There’s nothing like summer in Chicago: a dozen music festivals, Taste of Chicago, food trucks, street markets, sidewalk sales, not to mention pristine beaches right alongside the best skyline in the world. Oh, and did I forget to tell you how amazing a Chicago-style hot dog tastes after a free zumba class on Lake Michigan?
Grant Park, Millenium Park, Boystown, the Magnificent Mile and Navy Pier all come alive after being frozen over for what seems like forever, and before Chicagoans can even put their parkas away it’s already sweltering and so humid that my curly hair quadruples in size as soon as I step out the door.
Never fear, stylistas, looking fine as the sun beats down is totally doable. You just have to stick to a few basic rules.
#1. Breathable fabrics
Cotton, linen, and other natural fabrics are your friend! Synthetics tend to breathe a little bit less, making you sweat more and trapping that sweat until it you get...erm, musky? Besides, why wear rayon when I’m giving you permission to wear seersucker?
#2. Low maintenance hair and make-up
Take a break from your daily black kohl eyeliner on hot days and let your face show! Besides, the smokey look won’t look quite as good after it’s smudged halfway down your face. I always feel prettiest during the summer, anyhow- I’ve got some color on my skin (I’m using SPF, I swear!) a little pink on my cheeks from being outside and getting more exercise, and I swear, eating farmer’s market produce has me glowing like a facial couldn’t. So, shed the winter layers of make-up and go totally bare if you dare!
If you’re feeling more of a done-up look on a hot summer night, go for waterproof BB creams and tinted moisturizers! They minimize the products you’re putting on your face, making it less likely they’ll melt right off in that intense humidity. Go for something with sun protection in it so your skin doesn’t absolutely need make up after the years and summers go by. Darker-toned ladies, this goes for you, too! But more on that on a later date.
On cheeks and lips, classic products like Benetint can’t do you wrong! Stila also has this perfect little compact in a ton of gorgeous colors, and it’s super easy to take with you for touch ups. Both of these products won’t budge after a day on the beach or a night of dancing. Go for liquid liner on your eyes, and set your whole face with a powder. I like Bare Minerals compacts, since they have sun protection, take up no room in my bag, and offer really buildable coverage that’s perfect for touch ups or total re-dos.
As for your hair, please step away from the heat tools. Who wants to spend an hour inside crimping, curling, straightening and blow drying hair that’s just going to do whatever it pleases as soon as you sweat or get on an train without A/C? Besides, summer won’t last long, and that’s time you could be drinking iced tea on a park bench or kayaking along the Chicago River. So not worth it. Let your curls curl and your fly-aways fly. Opt for a cute top-knot, a french braid, or just let it all hang out! Your hair, that is. Heavy gels or creams can melt right off your strands and right down your neck, so keep away from thick products.
#3. Loose, flowing shapes
If it’s hot, you’re gonna sweat, and if you’re gonna sweat, you’d probably rather not let it seep through your clothes. Save the tight waist bands for cooler days so sweat doesn’t gather and soak through your clothes. How handy is it that the boho look is in? Go for airy dresses than let that crucial breeze get to your skin. And if you can get away with going brassiere-less, exploit that gift. Swoob is bad enough without being exacerbated by a tight bra. If it’s good enough for Kate Hudson, it’s good enough for you.
The bigger, the better! Not only do they look stylin’, they also protect delicate skin around your eyes. Cute and smart!