(The Shopping List)

Chic Summer Pants You Won’t Swelter In

Shorts are not the only option.

by Alison Syrett and Jess Ferguson
Originally Published: 
doen pants
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Jeans and trousers have always been my fashion happy place, which means getting dressed in the winter is so simple for me. Cool pants + a sweater + boots = an outfit formula I can get away with iterating on for months on end without people noticing that that I’m essentially wearing the same thing every day. (Well, I hope.) Summer pants, however, are an entirely less navigable situation. To get away with covered legs in balmy weather you need options that are light and airy despite the extra fabric — and, oh yeah, and will not overheat your body in 80+ degree weather.

I’ve tried and failed to power through July days in no stretch vintage-inspired denim (admittedly cute and summer-y in a picture, but true torture in hot weather) and kept woolen culottes in rotation way too long after Memorial Day. (“But... air conditioning!,” I tell myself, forgetting that my old window unit is a far cry from central AC.)

On the flip side, I’ve also given fully into short-shorts and miniskirts on sweltering afternoons and felt entirely uncomfortable 90 percent of my time wearing them. This is not caused by some sort of belief that I need a certain particular type of body shape to wear these sorts of skin-baring silhouettes, but only because I do not like dealing with my hot, sweaty legs on hot, sweaty days as the humidity invariably causes some manner of razor burn to get irritated. Plus, I just really love how much more elongated my lower half looks in, say, a full-length wide-leg design or perfectly cropped-at-the-ankle silhouette.

All this is to say, when it comes to wearing all manner of pants between June and September, I’ve tried it all! And while I still have my fair share of styling mistakes, I have learned a few noteworthy things along the way: Fabrication is key in finding a piece that works, as is opting for a seasonally apropos cut (relaxed and breezy: good; tight and restrictive: bad). Light and bright colors are always an excellent bet as well, although there are still ways to make full on-black work (hello, linen). Which brings me to my final bit of advice: Sometimes you got to break all the rules and wear whatever makes you feel good, forecast be d*mned! Hopefully you’ll find some pieces that fit that very description below — keep scrolling for my picks of the moment.

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