Did you hear that the highest temperature in the world last week was an incredible 129°F ? Even if you’re not dealing with crazy record-breaking temperatures like that, you’ve likely been dealing with a hellish commute if you walk, bike, or take public transportation to work. Aside from reveling in the frigid air conditioning once you get to your office, here are a few tips to stay cool on really hot workdays:
1. Use your drink for something other than drinking. Bring a cold can of soda (put it in the freezer for a while) or a frozen bottle of water and roll it on your wrists and other pulse points (here’s a picture pointing them out) when you want to stay cool. Once you’re at work, stop by the restroom to run cold water over your wrists.
2. Hack your commute. If you take public transportation, try to improve the most melty, disgusting portion of your commute. In most of NYC that’s the wait on the subway platform — not the subway ride itself. This may mean making yourself an iced coffee or a frozen bottle of water to take into the subway with you instead of grabbing one at your usual spot near the office; it may mean avoiding the subway entirely and taking the bus. If you can time it right (either with the help of an app or some of the newer MTA stops that tell you how far away your train is) you can wait to descend the subway until a minute or two before your train. (Try Moovit, NextStop, or Transit App.) Wear as little makeup as possible so that you don’t smudge it when you’re wiping the sweat off your face, and if you have to/want to wear pantyhose in the summer, pop them in the freezer first, or just put them on at your office.
3. Pack a fan in your bag. It’s funny how a little breeze can make a big difference and help you stay cool when it’s hot, humid, and gross — so get a little battery-operated fan or a paper/wooden folding one (you know, the kind you can get in Chinatown). This one looks like a good bet, while this wearable one is intriguing… This model even has a misting feature — nice! (If the A/C at your office just can’t keep up, you can buy a small one like this for the top of your desk, too.)
4. Wear your hair up. On hot days you know your hair will end up off your neck, so you may as well plan ahead and make it look nice. Check out our roundup of easy office updos for inspiration.
5. Layer, layer, layer. Especially if you’re going from a hot, sweltering summer day into frigid air conditioning, you need layers. Outside: wear a skirt or dress (possibly layered with slipshorts for comfort), or lightweight pants like linen or cotton pique, with a simple t-shirt or shell. When you get inside, add the cardigan, blazer (keep one or more at work if you like), a scarf, or (if you must) pantyhose. Note that if you’re looking for a good sweater to put on at the office, a silk cardigan is going to retain its shape and wrinkle less in your bag than a cotton or poly-blend cardigan will. (If you absolutely need to wear a blazer when outside, check out our recent roundup of lightweight summer blazers.)
Ladies, what are your best tips that help you stay cool during your commute and in general in the dog days of summer?