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Spring and Summer

GailAnn | Posted in General Discussion on

Hi Ladies: 

I understand in New York City this week designers are busy showing off thier Spring and Summer 2008 fashions.  Just last Sunday I wore the first wool skirt of my 2007 Fall season.   It got me to thinking though.

I grew up in Michigan and Wisconsin.  Summer was pretty much 2 weeks of shorts and tennis shoes, with a sweatshirt kept handy.   I’ve moved to Missouri and I’d really like to get used to the Summer weather here.  So maybe I should take a lesson form those folks in NYC and start to think about next Summer NOW!

For all of you ladies of the South, here is my question:  How do you manage to dress to remain cool and ladylike, in opressive heat and humidity?

You have read my posts before as I’ve written about my intention to stop looking like a ragamuffin THIS YEAR.  That means Summer too………

So I’d appreciate a few wardrobe suggestions for neatness and appropriateness, in Summer, at home, at work, at the neighbors, with the family, with friends, for a picnic, shopping, travel, and that all important July wedding in the UNair-conditioned church.

Thanks, Gail


  1. User avater
    Becky-book | | #1

    From the south suburbs of Atlanta...
    make yourself a well fitting SILK full slip, no more nylon next to your skin.
    and by well fitted I mean not too tight, your skin needs room to breath. I think Vogue carries a pattern similar to the ancient one I have. V2745 has a slip included with the dress pattern. (I don't like the dress, but the slip looks good). I modified my pattern to make 3 panels in front and 3 in back so I could add width for hips w/o making the top too wide. My next slip experiment is with rayon, for comparison.

    Once you have your slip (or 2), replace every piece of your wardrobe that is not a natural fiber!starting with tops! Polyester makes me very uncomfortable!

    Find (and wear) a straw hat that compliments your face, as much brim as you can get away with!! Keep the sun off your head and face!

    There is a start for you to think about!


    1. GailAnn | | #3

      Thanks Miss Becky!

      I'd all but forgotten, it must be about 20 years, ago now.  Once upon a time (3 or 4 sizes ago) I did have 2 silk slips!   I bought them at an estate auction.  They were all HAND MADE, every sitich, fitted at the bust, with each panel cut on the bias.  One was off-white, the other peach.  I'd hate to even think what they might have cost new!  Yes, I wore them, and wore them, and wore them. until they were worn completely out!   As I recall they not only felt lovely, but made everything else I wore look exponentially better. 

      You made me think about that particular auction.  The slips were the only things I bought.  It was the estate of twin sisters.  All the clothes, and they WERE beautiful,  were HAND made, I mean "on the fingers", not by machine.   Coats, dresses, gowns, suits, aprons, underwear, 2 entire wardrobes.  I think it may have been the sum total of all the clothes these sisters ever had! There were even children's clothes (2 sets of each) with doll clothes to match!  2 dolls and "well loved" doll accessories, clothes trunk and doll closet.  The sale was here in Missouri, but if I'm remembering correctly the sisters were from somewhere out in Kansas, and "they said" the clothes were all made, to order, for them, in New York.  Sure wish I could go back to that auction today, knowing what I know now, (and haveing a bit more money than I had 20 years ago).

      You sisters of the South should write some kind of book.  I've always wondered how you all always manage to look cute, cool, and refined while I'm drippy, stinky. and a mess.  I will take your advice about the natural fiber blouses, and I THINK I could make myself a couple of silk slips, maybe I'll start with a cammie.

      You made me think about linings too.  I'll bet synthetic linings aren't my friends,  either.  I find China silk to not be very durable, though.  Do you have any more suggestions?  I want to know ALL of your secrets for staying cool and comfortable in Hot Humid weather. 

      thanks again, Gail

  2. sewingkmulkey | | #2

    I live in Houston but was born in St Louis so I KNOW what heat and humidity are all about!  I agree with Becky and dress in natural fibers and some blends.  Rayon is my favorite along with silk as they can be so light and airy.  Cotton works well for slacks as well as linen.  I wash all my linen fabrics numerous times to soften them and don't worry about the wrinkles.  I, too, wear a hat and always keep a small fan in my purse when I'm outside.  Luckily most of Houston has A/C and people dress casually.  Even at my workplace, in a nice office, I don't have to wear hose and dressy sandals are well accepted.  During the last few years I've noticed that women and men don't wear matched suits in the workplace.  I wear dress pants and unstructured, unlined jackets with silk knit shells most days to work.  On the weekends I wear cotton capris and nice cotton knit and woven tops or loose, flowy dresses of silk or rayon with a 3/4 length sleeve jacket for A/C.  Nearly all my wool, heavy jackets have been discarded for the short 6 weeks of cool weather we experience here in Houston.


    1. GailAnn | | #4

      Thanks to you too, Sewingkmulkey!

      Esther Rudnick of Cy Rudnick's Fabric Store (now gone due to retirement) once advised me to wash uncut linen, in the washing machine with DAWN dishwashing liquid.  She said that cuts down substantially on the wrinkes in the finished clothes.  Boy!  Was she ever right!  Works like a dream, NOT a Perma-Press dream, you understand, but still it works very well.

      I need all the help I can get.  So keep that advice on looking good in Hot and Humid weather comming........

      Thank You, Gail 

  3. solosmocker | | #5

    I am not one of your Southern sisters but where I live in NY near the Canadian border we have no ocean or lake breezes and it gets hotter here than it ever did for me on Cape Cod. What I where in the summer is linen, linen, and more linen. Wash the dickens out of it and make loose styles. It can be so good looking without much effort.

    There is a photo in the Gallery of a sundress I made that I have been wearing almost constantly. That is what I mean by loose styles, feminine but comfy. I am anxious to read any additional posts here as I have the same winter climate as you probably do.

  4. Teaf5 | | #6

    Look around at your new neighbors; what are they wearing? 

    Out here in the Wild West, where temps hover around 105 all summer (though not as humid), we wear a lot of cotton and cotton knit separates with a lightweight sleeved shirt or fitted jacket for airconditioned offices.  Twenty miles away, the state employees wear linen sheaths and pumps without hose.  Either group in the opposite setting looks out of place.

  5. Tatsy | | #7

    My tricks include sleeveless blouses, long skirts, crop pants in dressy fabrics, sandals with heels, and long-sleeved blouses that replace jackets for all but the most brutal air-conditioning.  I've found some synthetics--especially rayon challis--wick better and faster than cotton or silk.  It just depends on the fabric. This is a pretty casual area, but it seems to me that the quality and finish of the fabric make a big difference in how formal the garment seems.

    1. User avater
      Becky-book | | #10

      Rayon... although it is synthesized, it is made from cellulose and can be considered a 'natural' fiber cloth!Becky

  6. fabricholic | | #8

    These ladies are right on the money. Natural fiber fabrics, sleeveless and you can have a twin set, if the air conditioning is working well. Bermuda shorts and capris for casual dressing. Sundresses are great, also. I live in Alabama and they just won't let you run around naked. That's about the only way to be comfortable in this weather. We are finally out of the 100's. We are hitting the 50's tonight and I have my windows open. How 'bout that?

  7. Phoebe3 | | #9

    I prefer natural fibers with just a touch of lycra to keep down the wrinkles. For me, Polyester is a heat rash on a hanger. I've lived on the Gulf Coast most of my life so the question for me is not so much - how do I dress for Summer?, but how do I make Summer clothes work when it's cold.  Most of my tops are cotton knit, with the humidity, shirts aren't going to look crisp for long. My skirts and pants are all light weight. When it's cold, I add a jacket and tights. I love the mircofiber tights - they breathe. I just bought some Cool Wool for trousers, unlined, I hope they'll be good for as much as 9 months of the year. If I can find the right pattern, I'm thinking of making a jumper that I can wear alone most of the time or with a shirt or sweater on cold days.

  8. BernaWeaves | | #11

    I live in Florida.  I stay inside in the airconditioning until Winter comes and the temperature drops to 70 F.  Down here, we just plan on changing our clothes 3 times a day.  Seriously.  There's none of this "dress for the day and swap out your jewelry for cocktails" stuff.  Sometimes I haft to take a quick "squat bath" in between clothing changes (just squat in the tub and do a quick soap and rinse under the tap).

    Anyway, clothing has to be washable and dryable.  None of this dry clean only stuff.  When you change clothes this often, they have to be wash and wear.   Tank tops, pants, loose skirts, linen, cotton, acetate.  Silk just sticks to you and is too warm down here.  We save silk for special occasions and air conditioning.



    1. GailAnn | | #12

      And I thought we had it bad in Missouri!

        I get so tired of being pent up indoors with the heat.  I feel like a prisoner!  Even with air-conditioning the house gets stale and smelly.  (The 10 year old golden retriever probably doesn't help thing any.)  I told my husband that if I felt this "cabin feverish" in January, I'd just put on a sweatshirt and open the doors and windows, and air the place out.  I don't feel like I can do that in September at 90 degrees.   

      At least we do have some cool to cold days in January and February.  Maybe I should just quit pining for the Great Up North, quit complaining, and get on with it.  Gail

      1. Josefly | | #13

        Welcome South! I've lived in Florida and Georgia all my life. Cottons, cottons, cottons! There are so many weaves, weights, textures...And Ambiance - brand name for bemberg rayon - makes a good natural-fiber slippery lining or lingerie choice. I have a couple of matching camisole & half-slip combos that give me a lot of use.I've also visited Missouri in summertime, and I believe I was hotter and sweatier there than anywhere else I've been besides south GA. The air was so STILL.Mama used to laugh and say southern women knew how to THINK cool. There is something to the idea of moving slowly and not working up a sweat. I think that may be a myth...the older I've gotten, the more I perspire, and not just from hot-flashes! :>)

        1. fashionnut | | #14

          this is for everyone but I remember a fellow coworker that had to attend a wedding in the south and in the middle of summer no less... anyway she wore the silky flowy dress minimal makeup minimal underwear and she was amazed at the women who were she was told wearing their "foundations" hats gloves the works. To this day she and I are amazed at the full gear these women were wearing I guess if you are born in the south you are naturally acclimated to the weather. By the way QVC sells a lingerie line called Breezies, I LOVE them Bras, under-pants, camisoles the price is definately right they are lined with a cooling fabric that wicks moisture away, where I live on Long Island (New York) it gets very hot and humid you the kind that sometimes it smells :-(( anyway when I discovered this line it was a godsend. Cyndy

  9. lbbray | | #15

    I thought Northwest Arkansas was as bad humidity wise as anywhere else in the world. Then we moved to Hattiesburg, Mississippi. ARGH. Worse. And what kills me the most is fall is my favorite season of all. We don't have fall, just not as hot as summer. I buy lovely challis (can't spell, but hopefully you know what that is) in the great fall colors and make tea length skirts. The great quick skirt that inspired so many letters in cottons or rayons is good too. For some reason skirts are much cooler than shorts to me. Of course, I still have a goodly collection of shorts (they are a bit longer than the ones I wore back in the day) and I even wear city shorts to work. We are going to a function in Biloxi next Saturday which will be held outside on a pier. Since the evening will be cool and we will be getting the wonderful breezes off the water, I will need to have more coverage during the evening. I'm going to wear linen city shorts, cotton knit top and a linen long sleeve shirt. The shirt will stay open and probably I'll roll up the sleeves to 3/4 length, then button and roll down the sleeves when it really cools off. This has pretty much been my casual dressy option. Our church goes way casual during the summer so I don't even have to wear stockings to church. Now, when I do wear stockings, they are always a pastel color so they don't make me think hot. I have a collection of pale pinks, blues and lavender stockings. I have some with flowers on them too. At least they look cool. Oh, and I could not live with out body powder. Even when I'm not wearing stockings or socks, I powder my feet before slipping on any style of shoe.

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