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Loose Clothes: Wear Without Drowning

 

How to Wear Loose Clothes for Summer -- Weekday WanderlustConfession: I used to be terrified of loose clothes. I always envied women who could pull off light, airy clothes with grace, but I accepted that I wasn’t one of them. Maybe it’s just flashbacks to hand-me-downs, or a side effect of growing up petite. I’d try to look carefree and ethereal, and end up looking like a failed Project Runway challenge. For me, loose clothes meant drowning in fabrics — getting lost in layers, not having a visible waist or body. So I always gravitated towards super skin-tight, sized down, body conscious pieces — but secretly lusted after drapey silhouettes and floaty, angelic, dreamy, flowing loose clothes.

That started to change a summer or two ago. You’ve heard me before: New York heat and summer style can be a tricky match. On top of that, I was visiting India, where loose clothes are not just du jour, but basically the only option. It’s not even just a modesty thing. Less clothing won’t help you out in humid weather. Breathable fabrics will,  and loose clothes allow for air. I had to learn to let go of my cinched, tight aesthetic and let the layers in.

It was terrifying, but I actually learned a few things about styling by being forced out of my (very compact, form-fitting, uncompromising) comfort zone.  The biggest lesson? You do not have to suffer for fashion. You can wear loose clothes and look cute, femme, even polished and put-together. And ever since, I’m not so afraid of airy layers anymore. Read on for styling tips on wearing loose, light layers without losing yourself.

shop the look

Pencil Riding Skirt in Black by American Apparel
Luxe Eyelash Bra in White  by Uye Surana
Pebble Silk Draped Top by Helmut Lang
Soft Shroud Overlap Top by Helmut Lang (similar)
Hudson Necklace in Gunmetal by Jessica Elliott (similar)
Polly Heel @ Need Supply (similar)
Movado Bold Stainless Steel Watch by Movado
Vasha Vegan Leather Clutch by Viva Creatures (similar)
Naked Illuminated Shimmer Powder in Aura
 by Urban Decay

How to Wear Loose Clothes for Summer -- Weekday Wanderlust How to Wear Loose Clothes for Summer -- Weekday Wanderlust

LOOSE CLOTHES really ARE SUPER COMFORTABLE. ESPECIALLY FOR SUMMER.

Super obvious, but light layers give you more room to breathe. Even more than one layer feels much cooler, provided you’re choosing good fabrics. Plus, you have more mobility and the space keeps your skin from feeling stifled. If you feel uneasy about lighter materials getting blown away, select loose clothes with an inner layer in a breathable cotton or jersey, like my top here.

YOU CAN WEAR LOOSE CLOTHES AND STILL HAVE A SHAPE

The asymmetrical drape front on this blouse helps define a shape. Additionally, the heaviest part of the drape falls lower on the body, so that petite figures like mine don’t get overwhelmed. The looseness of the drapery here is flattering. Instead of swallowing the body whole, it draws lines, reveals skin, and moves in and out to create movement and contour while staying light.

LOOSE CLOTHES DON’T HAVE TO LOOK PLAIN.

How to Wear Loose Clothes for Summer -- Weekday Wanderlust

Intricate layers and details add interest without visual clutter. I love the extremely low back on this top — sure, exposed skin adds sex appeal, but this open back also adds great styling versatility. In combination with the wide silk band of the Uye Surana bralette, this look feels lightweight and refined. The exposure feels intentional and deliberate.

PAIR TIGHT AND LOOSE CLOTHES TO FEEL MORE FEMININE OR MODERN.

The most important thing to remember about volume throughout an outfit is that it’s often most flattering when it varies. Pairing the blouse with a super-tight American Apparel skirt brings the eye back closer to the body at the legs. Instead of overwhelming, there’s a controlled variation of volume. Plus, I feel neatly cinched and put-together instead of sloppy or overly bohemian.

How to Wear Loose Clothes for Summer -- Weekday Wanderlust

 

How to Wear Loose Clothes for Summer -- Weekday Wanderlust

SHOP THE LOOK

Pencil Riding Skirt in Black by American Apparel
Luxe Eyelash Bra in White  by Uye Surana
Pebble Silk Draped Top by Helmut Lang
Soft Shroud Overlap Top by Helmut Lang (similar)
Hudson Necklace in Gunmetal by Jessica Elliott (similar)
Polly Heel @ Need Supply (similar)
Movado Bold Stainless Steel Watch by Movado
Vasha Vegan Leather Clutch by Viva Creatures (similar)
Naked Illuminated Shimmer Powder in Aura
 by Urban Decay

Thanks so much to Jacqueline Dorey & Julia Damesek for the photos! <3

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