Maybe it is me, maybe it is being back in the south, but this summer has felt like there is something crackling under the surface, ready to burst forth. There’s a pink crepe myrtle outside my bedroom window. Its blooms are just getting started. Fruit ripens on branches and the purple sunset doesn’t fade to deep blue until so late.
Was it always like this? How many summers have I spent in the south and how many did I fail to notice? Noticing isn’t always easy. Many things get in the way of human love for the world around us. Big and small things, important and trivial, I am sure they will get in the way for me, again. But I am working on seeing the world more clearly. Not just appreciating it, but knowing it, learning the true shape of it, and its inhabitants, human and more than human.
Which leads me, perhaps surprisingly, to clothes
I’ve spent the past many months in a cold place, and worked to transition to a wardrobe for that climate. In the process, I forgot, I think, how to dress for the heat of the south. This too is a kind of noticing. And being comfortable where I am helps me to better feel and see it. Though I have lived here before, being back now feels like a new beginning, like starting over. I won’t pretend that it isn’t a little scary, or that I don’t feel unsure of myself when I go out into the world around my new home.
But pulling out pieces I have made, or favorites that have been in my closet for many years, that I haven’t been able to wear, helps me to feel the most myself, brave and confident and vivacious, in this new (again) place. And it helps me get excited about the things I might make here, and the memories that will be a part of their threads and seams.
So I want to show you some of my favorite ways to style skirts for the summer, for warm to very hot days, using both the Gypsum and Estuary skirts, an older and newer make of mine, and I hope that you’ll find inspiration, whatever your climate. In general, the hotter it is, the looser I want my clothing, in fit, and in the weave of the fabric, which means I spend most of summer in skirts and dresses.
My Estuary Skirt is probably my most worn piece of clothing, year round, but I have found it especially versatile for the summer. By tying this lightweight, RTW cotton button-down at the waist, it makes it more casual and a bit more breathable. Though it has sleeves, they are open and flowy. For hotter days, I love my Style Arc Bonnie Top. It buttons up the back and is so easy to thrown overtop my Estuary. And for the hottest days, my hand knit, linen Drop Stitch Crop Top is perfect.
This warm orange was a bit outside my comfort zone, but I wanted something brighter than the rest of my closet, that would still coordinate with my palette. To avoid bunching around my waist, since my Wiksten Shift Top comes to just above my hip, I decided to tie using a clear elastic. Though this top has sleeves, the fabric is a super soft cotton, and it roomy enough in the bust and shoulders to be comfortable on warm days.
You might recognize my hand embroidered chambray top! I love this one tucked in because it’s not quite as full as the Shift, and the upper back is open with a series of three ties, for maximum cooling on hot days. But on the hottest days, I always reach for an Ogden Cami, with my Gypsum or my Estuary, sleeveless, light weight, and cute tucked or loose, this has become my summer uniform.
Learning again how to dress for the summer is the first small step for me, towards finding a sense of place and purpose in my new home.