Heat Who? Conquer Summer Fashion with These Staple Pieces

By Michelle Lee

Picture this: walking down the city streets with sweat beading down your forehead. Trying to cross an avenue with only five seconds to spare, you try to apply your third layer of deodorant and prevent your pants from sticking to your legs without tripping over the curb — all while trying to look good.

It’s no myth; New York City in the summer is, in fact, smoldering. It seems almost impossible to have a put-together outfit when all you want to do is wear a tank top, shorts and Birkenstocks. But there is a way to incorporate fashion and comfort when it comes to summer in the city. With these staple pieces in your wardrobe, you’ll want to go outside.

For some people, denim shorts are the go-to; for others, it’s a good wide-legged pant. If you don’t want to sport the traditional summer uniform, brands such as Lisa Says Gah, which also carries dainty summer tops, and Topshop are your safe havens. With a variety of styles — gingham and cotton or maybe denim — paired with a tank top or T-shirt and some sneakers or espadrilles, you can have a look. The non-traditional cut will provide breathing space, peace of mind and a statement outfit.

You can take it up (technically, it’s dressing down) a notch with slip dresses. This piece can accommodate the clothes you already have in your wardrobe, which will save you and your wallet from the heat. Reformation sells slip dresses that differ in length and pattern and effortlessly take you throughout the day and into the night. The brand is also sustainable, which is a plus.

If you like simplicity and gravitate toward shorts and a graphic tee, or a plain white T-shirt a la ’90s style, you can add statement jewelry — let’s say some gold hoops or a bulky chain necklace, or go for a vintage look with cat-eye or white-framed sunglasses and a thrifted silk scarf around your hair or neck.

Shoes are always tough when it comes to city style because it’s rare to find a pair that can take you from Midtown to SoHo (yes, on foot if you’re a college student) and actually look good. Espadrilles will make your feet happy on their long commute because of their flexible bottom, easy-to-walk-in heeled sole and the wrap-around ribbon, which adds a nice holiday vibe. Diegos offers many styles, from black to patterned, that are also good for buyers on a budget.

But if you still doubt that shoes other than sneakers will prove beneficial, Veja sneakers are a good option. Retro and sustainable, the sneakers will take you through whatever errands or fun plans you have.

With this list in mind, you can take on the stores with an open mind and positive attitude on summer fashion. Instead of worrying if your outfit is still intact by the end of day, you can walk down the streets with confidence in your look.

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