Summer Casual

Summer Casual

Washington D.C. is hot during the summer and the heat does things to people, if you know what I mean.[1]  
If you can imagine, some people become very crabby when they are being photographed outside in the heat . . . and therefore are well-advised to retreat indoors. Far better to lose the natural lighting than alienate the photographer. But we aren’t here to talk about who is or isn’t a monster. Let’s just talk about how the heat affects the way we dress.
My firm down-shifts from Business Casual to Casual for the summer months and so I can wear this 100% cotton outfit any appointment-free day of the week.

Cool blouse
Cool blouse
but not revealing with jacket
but not revealing with jacket

Let’s take a look at the details, shall we?

I bought this charming blouse at Anthropologie years ago. It came with a silk sash, which I laundered at home. You may wonder why I was putting silk in the washing machine? The sash was attached to the blouse.

When the sash became faded and I had to replace it, I realized that what the blouse really needed was a linen sash with a little stiffness to it — so that the bow would have a more presence. A couple of seams had to be opened to remove the original sash — but it was very easy to do. The new sash is not attached.

Jaunty bow
Jaunty bow

Just a thought, for you to consider at your leisure: A sash like this is easy to make (though I admit I had the tailor make mine) and could add a charming touch to many tops. If you want to define your waist while maintaining the long line of your torso, you could use a sash in a harmonizing shade (rose with pale pink, for instance) rather than a contrasting color. Just a thought.

The little things make the difference
The little things make the difference

And the smaller details:

    a white alligator watchband, a nice light touch in the summer;

    wood bead bracelets with charms/talismans;

    leopard print Mary Janes.

Have a great weekend and stay cool!

Jacket: Garnet Hill; Blouse: Anthropologie; Pants: JCrew; Shoes: Cole Haan; Bag: Orla Kiely; Bracelets: Gavilane
Photos: Lauren Ackil

We will spend the weekend working on the blog!
To commemorate the 80th Directrice post, which you just read, I show you this cat.
Very deep thoughts
This marvelous cat

9 thoughts on “Summer Casual”

  1. I’m so pleased that you provided the footnote. This Northeast native lived in Florida for four years and spent April through October of those years in 95-degree heat with 95 percent humidity. (Side note: it’s just wrong to go pick out a Christmas tree while wearing shorts and flip-flops.) Makes the occasional 92-degree humid day here in Vermont (I think we’ve had perhaps two this summer so far) entirely bearable. Having just a town general store to scrutinize my clothing choices, not an office, I can wear floppy linen pants and a loose tank top on those days while I’m sipping my iced coffee.

    Have you any suggestions for simple but nice broad-brimmed straw or other natural-fiber hats (even better if they come in sizes, rather than the one-size-fits-all they offer women at most stores)?

    • Hi Sue — As a native of New Hampshire, adjusting to the heat of D.C. took some time. Twenty years into my residency, I can handle the heat, but have lost my ability to tolerate real cold. In other words, I’ve gone soft. Your question about hats is worthy of a whole post, so I will add it to my list of future topics, but here are some quick thoughts. First, check out the website of my local, wonderful, hat shop — the Proper Topper ( They have some cute straw hats, including hats on sale, there. If you are looking to make a small investment in a hat that you will have for years, check out Helen Kaminski ( Some Helen Kaminski hats are made with an adjustable interior lining, which should help with fit. Personally, I prefer canvas to straw for hats because it’s easy to pack, easier to store, and washable. Helen Kaminski makes beautful cotton twill hats as well as straw, in classic shapes, but at the start of the summer, you will find much less expensive hats at JCrew and similar stores. I usually go for white, but since I wear a lot of neutral and solid colors, I also like seersucker and printed fabrics for hats. My current favorite is a Liberty-inspired floral from Pistil. Good luck, and thank you so much for reading and commenting!

    • Thank you, Jodie! I tell Harper all the time that it’s better to be smart than pretty (no reaction from her), but I must say that I think she’s a beauty.

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