An Argus fashion columnist shares her tips on beating the heat in style.

You’re probably from the North, and that’s totally fine. Seriously, dealing with the disadvantage of not being Southern is punishment enough. This holds especially true this week, since this weather is crippling all y’all Northerners. Humidity, which I knew as the stifling scourge of the American South, has engulfed Middletown like, as a friend put it, we’ve been stuck inside a tube of Chapstick.

Obviously, this begs the question: how do we dress to impress our stylish academic peers while not suffocating under the weight of moisture-soaked cotton? The first month of school is an important time for style. Your history class may claim to be about European Enlightenment, but let’s be real: wearing the wrong thing will reduce you from the status of Jean-Baptiste le Rond d’Alembert’s “truly enlightened public” to his “blind and noisy multitude.” If d’Alembert thinks you’re unrefined, you might as well drop out now.

Here’s a tip: sweat lines occur anywhere two fabrics touch with any sort of pressure. Backpack straps are a common culprit. Another slightly more horrifying occurrence is the sweat line where your underwear overlaps with your clothing. A good way to avoid this is to not wear giant cotton panties. Additionally, until it cools down, you may want to forego bras, which are going the way of petticoats anyway. Sure, bras can be cute, but lately they seem antiquated and even impractical. Recently, there have been many studies (mainly from French sources, bien sûr) that refute the idea that bras serve any purpose. So if you want to be cool, both literally and sartorially, leave the bra at home. Bras are, essentially, mattress pads combined with long underwear held up with scratchy elastic shackles. The heat contained within these cups is strong enough to melt plastic, and if you need any evidence, please notice the sweat lines underneath any nearby boobs. An anonymous Californian concurs.

“It feels really restrictive,” she said. “Also, going without is more natural—not many boobs are perfect cups, I’m pretty sure. If you don’t need one, why do it?”

This free spirit makes a great point. Furthermore, a main purpose of bras is to hide problematic nipple protrusions, which is generally a cold-weather issue.  In this heat, nipple-itis hardly presents a problem. Conclusion: don’t bra-ther.

On a less 8th-grade-wet-dream note, outer garments are important, too. I’m really digging cutoffs right now: not the high-waisted jorts with ragged bottoms that we’ve all gotten used to (although underbutt is a national security crisis that has not been adequately addressed). Instead, I urge you to opt for regular pants cut off around mid-thigh. I love the ’90s vibe of regular jeans cut off about three inches above the knee, with the waistline at the hips instead of the waist (or, god forbid, the ass crack). These are great for the heat because the ragged bottoms allow the breeze to brush against your knees.

At a school where anything goes, there is no need to sacrifice style for comfort. One fun thing about Wesleyan is that here, it’s wicked cool to toe the line between hipster and slightly nasty. I truly love this attitude, as well as the rejection of corporate brands evidenced by DIY and thrifted jorts. Also, pairing your cutoffs with the right baby tee and a choker will allow you to pass for a member of *NSYNC, which is always a plus in my book.

Temperatures have been dropping lately, though, and the rules will begin to change. I look forward to addressing how to layer clothes, hopefully consulting someone not from the South or California. That said, moderation is key in the fall: it’s crucial not to layer too much too quickly. Don’t be the Northerner who sweats through your grandpa sweater and rumpled cords in early September. Plus, as you learned here, dressing for humidity can be fun! And before you know it, ragged jorts will be nothing but a memory.

  • J.D. Shatz

    What about the guys? I’m a Northern guy who has struggled to find the right pair of pants for the summertime/warm months.