How to look chic in summer with Alyssa Beltempo

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How to look chic in the Summer heat

Alyssa Beltempo has the best slow fashion suggestions for summer.

The dog days of summer are here and I’m so bored with my closet. To help with my malaise, I asked my favourite slow-fashion stylist, Alyssa Beltempo, for some inspiration.

The following is a lightly edited version of our delightful conversation. Seriously. I adore this womyn.

SJ: I love your styling videos on YouTube. I fall down that rabbit how at least once a week. You keep me looking contemporary and classic! What drew you into slow fashion styling?

AB: To be perfectly honest, it was a matter of circumstance and situation. I used to work in finance and left to manage a boutique and try my hand at freelance styling. At the same time my husband and I moved into a very small condo, so both money and space was limited.

Once I started freelance styling, I quickly became tired of women not fully utilizing or appreciating what was in their closet, the constant need for more, and the homogenization of style through large chains pumping out generic designs that had no longevity.

This was the tip of the ice berg - once I started researching the environmental effects of mindless fashion for a corporate client presentation, I couldn't ignore it, and decided to focus solely on projects (when money permitted) with a slow fashion foundation or connection.

I HATE the homogenization of style through big chains. Even the luxury brands tend to all look the same from country to country. BOR-ING. For those of us want to do “good” with our wardrobes, and not look like a catalogue, it can be very overwhelming building our looks. What advice can you give someone looking to develop a slow fashion closet?

I think Orsola de Castro, one of the founders of Fashion Revolution said it best: "The most sustainable closet is the one you already have." I think the first step to building a slow fashion closet is becoming intimate with what you already have, appreciating it and getting creative with your current wardrobe, and identifying your personal style. From there you can identify gaps in your closet and be more confident that what you do purchase will stay with you for years to come.

Alyssa looking divine (and not sweaty) in Sicily.

Alyssa looking divine (and not sweaty) in Sicily.

Oh, I love that idea of getting creative with what you already have! Very smart and far more approachable. Okay, let’s talk summer chic. Honestly, I find summer style to be hard. It’s hot, my makeup just slides, and I want to wear a sundress day in and out. What are your warm weather essentials?

I confess that I struggle with hot weather style too. I recently participated in a 10x10 challenge on a trip to Florida and that really helped me with some hot weather basics. So here they are: A button down linen shirt is a staple because it can also be worn as a coverup at the beach or pool - so chic.

My favourite is from Power of My People, an awesome ethical Canadian brand. A pair of denim shorts - I don't have a favourite here as they're normally thrifted. A breezy dress with lots of movement and a straight or a-line silhouette, sleeves optional. I love this simple silhouette because it can be belted if you want to change up the look. It has taken me so long to appreciate that skin-tight in 30 degree heat does not an "effortless" vibe make.

A great hat - my favourite is an extra wide brim fedora I bought on Crete. And finally a great pair of sandals. My favourites are the Gladiadora from Brave Soles - an incredible company that uses upcycled leather and recycled tires and they're SO comfortable.

Okay, so when I’m out shopping what exactly should I be looking for? Do you have any specific tips for achieving your chic summer style?

Smart fabric choice - no matter how good you look, if your skin can't breathe you'll literally turn into a hot mess. Natural fibres like linen, cotton and modal are beautiful fabrics that handle the heat well.

Relaxed silhouettes - the overall vibe of summer is more "laissez-faire" so go with the flow and loosen up a bit. I find clothing that is restrictive or tight can look and feel out of place during warmer months. A palazzo pant, slightly oversized tee or cami, or flowy maxi can be cinched at the waist so you can keep showing off your summer bod but maintain that blessed airflow!

Smart accessories - it's hard to create dynamic looks in the summer when we can't rely on layering and texture to add interest. But we do have accessories! I think the warmer weather is a great time to break out playful accessories like big earrings, a fun pair of sunnies, your coolest hat or maybe a handcrafted bag that you bought on your latest trip.

Look for natural fibres that breath in the summer heat and avoid tight clothes. Great advice from Alyssa Beltempo.

Look for natural fibres that breath in the summer heat and avoid tight clothes. Great advice from Alyssa Beltempo.

Fantastic! Thank you, darling. This is so helpful. I’m curious. Who do you work with? Can someone hire you?

I work with commercial and corporate clients. I stopped working with individuals about two years ago, and now as I build an online presence, I am slowing down corporate styling initiatives to work with brands whose visions align with mine on sharing a slow fashion and environmentally friendly message. As a totally shameless plug; YES - brands and businesses can hire me! If they're looking to share their product/service on a video platform like Youtube, or if they'd like someone to come in and hold a workshop or talk about slow fashion and sustainable style - call me! ;)

Final little plug for you! Where can we all find you?

YouTube - Alyssa Beltempo is where the party is but Instagram @msbeltempo and my website/blog are fun too!