By Debra Simon


It's easy to melt down as temperatures soar in the Triangle. But you can't stay inside in the air conditioning all day! Instead, use your clothing choices to beat the heat and humidity. To feel refreshed from head to toe, toss on a hat and wear strappy or open-toe sandals. Want additional suggestions? Here's more of the best advice I've found on how to catch a breeze.


~ Dress in natural fibers.
Our old friends cotton and linen are more breathable than manufactured fabrics, such as polyester or rayon. They also wick perspiration away from the body, especially important during the dog days of summer.


~ Go with the flow.
Wear loose clothing. Your skin will be cooler if less material touches it. When it's sizzling, slip on a swing dress and skip those skintight shorts and tank.


~ Rely on light hues.
Dark colors absorb sunlight, which makes you hotter, while light shades reflect the rays and keep you cooler. Reach for pastels, creams and whites on steamy days. Remember, an all-white ensemble says summer chic.


~ Expose some skin.
Allow revealing looks, such as cut-outs, skinny straps, shorter hemlines, sheer sections and off-the shoulder tops, to work for you. They're your own personal air conditioning!


~ Favor dresses or skirts.
Easy breezy: These choices are more chill than pants. Dresses and skirts allow air to circulate to the skin and heat to drift away.


~ Skip heavy decoration.
Embellishments, especially beading and metal whatnot, weigh your clothes down so they're closer to your body, trapping warm air. Don't walk around inside your own private sauna!


~ Choose unlined garments.
The lining of a skirt, dress or jacket is an additional layer between your skin and the air. Who needs that? Plus, a lining is often made of a synthetic material, which doesn't breathe.


~ Tie one on.
Use a cotton scarf to sweep the hair off your neck. Or, drape one around your neck to absorb sweat. Arctic tip: Soak the scarf in cold water before putting it on.


~ Minimize jewelry.
Except for earrings, adorn yourself with as few accessories as possible. Necklaces, bracelets and rings can get hot and sticky in a sultry environment.