Better Summer

Cool It

Ten fun and fashionable ways to stay chill when the summer heat starts to get to you.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Shutterstock.

The summer months can turn even the most mild-mannered person into a rage-filled lunatic. Rage-filled lunatics are often quite entertaining—see Christian Bale and Russell Crowe—but they also generate a tremendous amount of heat, what with all that boiling rage. With that in mind, I offer you my top 10 tips for staying cool:

1) Slip an ice cube down your cleavage. This works well for both genders. The cube must be self-administered. Slipping it down somebody else’s cleavage? Not allowed. Concerned inquiries as to the origins of the growing wet spot on your blouse should be ignored.

2) Nothing says yes to summer fun and no to melanoma like a sombrero. The cheapest and biggest can be purchased from tacky costume shops. These festive chapeaux should be 3 feet in diameter so you can invite friends and family to partake in your shade.

3) Earl Grey or English breakfast? We Brits cling to the notion that drinking hot tea in the middle of summer cools us down. We also use words like fortnight and crumpet and jolly good, so we should probably not be taken very seriously.

4) Celebrity sluicing. I don’t see why A-listers should be the only ones to receive a refreshing hose-down, as Roberto Cavalli famously did on his yacht last summer. Keep a hose by your front door and train a loved one to give you the Cavalli treatment when you return from a hard day at work.

5) Men, sandals with socks are back! OK, that’s not entirely true—or even remotely true. But I wish it were. I myself love the pervy ’70s vibe of a gladiator mandal worn with a well-chosen stripy sock. It screams affable guidance counselor. And the style is much cooler and more comfortable than your rubbery, sweaty sneakers. I realize this notion is wildly out of sync with the prevailing preppy trend. Sure, the whole bare-foot-with-Top-Siders look is undeniably patrician and Kennedy-esque, but the question is, Are you?

 6) Give me a fan over air conditioning any day. Artificially chilly indoor temperatures only render you more unable to endure the outdoor inferno. Fans and blowers are also more fun: You can adorn them with ribbons. Or you can turn your head toward them and pretend that you are on a photo shoot and have tressy Gisele Bündchen hair.

7) Looking at pictures of cool people can definitely make you feel cooler. My personal Google-image super-cool faves are Rita Tushingham, Terence Stamp, Chrissie Hynde, and Angela Davis. Brrr! Younger readers might try chilling to images of … Lana Del Rey?

8) Parasols actually work. I once journeyed down the Grand Canyon—10 days of super-butch river rafting in the boiling June heat—carrying a $5 NYC street umbrella. My parasol not only functioned perfectly, but it also added a stylish je ne sais quoi. In my mind’s eye, I resembled Silvana Mangano in Death in Venice. Subsequent snaps revealed more of a homeless, schizo Mary Poppins.

9) Throw on a safari jacket. A pal of mine just went on a safari and got charged by a gorilla. My bones are too chalky to withstand this kind of ordeal. They are not, however, too chalky to dress for it. In the absence of a vintage 1968 Yves Saint Laurent safari jacket, I sport a 1990s Filson number. How does this iconic garment keep you cool? I pack the multiple pockets with Ziploc bags of frozen peas. Duh.

10) Start every day with a nicely chilled panty or boxer, by which I mean keep all your foundation garments in the fridge during the summer. Designate a specific area so that you do not mistakenly start munching on Hubby’s Y-fronts while rummaging for a midnight snack. 

Only four weeks to Labor Day. Chillax and sparkle!