Just because it's seventh-circle-of-hell hot doesn't mean you can't look cool - even if you don't feel it.

We've got the secrets to summer chic right here.

• Go natural. That's natural, not au naturel. Keep your clothes on, please. Just make sure they're made of material like crisp cotton, airy silk chiffon or linen. Natural fibers like those will keep you feeling comfortable when the thermometer starts looking more like an oven temperature.

"Stay away from polyester, anything thickly lined," says Sydney Duncan, who owns W Boutique, 4340 N. Campbell Ave.

When she worked in real estate, Susan Schoenberg lived in linen.

"It's very cool," says Schoenberg, manager of Bryn Walker, 7039 N. Oracle Road in Casas Adobes Plaza.

Sure, some people worry about linen wrinkling, Schoenberg says, but it's a small price to pay for comfort. "It's OK if it wrinkles," she insists.

Hang loose.

"The looser the clothing, the cooler you are," says Moriah Murphy, assistant manager of Bryn Walker.

Murphy skips anything that might feel too constricting in the heat.

"I don't do jewelry, I don't do belts," she says.

After all, summer is about surviving, not accessorizing.

• Girly is good.

"Dresses and skirts, to me, are summer dressing," Duncan says.

Pants? Not so much.

"Even the coolest linen pant is not as cool as a skirt," Duncan says. "That's just my personal preference."

• It's a cover up. Not everyone wants to wear - or feels comfortable in - what tends to be a summer go-to, the tank top. You can stay cool and covered, though, in light-weight gauze.

"It's a sheer cover," Murphy says. "A lot of women don't like wearing a tank top out in public and being so exposed."

Breathable bamboo leggings are another way to maintain modesty with too-short dresses and tunic-length shirts, say Schoenberg and Murphy.

• Wear a uniform.

We're not talking paper hats and safety-pinned red aprons like a particular fast-food burger joint but rather sticking to a particular outfit and wearing it almost daily. Duncan relies on strapless cotton dresses.

"Short, long, maxi - I do it all," she says. "That's kind of my summer uniform."

The dress can be spiffed up for more conservative offices by pairing with a blazer or cardigan and swapping flip-flops for more serious shoes.

• Dress for Death Valley, but be prepared for arctic temperatures. Sure it's 120 degrees in the parking lot, but the office - and the mall and the movies - are all a frigid 60 degrees.

A wide, drapey scarf is one answer. Can't bear to wear it around your neck? Tie it onto your purse until it's needed around your shoulders.

Murphy swears by Bryn Walker's sheer linen Brooklyn sweaters.

"They bundle up pretty small," she says. "I can put it in my purse when I'm going to the mall. I always have a sweater with me."


• Bryn Walker, 7039 N. Oracle Road in Casas Adobes Plaza, 219-3383,

• W Boutique, 4340 N. Campbell Ave., 577-3470

• Enclave Tucson, 750 N. Stone Ave.,by appointment only, call or text 488-4620; enclavetucson.com

Contact Kristen Cook at kcook@azstarnet.com or 573-4194.