classic style in hot climates

How to Wear Classic Style in Hot Climates

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post by Katie Runyan

As a lifelong native of Alabama, I know a thing or two about sweltering climates. With the weather beginning to heat up, maintaining a classic style isn’t always easy. It’s sometimes very tempting to forgo all attempts at looking fashionable and opt for a comfy pair of running shorts and an oversized t-shirt. However, with the right wardrobe staples at hand, creating timeless looks that are both comfortable and stylish can be more simple than you might think. In this post, I’ll be teaching you everything you’ll need to know about how to wear classic style in hot or tropical climates.

Fabric Choice

The single most important detail I look for in all my clothing (especially for the warmer months) is the fabric content. I look for fabrics that are going to be lightweight, breathable, and comfortable.

Generally, this means natural materials like cotton, linen, silk, and even lightweight cashmere for spring and summer evenings. These fabrics are unmatched in quality and comfort, while providing great breathability. On particularly hot days, I try to avoid synthetic fabrics, as they’re less likely to be breathable.

Breezy Styles

The next item on my checklist for dressing stylishly and comfortably in hot weather is a nice, breezy silhouette. The last thing you want in the sweltering heat are skin-tight garments that offer little movement or breathability. Some of the best choice for a classic look are flowy sundresses and skirts, linen shorts, two-piece sets, midi skirts, and loose button-downs.

One other go-to item in my own wardrobe is a great pair of high-waisted palazzo pants. Not only do they keep me cool, but the fitted waistband and voluminous wide legs create a polished and flattering look for almost every figure.

Light Colors

When thinking about how to wear classic style in hot climates, light colors are going to be your go-to. Light and bright colors bounce sunlight instead of absorbing it, making them much cooler for those balmy days.

For me, this means white, cream, nude, tan, brown, and soft gray with plenty of pastels mixed in. Some black accents are fine to work into your look, but I would steer clear of a head-to-toe, or even mostly black look to avoid melting in the hot sun.

Comfortable, Breathable Shoes

I’m here to tell you that the only thing worse than an uncomfortable pair of shoes is an uncomfortable pair of shoes in hot climates! In more tropical climates, the excessive humidity can cause your shoes to slip and slide more than usual, resulting in painful blisters.

For this reason, you may want to ditch your boots and classic pumps for a more open style. Some great classic options are leather sandals, mules, heeled sandals, and lightweight, breathable sneakers.

Go Monochrome

No matter what your style is, wearing a monochrome look is one of the easiest ways to create a modern and sleek look. One of the easiest colors to use for this style is white, since you don’t have to worry as much about finding just the right shade of a particular color.

It’s also sure to keep you extra cool on those particularly hot days. If a full monochrome look is a bit too bold for you, you can also go for a look that uses just one color family, like neutrals.

Related: Summer Outfit Ideas for the Person Who Loves Classic Style

Dress Up Comfortable Basics

One of the best ways to get the best of both worlds in terms of comfort and style is to elevate your casual, comfortable wardrobe staples. This such an effective and easy way to pull off a chic, timeless, and classic style, even on those 90° days. Here are a few of my favorite outfit combos that breathe elegance into these casual pieces:

Cutoff denim shorts – I love to pair my cutoff shorts with a French-tucked silky white button down, belt, nude heeled sandals, and gold jewelry. The combination of casual and polished is a great juxtaposition that’s super stylish.

Oversized t-shirt – There’s no getting around it; there’s probably nothing more comfortable than a slouchy oversized t-shirt. Thankfully, this basic can be elevated in many ways! Try tucking your graphic tee into a breezy maxi skirt for an extra pop of interest to a neutral look.

Plain spaghetti-strap tank – The classic spaghetti-strap tank or camisole is an item almost every woman owns. Fortunately, it’s also the perfect layering piece for many classic hot weather outfits. One simple way to wear this piece is with a pair of high-waisted wide-leg pants and a pair of strappy heels. One of my personal go-to looks is a white camisole, neutral wide-leg pants, and a bold red lip.

Extra Tips

In addition to these tips, there are a few extra point to consider when dressing for hot whether. Whether you live in a hot climate or are jet-setting to a tropical destination, you’ll want to be thoroughly prepared. These are some extra tips you may want to keep in mind in order to beat the heat and make the most of your look.

Invest in a steamer – One of the few downsides to wearing natural fabrics like linen and cotton is that they are very prone to wrinkles. For this reason, I always have my steamer handy to smooth things out. This small step will go a long way in creating a chic and streamlined appearance.

Sun protection is a must! – The sun in hot climate is no laughing matter. It’s important to take as many precautions as possible to protect your skin from the rays. This includes sunglasses, hats, lightweight scarves, and plenty of SPF.

Use accessories to add a pop to your look – If you can’t live without your bold or deeper colors, working them into your look via accessories is a great way to spice up an outfit without it being too hot.

Getting dressed on hot spring or summer days used to be a nightmare for me, but by following these tips, wearing a classic style in hot climates has never been easier! As long as you remember to focus on comfy fabrics, loose, silhouettes, and lighter colors, you’ll be on your way to pulling of a chic warm-weather look just in time for your next vacation.

Up Next: 7 Easy to Copy Classic Summer Outfits

classic style in hot climates


Founder and editor of My Chic Obsession, Carolyn is your trusted fashion maven. Carolyn's drive to help others achieve a classic and timeless wardrobe fuels her posts, making a go-to resource for style seekers worldwide. Beyond the wardrobe, she resides in the heartland of the Midwest, dreaming up new ideas and raising her two lively boys - her biggest fashion critics.