Saturday, 4 July 2015

Dressing for the Weather

Closet Content Analysis: Weather Appropriate

Choices: Hot Weather Nice

My French friends and neighbours always ask me what I wear when it is minus 40 on the Canadian prairies. My husband and I have gotten into this odd routine of returning to Canada in the winter. I first attempt to deflate the amount of time it is actually minus 40 and then describe our outerwear and the concept of layering. First, they just don't have the minus-double-digit type of outerwear that we do in Canada. However, the tables have turned as we move into a week of plus 38 here in the South-West of France. What do you wear when it's plus 40?

Our neighbours, Danielle and Abel came over to gift us with some wine from a "fete" we were unable to attend. Of course, we invited them in for "apero". I then told her that we would be staying inside because of the heat. I attempted, in my limited French to explain that when it is minus 40 in Canada we stay warm as we hide in our house and when it is plus 40 in the south-west of France we stay cool as we hide in our house. Some things truly are universal.

We can layer and dress appropriately for the weather in a cold climate but what in fact do you wear when it is this hot? The first thing to do is analyze what is worn in climates that experience this type of heat on a consistent basis . . .

Fibre Content: linen, cotton, silk - never ever polyesters. Think of wrapping yourself in plastic - this does not need explanation.

Design and Structure: Loose fitting, draping rather than clinging to the body, draw-string (no elastic waist bands or heavy zippers), protection from the sun's rays - meaning long pants and long sleeves; believe it or not.

Colour: white, beige, pale blues or other pale colours

Accessories: Hats, sandal style footwear.

The tendency in western countries is to put on a polyester bathing suit and sit in the sun or water whereupon sunburn and heat stroke take their toll. Yes, I understand the breeze across the water might add a bit of coolness but if you are dashing in and out of the water and sitting in the hot sun to dry off, the only thing you accomplish is burning your skin because of the reflection off the water.

Nice: This is my absolute favourite hot weather outfit.

Linen Pants and Top Purchased in Sorrento.
Photo by JoyD.
I bought this linen top and pants in Sorrento, Italy. It's a loose-weave fabric with shell buttons and the pants have a draw-string. I have had it for years and it has weathered many trips to Europe. When it finally wears out, I will have another made exactly like it. Of all the clothes I own, this outfit has served me well in plus 30 heat.

Hot Weather Favourites. This collage created by JoyD with


  1. Great post. I love both the warm and the cold...Let me explain. I ALWAYS love feeling warm and HATE feeling cold. But I live in Canada where it is or at least can reach -40 Celsius during the Winter months and oddly enough +30 Celsius during the Summer. Here's the thing for me. Living in Canada I know how to dress for the cold. I don't like feeling cold but knowing how to dress for it makes it much more bearable. Warm parka, boots and even ski pants. On a cold sunny bitterly cold Winter day there is no better feeling than the sun "smiling" off your skin accompanied with the cold air . In the Summer when it's warm I'm not a big fan of air conditioning. It's too cold for me. Weird cuz I'm from Canada..."EH!"

    Love the classic items you've picked for yourself. Style beyond style JoyD

    1. You're exactly right. We know how to dress for the cold . . . and it's a dry cold. But the heat has been challenging. Anything, anything with any kind of polyester, viscose, whatever is absolutely unbearable. We walked when we went out for dinner on Friday night and by the time I got to the end of the block, I told my husband I had to go back to the house to change. The cotton dress I was wearing was lined with viscose. What's the point of wearing cotton lined with viscose? Horrible. It was so hot that by the time I returned to the house, the viscose was sopping wet and I'm not a "sweater" for the most part. In the heat, you can only take off so much . . . at least you can layer in the cold.

      Regarding air-conditioning: The un-natural-ness of air conditioning is what is intolerable.

      Today was nice. A rain shower in the afternoon cooled things and so the house did not heat up. Although I must say, the old stone house we live in stays surprisingly cool on these hot hot days.

  2. Great to hear the stone house is cool, beats using A/C. Yes you can dress for the cold quite easily if you know how.

    OPPS gotta log off. Huge lightening storm approaching. Boom boom crash!

    1. With the hot come the storms. We have heard a lot of thunder but then the rain is disproportionate to the noise. As with all agricultural regions, we need the rain in France. The grape vines are doing well but the corn appears to be lagging this summer. And so it is - we are dependent upon the weather.

  3. Relaxing in Kelowna5 July 2015 at 18:13

    We too are going through a hot spell...two weeks of +30 days with little to no cool down at night! Yikes! Drought conditions on the southern portion of Vancouver Island. I agree with you regarding the cold; you can layer to stay quite comfortable, but with the heat you can only take off so much before you cause a scandal!!
    Your clothing choices are lovely, as always. I also like loose summer dresses which let the breezes naturally cool you down. Here we do what needs to be done outside in the early part of the day, and then hide in the house until early evening when the deck calls us for some wonderful sips of wine! But as your husband said once, we need air conditioning in the Okanagan during the summer as much as you need a furnace in Saskatchewan in the winter! And we do love it so!!
    Stay cool and keep writing and sipping!

    1. I agree, dresses in linen and cotton are perfect - I think there's a post in that. I have a cotton dress that is - get this - lined in viscose. I put it on Saturday because Port Ste. Foy and Ste. Foy La Grande had a dinner on the bridge, sort of potluck - I'll explain another time - and I put this dress on. By the time I reached the butcher shop, I decided to return and change into an unlined dress. What's the point of buying a cotton dress for the summer if it is lined in viscose? Not one of my best purchases.

      The evenings are extremely pleasant and rosé is the beverage of choice - a salute to the summer . . . and to you and yours!


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