How to Get Dressed When It’s 40 Degrees Outside

I live in Melbourne but before that I lived in Canberra. Both cities are notorious for being jacket worthy most months of the year and as such I’ve grown up into a summer non-lover. Give me minus 2 degrees and a roaring fire over sunburn and sweat any day. Unfortunately Melbourne tends to have a hell week in summer where the temperatures can hit 40 plus degrees and I spend most of that time in a funk of feeling disgusting with frizzy hair and perpetually damp under arms. It’s gross. Here’s what I’ve been wearing in the last few days and they are definitely all pieces I’ll be pulling out again to get me through the sticky week that’s looming ahead. 


 * Dress from Country Road * Shoes from Toms * Sunglasses from Oroton *


 * Witchery maxi dress * Ducks shoes * Dinosaur Designs bangle * Waist tie from Metalicus dress *


 * Dress from Seed – My cousin’s mother-in-law showed up in this dress at a Christmas party and she looked so gorgeous that I went straight out the next day and bought it * Bangles from Dinosaur Designs * Silver jewellery from Thailand *

How to Get Dressed When It’s 40 Degrees Outside

Wear Natural Fibres

Try your hardest to avoid polyester and other non-breathable fabrics. Silk, linen and cotton will keep you nice and cool without the slimy horrid-ness of plasticy materials. Be sure to wear cotton underwear as well. I’m a shape wear gal, always have been and I love this Nancy Gantz  cotton slip, it’s totally breathable and I wear it under EVERYTHING. I’m actually about to buy another one because I can’t cope with the one I have being in the wash for too long.

Give Yourself Some Breathing Space

Snappy tightness in your clothing can be a nightmare in summer so choose roomier styles on sticky days. My sister-in-law introduced me to the choice phrase of ‘airing out the peach pit’ in reference to sleeping in the nude. Why not go commando in a maxi dress? Get a little fresh air around your nether regions and keep cool on those musty days. Only if you aren’t walking far because if you are, there’s another problem you need to consider…

The Summer Chafe

Unless you’re blessed with a giant box gap, chances are you’re going to experience a little of the summer chafe. Even my super skinny friends sometimes get a nasty heat rash near their lady garden. I always wear dresses… because I just do… so in summer if I’m going for a decent walk, I’ll wear a little pair of shorts under my dresses. It’s stops the chafe and allows me sit cross-legged on a picnic blanket without anyone copping an eyeful of my bits. I like Bonds Active Hotpants but any little running shorts will do. 

I’ve booked a 6.30 Barre workout tomorrow so I can get my exercise out of the way before the sun gets too hot and I plan to spend the rest of the 43 degree day tomorrow sitting very, very still.

What’s your fool-proof summer ensemble for super steamy days?

Carly is the founding editor of Smaggle which launched in 2007 back when blogging was weird. She has appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Cosmopolitan and Cleo magazines. Hoop earrings are totally her thing and she almost got run over by Myf Warhurst while out jogging one day.


  1. Nicole 2 years ago

    That Seed maxi dress is killer. I am a mad dress fan, I love the feeling of cool cotton swirling around my legs on a hot day. I always have a pair of bike shorts handy though to avoid that horrible chafing. I find Nike shorts are great; sweat-wicking and long enough to prevent any rubbing and they don’t roll up or down (

    • Author
      Smaggle 2 years ago

      I totally should have taken my own advice and worn a maxi today… I’m a wearing an A-line frock and it keeps flying up around my ears. So annoying.

      • Nicole 2 years ago

        Ugh, I hate that mid day clothing regret.

  2. Maddi 2 years ago

    Slightly random question: si barre body a beginner-possible workout or do you need dance experience? I’ve always wanted to try but I don’t have a dance background and don’t want to be a loner while everyone else is arabesqing all over the place .
    Love these dresses by the way! Especially the first one 🙂

    • Author
      Smaggle 2 years ago

      They have different levels… I know that Barre Tone is the highest at the moment but they’re introducing Barre Cardio which is higher. I think Barre Moves might intro level? Don’t be scared just come along and have a go! Any pilates or yoga experience will help as well. I will admit though that because I have a dance background I think I get a better workout because I know which muscles to engage but if you pay attention and watch yourself in the mirror you shouldn’t have too much trouble. Let me know how you go!

  3. Erika 2 years ago

    cut off shorts, tank top and birkenstocks. Oh, you mean out in public? Same – it is too damn hot to care. At work – actually wore a cotton wrap dress with silk bloomers for modesty and anti-chafe properties.

    Dogs are both spread-eagled under the airconditioning vents and our chickens are emptying their water every day (4 chooks under the shade of a big apple tree and 20 litres of water per day – which would normally last them all week). Love the Seed maxi dress – this is definitely the season of light and airy clothing!

    • Author
      Smaggle 2 years ago

      The weather is disgusting! It’s windy here in Melbourne too… so yucky. Blergh!

  4. Awesome post my love – just shared on my Facebook page. You certainly look cool even if you are far from it! x

    • Author
      Smaggle 2 years ago

      Oh thank you darling for sharing it! xxx

  5. Deb 2 years ago

    cotton bike pants under maxi dress/skirt/tunic. I cannot go without (see aforementioned chaffing…) I also like a 3/4 legging. Also when it is this stinking hot sleeveless is the go. People can just put up with my tuckshop lady arms!!!

  6. kate 2 years ago

    Not sure why it never occurred to me to wear little shorts under dresses. Genius! Have been living in chafe town all this time for no reason! Idiot!

    • Author
      Smaggle 2 years ago

      That’s why I mentioned it because I feel like people forget that’s a thing. Happy short wearing!

  7. Lisa Mckenzie 2 years ago

    Great tips smaggle I love them and I will go knicker less under maxi dresses when it’s hot…super idea!

    • Author
      Smaggle 2 years ago

      It’s so liberating! Let me know if you try it!

  8. Catherine Yarham 2 years ago

    Thanks for this link, very helpful. also recommends 3B Cream for chafe.

    • Author
      Smaggle 2 years ago

      I use Prantal Powder for chafe. It’s the best, I carry it around in my bag in summer. 🙂

      • Susan Brown 2 years ago

        Was at the chemist the other day asking for a recommendation for under boob heat rash…..bought 3B Cream (but by this time the rash was nearly gone). Anyway, my point is this: the pharmacist said that Prantal Powder is not being made any more!

  9. Tessa White 2 years ago

    Good tips.. I am a maxi girl all the way in summer. I don’t go commando but maybe I should try?!

    • Author
      Smaggle 2 years ago

      You should definitely try! It’s so liberating. I once went to the movies commando and even put my feet on the seat! Saucy.

  10. Nicole 2 years ago

    Bike shorts under dresses and skirts has been my jam for a very long time. Glad to see other people do it too. Summer thigh chafe is really the only time I’m sad I don’t have a box gap.
    I’m generally just happier in Winter overall, so my Summer wardrobe generally looks like my Winter wardrobe, but with a couple less layers on top. I’m like one of those memes.

    And you’re so right about not wearing tight clothes. I made the mistake of being in denial a few years back while I was putting on weight. Went to DisneyWorld (florida) in the middle of summer wearing jeans and shirts that were getting VERY close to being too small. And it rained a lot. I felt like a miserable steaming swamp and probably smelt like one too haha.

    • Author
      Smaggle 2 years ago

      I think more people should do it! I generally wear lose-ish clothes most of the time and it makes such a difference to my comfort.

  11. Nessbow 2 years ago

    I’m hearing you about the summer chafe. Even though I’m on the skinny side, I get the worst chub rub on my thighs in the hot weather. Shorts and talcum powder are my friends in this heat.

    As a member of the Tiny Tits Brigade I prefer to go bra-less whenever possible in Summer. There’s nothing grosser than that little pool of sweat that collects in your bra cups. Going bra-less is one way to avoid that.

    • Author
      Smaggle 2 years ago

      i also love Prantal Poweder. That stuff is the bomb, it absorbs all the sweat. I carry it with me everywhere in Summer.


  1. […] It may be frigid in Minneapolis, but in Australia temperatures are soaring. Smaggle has some simple tips for dressing when the weather is off-the-charts hot. […]

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