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Monday Musings- Habitual Dressing and the Outfit of the Week

Happy Monday, ladies. I’m thinking long and hard about my wardrobe this week. Where it’s working, where it’s failing me, and how I need to adjust things. When triple-digit temperatures struck last week, I found my wardrobe sadly lacking, again! I am also sharing a wide-leg pants outfit of the week that has elements I may need in my evolving style recipe.

WE SPENT 2 GLORIOUS DAYS BY A MOUNTAIN LAKE LAST WEEKEND

My habit (yes, it’s a habit) of reaching for a pair of jeans and a simple top just won’t cut it for day after day of blisteringly hot weather. And because I love jeans, I own more of them than anything else in my wardrobe…which makes my habit easy.

WEARING / STRAW HAT / CLASSIC COTTON POPLIN SHIRT / DENIM SKIRT / SLIP ON ESPADRILLES

I do have some cotton and linen blend dresses but they require ironing, which I just don’t want to do in the hot weather. They could be worn straight out of the dryer but I prefer them ironed. I have a few denim skirts but in that kind of sweltering heat, even they feel too warm because their structured shape and fabric allow less airflow.

WEARING /  STRAW HAT  / SAME CAFTAN IN DIFFERENT COLOR

I’ve tried the caftan route and know it to be totally unflattering on my shape so I’ll reserve them for tropical holidays, trips to the pool, and days when I’m not leaving the house. I don’t wear shorts and think capri pants are unflattering. I know that’s not a popular opinion. Many of you love them and brands aimed at midlife women continue to churn them out, so I’ll continue to style them for you…but I don’t plan to wear them.

See also- 6 Things That Look Matronly

We need to adjust our wardrobe as our bodies, location, and lifestyles change. I am obviously past due for a change because of our climate.  We can radically modify how we want to look, or make subtle updates. I’m going for subtle right now and will share more in the coming weeks. I have always gravitated to structured garments because of my body shape and taste, but I plan to experiment with looser silhouettes and see where it takes me.

Outfit of the week in natural Fibers

This wide-leg outfit of the week features natural fibers that will breathe and comfy shapes that feel easy on the body. The shapes are semi-structured but have a looser silhouette.

wide leg pants outfit of the week
LACK OF COLOR PALM LEAF STRAW BOATER HATCOTTON EMBROIDERED LONG SHIRT  /  WIDE LEG ORGANIC COTTON GAUZE PANTS  / QUAY POLARIZED SUNGLASSES  / CHEEK AND LIPSTICK IN MINETTE (LUMINOUS PEACH)  /  VIONIC SANDALS  /  STRAW BAG  /  HAND-CARVED WOODEN BANGLERAFFIA DROP EARRINGS 

I love the shape of this palm leaf boater. Its dipped brim adds a fun touch of drama and it’ll provide plenty of protection from the sun. My sunglasses are always polarized because I’m as serious about protecting my eyes from the sun as I am with my skin and this shape is fun!

This inexpensive straw bag holds a lot so I use mine as a tote.

This Johnny Was long cotton shirt could be worn open as a duster, or buttoned halfway like this over pants. I just ordered these wide-leg organic cotton gauze pants and think they’ll be a perfect addition to my “looser, less structured” pant collection. I finished the look with natural wood bangle and some cute raffia earrings.

Do you have wardrobe habits you’d like to change?

Thanks for reading and remember to wear what makes you feel confident and happy.

59 Comments

  1. I had to rethink my wardrobe when I moved to this hotter climate a few years back. I ended up with light weight cotton dresses as my favorite. Then light cotton / rayon/ linen items, dresses, skirts, tops with sleeves. The jeans and tees were too hot for me. Skirts were more airy than shorts also. Then I switched to espadrilles, hats and basket bags. Anything plastic or polyester is too warm also, natural fabrics are much cooler. It’s interesting that I moved to a place that you need less clothing, yet need to be more covered and protected from the sun! Goofy me.

  2. Being a native Texan and sixty-eight years old, I’m used to the heat. Having said that, I don’t linger out in it. Back door to car, car to store, store back to car…you get it! I don’t wear dresses or skirts so my summer wear is crops, tank or short sleeve tee and sandals. Shorts are reserved for in the house and walking the neighborhood early morn.
    In other news, I learned of a fade cream from “Doctorly” on YouTube. It is “Faded” by Topicals. It’s at Sephora but is out of stock now. If you are not familiar with that channel, it’s two dermatologists with great info.
    Being sandal season, shout out for the Amlactin you recommended. I love it!

    1. I hear you. I bounce from AC to AC in this heat 🙂

  3. You said “I do have some cotton and linen blend dresses but they require ironing, which I just don’t want to do in the hot weather.” Me too! I love wearing cotton & linen blend dresses in the hot Texas summers and also hate ironing at anytime. This is what I do: I wash the dresses and hang to dry. Then wring out one wet washcloth and throw it in the dryer with the dresses & dry on medium for about 10 min. Just enough steam is created to release the wrinkles in the garments. Remove dresses and hang up to cool off. I’ve done this for years – a huge time-saver!

    1. This topic resonates with me so much. How to keep cool and covered without looking frumpy or overexposed and still feel at least a bit stylish. I know there are bigger problems in the world but this one affects me more personally than most. Added to that, I don’t have a big budget to work with and I love creatively mixing the pieces I do have. I appreciate any help you can give me.

    2. This is definitely worth a try! Thanks for the suggestion!

    3. WOW!! You are brilliant Linn! Thank you for sharing

  4. Dresses. I have casual knee length, midi, and maxi dresses in lightweight cotton, rayon, and/or linen blends, and none of them need ironing. They are sleeveless or short-sleeved, and none of them fit tightly anywhere. On a really hot day it’s especially nice not to have a waistband, and dresses provide great air circulation. I have a few pairs of short and a couple of skirts, and I love wide leg denim, but when the temperature is 90 or above I stick to dresses,

    1. Smart!! There really is nothing cooler than a dress.

  5. We on the MS coast are pretty much experts at hot humid weather dressing….. Cotton gauze is great and rarely needs the iron: Soft Surroundings and Petalura. And linen, linen, linen for sundresses, unlined! Johnny Was linen is a dream, but they are doing fewer of the linen tees🙄. Indian cotton dresses of dreamy lightweight cotton: Marketplace of India for S/S dresses, tops and pants!

  6. Jennifer, I live in the Southeastern USA and sweltering pretty much sums up summer here! This year I am doing the wider leg linen blend pants and for more casual I wear cropped white pants ( not capris). I could use some help with better looking “at home” outfits. My stretch big leg cropped yoga pants and old tees are certainly not flattering and I would like to wear something a bit more pulled together but comfortable. Ideas???

    1. I hear you, Jules. I always like to suggest we shift the category we’ve put our outfits in. The “stay at home and hope no one sees me” outfits get donated. Then the next level up of our outfit gets downgraded and worn at home and so on. You will feel more pulled together and get more wear out of the wardrobe pieces you love.

  7. Your wardrobe habits and dislikes sound like my wardrobe habits and dislikes, although we are different in body shape, size and height. I have some cotton dresses ready for the summer heat, but they are not needed yet.

    1. Jennifer, how is the fit of the Lifestride espadrilles? I have slim feet. Are they true to the size chart in length?

      1. I have medium feet with a bunion which takes a bit of room but they are not a wide shoe.

  8. Oh my gosh, Jennifer, I must have been channeling you. Just spent the last 2 days doing a deep dive into my spring/summer closet. (Just short of a Marie Condo.) Discovered: 1) I have too many clothes and that contributes to feeling “I have nothing to wear” 2) The clear out was calming and creates a feeling of calm when I walk into my closet 3) I need to pay more attention to the fit of a piece of clothing before purchasing 4) finally understand a capsule wardrobe 5) how happy I am when I wear a piece of clothing I LOVE, which also lead to getting rid of almost all skinny pant that I don’t wear with boots (I have finally come to grips with my dislike of skinny pants and how bad they made me feel, also had to admit my calves and thighs are just bigger, nothing to do with weight). Sorry, maybe TMI but as usual your thoughts resonate with me.

    1. Thank you for sharing, Suzi!! We have all been there, and if not recently…we probably need to with our own closets.

  9. Third layer is my go-to habit! Hard to do in Texas heat right now. You all have inspired me to revisit my old favorite brand Flax. They make good quality, loose-fitting, machine washable linen in great colors. Third layer isn’t needed because the clothes are interesting on their own. Perhaps a little jewelry, if going out. Oops is that another third layer? LOL

    1. Lol, jewelry is not a third layer 🙂 Flax was fabulous!

  10. Saturday we had lunch with a couple we have not seen in 25 years. It was joyful. The waiter took a cell phone picture of all of us after the lunch in front of the restaurant. My friend posted it on face book. I was so discouraged by my image in the photo. The split v neck wrap top made my bust look enormous and my J. Crew slacks looked dumpy. My makeup looked washed out. In short, just a mess of fashion misses. My take aways: wrap stretchy tops can be very flattering or not so much. check carefully. Comfortable pants don’t always have flattering lines. Make sure your lipstick is back on. thanks for your observations and comments, Jennifer.

    1. I’m sorry Mary. We’ve all had that happen. Wrap tops look best on women with fewer curves who need to create the illusion.

  11. Thank you for this post. I live in Arizona and I am looking forward to more on dressing for a hot climate.

  12. Like you I do not wear most crops but found Talbots has a few wide and straight leg pants they label as “crops” that I like for my 5’7″ size 12 over 70yrs body. The Talbots crops that I think work for me are, in my opinion, actually ankle length hitting at most approx 1″ above my ankle. They are a lightweight linen blend. I like them with flat sandals with a simple design like the vionics you mention. Clunky sandals don’t seem to work. Have the vionics in gold and they work well for me most of the time. Hardest part for me has been finding the right top because I carry too much weight in my middle and I am no longer showing a lot of arm skin. The search is ongoing. Meanwhile thank you so much for your very helpful posts and referrals to fashion that may work for us.

    1. I find 1“ above my ankle flattering too. Wide crops are much more flattering than capris which are slimmer on the calf. That why I pick and choose which garment I buy in petite vs regular length.

  13. Our summers are so changeable that it’s difficult to predict what I need. Some years I wear a lot of linen and others, they never get out of my closet. Today is a cool-ish day (21 degrees c.) and I’m wearing white jeans for only the 3rd time this year) and an black, vee neck sweater to go grocery shopping, then I’m in my golf clothes for a late afternoon game. The forecast is calling for a hotter than normal (whatever that is) summer and I’m thinking I may need more linen clothes as what I have is a few years old. I may even look for a dress!

    1. Sounds like a fun day! I guess I just prefer a more temperate climate. The Canadian in me wasn’t built for super hot weather 😉

  14. The problem is how to stay cool while also protecting yourself from the sun’s rays. When I walk in the mornings, I always wear cropped pants and a long sleeve tee, a sun hat, sun glasses and sunscreen on my face, neck and hands. I’m usually a sweaty mess by the time I get home but it’s a sacrifice I make to protect myself. I like to wear sundresses around the house to stay cool but for whatever reason I don’t feel comfortable going out in them. 🤔 I then wear cropped pants with sleeveless tops. Fortunately, where I live (Vancouver Island) we don’t usually have the high temps you suffer through. I find the intense heat saps my energy and even makes me feel faint if walking, gardening, etc.

    1. I walk in long sleeve tops and long pants that have the upf in the fibers.They’re super hot but I have to protect my skin too!

  15. Jill from Canada says:

    You could always move back to western canada!! – you could wear jeans 365 days a year!! (At least this year!!) LOL

    1. Don’t think I haven’t thought about that, Jill. We sure miss it there ❤️❤️

  16. “Do you have wardrobe habits that you’d like to change?” A definite ‘yes’, particularly now when ordering more online I read the fabric content more carefully as for summer wear I try to avoid ‘natural’ woven fabrics that have a high percentage/count of elastane/spandex/elasterell etc. In other words, those with elasticity as feel they are just not as cool wearing as those without, that might be a blend containing rayon/polyester/viscose etc. That being said; I also desire the cut/style of the garment to be comfortable (not restricted but still flattering for my body type) but it must be easy maintenance (I refuse to be a slave to my iron nor do I want to look like I just rolled out of bed) as even with ‘natural’ fabrics, not all are equal.
    -Brenda-

    1. Great points about the fabric, Brenda.

  17. Elizabeth says:

    For summer in Texas at home I wear shorts. I have some nice Bermuda shorts but unless it is a outdoor activity like a parade or outdoor gathering with friends I don’t wear them out. When I go out for errands or casual lunch with friends I wear white ankle pants. Appleseeds makes some really nice ones as does Ann Taylor. I am 74.

  18. Violet L O'Brien says:

    Hi, I no longer wear shorts and agree with you on capris. I’ve ditched most of mine and may wear an old pair around then house when cleaning. Haven’t tried the maxi dresses since I’m not very tall and fear it will look like a nightgown. Starting to think it’s easier for me to dress in the cooler weather. Love your blog and your ideas!!

  19. I too dislike capri pants. They hit at the widest part of the leg and even though I am tall and slender, make me look dumpy. So it’s ankle pants for me and black light weight ones are ok. Jeans are just too hot when the temps approach 100. I am thinking of some wide leg pants but the closer fitting top they require is an iffer. That’s hot too. I forgo any third layer unless going to a movie or doc visit., the purpose is to be cool and comfortable. I could do a dress, but tiers and ruffles are not me at all.
    Will be watching your journey! Thank you ..

  20. The coolest outfit for me is a sun dress of light material and flowy.
    Jeans and even long shorts are just too hot 🥵

  21. Janie Menegay says:

    I think you look great in shorts!! You live in California and I’m sure you could wear them almost anywhere as we do in Texas. I’m over 70 and live in a golf course/lake community with triple digit heat in the summer. Bermudas and a tee are my outfit most days and self-tanner helps on the legs…

  22. I really need a cooler option for pants in the heat. I have just been wearing white jeans most of the summer. I don’t wear shorts unless I’m golfing with a ton of sunscreen. I like the long top but not for my 5’1 height.

    1. My white jeans don’t feel much cooler than blue jeans 🙂

  23. When the weather gets very hot, a longer length pair of shorts that hit at the knee is a good option. I’ve found some in a linen fabric and they can be flattering. Jeans are just too hot for summer weather, but are my staple the rest of the year. I think older women sometimes have a negative opinion about shorts, but they do work if styled correctly. And are cooler!

    1. I agree they’re a great alternative and can look quite dressy if need be.

  24. Phyllis Hughes says:

    Black pants. I live in black double knit or ponte black pants. I have in my closet turquoise, pink, light grey and peach linen pants. I have dark purple, navy blue, and dark grey double knit pants. I have blue jeans and light grey jeans. I have three pairs of black pants. One is packed in our to-go hospital bag for my husband’s transplant. I recently made a new pair of black pants to replace the pair I demoted to gardening pants. I keep trying to break my habit of grabbing black pants and shirt or top every morning, but it is just such an easy way to dress. Right now I have a really nice double knit in a dark red on my cutting table waiting for me to lay the pattern down and cut them out. I have tried to figure out why my comfort level alway has me going to the black pants, then the dark colored pants, and finally my lighter colored linen pants even in the heat of summer. I’ve tried dresses, long and short. But I’m uncomfortable without leggings (black, of course) or shimmies under a dress. The shimmies are hot. I’d rather wear pantyhose, but good luck finding them in short queen size any more.

    1. I suspect black pants may be many women’s habit. I know it was mine for very many years. They’re soooo easy and look great on. Sending prayers for your husbands transplant!!

  25. I like the guaze pants but am not a fan of the long top. I don’t see that it would be any than a short top. You’ve bought some long dresses this year that I would think would be lovely and cool — no waist and open at the bottom. I’m totally with you about linen and cotton. Sundance has cotton pants that are almost as light as PJs, but I don’t think they’re your style. They’re not mine either really, but, like you, I’m experimenting with my style. Happy Monday

    1. sorry “any cooler” than a short top

  26. Cynthia B says:

    I can relate. My habit is the third piece. I love jackets and light sweaters and dusters as that third piece to almost every outfit. Even to dresses where they are a second piece. To me it finishes the look. However…..in 100+ degree Texas heat, the only time you want a second or third piece is in the office (which I no longer visit since retiring) or in church. Otherwise, too hot. What’s a girl to do? My approach thus far is to stick with natural fibers like you are doing. Linen, even mixed with modal/tencil works on the bottoms. Loose on bottom and sometimes even loose on top (takes some getting used to and tricky on a small frame). But the real workhorses seem to be dresses…and the finisher is jewelry.

    1. I love a third piece over everything too. I think the secret to success with them is thin, breathable and loose.

  27. I’ve neen doing loose linen blend ( less wrinkling) pants for years! I used to get them at forever 21 ( really!) because I wanted a variety of colors and they were cheap and the xs fit me. ( only garment there that fit!)
    Fast forward and F21 doesn’t carry them, found some that came to my waist at NT&Co. Not quite as soft. I’m hoping a lot of washing will help.
    I found that with my aging body, a stretch waist is a must. I can “grow” over 2” in a day ( if I eat carbs)! So my jeans go away for the summer. I haven’t tried gauze pants and worry they will stretch out badly. Let us know! I never wear shorts or capris ( lumpy knees and short legs) but am always on the lookout for a cool alternative. Now that higher rises are everywhere I have to have a petite size, or the waistband comes up to my bra. ( mid rise in a regular worked great. I’m 4’11” so I have to shorten everything anyway)

    1. Proportions are so challenging. Linen blends are smart, Susan! I’ll be keeping my eye out for them and will keep you posted on my gauze ones.

  28. I think you are stumped when it comes to hot weather dressing because you don’t wear shorts!! I could not live here in Florida without my shorts and capris. I literally wear shorts 9 months of the year. Please reconsider shorts. You have nice legs, and you can get shorts in a longer length. If capris are worn at the best length on your body you will learn to love them! Capris on me are usually long because fitting my hips means the length is long. I just have them shortened. And I never wear jeans ever! Even in January and February when it is “chilly” here, jeans are too heavy. I also wear lightweight loose dresses in summer.

    1. It’s hard for me to explain why I don’t like to wear shorts other than to say they’re just not me :). I know it seems strange because they look ok, but they don’t feel right.

  29. I love you in dresses . They give you a nice shape and they look very feminine.

  30. Francesca B. says:

    Hi Jennifer,
    Love the outfit of the week and the natural colors and fibers. Love Johnny Was too. I tend to wear more cotton skirts in the summer and now l am getting better quality t’ shirts to wear on top currently loving Cos v neck for the fit. Beautiful lake pictures glad you got away 🙂

    1. I’ll have to check out the Cos tee shirts. I just bought 2 others from a brand I thought would be great and they look like a dish rags after one washing. Where do you find yours?

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