Ask Susan!

Ask Susan! – How to Stay Fresh and Cool During a Plus Size Summer

Summertime means its time to get up and go. This is no time to let your weight, dress size or shirt size keep you home! And, it’s tough to have “grand style” when you’re hot, uncomfortable and your feet hurt. So, no matter where you decide to go or how long you plan to stay, here’s how to have a stylish, plus size summer where you stay cool, fresh and comfortable in your rounded body.

Must Haves for a Plus Size Summer

Staying Fresh and Cool

Dear Susan: Why do some women and men look cool no matter what the temperature?

Many start their day with an alcohol-based body spray. You’ll find them in the fragrance section at the drug store. Two of my favs are Philosphy Amazing Grace Body Spritz for women and Bod Man Freshest Cleanest Body Spray for Men. Tip: Avoid the really fruit-smelling fragrances (like peach!) unless you want to still smell like a fruit basket for up to four hours.

These stay-cool women and men keep their cool all day with a variety of devices such as:

  • a spray mister (looks like an athletic water bottle with a tiny hose with a mister attachment.)
  • a battery-operated mini-fan (my favorite, the Travelon 3-Speed Personal Folding Fan, hangs around your neck or the rear view mirror in your car. It goes everywhere with me!
  • gel strips which you can freeze and roll up in a cotton scarf around your neck (usually sold with the scarves in a discount store.) You can make your own with a strip of Blue Ice from your cooler or a strip of ice you make yourself in a zipper lock bag.

All of the above items are usually available at Target, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Kmart etc. If you, or kids around you, are going to be exposed to the heat for long periods of time, consider keeping an emergency cool down kit close by which includes:

  • Wipe & Dry for quick cooling
  • wet washcloths in zipper lock plastic bags
  • a bag of salted nuts (to replace the salt lost through perspiration)
  • a package of breath mints (for a quick jolt to your blood sugar)
  • a battery-operated mini fan with extra batteries
  • two cotton bandannas to tie together as a head band or to pull your hair up off your neck

Avoiding Heat Rashes

Dear Susan: We’re going to be in a hot, humid spot this summer. Is there any way to avoid heat rashes under my breasts, under my tummy or where my legs rub together?

The rashes could be from friction or from a yeast infection. First, get the area clean and dry (if you can’t reach it, use the cool setting on a hair dryer.) Then, get into your medicine chest for help to keep the area dry – a spray antifungal sold for athlete’s foot or jock itch.

You can further dry up the area by using talc. Avoid cornstarch-based talc since the redness may be caused by a yeast infection that often grows in warm moist areas like tummy folds. Cornstarch just tends to feed the little yeasties.

Under bra wetness can be minimized with cotton bras, a cotton bra liner or with cotton socks tucked under the breast and bra band.

For thigh rubbing, wear a cotton bike short from Junonia under your skirts or apply an antiperspirant directly to your inner thighs.

Keeping Feet Comfortable

Dear Susan: We always seem to do a lot of walking in the summer at theme parks, fairs and outdoor events. Any tips on keeping my feet from killing me?

Feet expand in hot weather and get larger as the day goes on (like after an afternoon at MGM Florida!). So, to be sure you have the right size summer shoes and sandals be sure to select new summer shoes in the afternoon when your feet are the biggest! And be sure that your shoes are wide enough. Remember: As our hips get wider, our feet tend to get wider too! (Weird I know, but it happens). Wide shoes are now available online at retailers and in larger retail shoe stores.

For fun summer shoes and sandals in extra wide widths, check out FullBeauty, Payless Shoes and DestinationXL. Whatever your width, avoid shoes with plastic inner soles. Tip: For hot burning feet I love to give myself a foot massage with Dr. Scholl’s peppermint foot lotion (usually available at the grocery or drug store).

Selecting Fashions to Stay Cool

Dear Susan: What should I wear to stay cool? I don’t look good in sleeveless tops or shorts.

First, as I say every summer, don’t let your lack of self-esteem push you into wearing clothes that just make you hotter! If you overdress for summer you will call more attention to yourself than your short sleeved or sleeveless top. If you won’t go sleeveless, consider wearing cotton mesh tops over a sports top or tank top.

Second, everyone can wear shorts … look for shorts with longer and wider legs. They are flattering, and they don’t ride up when you walk or when you sit down!

Third, avoid polyester and polyester/cotton blends in favor of breathable natural fibers like silk, rayon and viscose rayon. Check out the viscose tops from Ulla Popken, the cotton separates from Avenue or up-to-the minute styles of Denim & Company cotton separates at QVC.