Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thursday -- the summer weather and my wardrobe

Well, the weather seems finally to be putting cold temperatures permanently behind us (below 50!) and moving into our medium spring temps (50s-70s) -- for which I am grateful! Rode Bella to school yesterday in shirt and sweatshirt in the morning, but came home in shirt sleeves alone at 2 pm. My ceiling fans are on 50% of the time cooling the house, but no a.c. yet.

This means we're getting close to something I usually ignore: warm weather clothing. As I have said before, the Big D is H-O-T in summer. Mind-blowingly, surface of the sun H-O-T (ok, that's an exaggeration if you live in San Antonio... but still!). Going outside, doing errands means two things: sweating and sunshine.

First: sunscreen is a necessary expense for where I live. Reminded of that last week on Monday when I got a nice pinkish tint on forearms and chest from sitting outside on a sunny, windy day--really pink!

The fact is that just as problematic as the heat is the sunniness of my area. The sun shines relentlessly, and not wearing sunscreen, a hat, or clothes that covers fair skin (like mine) is stupid... and I've been there. Not simply for the vain reasons of aging, but the health reasons of melanoma.

Second: sweating is simply a matter of course. Even if your car has adequate a.c., simply walking from the apartment to your car, then from your car into the mall, and back to your car... you sweat. And once you sit inside your hot, hot car? You sweat. Beyond keeping hydrated (carrying water absolutely everywhere and drinking it), it ruins your clothes, your makeup, your hair.

As someone with weight issues and height issues, summer is my least favorite clothing time of year.

My summer clothing requirements:
  • No shorts. I have grappled with and realized no length or cut of shorts works for me, mentally.
  • No minis. Why? Obvious: I am neither 15 nor Baby Jane. 'Nuff said.
  • No sleeveless nuthings. Why oh why are deisgners so enamoured of sleeveless dresses, sleeveless tops, tanks and shells? No woman over 45 should (or often can) wear them: so why are intelligent retailers like Ann Taylor or Talbots offering only 3 dresses each among their entire site with sleeves longer than cap-sleeve length? Jones N.Y. offers 21 on their site, and they don't look half-bad. But this week when I walked the aisles of Neiman-Marcus, everything was mini and sleeveless: apparently rich women don't gain weight... or can afford to have it sucked out.
What do I wear?
  • skirts: love the excuse. Although, again, finding skirts that are neither minis nor cut tight is a challenge.
  • dresses: I used to have a great collection of little cotton dresses I wore everywhere. My style has changed, but I mourn the loss of those dresses, since putting on a dress is so darn simple; add a belt, earrings, sandals, a bag and you're done!
  • linen trousers, ankle length.
  • skorts: for workouts, riding the bike, the batting cages, running quick errands. It's a skirt, it's shorts, it's... you get it. There's a reason women who play golf and tennis wear them, and it's called sharp looking.
  • linen blouses and tunics, the lighter the better, in colors ranging from white (lots of them!) to sherbet green/pink/orange to slightly darker blues and greens. The only downside is ironing. Gypsy, Mexican, hippy--whatever, it's cool, it's colorful, it's relaxed and hip at once without lingering on my danger zones.
  • cardigans. Simple ones. The trick I've learned is to get ones that look neither matronly (bulky or shapeless) nor tight (forget Forever 21!). Unfortunately, for women like me, with breasts, finding the right cardigan is difficult, because they are typically styled without shaping, or rather so that I can shape it... which is great for Lana Turner but not so much for me. Most cheap cardies have tight arms, tight bodies, and are cut too short, even for petites.
The concerns:
  • riding my bike and walking means both sunscreen and minimal clothing. Since I typically wear a skort and t-shirt that means sunscreen everywhere (and carried with me). And coming to terms with short sleeves and my aging arms. Sigh.
  • bringing indoor layers to combat colds--because the a.c. will be 60 degrees. Guaranteed.
  • keeping activity clothing (for biking, batting, and even walking) separate from clothes I might wear to the movies--because when you get where you're going or if you do any physical activity, you're sweaty. And if you don't plan ahead, you'll be sitting in the movie theatre shivering and sweaty.
  • laundry. In this hot weather, wearing = washing, because of the heat. Good thing I am moving into an apartment with a washer-dryer on hand.
  • looking cool despite the heat. Tricks I've learned include carrying a change of clothes; wearing a tissue-weight t-shirt under my cotton top, which can be removed and stowed in my tote; wearing a wide-brimmed hat; carrying a fan; carrying a tote instead of a smaller purse; bringing small Evian sprays to cool my neck and chest; carrying antispectic handwipes for the same reason (the alcohol in them refreshes, although it also dries); putting on makeup after you get where you're going (beyond waterproof mascara and lip gloss); and, of course, building in extra time for the changes or repairs necessary... as well as to avoid hurrying or the stress of hurrying.  
That's it. Once my move to the new apartment is complete (30 hours and counting...), I'll be organizing my closet and my life accordingly. Can't wait, as I am living in Chaos City right now.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Dear! That sounds awful.
    We mostly have moderate temperatures, but for about 20 days in the year we would call it H-O-T.
    Last year it has been a green colored winter, which was so disappointing for our winters usually are so long and cold.
    Hard to decide, who has the better part of it.
    Wish you all the best for your move.
    BTW, thank you for reminding me of "Eric Bompard". He closed his shop in Munich years ago. Now I ordered the catalogue (Automne-Hiver 2010-2011) and it's so beautiful! They even add a card with original wool color patterns. So delicate!
    I think, he will send the catalogue to the US as well.


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