Easy Ways To Wear Black This Summer Without Overheating

Black is a timeless, chic choice for any time of the year. Some women shy away from it in the hotter weather, but I’m a firm believer it can be a summertime staple when worn right. Whether you choose to wear head-to-toe black or just add a touch of it in your accessories, here’s how to wear black over 50 this summer without overheating.

For our Style Edit Over 50 this month, Cindy and I are tackling how to wear black in the summer. Last month we covered wearing color here…this month it’s black. Bear in mind that my wardrobe is limited for these pictures because we’re traveling, but here’s my take on it:

over 60 woman wearing black summer dress and lightweight scarf on stairway

What are the benefits of wearing black in the summer?

Darker colors hide perspiration more than lighter colors, but they also absorb the heat from the sun, so that it can be a tradeoff. Black coordinates with most other colors and hides dirt, which makes it perfect to travel with.

Choose the right black fabric

Lightweight fabric that breathes in the hot weather, like linen, cotton, cotton gauze, bamboo, chambray, some rayons, and very lightweight silk. I love black denim just as much as the next gal, but it can be too hot for a summer outfit. Billowy styles will be cooler in sweltering temperatures because they allow for airflow. Prints with black are an easy way to wear black in the summer without overheating.

This cotton/silk skirt is extremely lightweight and swishy, which allows for airflow, and is very fun to wear. For a casual dinner with friends last week, I paired it with a lightweight chambray shirt, my convertible travel bag, super comfy fit flop sandals, and cable hoop earrings.

Many performance fabrics also breathe and keep you cool in the summer by wicking away moisture and perspiration. This black tee is a breathable fabric that pulls sweat away from the body so it can evaporate.

Show some skin with black

Wearing head-to-toe black can be hard to pull off in the summer, and the more covered your body, the hotter you will feel. A breezier look is more appropriate in the summer months, and that means the right balance between your skin and garments. Try exposing your ankles and wrists, at the very least, forearms, shoulders, and/or legs to your comfort level. Lace, crochet, and open-weave fabrics also allow a bit of skin to show without overexposing anything. Sheer adds a touch of femininity without going overboard. 

The right fit for wearing black in Summer

One of the easiest ways to wear black on a hot day is to choose billowy styles that allow for airflow. Breezy silhouettes like a flowy skirt, loose sundress, palazzo, and wide-leg pants help keep you cool in any color. T-shirts can be hotter than a woven shirt in the summer, so choose ones that aren’t too snug and are in a thinner knit. A black shirt in breezy cotton is cooler than a snugger-fitting shirt in any other color.

My dress is made from two layers of a cotton/linen blend that feels as light and cool as a tissue. I found it at a small boutique this summer, so I can’t link to the exact dress. The brand is M Made in Italy. This one is very similar, and so is this. The scarf is a cashmere/silk gossamer fabric that I’ve had for many years. This brand is so fun, with unique prints and fun patterns. If I had a strappier sandal with me, I would have worn that, but these nude cork wedges work in a pinch.

Accessories with black

Black looks more summery when balanced with accessories in natural materials. A straw or raffia tote looks fresh with a black outfit and adds a lightness that leather or canvas just can’t provide. Beach glass, bamboo, resin, and lightweight jewelry lightens the look of black in the summer. Try a pop of color against black to lighten the look. Cork is a fun material for summer and can lend a nautical vibe.

This black linen Quince shirt and wide-leg linen pants from Eileen Fisher have a loose fit and allow for plenty of airflow. I wore them with a straw crossbody, straw fedora, and some Easy Spirit woven sandals.


Accessorize your summer outfits with black open-toe shoes, strappy sandals, or footwear in breathable materials. Canvas espadrilles are a summer classic, no matter the color. Woven leather sandals and shoes with cork soles are also fun options for the hot weather. Canvas sneakers feel cooler than leather sneakers and look cooler in a fun color.

Let’s go see how Cindy is wearing black this summer at Cindy Hattersley Design.

Here’s how I wear black over 50 without overheating this summer. How do you do it?

Is black part of your wardrobe in the summer?


  1. Jennifer,
    You do look great in all of these outfits! I would love to own that CP Shades skirt, but it’s a bit pricey for me. Have you found anything similar at a lower price point? Thanks!

    1. I have not but I always keep my eyes open for one and will certainly share if I find it.

  2. I love black at any time. It is so chic and just makes a great statement.

  3. That black dress is stunning on you Jennifer! I wear a lot of black with white in the summer, and most of my black pants are linen. And I love navy for the summer too. I’ve been looking for a pair of navy linen pants, and used your link to J Jill to order the linen relaxed crops. Fingers crossed that they fit as it would be too expensive to ship back.

    1. I hope they fit too. They’re really a lovely European navy. Thank you so much for shoppoing through my link!

  4. Thank you so much for this great post. It is exactly what I needed to hear as I love black but always feel I “should” wear colors and I don’t feel myself in most colors. Also, I think white pants with a black tee or top is classic too.

    1. We “need” only wear what we love that makes up feel happy and confident.:) I often feel presure to wear color but prefer neutrals.

  5. I love the CP Shades skirt!! Have you seen anything similar at a lower price point by chance? A gal can hope!

    1. I wish there was something similar but I have yet to find one that flows so nicely. You can often find them on Ebay.

  6. I’m wearing navy as my grounding color. I have very fair skin and white and silver hair. My tops are airy and flowing away from my body. I now have 4 pairs of linen wide leg pants. I had to go up a size to get the waist big enough, but I kind of like the coolness of the larger pants and have not taken them in! You look lovely in the light pants and dark top.

    1. I love wide leg pants too. Your colors sound lovely, Sydney.

  7. What a great post, Jennifer! Love your ideas and suggestions, but I especially wanted to say that you look amazing in that stunning black dress.

  8. So interesting that we both said the same thing basically. You always explain it so well though. I absolutely adore you in that sleeveless number with that gorgeous blue scarf. I am a sucker for a pretty scarf! You always look so great in hats and that Brixton is a keeper! Always fun to do this together!!

    1. It’s hard to go wrong with black and a great scarf! You look amazing, as always!

  9. I do wear black in the summer but always pair it with white. If I wear white jeans, I might wear a black & white sleeveless top, and with black cropped pants, a white top. The short or sleeveless tops are summery and in a cool fabric. I’ll then pair them with white or caramel sandals and purse. I think it’s a classy look that transcends the seasons if you change up the fabrics.
    Your gauzy dress with the shirring is super cute, Jennifer.

    1. I’m a big fan of wearing black with white too. It’s always a fresh, stylish combo.

  10. I think you are spot-on in talking about fabric types and weights — and thanks for pointing out that a black cotton gauze blouse is far cooler than any color fitted cotton tee. I love black and will always wear it, no matter the naysayers! In fact, I have to force myself to add color — I guess I focus on adding color via my shoes and bags and scarves. (PS. I love these collaboration posts with Cindy. You two have different vibes and I learn a lot from each of you. Thanks!)

    1. I tend to reach for neutrals first and black will always be a big part of my wardrobe. Cindy’s style is so fun! I’m always inspired by her.

  11. What GREAT summer outfits! Easy. Breezy. I don’t have enough linen. And it is SO HOT and HUMID in SC. Thank you for introducing me to CP Shades. Love!! And loved their skirt in you. Thank you Jennifer!!

  12. Love all your black outfits! I wear black year round. Just lighter fabrics in summer. I like white jeans with a black top and sandals. That might not be cool anymore but I still wear it. Everyone here is still running around in all black workout wear.

    1. I like white jeans with a black top too! Who says we’re not cool? 😉

  13. Love the ‘shark bite’ dresses. I have several black dresses that travel well, and black is one of my colors, so I have black summer blouses as well. I’m curious, though, how you feel about navy blue for summer? It shares a lot of the characteristics that you raise for black.

    1. I adore navy for summer! It’s perfect year round. I simply find more selections available in black. Especially unique pieces.

  14. Peri Meadows says:

    I noticed you are wearing the Brooklyn pant from Athleta in one of the photos. How do you find the fit and fabric on these? They have been on my radar to purchase.
    Love the black dress!

    1. They’re a fabulous pant. Super comfy and perfect for everyday or travel.

  15. The cotton/silk skirt looks so gorgeous! A number of summer tops would pair so very well with this fun skirt. I just purchased a black gauze, popover top and feel that it will get repeated wear this summer. You are correct, it’s the fabric and more loose fit that makes black work on warmer days. I also have black travel crops that are a cool option too. My accessories are minimal when it’s hot and with a swipe of lipstick, it’s just enough.
    Love all your styles today!

    1. Lipstick is a must! Happy Friday Jan.

  16. Good morning! I almost never wear black these days (except for black pants) –
    seems too harsh for my aging skin and hair color. But I like these outfits on you, especially the one with the blue shawl. Another thing I like is the straw and black bag. I can see myself using that in the summer with black pants and a colorful top. Have a great weekend!

    1. I’m getting a lot of use out of that straw bag. It’s small yet holds just enough.

  17. Haha this old goth recently explained to her Emo niece the difference between summer black and winter black! As a dark winter, I’m stuck with black as my only option in a sea of warm colors (or summer muted cool colors) in the summer. I am seeing more navy which is good. But it’s totally doable in the right fabrics.

    1. Lol, there is a difference. I bet you look fab in your blacks.

  18. I think every outfit is stunning. To me, black is grounding and sophisticated. I stopped wearing it for awhile because you have to be careful with it but I like your idea of keeping it flowing, airy and loose in the summer. I’ve always heard that in decorating, there should be a little bit of black in every room. Same goes for fashion evidently! It just works! Thank you!

    1. I’ve heard the same about decorating. I love wearing black too. It’s easy and I find lots of fun pieces in it.

  19. Pat Patterson says:

    Good morning Jennifer, I very much like your selections for wearing black in the summer. You look fantastic in those airy dresses. Have a great weekend

    1. Good morning Pat! Thank you so much.

  20. You look so pretty in all of these black + items! I read with interest of all the good reasons to incorporate black into travel outfits. Quite sensible! And yes, the fabric itself is worth noting!

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