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Sun Tight: How to Work Summer Fashion on a Winter Body

User's Guide to Summer Add comments


By Isa Giallorenzo with illustrations by Josh Crow

Summer fashion. Winter body. What can we do to look good and fresh when those pesky extra pounds just won’t go away? These local style savants got you (un)covered.

Nikia Jefferson, fashion blogger (
I would recommend wearing dresses in light, breathable fabrics, like cotton and jersey, that skim the “problem areas.” Then accessorize with a wide elastic belt, to cinch the waist and accentuate feminine curves. And don’t get stuck in the all-black rut. As long as the fit of the clothing is good, you can take more risks when it comes to color. Also a high heel always helps to elongate legs and improve posture, which is always flattering and slimming. Find the perfect shade of nude and you will have a shoe that pairs well with a multitude of outfits and takes you through the entire season.


Sasha Hodges, fashion stylist and co-owner of vintage boutique Kokorokoko
If you are self-conscious about your body during the warmer months, wear something that covers but is still breathable. I prefer mesh, which can be layered, but other options include lace and linen. If you aren’t fitting into your summer shorts, wear an elastic waist skirt until you are ready. I like to pull longer ones up over my boobs and belt them to create a dress. Super forgiving. If you are comfortable showing skin, keep it to one body part at a time. Right now I like my midriff showing, but only above the belly button. If I am wearing a cropped shirt I make sure to wear high-waist pants so it’s more flattering.


Najee Redd, fashion stylist and photographer
One of the things about winter weight that many of us overlook is that the “weight gain” generally goes unnoticed, save for extreme cases of gluttony. It’s our self-consciousness really eating at us (no pun intended). So first things first: just relax. You’re more than likely still as awesome as you were a year ago, so don’t let a few pounds stagger your stride. Second, don’t be afraid to loosen up a bit. Summer is about comfort, so consider relaxed trousers in linen or lightweight denim. Clean, straight lines can help with slimming the silhouette and keep one from looking frumpy. And no matter how you feel about your level of girth, a clean white t-shirt is always a proper choice. Oh, and DRINK. MORE.  WATER. Lots of times we confuse hunger and cravings with dehydration. Water will, of course, keep you hydrated and possibly help you stave off those mid-afternoon snacks. Lastly, just get outside, get active, have fun and try not to think too much about clothes or your weight.  It is indeed the summer, after all. As evidenced by this previous winter’s eighty-plus inches of snow, we need to enjoy all of the summer that we can.


Alma Wieser, fashion designer and co-owner of Heaven Gallery
Fashion has been moving into an unfitted direction. For summer, I think of flowing blouses in sheer or silk fabric and trapeze silhouettes for dresses. Accentuate your best feature, if it is the bust or bottom, then go tight there. Find clothes that showcase what you’ve got going for you. Knit fabric is great since you can look fitted and not feel tight. Fashion has never been more about comfort, and this new comfort doesn’t mean the loss of style.


Mustache Mike, fashion and hair stylist and co-owner of vintage boutique Market Supply Co.
I would say baggy is okay till you get that summer body ready. I’ve been into the Japanese baggy style for years—you can pull this off without looking silly and hide the extra pounds that way. A baggy pant or jean rolled up to show off the bottom of the legs paired with a cool oxford or sneaker is always good. For the upper body, a flat bottom shirt, or unfitted t-shirt could be paired with a vest or lightweight jacket and finally, a hat: the bigger the better. I think people won’t be looking at your extra pounds when your hat is the center of attention!


Debbie Jagel, owner of Ootra boutique and member of the SAIC fashion committee
My recommendation is very easy: quit focusing on your body weight! If I’m feeling a little pudgy around the middle, I’ll pick a statement necklace—because what I wanna do is draw the eye up. Then I’ll match it with a loose pair of shorts. Typically women buy their shorts to fit, but I prefer something like a culotte, so you have a low-riding crotch and a swing leg. You’ll look more sophisticated and slimmer that way. You can also wear a tank top over a long maxi skirt with a big statement belt. It will bring your waist up higher and thin it out, bringing attention to the belt. Another important item is a really kick-butt pair of sunglasses, since it allows your personality to shine. Slowly your summer body will come back, and if it doesn’t, that’s okay! Just keep walking and stay fit. It’s not about measurements or weight, it’s about how you feel, so get the summer mind, and you’ll get the summer body.


Alan Wegrzyn, e-commerce consultant and blogger (
Being a former fat kid (who am I kidding, current), the first thing is to not be ashamed of your body, since we come in all shapes and sizes. The most attractive thing you can do is to be healthy and confident. Once that’s set, remember: fashion is always about the right fit! Don’t wear super-tight clothing. Patterns are sometimes your friend, but mostly not. Be careful with them.

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