Staying Cool and Modest in Summer


how to stay cool modest and stylish in summer
I’m really struggling at the moment to find spring/summer clothes that don’t look too young for me. I don’t know why but a lot of stuff looks too fancy or ruffled, and that’s just not me 🙁I always end up feeling too warm in the warmer months, because I never quite get a good combination of clothes. I don’t like strappy tops, because I need to wear a bra, and I don’t have the figure for shorts or skimpy stuff. I’m a UK size 18, with big thighs and I’m self conscious about my midriff. Any suggestions would be wonderful. Brenda

How to stay cool but covered up in summer
I made this image up to give all of you who struggle with the same issue some ideas. All can be worn with a bra, and flatter a more mature midsection!

  1. Arms – some sleeve helps to disguise a fuller upper arm.  A more flared or flutter sleeve will minimise upper arms.
  2. Shoulders – you may notice, not a spaghetti strap in sight – for those of us who need to wear bras, that bit of extra fabric makes a big difference.
  3. Waist – either ruching at the sides, or fabrics that skim without clinging are essential. Notice no belts or other waist detail to draw attention there.  Dresses that skim can be an excellent choice.
  4. Pants – notice the cropped pants are in a colour that will relate to Brenda’s skin and so not chop her up too much, then I’ve paired a more ‘nude’ sandal to elongate her legs.
  5. Skirts – Skirts that come to the knee are pretty much universally flattering – if you find your thighs rub together in summer, which can be uncomfortable – try a pair of light bike shorts underneath.
  6. Head – don’t forget broad-brimmed hats to keep the sun off your face and shoulders (the back of the neck can get a beating and look twice as old as your face!). Sunglasses are also a necessity to protect your precious eyes.
  7. Accessories – don’t forget to add a little lightweight or coloured jewellery for some fun and style.
  8. Shoes – As Brenda describes herself as a UK size 18 (which would be around a US size 12-14 I think) I’ve chosen some wedges which create a solid base for any extra height required.
  9. And as far as age-appropriate goes – as there are no extreme fashion statements or lots of skin showing, it can happily be worn by anyone who would like to be a little more modest.

Weekly Outfit Planner (1)


I'm not sure if it's for you but how would you feel if you learned all about the colours and styles of clothing that suit your individual personality, shape and style? Just imagine what it would be like when you can open your wardrobe and pull together fabulous outfits that make you look and feel amazing every day? If you'd like to stop wasting money on the wrong clothes and accessories plus join an amazing bunch of very special women also on their style journey - then my 7 Steps to Style program is right for you. Find out more here.

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  • Thanks Imogen, I have learned/realized /understood so much from your posts. From this post I stopped at the waistline. I would be happy if I could loose some centimeters from that part. Being a bit short in the middle, I now know why extra wide belts have felt not comfy. I feel fine with a belt of `normal´width or I can leave it off. Although I have long, skinny legs, I want to cut my long calves with cuffed jeans, or either wear my jeans down. It has been great to read, that there actually is logic in my natural choices.

  • Wow, thank you so much Imogen. I would happily wear any of the items you have chosen, and actually tried to order the Jasper Conran top but it was sold out.

    I'm amazed that you have managed not only to address my figure issues (and didn't I make myself sound SO attractive?!) but it's almost as though we have met and you know my style. I'm totally impressed.

    Thank you, so much. x

  • Hi Supermum – so glad you feel I picked your style so well. Hope it helps to give you ideas – that Jasper Conran top is gorgeous – you may find it in store at a Debenhams somewhere if you're lucky!

  • I have large upper arms and I have a top cut similar to the middle one you show. Instead of fitting like a cap sleeve it loosely slices at a diagonal and makes a real difference in appearance.

    For thigh chafing, I use Body Glide.
    It's from a runner's store but I think online drugstores have it. Lasts forever. Like a stick deodorant in packaging and waxy texture. Also wonderful for preventing blisters on feet. I often carry it in my purse.

    Some people use antiperspirant on the inner thighs and there's a new product I haven't tried yet Monistat Soothing Care Chafing Relief Powder-Gel.

  • Vildy – thanks for your great tips to avoid chafe – I've never heard of these products – I'll be looking into them!

    Yes a diagonal sleeve that's not tight is great for diminishing upper arms!

  • These are lovely outfits. I have learned so much from you posts, such as most lately why spaghetti straps don't flatter me. I have a favor. I am getting ready to go to Chicago. If you have time, would you put a few outfits together for me?

    Here are the issues. It will be VERY hot. So long pants are out. I always feel that capris with flats make me look dumpy because I need to lose about 30 lbs. I carry most weight in my hips and thighs. We will also do a lot of walking so the shoes need to be comfortable but not matronly as we will be walking up and down Michigan Avenue for hours.

    If you have time great if not, I certainly understand, but again, I have loved and learned so much from this blog.

  • These are lovely.

    It is hard nowadays to find a top in pure cotton – or mixed with a bit of flax, linen, bamboo or other natural rayonish thing – and not that bit of spandex that often makes for too much cling, even if it is plenty large. I was so happy to find a pure cotton one and a rayon/cotton one in that lovely steel grey many of us gush over.

    I love the green in the little cap-sleeved top with the pretty skirt.

    Another option can be to wear certain types of shirts, blouses or short-sleeved jackets over a sleeveless camisole. I find this provides me a lot of "ventilation", especially when on my bicycle in the city – which I usually am except in the midst or our (real) winter.

    I have learnt so much from this cluster of sites; yours, Linda of the Thoughtful Dresser (though she is mostly working on a book these days), Duchesse, Une femme, and so many more. I'm a bit depressed about being over 50 and having a hard time losing weight, though I eat properly and get lots of exercise – I'm short so any excess shows up far more – but so many people I encounter, and not just close friends cheering me up – tell me how nice I'm looking these days and how this and that thing I'm wearing is very flattering.

    And this, despite my very slender clothing budget – less than books and art supplies in my case!

    Julienne, some capri-type trousers cut not too tight can be attractive on womanly thighs. Or you could always wear skirts and look very urban in Chicago, with some strategem to prevent thigh chafing – exercise shorts or some product.

  • Julianne, have emailed you a polyvore – just remember with cropped trousers, wear them in a lighter, skin toned colour, with a low vamp nude shoe and they won't be so stumpifying!

    Sallymandy – hope to get you out of your denim skirt rut!

    Sal – yes it's gorgeous!

    Nurmisur – give it a go!

    Lagatta – thanks so much, I'm so glad you're getting compliments from your friends. Style is not about weight, though often we let ourselves think it is! Keep on going. Thanks also for the tips.

  • I love the Jasper Conran top – any tips for where to get that sort of thing in Australia? I am a totally hopeless shopper …

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