This summer, you don't have to sweat it out to make a style statement. JAYASHREE ARUNACHALAM tells you how

Pack away your jackets and brightly-coloured sweaters and scarves, and forget everything you've ever been told about the layering look and keeping warm. As summer explodes across the city in all its cloying glory, it's time for a complete wardrobe change to keep you feeling, if not particularly cool and comfortable, at least relatively fresh and non-sweaty.

To use a paternal adage, the best way to feel cool is to think cool, and nothing helps more than choosing the right set of colours. Avoid beiges and greys in favour of something a little more upbeat. Mustard and buttery yellow are favourites, along with blue, white, plum and pink. Try not to go over-the-top with hot reds or neon greens: the sun is harsh enough on the eyes as it is.

When it comes to clothing, shorts are the most popular. “Even on the hottest day of the year, wearing a pair of shorts with a t-shirt can keep me comfortable,” says media student Vrinda Menon. “It's a universal must-have.” Short are available in a host of colours and textures, including printed boxer shorts for women. Flirty skirts, wraparound and straight, for those willing to show a little skin also look great and feel better.

However, not everyone has the luxury of lounging their summer away in shorts and skirts, especially when it comes to office-wear. Jeans might be a constant in every wardrobe but the discomfort of wearing denim proportionately goes up as the mercury levels rise. Harem pants often come to the rescue but jodhpur pants are the new kids on the block. Baggy at the thigh and tighter towards the calves, “they form the perfect off-the-cuff statement,” says NIFT student Neha Eashwar.

Airy tops with cap sleeves are now available in a wide range of flirty colours, along with dresses in every cut possible: from tank and shirt to belted sun-dresses. Sheer fabrics are in this season, though it's a look that requires some effort to make it work, along with cropped t-shirts with stencil prints. According to Neha, tops with minimised tie-and-dye work are also staging a comeback. “Experiment with textiles like tulle and lace if you're in the mood,” she says. “Feminine touches like ruffles and floral prints help soften the entire look.”

‘Tis the season to try new things. “Loose silhouettes with a lot of bright colours should make an appearance this summer, along with asymmetric cuts,” says designer Ishita Singh. “Also smooth prints in pastels in tops and dresses should be given a chance, especially with soft and flowy fabrics.”

What's a wardrobe without the accessorising? Long layered necklaces and chunky bangles continue to make an appearance, but the biggest issue is keeping your hair off your face. “I usually invest in hair clips in rainbow shades, and wide cloth hair-bands,” says 19-year-old arts student Isha Naidu. “You can get them anywhere, from department stores to General Bazaar.” Footwear is provided in the form of Osho chappals in their staggering range of colours, with flip-flops, kohlapuris and juthis not far behind.

The final touches appear in the form of essentials like large-framed sunglasses and sun-block lotion for the outdoorsy types and a proper hair and skin care regime to circumvent the summer sun's tendency to sap one's energy. You might not come through the summer unscathed, but you'll definitely beat the heat in style.

Keywords: summer fashion