Francesca is in the Heathrow International Airport in London, drinking a $7.00 coffee at Starbucks and catching up on her email. As always, she thinks of the dear Manolo readers no matter how far or how long she roams. Here is a letter from “Francie,” which is, perhaps, short for Francesca???
With the humid, hot weather, I dread wearing shirts. I’m top heavy, apple shaped, about a 20 on top and a 16 on bottom. I’m 45 and just don’t feel comfortable in sleeveless tops anymore. What do I wear to survive the 95 degree days. Isn’t anyone else HOT?!
This is a very good question indeed, and yes, Francesca, too, is very hot.
Francesca assumes that you are looking for tops that are a little more dressy than t-shirts, perhaps something suitable for work, or you would not have needed to ask. Francesca also guesses that you do not work as a cog in a super-corporate environment, or you also, in that case, would not have needed to ask, and anyhow sleeveless would not even be an option.
Therefore, Francesca recommends the shaped, slightly and subtly adorned, cotton shirts for the summer, with the ¾ sleeves which is often flattering on the top-heavy Apples (of which Francesca is proud to be one!), and which provide a nice compromise between formality and modesty on one hand, and the brutal summer heat on the other. A second choice to cotton would be linen, which is cool but wrinkles oh-so-easily!
If you cannot find shaped cotton shirts (and in the case of the Apple, “shaped” means “with princess seaming or other structural details which create a waist”), then please, do not buy t-shirts that scream “I bought this at a rock concert” or “I got this for free at some college event eight years ago” or “this is left over from my summer job as a pool guard when I was 16.” Those are shirts for sleeping, or workouts.
No, no, please wear cotton shirts that say “I was bought in a store, chosen purposefully and carefully by my owner because I am flattering to her.” And then add a pretty beaded necklace in a complementary color and some killer earrings, and you are good to go.
Polo shirts can also work well, if one’s office is casual enough. Francesca is imagining a polo shirt in a bright summer color such as rasberry or turquoise, and a headband or comb in a matching color, with slightly-dangling sparkly earrings, and a simple gold or silver bracelet . . .
. . . paired, of course, with well-fitting dress pants or jeans, or a straight skirt. Because a loose shirt paired with loose pants or a flary skirt would create a baggy outfit, and we do not want that!
Here is a wonderful cotton blouse by Charter Club, available on sale at Macy’s up to size 20 W (though it appears a bit too big for the model; Francesca would recommend “taking it in” on the sides):
More cotton shirts to come as the summer progresses!