NYC-based stylist Brooke Danielson gives sultry summer styling a heatwave-chic spin.
How to choose-your-own-adventure after dark when dressing for a heatwave that just won’t quit? “Sultry style is the go-to for warmer temps, particularly for those hot summer nights out on the town,” says NYC-based stylist Brooke Ely Danielson as we break down the urge to channel CBGBs-at-midnight slinky, skin-bearing ensembles. Think hot nights, smokin’ moves, and look-but-don’t-touch staples — essentially the steamy mood imparted by a sultry, half-lidded gaze, but head-to-toe.
90S TEMPS BEG FOR 90S SILHOUETTES
“Radiating sexy 90s vibes, this way of dressing certainly celebrates the body,” says Brooke, who I caught up with on a recent trip to Big Sur where we swapped Vogue moments (she’s also a fashion graduate of glossy magazines like Glamour and Shape), toasted blueberry cocktails and shared a mutual appreciation for a dewy gonna-make-you-sweat glow a la RMS’s Midnight Hour Luminizing Powder.
For Brooke, it’s about keeping a balance with the right ingredients, genres, and proportions for a mix that burns hot. “The beauty in sultry summer dressing is there are endless ways to style it, with looks ranging from more casual and sporty to dressed up and feminine, not to mention a little punk and edgy.”
THESE SLIP DRESSES ADJUST TO YOUR MOOD
“The All Night Bodycon Slip is fire,” she admits of the adjustable ruching along the leg that allows for a high/low option to match your standing temperature. “I like to mix the feminine with the masculine, throwing on a punk-like boot to round out the look and give it a down-to-earth sexiness. The Check Lace-Up Boot gives this look a real 90s Courtney Love-esque vibe.” Plus, it’s that rare combat shape that comes in eight shades of right, like a veritable mood ring for your stems.
For another level of the aforementioned choose-your-own-adventure styling, the Tongue Tied Mini has a strappy back that gives every bust size a made-to-measure fit.
MAKE IT EASY
“Body suits make dressing simpler,” Brooke notes. “They are my go-to solution to any wardrobe crisis or overthought.” Maybe it’s the no-brainer appeal of a single piece, maybe it’s the absence of smooshing, tucking and re-tucking — or maybe it’s that we’ll never need a better excuse to sport an updated evening-appropriate leotard — but she has a point. “The Cowls in The Club Bodysuit is perfect for a night out paired with high-waisted jeans and a Places to Go heel — throw a little leather jacket over your shoulders and pair with your favorite mini bag or pearl clutch.”
If leather is off of your shopping list, We The Free’s Fenix Vegan Moto jacket offers a belted hem to cinch tighter around your waist, should you feel the urge to cut some curves.
A LITTLE BELLY, A LITTLE BIAS
“Showing a little stomach never hurt,” says Brooke, who doesn’t fear the crop on her own time, whether sporting a bralette and leggings during yoga or styling Anne Hathaway in an open blazer and bare torso for a beachy cover look. “The Rosa Swit Brami top covers just enough to keep you cool on a summer’s night out,” she says, adding that pin-slim vegan leather leggings piece it together. “Style note: I prefer to pair any cropped top with a pant.”
Unless, of course, a floaty midi is more your speed. “Additional side note for this top — if you are going to wear a skirt, maybe make it longer in length to balance proportions!” she enthuses. The Normani Bias Skirt comes in a rainbow of hues — and for those wondering what a “bias” cut even is, it means that it’s got a little bit of give — a hint of natural stretch— for fluid motion on the dance floor.
LAYER THE DETAILS
“This look easily translates to sporty rocker chic with the switch of the shoe and into a sneaker,” says Brooke. For athleisure chic treads, the Gola Grandslam Trident sneaker offers throwback color blocking in low-key flame shades.
“Cap off your look with an oversized clutch like my favorite Vagabond Embossed Leather Pouch,” she suggests. And really, when choosing accessories, take the opportunity to really rip it up. “This is time to play and have fun accessorizing — layer on the charm necklaces, you can never have enough for night,” Brooke shares. It’s an easy way to add a near-weightless glimmer of personality — and that extra metallic flash for dimly lit dance floors and street style strolls.
Below, a guide to the hot, hot heatwave hits worthy of an endless summer: