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Stylists Lindsay Wilkins and Alicia Churchill, the cofounders and owners of Vancouver's Elite Image Consultants, maintain that rather than scrapping summer's trends in favour of beachwear and oversize tank tops it is possible to don the season's best styles while still staying comfortable.
Here are their top tips for staying cool while looking polished, professional and on-trend.
1. Pay attention to fabrics
Silk is a great fabric for summer -- it's breathable, lightweight and easy to layer even on the hottest days. To avoid sweat-induced wrinkling though, you should opt for high-quality materials.
"If you invest in high-quality silk, it tends not to wrinkle as much in the heat," explains Wilkins. "But if you generally sweat a lot, try a cotton blend for a loose, airy bohemian feel." Some alternative fabric options ideal for summer include linen, seersucker, eyelet and madras.
If sweat stains are an issue, you can fight them in a few steps, says Wilkins. She advises creating airflow by opting for looser looks and fabrics that breathe well. "Or you can purchase sweat pads for under your arms which attach to your clothing and absorb the moisture," she suggests.
2. Keep shorts in rotation
Shorts remain a staple item for summer 2012, plus they offer a great way to stay cool. But in order to avoid looking too casual, choose your style wisely. To lend balance to seasonal it-pieces, such as beaded tops and button-up blouses, Wilkins recommends avoiding short-shorts, which tend to be appropriate for the beach only. Some easy-wearing options include pleated linen shorts and cuffed shorts that sit just above the knee, both of which can be dressed up or down.
"Dress up a pair of cuffed shorts with a wedge heel and you're set to go," says Wilkins. Pairing the shorts with a sleeveless blouse and adding a skinny belt will also help polish the look.
Page 1 of 2 -- Find out why you should say goodbye to layers and welcome in accessories for the summer on page 2.
3. Swap layers for accessories
Rising temperatures may not be conducive to layering, but you can still add interest to your outfit in a way that's appropriate for the season by making use of accessories.
"Important staples this season are lightweight scarves, big-faced watches and long, embellished necklaces," says Wilkins.
Sporting a bold, beaded necklace on top of a basic white T-shirt easily elevates an otherwise simple look without adding extra layers.
You can also use accessories to incorporate summer's must-have hues. "Turquoise or coral necklaces are great summer pieces to invest in," Wilkins advises. Bright-colour bangles, belts and bags also offer quick ways to spice up your look without adding layers.
4. Keep bottoms tailored and tops airy
Wilkins suggests avoiding last year's looser bottoms -- think boyfriend jeans and harem pants -- and replacing them with slim-fitting slacks paired with loose tank tops and blouses. "The best way to look and feel cool this summer is by incorporating longer, flowing tops in linen and cotton blends with slimmer bottoms," she explains. "This balances out your silhouette, while still helping you remain comfortable."
A sleek yet comfortable maxi dress will also achieve a look that keeps you both cool and stylish. "Add a belt, some flats and a cardigan and you're set for summer," says Wilkins. For evening, replace the flats with gladiator sandals embellished with metallic hardware and add a piece of statement jewelry, such as chandelier earrings or a cuff in a bright colour.
5. Stay light
In addition to eliminating heavy fabrics and multiple layers, Churchill suggests sticking to a light colour palette in step with the season. "Lighter colours help minimize overheating," she explains.
This summer, pick up pieces in pistachio, peach and pale pink, and pair them with coloured denim in tones such as violet, coral and yellow to maintain the light, playful feel that's definitive of summertime.
Combining style and comfort is possible despite the hot summer months. By opting for light fabrics, cool colours and airy pieces you're sure to create outfits that will stand up to any temperature.
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