Dressing like the damned on a hot day (without bursting into flames)

August 31, 2015 by Lauren Camacho

Dressing like the damned on a hot day (without bursting into flames)

Aren’t you hot?” It’s the question that plagues every glamorous goth, vampy vanguard and witchy fashionista during hot months. I always say “I’m okay,” but the truth is it’s nearly 100 degrees outside and my skin feels like a swampy water slide; my face is on the verge of turning into a Salvador Dali painting; and I am losing faith in my deodorant with every passing second.

My preferred style takes dedication and planning. Having an easy-breezy summer is trickier when you wear all black, prefer dark lipstick to gloss, kohl to face glitter and boots to sandals. Sure, I could trade in my witchy frock for an angelic boho dress fit for a Coachella Instagram feed. Nothing’s wrong with that. I’m just not that kind of gal.

There is a reason vampires burst into flames in fiction. We weren’t made for the sun. I have managed to find refuge after a series of fiery fails. You can, too.

Freddy Krueger feet
Wearing combat boots on a hot day is hardcore. I won’t do it if it is warmer than 75 degrees anymore. After a while, it feels like walking on scalding cement. Heat gets trapped, socks get soggy and things get gory. When your skin prunes from moisture, it is defenseless against the weight and coarseness of heavy boots—especially leather ones. It can peel off, leaving what can only be described as Freddy Krueger feet.

I once ignored the burning sensations radiating from my feet. I was walking with a group of friends and didn’t want to complain or acknowledge the blistered hell beneath me. When I finally took off my boots that night, my right sock was fused to my foot with blood and gooey clear fluid—lots of it. I could barely tell the difference between cloth and flesh. When I peeled off the sock, more skin came off with it. It hurt so bad. I had to wear flip flops for a week and clean my foot constantly to avoid infection.

I switch to a lighter shoe on super hot days now, usually black platform sandals or Converse. If you insist on wearing boots, carry a stash of dry socks or a mini first aid kit to keep your stumps happy. It sounds extreme, but Krueger feet don’t discriminate. Freddy really is coming for you.

Forbidden fabrics
All vamps know that prized fabrics like leather (genuine and faux), vinyl and velvet might as well be holy water on a hot day. However, there are many other fabrics that also trap moisture and can cause smelliness or discomfort, such as lycra, polyester and rayon. In general, if a material has any hint of gloss or silkiness instead of a matted appearance and texture, it is problematic.

I smell good, even when I sweat. On the rare occasion that I don’t, it is because of a forbidden fabric. I am not a chemist, but I am convinced certain fabrics bring on the funk. Some kind of reaction occurs and deodorant is powerless. I’ve spent entire days with my arms at my sides before. Have you tried to hug someone without lifting your arms? It is awkward.

Cotton is breathable, absorbant and perfect for scorching days. In addition to choosing fabrics with high cotton percentages, I have found that the careful application of unscented baby power or deodorant helps combat excess sweat and heat. It is okay to get a little creative with where you apply deodorant and unscented baby powder—barring any allergies. Lush sells an amazing “dusting powder” if you want to feel extra fresh!

Armpits get all the attention, but spots like the lower back could use help staying dry as well. Added bonus: If you are a musician, this trick can keep you dryer on stage, too. Just don't overlap powder and deodorant with SPF. If a body part is exposed to the sun, it is on its own in the antiperspirant department. Applying too many different products to one area can clog pores, lead to uneven coverage and subsequent burning and other unpleasant reactions.

Zombie face
Sweat and dark makeup aren’t friends. The smudging, melting effect can turn you into a zombie—and not in the chic way Hot Topic advertises. After sampling a range of eyeliners and lipsticks over the years, I have discovered that application matters just as much as the product. Primers and waterproof products are essential, but they aren’t infallible.

I have had my lipstick on my teeth, chin, cheek, neck, shirt and forehead. (I still have no idea how that last one happened.) Black eyeliner hasn’t been much better. I have had smudges all over my eye area, brow, cheeks and nose. One time, I showed up to meet my mom for dinner with what looked like a black eye. It was just melted makeup. Even after wiping it off, I had to reassure her that nobody had placed their hands on me..

A good solution is to simply use less makeup during heat waves. Skip the full Manson look. This doesn’t mean axing the undead paint altogether. Just alter it. Avoid extending liner to the corners of your eyes and consider skipping the bottom line. For dark lipstick, matching lipliner on the lip line and skin-toned liner just around your mouth can keep things secure. I like to put extra powder around (and sometimes on) my pout and dab my upper lip with tissue anytime I feel things getting too moist.

If you haven’t already, discover the wonders of setting spray. This clear concoction helps your makeup from sliding with just a few spritzes. If you can’t afford it, a spritz of hairspray is a quick fix (eyes closed, of course). Brands like Jefree Star Cosmetics and L.A. Splash also have a number of liquid lipsticks which will. not. budge.—sometimes even after repeated scrubings.

If it’s hot out, it is likely bright as well. A pair of black sunglasses is an instant fix for Dali face. In addition to completing any summer look, sunglasses serve that added function of shielding vamps from the sun. If I know I am going to wear sunglasses most of the day, I sometimes skip the eyeliner altogether and just paint my lips. My face feels lighter and less slimy when I get sweaty, but I don’t lose that gloomy look I refuse to spend eternity without.

Even after implementing guidelines, dressing like the damned on a hot day is going to feel unpleasant at times. You will also stand out more than usual. The dreaded “Aren’t you hot?” can be accompanied by snide looks or general misunderstanding. “If you’re so miserable dressed like that, why don’t you just change?” Of course, that answer is simple: “Because I don’t want to.” So it’s August. Big deal. For some, everyday is Halloween. alt

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