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Modest Fashion: How to keep cool in summer without showing too much skin


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In the run up to the - hopefully - hotter months and summer holidays, many clothes shops are full to the brim with brightly-coloured crop tops, bikinis, and tiny shorts.

And while it can be tempting for some of us to finally pack away the jumpers and jeans in favour of walking around wearing the bare minimum as soon as the sun makes an appearance, there may be many different reasons why this isn't going to work for you.

Perhaps you're visiting a country where more conservative dressing is required, or you simply aren’t comfortable wearing such little clothing and modest dressing is your go-to style the rest of the year. Maybe it's for religious purposes. Whatever the reason, you don't have to spend the hotter days indoors or suffer sweat patches and the dreaded thigh chafing.

Image Credit: Sai Kiran Anagani via Unsplash

In fact, it is actually possible to feel cooler the less flesh you show if you make the right choices when it comes to summer clothing.

Keeping your skin shaded will prevent the sun from raising your body temperature, leaving you far cooler than if you were wearing sleeveless tops and short shorts.

This means long-sleeved tops and blouses, even as counter-intuitive as they may seem, and the midi skirt will also be your best friend. There is an abundance of these in stores, along with long flowy dresses, so you will have no problem finding one that suits your personal style. 

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However, fabric is key. Natural fabrics such as cotton and linen are ideal as they absorb sweat and moisture, with the evaporation keeping you cool. They won’t cling to your skin like artificial fabrics, leaving you feeling a lot less sticky in the humid weather. Even loose fabrics will cling to you if they are the wrong material.

Loose, light-coloured clothing will also help, letting the air circulate near your body and reflect the sunlight rather than absorb it. This means it is time to ditch the denim, even your beloved mom jeans. They may be loose and comfortable, but the heavy fabric pales in comparison to wide-leg trousers in terms of temperature and comfort. 

Head-to-toe white should be a go-to outfit for the summer months, allowing you to be both modest and stylish, without sweating your make-up off the minute you step outdoors.

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You could also try layering a strappy summer dress or jumpsuit over a white t-shirt to make it more conservative, whilst also giving you more options to choose from in clothes shops. It also lets you wear your summer clothes for slightly longer too, on a cloudier day or when the summer is coming to a close.

If you have to cover your shoulders on holiday for cultural reasons, consider wearing a lightweight scarf around your shoulders. This avoids heavy fabric once again, whilst also allowing you to wear a lower-cut top that you couldn’t get away with before.

A wide-brimmed hat can also be helpful, keeping the sun's rays off your neck and forehead. When these areas are in the shade, you will be amazed how your entire body temperature will be affected. 

Of course, the most important thing when it comes to modest dressing this summer is that you still feel comfortable in what you are wearing. There can be pressure to flash the flesh as soon as the sun breaks through the clouds, but that doesn’t mean you have to follow suit.

When everyone else is applying another layer of powder to their face and complaining of boob sweat, the modest dressers among us will have these tricks up our (long) sleeves. 

For more tips on navigating your wardrobe, check out our jeans guide here.

Lead image credit: Macu ic on Unsplash

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