Mirror, Mirror: So we can all love these 90s

Posted: August 03, 2011

Rapper Nelly may have turned the following lines into a hip-hop classic: "It's gettin' hot in here, so take off all your clothes."

But in these dog days of summer, I implore you: Please don't. As the saying goes, leave something to the imagination.

Last month's daily temperatures were, on average, five degrees higher than normal, making July Philly's hottest ever. Maybe that's why we're getting overloaded with the sight of exposed flesh, especially with short-shorts revealing deep dimples and strapless tops killing us with cleavage.

There's plenty in style that's perfect for hot weather - maxi dresses paired with espadrilles, scoop-neck shirts tucked into wide-legged pants. Designers' gauzy blouses, tiered pleated skirts, and rompers urge us to walk on the airy side.

So, my Philly fashion friends, it's not too late. We're only entering the first week of August. And with temperatures so far soaring into the 90s, you still have a chance to step up your game. Here are some tips to help turn late summer and early fall into a more aesthetically pleasing time for all of us.

If you weigh more than, say, 200, or less than 99 pounds, please put away those poom-poom shorts. I'm not one for hard and fast fashion rules, but this one is nonnegotiable. Daisy dukes are hot, and the ones by local designer Carmelita Couture are hotter, but if your thighs are rubbing together or you resemble a matchstick, avoid this look.

If you have to keep pulling your shirt down, don't wear it. Midriffs are out, so these shirts women are wearing everywhere just don't fit. Too small in winter is still too small in summer.

Leggings are OK, but please pair them with a blousy top or strapless tunic that covers the backside. This summer I've seen a lot of leggings paired with waist-length shirts. Leggings don't breathe, and that could be a recipe for sweat stains in 75 percent humidity.

Replace flip-flops with wedged espadrilles. Even I must admit that pairing flip-flops with everything - including those ones glitzed out with rhinestones - is the lazy way out. These days, wedges are just as comfortable, and they give you height and class. If you can't do without your flip-flops, make them wedged. Same rules apply: Toes must be manicured.

White pants are great, but don't even think of wearing them unless you double-check - no, triple-check - for visible panty lines. Speaking of white pants, it's time to consider letting the white-on-white thing go, a very early-June look. With fall around the corner, move toward neutrals, like beige, black, and navy.

No, you don't have to wear pantyhose, but avoid displaying legs that are pasty or ashy. In other words, please use a self-tanner or bronzer, lather on Queen Helene cocoa butter, and shave. People should be wondering, is she or isn't she wearing hose? Not, I wish she would.

If you're revealing your bra straps, make it intentional. That means your bra should be bejeweled, translucent, or coordinated - even in the summer. If you can't do that, wear a strapless bra.

Flowing dresses are your friend. And they should be throughout September. Airy clothes, especially at the waist, do not make you look bigger. In fact, they can hide problems including back fat and a thick waist.

An exposed chest is not necessarily a cooler one. All-out-there, sweaty cleavage is not sexy, not to mention not in style anymore. So go for a T-shirt with a softer V, or a cap-sleeve blouse that barely opens at the top.

Lighten up on the foundation. Beauty trends are shifting from barely-there foundation to a heavily made-up look, but hold off on that until fall. In heat like this, too many women are suffering from melting makeup. Feel free, however, to play up red lips.

Mirror, Mirror:

It's hard not to suffer a makeup meltdown in this heat. For stay-cool tips from Kiehl's, click here.

Contact fashion writer Elizabeth Wellington at 215-854-2704, ewellington@phillynews.com, or @ewellingtonphl on Twitter.

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