How to look and feel stylish in summer when the heat is on

Nikki ParkinsonFashion, How to 36 Comments

Sponsored by Adrift

Every summer I cannot believe how hot and humid it can get. This is kind of crazy as I’ve lived my entire life in Queensland and that is how we roll.

Attempting to look and feel stylish in summer when the heat is on IS a challenge but it is do-able and is often a necessity as the tail-end of the year brings with it weekends (and a good number of weeknights) filled with parties and “catch-ups”.

I’m also a woman who loves to have a Christmas Day frock and a New Year’s ensemble at the ready. And if you’re lucky enough to escape to the beach pre-or-post Christmas then there is the holiday wardrobe to consider.

Time to get prepped, Stylers.

I’ve partnered with Adrift (I’m super excited to be the ambassador for this lifestyle label which embraces balmy summer nights) to give you my tips for keeping your cool and looking put together across summer.

I’m sharing my favourite pieces from Adrift’s new summer resort range, which I photographed and road-tested in Bali. AND you could also win $300 to get your wardrobe sorted for the long, hot summer ahead.

Adrift Kate dress

Adrift Kate dress in raspberry  (I’m in XL)

Adrift Kate dress

15 tips for how to look and feel stylish in summer

1. Get clear what events or gatherings you have coming up on the calendar. Write a list of what’s coming up and what type of occasion/get-together it will be. This gives you time to prepare an outfit and avoid last-minute, stressful shopping. 

2. Check your wardrobe to see if you have pieces that suit any of those occasions. I always say shop your wardrobe first – this is essential before you shop elsewhere. There may be pieces that haven’t had a lot of love since last summer. Get them out, I say.

3. Identify any gaps in your wardrobe and any occasions where you would like something new to wear. With the Brownie points you’ve got from shopping your wardrobe, give yourself permission to buy some new pieces. Pieces that are different from what you already own.

Adrift Audrey dress

Adrift Audrey dress in white/blue (I’m in XL)

Adrift Audrey dress

4. Look for fabrics that breathe. Cotton, linen, rayon … these are you summer weather outfit friends.

5. Look for colour. When layering isn’t an option then interest in an outfit can come from a burst of colour – block or in a print. Don’t feel you have to do colour if it’s not your thing (see below re black and white) but do try a little on. You never know.

Adrift Julia kaftan

Adrift Julia kaftan in green (one size)

Adrift Julia kaftan

6. Look for detail. Summer style is all in the detail and design of a garment. The way it falls on your body and the little things that finish off a garment and give it visual appeal.

7. White is very all right. There is so much to love about white and summer. It’s fresh, you feel cool wearing it and it’s never out of style. Make friends with a laundry pre-spray and soak routine and you’ll not be scared about donning this colour.

Adrift Maldives kaftan

Adrift Maldives kaftan in white (I’m in L/XL)

Adrift Maldives kaftan

8. Love your black? Then embrace it. I’m not one to shy away from black all year round so I’m never going to suggest you do either. Make your black look a summer one by wearing it back with nude or tan accessories.

9. The maxi frock is your summer style friend. A maxi frock always looks dressed up and will take you from a casual barbecue to dinner out with just a change in shoes. If you feel it’s too long and overwhelming for your body, try knotting the hem on one side.

Adrift Cairo dress

Adrift Cairo maxi dress (I’m in XL)

Adrift Cairo dress

10. Swap out shorts for a denim skirt. I do love a short for summer but I know they’re not everyone’s cup of tea. The casual denim skirt – in white or indigo will substitute nicely and provide a great base for all your cotton tops.

Adrift Bianca top | Adrift denim skirt

Adrift Bianca top in white (I’m in XL) | Adrift denim skirt in white (I’m in M/L)

Adrift Bianca top | Adrift denim skirt

11. Look for pieces that have dress-up/dress-down versatility. When you buy a garment that works for a casual gathering at home but dresses up for an evening out, you know you’ll get so much wear from it. A change of accessories and shoes is all that is required.

12. Invest in cotton slips for under sheer garments. A slip not only helps with sheer garments; it can help keep the sweat from the main event – the kaftan or dress you’re wearing over it. This then keeps you feeling more comfortable. I love these.

13. Worried about showing your arms but still want a high-summer look? The off-the-shoulder look is for you. It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of this look and it’s for that very reason. It’s a little bit summery and a little bit sexy.

14. Don’t like wearing a strapless bra? Most off-the-shoulder tops can be worn ON the shoulder. Yes, just let that elastic pop on up and you’ll be able to wear a normal bra (or with the normal bra slightly off centre on the shoulder).

15. Accessorise with earrings and bracelets. I’m not one for a lot of things around my neck in high summer. Doesn’t mean I don’t do it – in fact, a cotton scarf is a great addition for keeping the sun off if I’m out in the day. Mostly though, I opt for earrings and wrist wear, bringing in colour and texture to the outfit but on my extremities.

About Adrift

Adrift is one of Australia’s leading shopping destinations (online and in store at its two Brisbane boutiques) for women of all shapes and sizes. The size range for the summer collection is from XS-4XL.

Adrift wants every woman to feel confident in their style through quality pieces that are beautiful to wear for the everyday and occasions. They believe that fashion shouldn’t be overcomplicated so that women can be themselves.

I say, YES, to that.


How would you like to kick start to your summer everyday and occasion wardrobe with a chance to win your favourite outfit from my favourites featured here. Of COURSE you would.

Head on over HERE to find out how. Plus, subscribe to Adrift to receive 15% of your next purchase. Be quick though … entries close November 23, 2016.

So tell me, what are you tips for dressing in summer while the heat is on? Which is your favourite from above? 

Location: Anantara Seminyak Bali | Photographer: Jimie Wu| Hair and makeup: Yenny Gunawan

Comments 36

  1. I love the Julia Kaftan….the colours are stunning…I think dressing for summer is what you feel comfortable and cool in…..I love cotton for coolness , I have a few pieces that I mix and match every year with a few new pieces and I always buy a nice new pair of sandles….plus I adore my Havaiana things ..I get at least 5 summers out of one pair. I live in the lower south east part of South Australia. .usually very cold here but when Summer comes , it comes and such a shock to the system….haha 🙂 love the look of the Adrift clothing’s stylish and it looks oh so comfy to wear….<3

  2. Oh Nikki I love the cute Audrey Adrift dress – looks super smart and fresh for summer. My top style tip for those BBQ’s, beach days and summer parties is to wear your swimmers! Yep I’m in Queensland and come January its swimwear only in this heat! Any outfits with tricky or see through situations, I just pop on a bikini or swimsuit underneath, instantly makes your outfit more casual and I’m ready for a post cocktail swim.

  3. I grew up in Mildura in country Victoria, tin roof and no air-conditioning, my mother as a home sewer made my sisters and I clothes in cotton and loose fabrics, we stayed cool by making iced-poles and playing in a neighbours paddle pool.
    I loved the Adrift Julia Kaftan in Green, such happy vibrant colours, and just looks easy to wear, I too will knot the hem as I’m a shorty.

  4. Love the Adrift slips too Nikki. Perfect for hot summer nights to sleep in as well 🙂 Thanks for showing how to wear the kaftan with the knot on the side – it looks glam! I am plus size and Adrift has really lovely things for hot summers. Just not ready for the off the shoulder look quite yet but who knows 🙂

    1. Oh YES Marian, I hadn’t thought of that but the slips would be brilliant for summer night sleeping. And you’re welcome re the knot – it’s a game changer as showing a little leg makes the garment less overwhelming. Glad that you love Adrift – I do too – inclusive sizing for so many.

  5. you are rocking those frocks hun!
    the colours are gorgeous on you!
    my personal favourite style, is the blue and white cut away shoulder!
    love m:)X

  6. That Kaftan! Those colours look amazing on you!

    Still waiting for the summer weather in Perth too, we’ve had a couple of warm days but its back to winter today…. 🙁

  7. Gorgeous clothes! The maxis look long, hooray! Feels like it will be FOREVER before we get to wear them in Melbourne – I’m still in jeans and a knit. We’ll get there – soon enough we’ll be complaining about the heat and wondering when summer will end. x

  8. That Cairo dress is stunning, what a great neckline! (But of course you know my heart beats strongly for the OTS Bianca, too.)

  9. Here’s the thing – have you heard anything from people who live in Melbourne? I would like a post on how to recycle the woollens we have been wearing for the past 7 months. Yesterday – November 15 it was warmer in London than Melbourne! For all that’s decent give us something other than clothes for Queensland

    1. Hi Pauline, I talk to Melbourne and Tasmanian women every day in my online program Facebook group. They have been so amazing with their ability to adapt and layer when the fashion seasons have changed but the weather is taken its sweet time to catch up! You’ll find if you went into any store in Melbourne right now, you won’t find any winter clothes – the stores are all about summer. It’s just how the industry is. The reverse happens in March when it’s all winter clothes but it’s still hot. Your summer will arrive and it will be hotter (dry heat) than ours – I’m all about preparing you for that.

      1. Thank you Nikki – yes we are all on board with the layering we have been doing it for yonks all I’m saying is maybe we followers in the southern hems could do with a few less kaftans and a bit more appropriate southern fashion

  10. Loved this post Nikki! Thank you for introducing the Adrift brand – I love that the pieces are designed to fit a curvy style without using garish patterns and out of date fabrics. I’m in the middle of a 40 day sugar/carb free initiative and will treat myself to a couple of pieces for the holidays at the end of it. PLUS – the accessories, especially the pouches and clutches are very drool-worthy!

    Also, my go-to product in Summer is the Avene Thermal Spring water – cooling, soothing and sets makeup beautifully for those super hot Queensland days.

    1. You’re very welcome – no out-of-date prints to be found at Adrift and plenty of scope for a range of sizes. Good luck with your 40 day carb-free situation. It does work but can be tough – a reward will be on the cards. Thanks for your hot tip too!

  11. Hi Nikki,

    Love this post being on the bigger girl size, I need cooler fabrics, because it honestly feels like I am going through menopause very early! I love cotton because it feels so cool and breezy! I think for dress cooler you don’t want to many layers so dresses, light tops, shorts or skirts are so the way to go. My favourite dresses from above would have to be the Maldives and the Audrey. The Audrey looks fun for sandals or heels and Maldives looks the same. Love you Style!! Xo

  12. Great article thanks Nikki. I ❤️ The Julia Kaftan on you. Beautiful! It’s a real challenge to feel fresh in summer. The hair doesn’t seem to sit right & I must admit to moments when getting ready to go out feel like I am going to flip out! I do love my black & have branched out into navy! Woo hoo! Love a colourful kaftan as well and yes you are so right a breathable fabric is a must!

  13. Love them all Nikki – especially the white kaftan dress. Question re dress – does slip come with dress or do you buy it separately??

  14. Love these pieces not to mention the setting! Divine. I’ve been an Adrift fan for years too – their casual beach dresses have been my go to for summers running around with the kids. I love that they provide some coverage but are light and breezy on hot days. More recently, I’ve been loving their trans-seasonal pieces and always fabulous dressier frockery. x

  15. Beautiful beautiful dresses Nikki I have 3 favourites the Kate the Julia and the Maldives kaftan! You look amazing in them all Nikki and I couldn’t agree more about fabrics for summer I always check the tag before buying an item now,great post and competition,thank you Xx

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