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Covered and Cool: 4 Summer Styles Without All the Skin

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**All photos are from

By Naakai Addy

Conventional wisdom suggests that warmer weather means fewer clothes, but the modest among us don’t need to bare it all to stay summer chic. A little bit of mystery, after all, can make a world of difference. Many women show less skin as they get older and their bodies change, but the increased coverage in your wardrobe doesn’t have to be a sad occasion, even in the most revealing season. From jumpsuits to maxi dresses, and plenty of luxurious summer fabrics in between, women over fifty can easily stay covered and cool.

Cropped Pants

Avoid the temptation of cropped jeggings or knee-length capris with too much spandex. On the other hand, a pant that’s too billowy will completely obscure the line of your legs. The chicest cut for cropped pants is just a couple of inches above the ankle. The pants should be short enough that the cropped choice is clearly deliberate, but long enough to avoid accentuating the knees or the top of the calves, which are rarely anyone’s greatest features.

Weekend Max Mara_NordstromCaslon_Nordstrom

A cropped pant with a casually rolled cuff, particularly in a light cotton or linen, is the perfect effortless style for warm weather. Pair them with jeweled sandals or strappy wedges and complete the look with a basic summer shirt, and you’ve got yourself an outfit.


Jumpsuits are back and chicer than ever. Given the right proportions and the most breathable fabrics, few garments are more versatile for summer than a classic jumpsuit. To get the most wear out of these one-piece outfits, choose one with a trouser leg and a comfortable, accommodating fabric such as jersey.

Vince Camuto_Nordstrom

Since standard jumpsuit cuts don’t always match your natural proportions, belts are going to be your best friend. Cinch your waist with a cloth or basic leather belt. Belts are also a handy accessory when you want to dress a jumpsuit up or down.

Shirt Dresses/Kaftans

Kaftans and their many variations have been celebrated in the West for decades for their beautiful patterns, luxurious materials and roomy fits. They come in many different shapes and lengths, and they are a fabulous long-sleeved option for summer. A shorter kaftan can be paired with classic boot-cut jeans and flats, while kaftans that are thigh-length or longer are best paired with a comfy pair of leggings. Elevate this look with statement earrings and classic flats.

Roberto Cavalli_Nordstrom

Kaftans also allow you to showcase your sense of style through print. Although many have floral or geometric patterns, others utilize color-blocking or solid patterns. Remember to use a belt or a slimmer silhouette on your bottom half so that the wonderfully loose and flowing fabric doesn’t swallow you.

Maxi Dresses

The resurgence of the maxi dress has been both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, women can once enjoy the femininity of a dress with a lot more freedom of movement. On the other hand, maxi dresses are notorious for shortening frames and widening figures.

Eliza J Dress_ Nordstrom

To reclaim the joys of the maxi dress for yourself, start with structure. Although the skirts of maxi dresses can be loose-fitting, search for a little bit of structure in the bodice. A cut that is overly blousy or loose on top can add additional volume where you don’t want it. Maxi dresses that are too free-form can also look too girlish on mature women.

When looking for patterns, pay attention to the shapes they create. Make sure the visual focus created by the pattern is somewhere you want it to be. If it’s too stressful to find the perfect fitting maxi dress pattern, pair a beautiful and bold maxi skirt with a fitted top in a solid color.

Dressing for summer is all about finding that sweet spot where practicality meets fashion. Even when you aren’t showing a lot of skin, you can still take advantage of the many options available to build a classy, gorgeous summer wardrobe. Pay extra close attention to fabrics, accessorize freely, and don’t forget the sunscreen!


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