By Janet Kelly
WHITE OR cream-colored pants in cotton and linen and jeans—straight and wide-leg— are my summer go-tos. Depending on the occasion, I wear them with an assortment of striped tees, polos, silk blouses and white shirts . White makes you look crisp even when you’re anything but.
But as we approach the punishingly hot dog days of August, I’m thinking about what to wear to maximize whatever little breeze may come my way. Mini skirts, though making a big comeback, are not in the game plan. The same goes for shorts. However, I am thinking about jettisoning pants and switching to the knee-length or midi skirts on my radar. Like dresses, they rank high on the comfort level.
A shape-framing silhouette or a longer and fuller style both provide relief from heat-trapping pants. Play with hemlines and waistlines, prints and pleats, and choose from a variety of fabrics—from cotton poplin to voile to linen. As for what to wear with them, how easy is a T-shirt and skirt combination?
There’s also a case for sets—summer skirts and matching or coordinating tops that make a polished statement. Tory Burch showed matchy-matchy picnic-ready looks in gingham, while Boss’s ombre tops blend into their skirts, giving the illusion of one-piece dressing.
Below, our picks, some of which you can wear right through fall.
LEFT: A ’70s-inspired poppy print graces Antik Batik’s pull-on midi skirt (with tassel ties). The lightweight, flowy fabric is fully lined so swirl with abandon. It’s $318 at Anthropologie.
RIGHT: Spiffy-looking, no? J. Crew’s Button-front Skirt ($98.99) with patch pockets is made from a stretch linen fabric (a linen and poly blend) for breathability and easy movement. Also, minimal wrinkling. Add monochromatic polish by pairing it with the relaxed fit of a navy Baird McNutt Irish Linen shirt ($87.99), also from J. Crew.
LEFT: You probably are familiar with those days when you can’t think of a thing to wear. That’s when you grab Anthropologie’s aptly named utility skirt (reduced to $59.95). A cotton and tencel blend, it’s machine washable. Just pull it on, tuck in your T-shirt, tighten the drawstring waist, and voilà.
RIGHT: Dressing up again can be fun—especially if you channel your inner child’s crayon-happy days with Agnès b.’s long pleated skirt. The made-in-France Pencil Mark Skirt is $252. Wear it with a pair of classic Tretorn sneakers.
ABOVE: When the weather cools, coordinate Boss’s Ombre Knit top ($248) with the label’s accordion-pleated Vapinapa skirt ($398) for an elegant combination. For now, choose a fitted T-shirt, such as this Ribbed Crop Crewneck Top from Vince, at Nordstrom.
ABOVE: Whether it’s a backyard barbecue or party on the porch, go matchy-matchy with Tory Burch’s retro-ish gingham Printed Skirt ($330) and puff-sleeve button-front printed blouse ($248), both at Shopbop. Note that the elastic-hem top is cropped, but you can pull it down (as shown) to avoid any midriff baring.
LEFT: Here’s a flowy, ankle-length—on most, notes the website—linen A-line skirt with godets (inset pieces of for added flare). It comes in white—which has a built-in cotton half-slip— navy, beige and this army khaki color, which we’re partial to because you can wear it now with a linen or cotton T-shirt and in the fall with a sweater. It’s $278 at CP Shades.
RIGHT: The unexpected pairing of a beach-ready front-slit wraparound linen skirt ($119), and a more formal oversize, linen-blend bib white shirt ($59.90) is a flattering look that deserves to be imitated.
LEFT: I’m a fan of zebra prints, usually on wallpaper. But I’d spring for the wildlife on this fun, full-ish skirt ($198) from Anthropologie.
RIGHT: Minimalists, heads up. And, yes, white and beige go together swimmingly. You’ll love the streamlined silhouette of a cotton high-waist pencil skirt ($235, Garmentory) —with slim faux-leather piping around the waistline and side-slit pockets—paired with a cream-colored linen vest.
LEFT: Simmering hot summer days demand breezy clothing. This cotton voile Boating Skirt ($295) with elasticized back gets our nod. Plus, that cheerful cherry plaid print is irresistible. Wear with your favorite red, white or blue T-shirt.
RIGHT: Tiered skirts and dresses have been trending for a couple of seasons, with no signs— yet—of petering out. Staud’s Sea Skirt in crisp black poplin is classic enough to span the seasons and return for duty the following year. It’s $225 at Shopbop, and it’s also available in summery nectarine and white at Staud.
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