High summer wardrobe doldrums (er, I mean, uniform)

High summer wardrobe doldrums (er, I mean, uniform)

I just went back and read what I wrote as we were crossing summer’s threshold, and it’s hard to imagine I ever felt that optimistic about getting dressed for the weather! Here we are now in the worst of the swamp air season, and I’ve settled into a coping uniform. For some reason, despite the suffocating heat and their presence in my closet, I cannot put on a dress. I feel like an absolute imposter, so mentally uncomfortable that on the day I kept a dress on long enough to leave the house and drive to work, I  had to go home and change. I was so distracted and bothered I couldn’t concentrate! So I’ve settled into a morning routine that amounts to a modified version of “a t-shirt and jeans,” wherein the “t-shirts” are mostly sleeveless tees and shells I’ve sewn, and the “jeans” are my wide-leg pants, nearly always with a pair of sandals.

I feel cute most days, and it makes getting dressed easy (and almost entirely me-made!), but it’s a little depressing in its monotony — brightened by my orange Everlane sandals, which always bring the cheer. I’m hoping the frock problem is really a shoe problem. I really only like dresses (on me) with boots or booties, with just the right low heel, and I no longer own such a thing. So that’s the only thing I’m in the market for: maybe a clog bootie that would work equally well with wide-legs and jeans when fall rolls around? Meanwhile, I’m contemplating the Summer 10×10 challenge, wondering whether it would be redundant or might inspire me out of my rut. I did learn things from the spring one. Are any of you planning to participate?

(Details on the garments above can be found here.)


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27 thoughts on “High summer wardrobe doldrums (er, I mean, uniform)

  1. This summer, so hot and steamy, is definitely challenging, and like you I am in coping mode. Even though I live in a patch of North America that sees temps drop to minus 40C (where C and F are the same) in winter, our summers can be brutally hot and humid. Fortunately, the heat tends to come in waves; it’s not the continuous heat we experienced during our years in Washington, DC. Our “new” old house, a 100-year-old Arts and Crafts bungalow, has a front porch, 10-foot ceilings, and big windows, and most importantly, it’s on a rise above Lake Ontario so the absence of air conditioning is just bearable — just. On the worst days, no knitting happens at all, and I live in one of my three York Pinafores, coupled with a sleeveless linen tank, and no bra underneath. It’s about survival. Today, things are cooler, with a high of 23C (73F) expected, but the overall trend seems to be hot, hot, hot, so I will not be participating in the 10 x 10. Perhaps air conditioning is a prerequisite for wardrobe play!
    P.S. I totally agree that wearing dresses is all about the shoes. I didn’t wear dresses at all last summer, but then the right shoes entered my life, and it’s all I want to wear when the heat is on.

  2. Wow! Differences are so interesting. On HHH days in the east I CAN’T WEAR JEANS! so rotating summer one piece outfits/sundresses works best for me. Of course, ALL COTTON skivvies and over the head bralettes (with no hardware in back) are a must for these wildly muggy hot temps … WHATEVER WORKS!

    • Yeah, the idea of putting on a pair of jeans is unthinkable. (I can’t forget having them stuck to me in Lisbon a few weeks ago.) The wide-leggers allow plenty of airflow — the clay ES ones literally don’t touch me anywhere but the waistband — but I do wish I had more than one linen pair. The canvas ones are fine in air conditioning ….

  3. I hadn’t thought about it before but, yes, when the heat cranks up (80’s!!), I end up in a t-shirt and cut off jeans or a light denim shirt and cut off jeans. Whatever is cool and comfortable and looking stylin’ is of no concern. So thinking about it, I see that when its most cold or most hot I go for my favorite “uniforms” for comfort.

  4. Years ago, in the days of What Not to Wear, they used to say that every outfit needs three pieces: A top, a bottom, and a completer piece. Shoes don’t count as they are an accessory. Two of those three could be basic, but the completer was the “wow” that made it an outfit and not just a collection of clothes that coexisted with each other. When I look at the clothes above (and not at the shoes), it seems to be a nice collection of basics, which are easily interchangeable, but you are missing “wow”. I think that in the hot weather, three pieces of clothing is often too much, so something else has to carry the wow category, but I think every outfit needs that every day. Great shoes are fun to have, but they alone will not carry the outfit.

    I don’t wear dresses; I own just two and they are both basic black. But i do wear skirts all summer long: cotton jersey pull on skirts that let whatever cool air there is filter up to the rest of my body. A skirt with a Tshirt or a sleeveless top is a great summer look, and easy to wear if they are the right length: just below the calf in my case.

    I generally don’t make basic anything in the summer; with the luxury of time, I tend towards the more experimental, wow pieces so i have them done when Fall begins. Maybe next summer you could consider a” Summer of Wow”

    • What Not to Wear was a lot of fun to watch, but I definitely don’t share a lot of their views on the rules of dressing. They also thought every outfit needs something shiny, which is the last thing you’ll ever see me in. For me, orange shoes are the ultimate wow, and it’s wonderful that we’re all so different!

  5. Yesterday, the temperature was 105F. Today, it’s supposed to be up to 107, and as high as 109 by the weekend.

    In these temperatures, I don’t even care about being cute anymore. I’m trying not to melt. This week, my uniform’s been linen blend pj pants and linen blend camisole tanks. Seriously, I’ve worn the same four garments over and over. It’s just too damned hot.

    • I swore I wasn’t making any more pants (as plainly evident above: i have lots!) but I really would be justified in making another pair or two in linen for high summer and for travel.

      • These ridiculously high temperatures have made me re-think my future sewing plans (my wardrobe-making lists are generally planned for 18 months’ worth of sewing and knitting at a time). Instead of OR in addition to the Ginger jeans capris I was planning to sew a few months from now, I’ve added linen blend palazzo pants.

        I do wear dresses in summer, even around the house, but these pj pants have been life-savingly comfortable when I’ve had to go outside. Plus, no skirt lifting issues when a stronger breeze comes along.

  6. The heat of summer is the only time I do wear dresses. The freedom of nothing wrapping around my legs is so comfortble. I wear flat ankle wrap B.O.C. sandals with dresses or espadrilles. I have a short half slip that I wear sometimes if dress is sheer. I’ve sewn 3 dresses for Summer of Basics so far.

  7. Living in Oklahoma we get cabin fever in the summer. I ‘m in baggy jeans a t shirt and flip flops, spending days inside knitting on cotton and linen. I think if I touch a ball of wool yarn I might spontaneously combust!

  8. How are your Everlane sandals holding up? I was not impressed with the quality of two sweaters my husband bought there, but everyone seems to love this company! Now I’m trying to figure out if my husband was just unlucky or if Everlane is great marketing and poor quality. I like the look of so many of their shoes and your sandals are gorgeous!!

    • This is my third pair of Everlane shoes and they’ve all been of excellent quality. I really couldn’t love these orange things any more than I do. Apart from that, all I have from them is a couple of t-shirts, which I haven’t had any issues with.

      • That’s reassuring! Might give them another shot then. Thanks for taking the time to reply

  9. Just saying I am NC and also not really a skirt/dress fan and am really feeling your pain.

  10. I’m in Illinois where the temps have been just terrible! We’re building our house so everyday it’s jeans,black fotl tank top,and work boots. Blah blah blah! I’ve started wearing beautiful hairwraps and earrings or putting my hair up with fun scarves & Bobby pins. It’s definitely helped me not feel so boring.

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  12. Here it is sweltering too. I look at your wardrobe and think I could happily wear what you have going on there! I may be a bit of a basic dresser: jeans and sweater in the fall and winter, and dresses (with elastic waistband, naturally) in the summer. My problem, if you can call it that is in the shoes. I simply can’t go anywhere without my orthotics, or I am no longer willing to suffer. I do wear Birkenstocks if I am just slouching around. I like looking at what you put together very much. In fact, ideally, I would look more like you. I especially love flares or your “toddler” pants. I won’t be joining you, as I will be wearing just one dress a day, and alternating them with bathing suits and cycling shorts. Hmm… actually, it may be kind of fun to see or show those dresses.

  13. Have you considered wearing a dress over a pair of your toddler pants? Dresses-over-pants seem to be a thing right now – and not a bad thing.

    And if you really are never going to wear your dresses, would you consider shortening them, to either tunic or top length?

  14. We have an incredibly hot summer here, which we are totally not used to. Floaty linen or double-gauze dresses and skirts are certainly the way to go. As you seem to like the proportions of booties going with dresses: Have you ever considered wearing sandals or shoes with ankle straps? Maybe they could be the solution for your summer dilemma.

  15. Do you do skirts? A basic gathered waist linen skirt in a similar length to your toddler pants would be a similar silhouette….

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