the season.

Is it runway-ready? Of course not. But I think on most days I look -- at minimum -- "dressed" vs. schlump. In fact, I think I probably look more fashion conscious on most summer uber-casual days than winter casual days.

Another trick for me, since like Aida, I often have days where I want to move from one activity to another very different one, is to carry a tote bag or fashion backpack. I do quick changes in bathrooms all the time. I keep a core (maybe my shorts, or maybe the top) and sub out. I'll switch a casual tee to a silky blouse (if wearing shorts) or a pair of shorts for a tube skirt. I might or might not change footwear and jewellery.

My figure flattery issues are a bit different than yours; I fear not my tummy (so much) as my cellulite riddled legs. However, faced with your figure flattery priorities I would probably take a cue from Aida and Debs. Floaty tops with slim shorts or even a stretchy mini (since your legs are fab)? Or a midi tube skirt if going out. If you can find in linen or some other super cool material, pants similar to the ones I had from J. Crew a few seasons ago (and still wear) might work, as well. I am also considering culottes in the right fabrications.

Wow, missvee, thank you for giving me a shoutout for my summer style just when I was moaning about it. Just goes to show we can feel like we're struggling but seem to others like we are doing something right.

Reading this thread now, I'm remembering something: each year as the weather warms up, I dread dressing for the new season. Then once I get started, I find my groove in a way. I don't feel as fab as I do with my winter dressing but I manage to pull myself together somewhat. My efforts to develop a strong footwear capsule and a good collection of interesting tops have helped. My bottoms are more problematic but that's true of me all year long.

I pretend I am dressing for a resort vacation and then suddenly my creative juices start flowing. It's a combination of getting out of a lazy shorts and tee routine, and allowing myself to dress in a more festive manner. So, both effort and permission.

I also find that adopting a more feminine and Boho style works well for hot weather. I haven't tried the COS look in Inge's response, but would like to, as a reprieve from the Boho look.

As for covering your midsection, I'm not sure what you mean as you look thin to me. But I suppose this is like me worrying about my thighs. We all have these body hang ups that are much, much bigger in our own minds than they appear to the rest of the world.

Thanks Angie
I didn't have a proper summer wardrobe when I came to YLF - so I do know what you mean.
I have silk, linen & soft jersey dresses. It can get way too hot for the silk here on 100F ++ days though.
Linen culottes & wider leg pants & silk harem pants (not pictured) .
Cotton, linen & lighter jersey sleeveless tops which are tummy skimming in some way I also have a couple of tabard/tunic tops (last 2 pics) that are very cool.

I have Rick Owens style shorts & tees for around the house/beach & yoga. I also have sarongs.

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Lisa may I hijack??

Caro, I have been looking for RO style shorts for ever lol. May I ask where you got yours?? Do you have a picture?

BTW, love your summer wardrobe.

Ok , I give up - I guess it's dresses for summer and all occasions! I had no idea everyone wore dresses for casual in summer. I do, but only for "good" casual - like going for groceries, a haircut , out for lunch etc. Do you all seriously wear dresses for hanging around the yard and house? I guess I've been out of touch with what is more practical at this age and body shape.

The question really is: What does Emmanuel Alt wear on the weekends?

Janet - re your comment about getting depressed just thinking about it - EXACTLY. In fact, i had worked myself up into such a state while at the gym (worsened by having to look at myself in the mirror for an hour) that i almost didn't want to check back in on this thread - I was getting that sad about it. I hate hating my body. And so wish I didn't.

Brooklyn, - totally love the dressy short you posted. However, I can't tuck things in (at my current weight, anyways) , so the gorgeousness is lost on me. And I too have resorted to doing everything in active wear . Lol.

Deborah - I had to laugh at the tailored short idea. I wore those to the office (HAHAHA) if you can believe it, in the late 80's. I feel weird in them too. I have never seen a single living woman in Winnipeg wearing harem pants. Never have seen them at retail either - I think we don't have that population base that could support that kind of avant garde clothing in stores here. Now I am obsessed with them and need to find some

Smittie - my legs are among the remaining good things on my body. I love short shorts and can get away with them, but a loose fit t over top makes me look like a square box. Literally. You and Brooklyn have both mentioned liking the boho look for summer, and I do too, it's easy . It just doesn't always feel authentic to/on me as I don't do it in winter. But at least a boho type gauzy top hides all of the sins

Aida - thank you again. As usual, you are full of great ideas. I have those Zella capris and indeed liked them but again am faced with that shapeless look because of needing a loose top over them. I do love them though And I like the BR tank you've picked. I DO appreciate this extra little bit of work - thank you so much!

Suz - yup, slim shorts are likely the way to go. Soft denim bermudas I guess, and I will pay attention to finding alternative to baggy t-shirts, which have never done a favour to anyone's body, now that i think about it, slim or not-slim. Ugh. Someone come and just find me some clothes and don't make me go into a store.

I wear bicycle-style shorts under most dresses in the summer. It's comfortable (no thigh chafing) and if I find myself digging up a weed in the garden or something, I know I am covered. I think a light cotton dress and bike shorts is really the most comfortable outfit on a hot humid Toronto day!
I'm not entirely clear if you want to look/feel fab on your casual days or are more looking for comfort - or both. Personally, I don't wear shorts. Just went away to Mexico with 30+ daytime temps and didn't bring a single pair. I do wear cropped light weight pants as my shorts. The last couple of years they came from Joe Fresh and were drawstring bottomed, in cotton or linen. They are not super fab but I have come up with decent outfits when it was very hot and I had a casual outing where I wanted to look put-together. I'm not really tucking much either these days either, I feel you, but a loose linen tee can be casually semi-tucked into loose pants to create some curves that break up blockiness, sort of like this:
Add a necklace and nice shoes and for me it's backyard bbq appropriate when the weather is truly sweltering.

"I had no idea everyone wore dresses for casual in summer. I do, but only for "good" casual - like going for groceries, a haircut , out for lunch etc. Do you all seriously wear dresses for hanging around the yard and house?"

THIS. Last summer, I learned that dresses work really well for me for errands or a lunch out or a museum outing. For a normal day, when I'm living sort of an indoor/outdoor life, tooling around in the garden, going for a walk, working in the house, playing frisbee, cooking on the grill, etc... it just doesn't work.

I've been enjoying joggers for work-at-home days this winter, so I was thinking maybe linen joggers and a knit tank with some structure. I really don't enjoy wearing shorts, because cellulite. We'll see.

Hi Lisa

I can sympathize with you. When summer is the shorter season where you live, going without a third piece and heavier knit fabrics can feel odd.

Our weather sucks and it's already summer here (29-30deg c) so I do have to think about Summer Dressing more than I'd like to. I remember some of your WIWs and you looked pretty good! If long over lean is what you like, nothing beats drapey jersey or woven tunics worn over cropped leggings. It's 100% comfy and breathable and looks quite pulled together without much effort. You do have a stunning collection of jewelry - any piece from there would work. I'll attach an old pic of mine here.

Another look I completely love for everyday casual wear that is very very comfy but looks better than shorts-and-tee is an interesting hip length tunic over shorts. For some reason, I find this combo works better for my body as it doesn't show all lumps and bumps....its breezy and fresh. I'll attach some pics

And then - nothing beats dresses. I wear a lot of knitted dresses. They feel like you're wearing a tshirt but look much more pulled together. A necklace and some pretty flat sandals (or just metallic ones) are all you need to complete the look.

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Wow! I could have written this...and if I'd been online earlier today I would have replied so fast. These are my woes to the word! I'm favoriting this thread to come back to because unfortunately I'm still rushing. I love my cold weather clothes so much I just really dread the coming heat.

Well, first because I hate to be hot. Hate. And seriously, who can look nice when you are sweating and sinking. Yuck, But also because of everything you mention style wise. I was analyzing what I love about my scarves and wondering how I could bring that element into summer and it came down to: drapey, covering my torso, and adding lots of print and color interest. I have been hoping to find a summer equivalent...drapey, printed, colorful gauzy tops of some sort. Who knows if I will find them, but it is the seed of an idea at least. And I will look over the suggestions here when I have some time.

And cool, I got an Angie wave! Yep, Lisa, we are jewelry and makeup fiends together!

I dread summer dressing too. I'm following this thread with great interest! Likely I'll be alternating Zella capris or a knee length linen skirt with woven tanks a lot. I've realized I really don't feel fab in tee shirts; if I can I'll be adding woven tops and tanks this year.

Summers here are hot and arid (Sacramento valley) but I'm petite and don't like dresses except for dress-up, NEVER casual wear, even with bike shorts beneath them. What has saved me the past 2 summers was 1. an off-black linen slouchy pant with pockets, looks good even wrinkled at the end of the day, and 2. Lucy Get Going slouchy cropped tech pant with generous pockets (both good with puppies and dog treats). Loose natural linen color shorts help too. Dark linen tops are easy to wear for summer and conceal most canine and coffee shop transgressions. Boho belts give the feel of a third piece, thus 'dressed' and highlight my waist. I bought more strappy sandals, which helped with color and interest. Featherweight sizable earrings in leopard and colors are good to wear when it's too hot to wear anything.

Some tech gear is really good for sun control when walking in hot weather. I wear an Ex-Officio Sol shirt for walking the puppies so I'm not sticky with sunblock. And a hat of course.

I do errands by car and it gets a thousand degrees when parked. Long pants and long skirts save my legs from burning hot car seats. I'd never make it in a short summer dress!

Whoa! I need to read this thread very carefully and I am not quite awake enough yet. But I don't dread summer dressing (and summer here is about 7 months, some of it extremely hot). I wear bermuda length shorts of various styles, I always try to blur my mid-section. I will look and see what I actually wear later.

A lot of good advice in this thread, thanks for starting it.

I don't like above the knee shorts on me (spider veins), or baggy shorts unless they are going to be really light and flowy (i.e. hang straight down and don't poof to the sides). I have 2 pairs of 'shorts' for summer -- cut off and rolled up just above the knee dark denim skinnies, and these attached pants.

If I'm trying to look particularly pulled together while wearing shorts I try for a column of color or a tonal close match with the top (not different colored separates unless the top is an interesting shape).

I try to wear really intentional shoes and a clutch, cross-body, or fashion backpack. I actually don't wear t-shirts much at all unless I'm literally gardening or hiking, I look for woven tops with asymmetrical or longer hems, or alternately that are cropped at the flattering part of the waist.