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It’s a sartorial adage as old as time — as temperatures rise, our hemlines victoriously follow suit, bidding chilly days adieu without a hint of remorse. With an abundance of flashy (and fleshy) trends beckoning us into the balmier days ahead, the inevitable question is raised: exactly how many crop tops are considered too many in one’s warm weather wardrobe?

In a quest to embrace youthful femininity, the powerful message of “skin is in” rings loudest when temperatures are the hottest, intentionally lending itself to our culture’s idea of the modern day provocateur. While the occasional plunging neckline or bold backless dress certainly proves to be a wardrobe hero, the art of subtle elegance — and leaving things to the imagination — is not (and should not be) lost amongst the noise of today’s fast fashion.

In looking back to style icons past, the mastery of this subtlety principle rings clear from the likes of Brigitte Bardot to Bianca Jagger. Known for their sex appeal, certainly, the way these women dressed was all at once coy, tactful and highly self-aware — an aesthetic that resonates amongst both males and females throughout the decades.

So how does one tow the line between feeling powerfully feminine without being overtly suggestive? Without being too formulaic, a calculated air of timelessness surpasses the low-hanging fruit of landfill fashion fads. Elements of evergreen dressing endure for a reason, as they are fundamentally flattering on females regardless of the current trends.

Lauren Hutton, for one, sported button-down shirts for daytime and deep v-neck tunics and gowns for evening — a look to try especially for those of us with boyish top-halves. The vibe was never contrived and always easy, effortless and comfortable, a testament to her warm, magnetic allure.

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Jane Birkin, no stranger to showing off skin, rocked crochet pieces in the most memorable way. A pattern that will arguably never become obsolete, incorporate it into your look with either one impactful piece or from head-to-toe. Word to the wise — for the more open stitch variety, a sweet slip underneath is always an option.

Anita Pallenberg, a compelling fixture in the “rockstar girlfriend” circuit, wasn’t afraid to put forth a little leg, whether swathed in breezy bohemian caftans or a belted mini skirt. The fabrics were sheer, but there were always layers and accessories aplenty — her bohemian je ne sais quoi solidified her icon status, then and now.

And who could forget YSL Le Smoking, as tuxedo dressing has unapologetically worked its way back onto red carpets and into the closets of today’s most stylish women. A power suit for a powerful female? The marriage is serendipitous.

In today’s “anything goes” landscape of personal style, the cardinal rule is to build upon a theme or a look that encapsulates an individual’s sartorial spirit. Often times modern day dressing becomes more about making the loudest statement possible, creating a spectacle to garner attention rather than intentionally projecting one’s fashion M.O. In reality, the boldest statement one can make is via chief honesty in choice in wares — a vulnerable reflection of one’s innermost inspiration in that moment in time.

Not to say that one’s collection of body-con pieces should be burned, but the art of getting dressed as a female should be an empowering experience that is dictated by what makes us feel beautiful, not solely by what the system has deemed most seasonally relevant. What goes around comes around, yet grace and subtlety will never go out of style.

How do you embrace warm weather trends while still balancing poise and modesty?

Top image via Jadyn Noelle; Image of Lauren Hutton via Mark D. Sikes

4 comments

  1. I looked up all the woman mentioned as an example of “modesty” and I would say none of them could or would be described as modest. The notion of the article is awesome and well written, but I encourage us ladies to look at woman who truly combine, elegance, modesty while tastefully showing off their form during hot Summer months. The classic example is Audrey Hepburn, but someone like Emma Stone and Brooke Fraser also embodies this.

    1. I agree with you Andrea. I like the tone of this article but the examples were poor.

  2. Kristi, I love this. A confidant woman dresses in a way that isn’t objectifying to herself. You made a case for femininity, not prudishness…a hard balance to strike. Well done!

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