The weather, I mean. The weather has been too hot to handle lately. And I am not good in the heat, especially when it’s thirty-five degrees Celsius with a humidex in the low forties.

To be honest, summer is not my best season.

Everyone else adores summer, but me. I struggle. I do.

My hair frizzes, and seems to grow in volume the second I poke my nose outdoors. And when it’s humid and windy, like at an event we attended the other night, well, the result is not pretty. A free-form, wind-sculpted, frizz extravaganza. I don’t deal well with summer humidity. If it’s very humid, outdoor exercise is a no-no for me because I’ll struggle to draw a breath. The bugs love me. I puff up with insect bites, and the red lumps itch for what seems like weeks. I freckle easily and burn quickly in the sun. I don’t tan. Actually I did have a rather nice tan for a few years in my thirties, when Hubby and I were golfing regularly. But years ago, probably around the time I gave up golf, I began to slather sunscreen and stopped worrying about being pale all summer. And… when it’s really hot, I puff up all over, and my jeans seem to shrink. Ha. When it’s not too hot to wear jeans. Or long pants in general.

Seriously, I should just stay indoors until September. But that is not an option. In fact, I can’t imagine anything more depressing. So today I shoehorned myself off the couch where I’ve been ensconced with my book for the past day and a half, and rummaged in my closet to see if I could find something reasonably cool and comfortable to wear shopping and errand running this week.

woman in striped skirt, white tee, white sneakers standing by blooming hydrangeas
Billowing skirts on the Rideau.

My striped A.L.C. skirt from last year, above, is perfect for hot temperatures, breezy, as you can see, and light. I’m wearing it with my Eileen Fisher tee shirt, loosely tucked into the skirt, and my Stan Smith Adidas. I love this Eileen Fisher tee shirt, the short sleeves (I’ve rolled them up here, but they come almost to my elbow), the slightly rounded hem, how it falls away from my midsection when worn untucked, the slubby fabric that never looks wrinkled, and the funky seam down the middle of the back. It comes in a lovely colour called wisteria too, which I may order online before the summer is out. You can find it here if you’re interested. I definitely look a lot cooler in this shot than I felt. Phew. Even with the breeze, my mascara was melting by the time I retreated to the air conditioned house. Still, I plan to wear this outfit tomorrow when I have to run all over the city doing errands.

And for that birthday party we’ll be attending soon, outside, on the river where there is always a stiff breeze, I think I’ll wear my new black linen dress, and my old Michael Kors flat sandals.

woman in black dress, black sandals, and cream scarf sitting in front of a deck with red deck chairs
Summer backyard party outfit with optional bug bite coverage.

I’ll bring this light Burberry scarf that I’ve had for years. In case I get a bit chilly. Ha. That’s wishful thinking! But the scarf will be useful to help hide the blackfly bites on my shoulders and neck from our fishing adventure last week. They are the size of dimes… and the same colour as my pedicure. How’s that for co-ordination?

woman in black dress, black sandals, and cream scarf sitting in front of a deck with red deck chairs
The yard is blooming and I’m melting.
Of course you know my whining is mostly an overreaction to this spate of weather. It feels so good to whine sometimes. I know that you know that I don’t really hate summer. Not altogether. And not all the time.
I love that everything in our yard is blooming, and looks lush and beautiful. I love the vegetables fresh from our garden. And by “our” I mean Hubby’s garden, of course. I love easy summer meals, chilled white wine, salads, chicken on the barbeque. Dinner with good friends on a restaurant patio somewhere downtown. Or on our deck.
Before the heat descended, I hosted a pot-luck supper for one of my bookclubs, and we sat on our deck eating and drinking and talking books until dark. And only when the light faded did the bugs come out. That was heavenly. I love summer pedicures and painted toes. And walking each week with my girlfriends before we decamp to the local coffee shop for drinks and more chat. Exercising with convivial friends is the best way to stay fit. I love tee shirts and crisp white jeans. Sigh. White jeans and sandals are the best part of summer. Well, if it ever gets cool enough to wear white jeans again.
We had hoped for a drop in the temperature late yesterday afternoon, when a lowering sky, black clouds, vicious lightening and thunder signaled rain. Ha. Five minutes of rain. Then the sun came back out and it felt as if someone had poured water over the rocks in the sauna. I hate saunas.
flowers, lawn, river, and dark clouds in the sky
A boat on the river heads for home, hoping to beat the thunder storm.
So it looks as if we’re in for a few more days of this blasted heat. I abandoned my planned errand-running outfit of EF tee, skirt, and sneakers today in favour of an old tank, shorts, and flip flops. The air-conditioning in my car suddenly gave up the ghost last night and I didn’t want to ruin my good skirt. I’m telling you, my car was a sweatbox.
Anyhoo, now I’m back home, in my air-conditioned den, finishing this post and contemplating the painting, below, by Kathy Leeds. Isn’t it wonderful? It’s called “Marigolds.” See the light hitting the flowers? I don’t know how painters can paint light. Kathy does that whole light and shadows thing so well. I love how the yellow sort of melts into the green, and the green into the greys. So cool and restful. In fact I think the flowers look as if they’re made of ice cream, tart lemon ice cream, with mint, and a bit of rich French vanilla… but that might be my heat-addled brain working. I love Kathy’s work. I don’t know her personally, but I follow her on Instagram, and she reads my blog sometimes and comments. You can find Kathy’s work on her website here, or follow her on Instagram here.
painting of marigolds in yellow, green and greys.
“Marigolds” by Kathy Leeds. Photo courtesy of Kathy Leeds.

Now, I’ll leave you to contemplate the marigolds. I should go and at least look as if I’m going to help Hubby with dinner preparations.

Then, after supper, it’s chocolate frozen yogurt and the latest episode of Endeavour we have taped. Sigh. I may hate parts of summer, the too hot to handle, humid, buggy, frizzy parts, but life is far from unendurable, my friends.
Very far from unendurable.

How are you handling the heat, folks? And whatever weather and hair or wardrobe challenges that summer is throwing your way?


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40 thoughts on “Too Hot to Handle”

  1. Hair-In-the-Hot-and-Humid-Weather! I hate it ! Even at the sea,when I usually don't mind,wear a headband and enjoy….except when out and look around and all the women have perfect hair. Except me! How is it possible?
    I'm so glad that you're back ( I'm sorry about the bites)!
    I used to love spring (it seems we don't have springs any more-maybe only a hint of it-and this year it was horrible,snow and cold for too long,almost til April and than rain and a heatwave end May,begin of June) and summer. Summers were hot with colder nights,without humidity-perfect! And I was younger,with long hair. Long hair,without fringe,is perfect for summers-Whatever happens-it looks passable
    But ,for the last 20-30 years,summers are hot and humid. I hate sauna,too
    Maybe,except in good (not too cold) air-conditioned places-I could survive in the shade,in the open space (and,of course,on the beach,in the shade or in the sea,early mornings or sunsets!)
    Last two weeks are unusually cold,around 20-22°C,with a lots of rain (it's raining cats and dogs just now)
    You look perfect in your skirt and EF t-shirt and the linen dress. I'm sure you'll find the dress even better than shorts in this weather

    1. so the cool weather and rain began right after we left? Want us to come back and fix that? (actually, that weather is almost exactly like what we've had here this past week, although not too much rain)

    2. Exactly!
      It would be very nice of you Frances to come back and bring the beautiful weather again 🙂

    3. Thanks Dottoressa. Your weather is all over the place, isn't it? I seem to remember a heat wave earlier in the spring, just at the time when everyone wanted to wear spring clothes instead of summer ones.
      When Frances finishes restoring the lovely weather in Croatia…well… Ottawa could use some help. Then we could have a good natter over a glass or two of wine on a patio somewhere:) In fact, why don't both of you come?

  2. We Brits just love talking about the weather , perhaps because we have so much of it – sometimes in one day . Our heatwave has being going on for weeks now & looks to be around for a while yet . The BBC tell us temps in the high 20s but in our back garden , in the shade , we are reading up to 31 . Not so high today but the humidity is supposed to reach 62 % . I don’t suppose those figures seem high to some of your readers but we’re not used to it . We have to get the dogs out very early & carry water for them but it’s interesting to see what our dog walker friends are wearing . Normally we are cocooned in our anoraks but there’s a little fashion parade going on just now . All these outfits coming out that normally only get worn around the Mediterranean . Not quite as stylish as you but definitely interesting . I prefer cooler weather but heatwaves are such a novelty for us it seems churlish to moan . At least you have that river breeze to stop you getting too mafted – yorkshire word which the computer doesn’t seem to like . Stay cool .
    Wendy in York

    1. "Mafted" … love that word. The trail where I usually walk runs beside a small river in places, easily accessed by the dogs that are walked there. It's been so funny to see them let off their leashes and madly racing for the water! Felt like doing it myself when I walked the other morning!

  3. We are such wimps about heat in the UK as currenty we have a heatwave and the temperatures are reaching a majestic 25+ and we don't cope all that well as it's humid with it. A few shops and buses but by no means all, have air con, but not our homes. As far as clothes are concerned though everyone gets into their bikinis and skimpiest frocks because the sun is out!! I love floaty skirts and really like the skirt you're wearing in the pic. Also would love a black linen dress and am searching for one right now.

    We're all actually loving the unusual (for us) constant blue skies and sunshine without a cloud in the sky but, while I'm trying not to moan (!) there will be consequences as there's a big demand for water and our gardens are going to become very arid and dry for a start.

    Hair wise – it's lovely to wash the hair and then leave it to dry. Enjoy your sun 🙂

    1. I may go back to Escape and find another light linen dress. The way our summers have been going I will get lots of wear out of them both:)

  4. First of all – thank you so much for including my painting in your post. I did actually paint it in 109 degree very humid weather in Massachusetts last weekend. The photo goes wonderfully with it. I'm from California, near the coast, so although it can get hot, it's almost always breezy and without humidity (or bugs) and I can continue to wear jeans year round. I'm now in NY and, oh my, it's so hot and sticky, I really don't know what to wear, and didn't have much for this kind of weather. I did go out and get a loose linen dress yesterday. Your choices look great, and cool (in both ways).

    1. Thanks for letting me use that photo of your painting, Kathy. I also love, love the one on your website of the pomegranate. We were at a party down on the St Lawrence River the other night. It's a huge river, and the temp must have dropped several degrees just from the constant breeze. Played hell with my hair, but you can't have everything!

  5. Hi Sue
    I do love my mornings before the humidity and heat settle in. I love having breakfast on our shaded deck, coffee in a comfy chair, gardening in our shaded yard…..then by 11:30 the sun has found my osais. I have no choice but put in hair in a pony to tame it. Minimal makeup as I swim daily. A tank, shorts and my new silver (bling) Birks are my uniform in this heat. I become laid back and enjoy summer reading Trips to the library so I have a hard copy in my hand instead of my iPad for reading. Life slows down and I love it. Our summers are way to short! 😉

    1. Since we had to have our huge Manitoba maple tree taken down, after most of it came down in a storm, our deck and sun room have been in direct sunlight. Makes a huge difference. No sitting on the deck in the morning anymore. I miss my morning tea on the deck:(

  6. Ha! I live in Florida where it is 90 degrees Fahrenheit every day and humid dew point 70 or above, and it is this way for 5 months! You definitely could live here because we have delicious air conditioning! I just got back from Ireland where they were having a heat wave (28 celcius) and I was dying because they do not have any air conditioning!

    1. I don't know how you handle that kind of humidity. I assume that one must get used to it… still doesn't make it pleasant. I'm used to the cold winters we get… doesn't mean I love them:)

    2. As another Floridian, you don't get used to it! I left the grocery store yesterday, and it was so hot and humid my glasses fogged. I've tried every product I can find for frizz with minimal success. The insects are multiplying rapidly. This year we've had so much rain that the garden is drowning, and it took two weeks to get our new roof on. That said, our short fall and spring seasons are great. Winter can be weird, but at least there is rarely ice. Thank goodness for AC!

  7. Weather! It is so often the topic of conversation here in the middle of the Canadian prairies…we just finished a thunderstorm that rolled through very early in the morning and our bearded collie (Clarence) hates them as he quivers and shakes. Very hot and humid weather is so draining and seems to suck the energy out of a person…yesterday was a glorious hot and sticky day spent in the garden….the best part was no weeds in the flower beds and the refreshing shower I took afterwards. Bugs and their bites are even worse than the humidity although this year Winnipeg doesn't seem to be bothered by mosquitoes. Usually referred to as our provincial bird mosquitoes are pesky and it is delightful to spend time outside without swatting at them constantly. Cooler weather and snowy winters are more my cup of tea but I am trying to enjoy wearing the lighter clothing of summer….love the T-shirt and skirt combination and hope you get the chance to wear it and white jeans should the temperatures there cool down a bit. Cheers, Alayne

  8. I used to feel that I had to spend time outside during the summer, as long as it wasn't raining, but most of the time was miserable! I, too, am a magnet for bugs, and when there's any sort of glare in the air from sunshine through haze, my head hurts. So glad I've let go of that feeling………no I go out when I can in the morning, spend the beastly hot hours inside puttering or reading in the cool A/C, and go out again in the evening if there's a cooling off. Of course, most days I'm at work, where the blast of A/C necessitates a lightweight shawl almost all summer long.

    Love the T and skirt combination. Still on the hunt for a simple, sleeveless linen long dress.

  9. Somewhere in the world it's always 65-70 degrees F and the humidity is low. But it wouldn't be home to me, so like you, I suffer through the heat and humidity. Not my favorite, for sure. People say it's better than snow, but I'm not sure about that. I guess I love the shoulder seasons most when it's lovely outside and I'm not sweating OR freezing. ha!

    It's always hard to dress in these conditions (another heat advisory today), but I tend toward linen for its breathability and try to do outdoor chores (watering, weeding, etc.) in the early hours. Not always successful, of course, but after about noon, I'm ready to jump from A/C to A/C. I didn't grow up with A/C, but I've sure gotten used to it!

    1. I love the shoulder seasons too. And wish they were longer. Sweaters and jeans in the fall and spring suits… their season is way too short

  10. 1. Sleeping: last night I wandered off to the spare room to find somewhere cool and quiet. And still the cat followed me. 2. Afternoons: hours between 2 and 6pm are hot and unpalatable. 3. Food and drink: gallons of iced black coffee otherwise lacking inspiration. 4. Football and associated sports: not a fan. Apart from that, I love the early mornings and the evenings from about 8.30 onwards when it is quiet and bearable. Love the blue skies and the swifts and housemartins that fly above our house. Local swimming pool – a classic lido with stunning views, overdue for a visit before the schools break up. Ice cream. And in case anyone should think me a killjoy, I do root for the English team but am not a watcher. I tend to join in the cheering and castigate dirty play with a raised fist. Best months: April to May. The bliss of October. Stay cool, in all senses, people.

  11. We're very similar in our attitude to hot weather and high humidity — and I've spent enough time in Ottawa when my husband worked there to remember walking into that formidable wall of humid heat after disembarking from the plane. When we lived on the island, our waterfront home was usually cooled by a breeze and the house had windows and doors that channeled lovely breezes — my favourite spot was in my big leather armchair inside, right by the open window — the outdoor chairs and hammocks others preferred just set me up as mosquito bait.
    The heat's harder to manage here in the city where we don't (yet) have AC — considering it just for the bedroom if we get another prolonged hot spell like last year. . .
    All that said, I loved the ease of dressing for the warm weather while we travelled in sunshine and temps consistently over 25. Since we've been home, the temperature hasn't yet topped 23, which means thinking about a sweater or scarf or something for morning or evening outings. I do like the lazy ease that goes with the heat…
    And I love both your outfits here, but especially that skirt and the way you've styled it. Perfection!

    1. The loss of the huge Manitoba maple in our yard has made us very glad we have central air. We hardly had t0 use it until that tree had to come down.

  12. Leslie in Oregon

    I feel exactly the same about summer as you do (and for the same reasons). That is one reason I returned to live in Portland after a decade away. Summers here used to be temperate, with low humidity and cool nights, and almost no homes or buildings had (or needed) air conditioning. In the last decade or so, we had had more high (90° and above) summer heat and higher humidity (as well as little or no rain from mid-June to mid-September). Our highest daytime summer humidity tends to happen when our daytime high temperatures are lowest (i.e., in the 70°s,F), and the higher our daytime temperatures go above 79° or so, the lower the humidity tends to be. With that, I've realized that high humidity bothers me a lot more than high heat. Regarding the latter: fortunately, we live in a home that stays reasonably cool without air conditioning, unless temperatures exceed 100°F. Another reason I returned to Portland was that it has no poisonous insects (or snakes), no black flies and, even with our small backyard pond, few if any mosquitoes or other biting insects, so we can be outside without having to be protected by screens or bug repellent. As far as clothing goes, I tend to follow the Arabic example and wear loose-fitting, long, cotton clothing (maxi caftans or maxi T-shirt dresses, with a swimsuit always available; loose pants and T-shirts for hiking) in the summer. We spend as much time as we can in (me and our dog) or on (my husband) the nearby lakes and rivers (with a preference for mountain lakes). Because of that, my almost shoulder-length hair is wet or air-drying much of the time, and in our climate, it is not frizzy when it is dry. I wear my hair in a ponytail or messy bun, with the shorter side layer clipped back, whenever I am outside doing something active or it is very hot.

    Come to Portland in summertime, just as I go to Canada when I crave snow in the winter (and for so many other very good reasons)!

    By the way, you (including your hair) look wonderful in this post's photographs…sporty, fresh, ready for action: beautiful!

  13. You look wonderful in the photos even if you were melting away!

    Here in central Alberta, the weather has been cool and dry the last while… quite the opposite of what you've been experiencing! I love summer heat, so I'm delighted that the forecast is calling for higher temps beginning tomorrow, especially since we're leaving to go camping. We don't have high humidity here on the prairie though. That makes all the difference.

  14. living in victoria in australia i could definitely sympathise with your heat issues except our heat is normally horribly dry with humidity at less than 10% so i envy you your lush garden. mine can look totally fried after just a day or two. i know i should have a dry weather garden but i love roses and hydrangeas and all the flowers of my scottish childhood.. so i will just have to keep watering and praying for rain every summer.

    1. Gosh… I remember some really hot days when we were in Australia. Victoria was lovely, but I was happy that we weren't there in December. And Broome almost did me in with their temperatures. Of course, I was having hot flashes at that time, so they didn't help:)

  15. Oh well…we live in the San Francisco Bay Area and are completely spoiled most of the time. Here in Marin (north of SF), it does get hot-sometimes close to 100-but little to no humidity and no bugs. And it almost always cools off at night.

    Love your outfits and appreciate the thinking behind them.

    Lastly, wanted to say that I finished reading The Thoughtful Dresser, which I found out about here on your blog, and I LOVED it. What a wonderful, soulful meditation on clothing and its meaning. Thanks for recommending.

  16. Kathy's painting does embody the good part of summer.

    Sorry you were melting, hope you've returned to a more temperature weather!

  17. Your style is casual yet always timeless and put-together Susan. Loving these outfits. As a matter of fact today on the blog I am showing a similar button-front striped midi skirt with pockets. 😉 Great minds think alike!

    I am doing a very special all-skirts week of collaboration posts this week on the blog, come take a peak. =) The new Thursday Moda linkup just went live too! Thanks.

  18. Love your scarf Susan. I could use a wrap or a scarf for the places we visit that turn the air conditioning on full blast in the summer. It is very hot here too in Charlotte, but the humidity has been down the past week, so it is easier to endure! i know what you mean as I am allergic to mosquitos and bees and they seem to love me!

    Lovely casual look – love your flowy stripped skirt.
    thanks for linking!
    jess xx

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