7 Ways To Wear All Black In The Summer & Beat The Seasonal Heat In The Process

I am one of those people who has a hard time finding summer-specific clothes because so much of my wardrobe is black. When it comes to staying true to my sometimes gothic aesthetic year-round, however, I have found that the question of how to wear black in summer isn't all that hard to figure out.

The thing is, I've never been one to follow seasonal fashion rules. Why, you ask? Because white looks great after Labor Day, packing away all of my crop tops for winter seems absurd, and ignoring the invention of the sweater for over half a year is just sad. If I were to stop wearing black in the summer, I'd have to get rid of 75 percent of my wardrobe for three months as well. Not only can I not afford to do that, but I wouldn't want to anyway.

When I was snapping street style pictures at Pitchfork in Chicago's nearly 100-degree heat, I was inspired by the folks I met there wearing only black. From beanies and combat boots to floppy hats and sheer dusters, there were so many unexpected head-to-toe black sartorial moments that caught my attention. They reminded me that when it comes to fashion, you have to stay true to yourself above all. Regardless of what the weather is, there's always a way to do you. Here are just a few ways that I like to beat the heat in summer goth mode.

1. Layer Your Pleather

I own an almost obscene amount of pleather skirts, but when I added this pleather pleated midi from Re/Dress to my collection, I knew that I absolutely could not wait until fall to wear it. Pleather against your bare skin in summer can get super hot and sweaty, so I always wear my pleather skirts with a pair of cotton bike shorts underneath.

2. Knot Your Maxi Skirt

I love wearing maxi dresses and skirts in the summer, but having your full legs covered can get steamy. If I am getting too hot while wearing a maxi skirt, I just take one side and tie it into a knot. It gives me instant relief and breathability for my legs. I paired this thin cotton maxi with the Bettie bodysuit from Proud Mary Fashion.

3. Keep Your Shorts Short And Your Crop Tops Shorter

On a particularly hot day in Atlanta this summer, cotton shorts and a crop top were definitely my only option. I added a long sleeveless stretch vest that tied in the front just to sprinkle another layer into the look. Pairing a fitted crop top with fitted shorts as a plus size woman definitely resulted in a lot of stares, but I wasn't one bit hot and that's what was most important to me.

4. Focus On Fabrics And Accessorize

I wanted to add a look from my best friend, Kristen, because she has the extra challenge of being plus size and dressing professionally. She also happened to show up to meet me for drinks wearing all black, so it was fate. When I asked her about how she wears all black in the summer, she told me that she makes sure all the materials are lightweight and stretchy. Kristen also adds an office-appropriate amount of accessories to break up the black.

5. Skip Pants

I totally got this blouse with the intention of wearing it with no pants or shorts at all, but once I added the chain belt, I was in the flash zone and had to add a pair of bike shorts. In general, I am very much in favor of wearing something that you might traditionally wear with pants, a skirt, or even leggings without anything at all. The length of the shirt that you feel comfortable with may be different than mine, but skipping pants is definitely a personal summer fashion hack.

6. Wear A Bra As A Top

I have said it before and I will say it again: A sports bra is a top. Before I could find crop tops in my size, I would wear a sports bra to achieve the same look. Even now that there are finally plus size crop top options out there, I'm still loyal to my sports bra. I added a mesh beach cover-up and quilted short skater skirt to this look and I finished it with lace ruffle socks. Mixing textures is another way to break up an all-black look without adding a ton of jewelry.

7. Just Wear A Bikini

If you really want to survive the summer in all black, make sure you add an all-black bikini to your wardrobe so you can head to the pool for some heat relief. Kristen and I are both wearing suits from Swimsuitsforall. The brand has a lot of good end of summer sales happening right now as well, so you can get in on the fatkini action too.

Just remember: Even though summer is winding down, what you wear is still your decision. So skip the rules and make the most of the last days of summer in a way that feels right to you.

Images: Alysse Dalessandro