How To Dress For A Hot Summer Day

Welcome to The Scarlet Lily! I’m Kristin and I create all the content you see here. As a 49 year old my goal is to keep blooming in this stage of life, and I want to encourage you to do the same! If you would like to know a little bit more about me, you might want to visit the “about me” page. I live in South Carolina and the heat and humidity have already announced their presence. Summers are long and hot here, but no matter where you happen to live, you will no doubt be dealing with some summer heat. I would like to offer some tips on how to dress for a hot summer day. So, here we go!

Pick The Right Fabrics

When dressing for a hot summer day, picking the right fabrics is going to be very important. Popular fabrics such as linen, eyelet, and sear sucker continue to show up every year because they are cooler. Basically you will want to stick with cotton and organic fabrics that are breathable, and stay away from polyester or synthetic fabrics, which tend to trap heat.

Let’s talk a moment about linen. Linen is a light and breathable fabric, but you have to expect that it will wrinkle easily and that can be frustrating. If having wrinkles in your clothes bothers you, or you just hate to iron, then you probably want to stay away from linen. Here are some good options for linen pants.

Eyelet is one of my favorites fabrics for summer. It has a very feminine look to it, and it also keeps you cool simply by the nature of the detail of the eyelet itself. Air can easily flow and you are less likely to trap body heat.

White Eyelet Dress from Loft

Also keep in mind that some cotton dresses have polyester lining in them, so you will want to avoid that in order to stay cool.

Denim shorts are popular in the summer, but in terms of keeping you cool, a cotton or linen blend short will be a better choice.

Consider The Fit

To stay cool in hot weather, the fit of your clothing is also important. Flowy, loose fitting garments will be more comfortable than form fitting pieces. I love to wear dresses in the summer because they are so much cooler and more comfortable than pants or shorts. I also like to wear dresses if I will be traveling or sitting for long periods of time.

Smocked Sundress from Loft

Maxi dresses, swing dresses, and midi styles are all good options for hot summer days.

When choosing shorts, look for a loose style that encourages air flow. This is a great opportunity to try the paper bag high waisted styles that are trending right now.

Floral Shorts from Loft

If you don’t like to wear shorts, consider a linen jogger or utility style pant instead of jeans.

Utility Pants from Old Navy

Style Tip:

There is a difference between ankle length and capri length. For the most flattering look, stay away from any pant that hits mid calve. They cut you off at the worst possible area, and will make your legs look shorter. I know many women like to wear capri pants in the summer, but please don’t make that mistake! Consider some ankle length pants instead. Let me show you the difference.


Another way to dress for hot summer day is to wear lighter colors. White or pastels will not absorb heat like navy, black , or darker colors. Pastels will look better if you wear a shade that matches your skin tone. For example, blush pinks have warm undertones, and lavender has cool undertones. I love both colors, but I look much better in cooler colors.

Choose The Right Shoes

When dressing for hot weather, don’t forget to choose the right shoes. A 90 degree day is not the best time for leather sneakers. Leather fashion sneakers are very on trend, but save these for a milder day. Instead, stick with an open toed shoe or sandal.

If you want to wear sneakers or athletic shoes, choose a breathable fabric. I enjoy these simple slip on canvas sneakers by Time and Tru when my outfit calls for sneakers.

Hats and Handbags

Wearing a light straw hat to protect your skin is a great idea. Also, don’t forget to wear sunscreen every single day! If you wear a hat, be careful not to wear a style that traps heat. As we all know, we lose most of our body heat from our head. This is why we wear a warm hat in the winter. Baseball caps or other heavier fabrics will trap the heat, making you more uncomfortable.

When dressing to stay cool, your handbag may not come to mind, but it can make a difference. Try carrying a bag that is lighter, such as canvas or straw. You will want to avoid a heavier leather tote bag. I lightweight crossbody bag is also a good option for a hot day.


Last but not least, when dressing for hot summer day choosing the right undergarments is so important! Summer can be down right miserable if you experience hot flashes. Having the coolest type of undergarments can make the heat a little more bearable.


Again, consider the fabric. Avoid bras that have polyester or lace. Choose a bra with very little lining or padding and as thin a fabric as you are able to wear. Nothing is worse than having a big pool of sweat around the band of your bra!

A simple cotton sports bra is the most comfortable option for a super hot day, but not everyone is going to feel confident wearing this. It really depends on your body type.

Soma is my go to retailer for bras. They just get it! I have rounded up a few wireless styles that offer maximum comfort without extra bulk or heavy padding.

The fruit of the loom sports bras from Walmart are great for lounging around the house.


Cool undies are essential on a hot summer day. Cotton is your friend! Try to avoid polyester or nylon. Style will vary greatly based on personal preference. Here are some suggestions for panties that will help keep you cool.

The two examples on the left are the Travelers Briefs from Soma. According to Soma’s website, they are indulgently comfortable and softer than cotton. They are designed especially with traveling in mind and offer a simple design to keep you cool and comfy.

The pair in the right is the Embraceable Super Soft High Leg Brief, also from Soma. I personally have several pair of these and I highly recommend them. All of the above styles come in multiple prints and colors.

I hope these tips for how to dress on a hot summer day make this year a little more comfortable for you. If all else fails, this cute little handheld fan will give you a nice cool breeze!

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