Ugh, it is really summer now and I’m on the east coast. So there is no way to avoid the upper arm dilemma. You know what I mean – the wiggly underside of the upper arm and its companion creepy, crepey arm wrinkles. We all know that, at a certain point, it doesn’t matter how many arm exercises we do, our older upper arms will betray us. There is a plastic surgery procedure to trim off the wiggly underside, but NOTHING will hold back the wrinkles.
So, while everyone else – i.e. the young – is wearing sleeveless tops and dresses in the hot weather, those of us with the upper arm dilemma have to scrutinize our appearance even in short sleeved tees.
What are we to do?
Embrace the elbow length sleeve – look for light gauzy tops with loose, flowy elbow length sleeves, for example, or elbow length tee shirts.
Throw a light jacket or scarf (kimonos are great!) over bare arms and shoulders whenever you can.
Draw the eye away from your upper arms – wear lots of jewelry, a snazzy belt, fabulous shoes or a low-cut top.
Be grateful for our overly-effective air conditioning because it means that a light sweater or jacket is almost mandatory when we’re indoors.
Suffer this indignity through the worst of the hot weather and celebrate when fall comes around and we can wear long sleeves again.
Check out the tops selected below. All are examples of chic tops we can wear during the hot summer months and avoid exposing our upper arms.
Well, first let me say that I’ll never look like any of these women in hot weather.
I’ll be spending five or six weeks between Washington, DC and Knoxville, TN this month and next. I grew up in the humid hot muck that is the east coast in summer so I am not a newbie. But I haven’t been in that weather for an extended period since the days when I wore lots of shorts, sleeveless tops, and cute little sundresses.
I’ve been developing the criteria for my hot-weather wardrobe knowing that I have to fit everything into a 22″ roller bag and a smaller carry-on bag and my trip won’t involve any “dress up” occasions. I, of course, want to take all my favorite cute clothes but there is no way I’ll be able to do that. Here are my guidelines:
Four pairs of comfortable pants – no tight skinny jeans which will just be too hot. But here I’m talking chinos like these:
One pair of cropped flared jeans and one pair of denim midi culottes so I can get my “trendy” on.
Six tees – two long sleeved (good for wearing over exercise clothes to gym) – given my proclivities these will probably be striped or white.
Two dressier tops – I just bought this, for example:
One button front midi dress or a long vest – I can wear the former as a dress, a tunic over pants, and as a duster.
One skirt – probably my Shoptiques version of this one because I love it so much and it screams summer:
One long sleeved crisp white shirt
Outerwear – my light apple green Eileen Fisher anorak
Two sweaters – undecided here but one will be black
Three sets of exercise clothes
I cannot even think about shoes (could take up 50% of my available space!), jewelry, or other accessories – I’ll report back on that next week! What have I missed here? What tips do you have for hot weather packing?
Check out these beautiful on-sale hot weather clothes from Banana Republic and H&M!
I deliberately saved this outfit to wear AFTER Labor Day to support the concept that we CAN wear summer white in early fall. Maybe the shoes aren’t going to work for you in cooler climes, but the rest of this outfit will.
The most wondrous part of this ensemble is my new kimono which would look equally smashing with a black turtleneck and black trousers – or even a wintry sweater dress, right? It is always a good idea to seek out pieces like this – perfect and floaty for summer and just as fabulous in fall and winter.
I am a walking Zara Sale ad today! These culottes were SO cheap – why didn’t anyone want them? Same for the belt. I KNEW Zara would bring out a frayed denim shirt if I were just patient – and here it is!
I am a real culottes fan, even in the years when they weren’t in style. What’s the difference between a culotte and wide leg cropped pants, I ask you?
Back to Zara – you may think Zara is too hip/young/whatever for you. I say check them out. It’s a great spot for buying into a trend without a huge investment.
I know I’m skating on the edge of summer dressing and, yikes, it’s Labor Day weekend! But maxi skirts are so flattering and useful that I cannot resist!
Wherever you are, there will be some more HOT days – we used to call them Indian Summer days – and you will be looking for an outfit that keeps you warm in the early morning and cools you off midday. Hello, maxi skirt! You can trade in sandals for ballet slippers or even open toed booties and you will look fashionable and seasonally appropriate.
This is my final style challenge of the summer and perhaps it is one that I shouldn’t even be considering. Among the good features that I (still!) like to play up are my shoulders. So naturally I adore the off-the-shoulder blouses that abound this summer. But…
Unfortunately I think this style fits into the category of items I could still wear, but shouldn’t. It is an inherently young look — in the same category as miniskirts and crop tops. And then there are the off the shoulder tops that are crop tops! NOOOOOOO!
I don’t want to “dress my age” necessarily, but I also need to know where to draw the line. Yes, my shoulders look pretty good, but that doesn’t mean I’ll look good in a style that basically bares the upper third of my torso. So I’m giving up on this one – and just in time since it is almost Labor Day!
There are some modifications/variations of the off-the-shoulder top that we all might consider however – the one shoulder look, a top with strategic arm and shoulder cutouts and an exaggerated boat neck which bares the very top of the shoulder. Take a look at these!
I was all over the jumpsuit/rompers trend when they first came out. I bought three of them and you’ve seen them here: a Zara olive green from last summer, a khaki number from H&M that cost $30 and a chambray version from Loft that I got on eBay. I was happy, proud even that I had mastered the jumpsuit trend.
Then I wore my jumpsuits…and I learned what a fashion disaster they really were! Just try to run quickly to the ladies room! Sporty jumpsuits (the kind I have) require sporty accessories – wide belts, scarves, you name it. It took ten minutes to undress and redress in the ladies room. This is impractical fashion! I’ll wear mine again but not without gritting my teeth every time I must take a bathroom break. And, I’ll add, jumpsuits and rompers have to be perfectly proportioned to be comfortable; otherwise you will feel like you are being cut in half.
Jumpsuits are certainly age-appropriate but be warned: there is extra work involved!!! You might want to focus on strapless versions with the fewest fasteners and buttons. However rompers, in my opinion, are a non-starter – barely appropriate for anyone beyond the toddler age – usually too short overall or in the crotch. If you MUST wear a romper, test it before you buy – is the leg too wide to be modest? Can you bend over without showing half your lady bits?
OK, OK, I admit that there are a lot of cute jumpsuits and rompers around (not surprising, right?). Here are a few for you to peruse. Just remember forewarned is forearmed!
This is one of my favorite fabrics – whether used for interior decoration or clothing decoration.
Let’s go to Wikipedia for a good definition: “Toile de Jouy”, sometimes abbreviated to simply “Toile”, is a type of decorating pattern consisting of a white or off-white background on which a repeated pattern depicting a fairly complex scene, generally of a pastoral theme such as a couple having a picnic by a lake or an arrangement of flowers. The term, Toile de Jouy, originated in France in the late 18th century. In the French language, the phrase literally means “cloth from Jouy-en-Josas”, a town in the south-west suburbs of Paris. There you have it!
Putting aside the fact that I once had a bedroom where the wallpaper, bed linens, AND curtains were all the same black and white Toile, I am weak in the knees every time I see Toile clothing. To be fair, its hard to find and most often seen in couture gowns if at all. Here are a few of my favorites at the moment:
Let me be perfectly clear: I have NEVER liked fringe. Perhaps that is one of the reasons I was never even on the “fringe” of hippiedom. It always looks to me like a little Davy Crockett, Roaring 20’s and 1960’s protest to me. But this past spring, I was briefly seduced by a simple black sleeveless top with 3 inches of silky fringe at the bottom. I mean it was J. Crew for Pete’s sake! Darling, I thought, with boyfriend jeans or a pencil skirt or with a simple white tee underneath. Since then I have pulled it out of my closet AT LEAST ten times and I have worn it exactly 0 times. Why, you ask?
1. Fringe does not lend itself to a shapely silhouette – unless you want to wear a fringed pencil skirt (I can barely type that because it sounds so awful)
2. Fringe rarely adds anything to the item it decorates – sandals, boots, handbags, scarves ( except maybe the wool scarf you wore last winter), kimonos, suede jackets, earrings. It gets tangled, dirty, etc. And tying beads at the end of the fringe does NOT help!
3. 99.9% of the time fringe looks, well, cheap. I’ve seen a very few couture items that looked good with fringe. See a few of them here:
This dress is from last summer, when I was determined to dress it up with a wide belt and even a jacket. Now I’ve discovered that I was going about styling this dress all wrong! This is meant to be a cool, effortless summer shift – no belt, no overworked styling. I love it with this almost transparent sweater – perfect cool neutrals for summer.
When I had everything on, I realized that the only shoes that would do were my new Seychelles animal print sandals. The closest I’ll ever get to style perfection!