How To Stay Stylish in Clothing Melting Heat

While cataclysm of Waterworld-esque proportions keeps happening in other parts of the country, here in Austin, Texas we’ve been as bone dry as two teenagers humping after marching band practice. It’s also been a cool 104 degrees with a steady 90% humidity AT ALL TIMES. These two facts combined together make day-to-day living extremely difficult. Being from New York, my body can’t handle such zenith. Our bodies are predestined to be weak, capable of only handling such weather-related hardship as translucent skin and Eddie Bauer fashion. When my native New Yorker father visited me in Austin this weekend and ran across the molten blacktop barefooted, I saw his feet explode into an awesome ray of light while native Texans idly strolled by. I’m convinced that Texans are part of their own tribe, capable of withstanding extreme temperatures and skinning squirrels with their eyesight.

I am three years into living in Texas and I’m still sufficiently stunned when the summer approaches. I cry each year that the weather is as horrifying as last and I’m convinced that we are turning into the Twilight Zone episode where the Earth is moving closer to the Sun. I’m also pretty sure that we’re turning into that Twilight Zone episode where most of our neighbors are being controlled by aliens, but that is a discussion for a future post…

What I dislike most about Texas summers is the inability to dress fashionably. Summer dresses and floral patterns aren’t my bag. I grew up in the land where you layered yourself into an indistinguishable ball of wool; a Cousin It hobbling from house to work back to the house without ever showing more than your glazed over eyes and hot pink nose. Scarves, cardigans, and hats are what I feel most comfortable with, along with clothing colors named after root vegetables. We Northeasterners love to dress like French foreign exchange students.

My style typically looks like this photo below. Do you know what would happen if I wore this outfit in Austin, Texas in July? Do you? DO YOU? I would most likely turn into a star and shoot out into the universe, that is how hot I would be.

Though thin, I’ve never been a skinny girl, so common Austin summer wardrobe such as florescent hot shorts, jumpers, and mini skirts are not preferred. I partook in a lot of sports as a child so my legs have more muscle-cum-loose-muscle than I care for. In fact, I’m having a sale on Lauren muscle, so if anyone needs some, I’m selling it for $5 a bundle. Feeling fashionable in Austin has been difficult and after trying on a bunch of 90’s flower dresses last night at a thrift store and becoming discouraged, I was very close to throwing in the towel and proclaiming my summer fashion as over-sized t-shirts and no pants.

But instead I decided to take this on as a challenge. To make sure I have summer fashion that is “a symbol of my individuality and belief in personal freedom.”  I will find my Texas summer fashion and own it. Here are some tips I’m telling myself to keep on track…

1.) Incorporate a bathing suit into your dailywear– This is what they do at American Apparel and I understand why. I have the Nylon Tricot Hooded Swimsuit below and I’m thinking of just wearing it with jeans. Of course there is an excessive amount of side boob, but isn’t there a rule that in the summer that the side o’ boob can peak out? Also, people will think you’re a sassy Darth Maul when wearing this.

Also, I think one can get away with the American Apparel halter one-piece. I’m a favorite of this bathing suit. It has a Marilyn Monroe feel to it. Didn’t you know that Marilyn was a fan of the Amer Appy?

2.) Maxi dresses– I’ve decided that the only dresses I’m going to wear this summer are maxi dresses. They’re flattering for all body types, are typically nice and breezy, and can be very elegant. They’re sexy around the neckline and give the illusion that you’re much taller than you actually are. Yesterday I went and bought this dress made from the sweat of tiny hands at Forever 21.

3.) T-shirt dresses– Ok, I lied. I’m going to wear maxi dresses AND t-shirt dresses this summer. T-shirt dresses don’t sound sexy, but does THIS look sexy?

Huh? HUH?
Oh, it isn’t, you say?
Well, that’s embarrassing…
I’m a big fan of the Slummy T-Dress from Alternative Apparel- whose clothing is not made from the sweat of tiny hands.

4.) Wear sunglasses that are more interesting than your face or anything that you’re wearing– I have a pair of sunglasses that I love. Strangers dig them, but my family and friends secretly want to sit on them and fart them into oblivion. If they did, I would beat them senseless. They are a little ridiculous, but they have a retro quality I like. Someone once said that my glasses make me look like a cross between Woody Allen and Grace Kelly. I’ll f’ing take that.

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  • Reply Cathy Benavides June 23, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    I feel your pain! I love wearing sheath dresses, cardigans and belts which would cause me to erupt in oceans if sweat if I wore that right now. If you ever want some shopping help, I am here for you. Personal shopping is one of my specialties 🙂

  • Reply KeLLy aNN June 23, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    The Marilyn bathing suit and maxi dresses…yep, that would be my summer wardrobe. I could do my yard work in the bathing suit, looking stylish AND tanned!

  • Reply dancekid June 23, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    fashion really can be extremely stressful, but i must say that you pulled it off quite well.

  • Reply Big Mark 243 June 23, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    … Uh, I haven't found any dresses that I thought I looked good in since I was 5 and still undecided as to whether I was going to be a little boy or a little girl. But I did like the Maxi-dress and I bet it looks great on you.

  • Reply One Blonde Girl June 23, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    And now imagine you're 32 weeks pregnant and trying to get dressed during the summer. Welcome to my world (granted, Virginia weather isn't Texas weather, but we've been in the upper 90s, and I'm pretty sure being this pregnant makes the temps feel like they're in the 100s). I'm beginning to see the appeal of the mou-mou, although a maxi dress is probably a better alternative. I'm also not opposed to lounging around the house in my underwear all summer, but for obvious reasons, that attire won't fly in public.

  • Reply Julia Yvette June 23, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    People in mild climates have fashion so easy!

    I feel like Forever 21 must be more sweat-shoppy than others with prices like theirs. I suspect that about all the major clothing companies all about the same just this side of not-quite a sweat shop (expect for the American Apparel/Alternative Apparel, which are just made my moderately sweaty illegal immigrants in LA with a lecherous CEO), But unless I have the integrity to wear only body suits from American Apparel (as a plus size girl that doesn't seem fair to the world), or learn to sew at a professional level, we learn to get over our values when it comes to dressing.

  • Reply Mrs. Miller June 23, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    i love the swimsuit idea! this year i've decided to wear mostly maxi dresses, it's made the dry, scorching, windy lubbock summer a little more bearable. I did learn a valuable lesson while in Austin recently, jeggings and heat are non-mixy.

  • Reply Hipstercrite June 23, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    @Cathy- I looooove cardigans. They're my number one favorite thing. The only nice thing is that I can wear them in blasting air conditioning! I'd love to go shopping with you sometime, girl! When I have some extra spending money, I'll give you a shout!

    @Kelly Ann- I love that halter bathing suit from American Apparel. It's super classy! There is a store in New Orleans!

    @Dancekid- Aww….thank you!

    @Mark-I'd try the maxi dress for you too.

    @One Blonde Girl- Ugh. I can't even imagine. If I ever become pregnant, I have to move someplace else for a bit. I would die here in Austin. Virginia is so lovely though! Miss the Blue Ridge Mountains! Good luck, girl!

    @Julia- Very few clothing lines are socially responsible. I try to stick with American Apparel and Alternative Apparel b/c of their values. It's hard when you're poor though. I buy a lot of thrift stuff too.

    @Mrs. Miller- Oh God! I can't imagine wearing jeggings right now.

  • Reply Jill June 23, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    You look cute in your sunglasses! I must say that for the longest time, I thought that you were the girl in the header of your blog lol.
    I am loving dresses more this summer than ever before. Probably because my work hardly ever has AC on and if I wear dress pants or capris, I sweat so much that it basically looks like I peed my pants lol.

  • Reply Hipstercrite June 23, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    @Jill- Thanks, Jill! I love those sunglasses like a baby. They're falling apart and all taped up too! That is me in the header! I change my hair color a lot. I also am told I look different in every pic! Your work has no AC?!

  • Reply Tim June 23, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    The two things I've had to learn about dealing with the heat are:

    1) Other people are as sweaty as you.
    2) The reason Texans talk slowly is because it helps from overheating. Move slowly. Slow your pace. Talk slower. I take longer to mow the lawn now, but I don't combust.
    3) Long sleeves are not your enemy. If you look at cowboys they are almost always depicted wearing long sleeves and jeans. As counter-intuitive as it is shielding your skin from the sun is often cooler than wearing shorts and a tank top. But you do have to be a little more baggy with this style of clothing.

  • Reply Not who I will be June 23, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    This post is hilarious and amazingly well written. Being a New Yorker myself I totally understand the layered look and when I go down south to visit family or friends I am left in the same predicament as you.

    Brilliantly said!

  • Reply smedette June 23, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Yeah, the heat/humidity in NC right now is just about making me homicidal.

    Loved this post; one of your funniest.

  • Reply carissajade June 23, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Ah good stuff. My tactics for staying cool in Texas include staying inside 2 feet away from a fan or staying in the water. When I have to be outside and on land, I I definitely like to sport the bathing suit.

    I love Maxi dresses. LOVE. But I'm too short to pull it off. I have been searching high and low for a dress that I don't have to alter. I suppose I should learn how to sew.

  • Reply Jeanne June 23, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    I hate summer in Texas. I'm from Chicago, and we love bundling up and wearing a lot of black. I've been in Ft. Worth for 11 years, and each summer is worse than the one before. 106? Really?

    I'm only 5'3" so I can't wear a maxi dress because they extend about 5 inches over my toes (I wish I could though, so CUTE)! I do find spending a lot of time next to the pool in a tiny bikini very rewarding. Although the constant slathering of spf 100 will probably do something nasty to me someday.

    Only like 3 more months of 100 plus degrees!

  • Reply Lauramc June 23, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    I will be in Austin next week and I have vowed to pack nothing but sundresses and shorts. I'm forfeiting insecurities for the luxury of not melting. Its gonna be great.

  • Reply Adria June 23, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    This post is HILARIOUS! I was sweating just reading it.

    Moving from sticky, sweaty, dirty, hot, underground tunnels in NYC to Los Angeles was the best idea ever. I'm still baffled that it's not hot in the shade when its so hot in the sun.

    Sorry, not trying to brag, but this is the first time in my life I don't have to shellac my hair to my head when I leave the house in the summer.

    I am going to the Carribbean next week, though, so I guess I should pack the heavy duty hair products, and a unitard or two.

  • Reply tennysoneehemingway June 24, 2011 at 2:53 am

    I LOVE that maxi dress. Need to get one for Lady Hem.

  • Reply Lindsey June 24, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Oh dear Jeezus Albuquerque is the same way…hot, smoky (thank you, Arizona) and miserable. Thanks so much for this and yes the Maxi-dress is a def win-win.

  • Reply Brooke Farmer June 26, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    The t-shirt dress is hot.

    I spend all summer in L.A. in sun dresses and skirts. I never put on pants. And L.A. isn't anywhere near as hot as Austin (except for that freakishly hot September day last year making a new record high for DTLA of 117… IN SEPTEMBER!)

  • Reply laurenne June 27, 2011 at 6:11 am

    I love side boobs, but why the hood on a bathing suit? To swim incognito? I don't get it.
    I mean, I'm sure it's hot, but I don't get it.

  • Reply Claire M. June 28, 2011 at 4:22 am

    I love the outfits!

  • Reply smithmott July 16, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    Hey. Just found your blog while looking for the best Thrift Stores in Austin. I read this post when I sat back down to Google reader a few hours later after running errands in North Austin.

    I was still bewildered by something I saw on my trip, when your post on how to dress when it's +/- 2,347 degrees outside. So here's what I'm still shaking my head about: we went to look for a mandolin strap at the north Guitar Center. As we left, I looked down, and the chick that stands by the door to make sure you are not stealing anything? She had a tiny, portable space heater pointed at her, to keep her warm foyer between the normal temperature store and the 112 degree midday outside. What the what….?

  • Reply Tiffany July 18, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    I'm really digging the hooded bathing suit. I just moved down to Texas myself from Michigan, and this summer so far is just godawful. I never thought I would miss cold climates so much (especially since I can't stand the snow), but after all of the humidity and never-ending heat, I'm ready to run away back north screaming at the top of my lungs.

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