dare to bare?


One thing I miss most about my younger self is the freedom I felt to go bare without a second thought in the summer time. Nowadays, it’s a bit more of a challenge to stay cool in the sweltering heat! How do you do it?

There are lots of different tactics, because we all have different body parts we want to hide. We all have different styles we find acceptable for ourselves, and we all have different limits. Just how hot does it have to get before you say to hell with sleeves? Even though you feel better in a bikini than a one-piece, does a little bit of belly fat prevent you from wearing one? Are you absolutely married to mid-length skirts because there’s some sag in your thighs?

I have seen some women who are beautiful, stylish, and also dare to bare. Admittedly it’s not often, but from time to time I do see them. She is usually tan, healthy, and tastefully dressed. Her taste is simple, so she attracts attention with subtlety rather than the “bling” I tend to disparage. Above all, she is comfortable with herself; she exudes a quiet confidence. She is not flaunting or flying in the face of good taste. 

Just like everything else that has anything to do with taste, it’s all in how you execute it. We’ve all seen those women whose ability to “pull it off” we admire. You look at her and think, “couldn’t do it myself, but she’s pulling it off.” That has typically been my response in seeing one of those lovely, healthy, tan ladies willing to bare.

Is that look easy to pull off? Hell no. There is a fine line between baring and slovenliness, between comfort and decorum. This is the look that I’m personally working on this summer. It’s actually the look I work on every summer. Someday I want to be that wrinkly old brown lady, with the gauzy, backless, summer dress on. The one at the market with the basket on her arm, the great earrings, the great sandals and that’s all. 

What do you dare to bare? What tactics do you use to stay cool and sexy in the summer time heat?




  • Carla says:

    Bare bare bare in the domicile 🙂
    And I carry with me a water bottle filled with ice any time I walk in the Texas heat. But yes given the heat and humidity in Austin I definitely dare to bare;-)

    • Anita Irlen says:


      Love that, domicile 🙂 Yes, you’re in Texas! Once, in Tucson, I thought I was going to fry to death. But you know, it’s dry heat 😉


  • Andrea B. says:

    Love this.

    I do say the heck with sleeves! I’m a bare arms girl for the most part in this freaking heat. But I also am a tankini girl with the beach, mostly because I’ve yet to find a bikini that will fit right and hold me in place. 😉 The upper half. The bottom covers well! I’m trying to find my brave and find one that works. I’m getting there … slowly. Thanks for this. It’s a great reminder. I’m totally sharing!

    • Anita Irlen says:


      You are so welcome. I wrote this because I just know this is such a bitchy little issue for all of us. I swear I want to design bathing suits! I think it’s totally possible to design bathing suits for women of different shapes, sizes, and ages. Nice bathing suits that cover different parts of the body depending on what each woman wants to cover. It must be done! Appreciate your appreciation.

      Anita 🙂

  • Haralee says:

    Staying cool and looking cool does not happen easily for me!! Hair off the neck and open toed shoes helps.

    • Anita Irlen says:


      How great to meet you. You make beautiful sleep wear for women! I will check that out. It’s my goal to somehow make everyone (woman) Cool, cool, and happy! Not really sure how I’m going to pull that off… Hair off neck for sure. I don’t know how women with really long hair wear it down all summer? Thanks for the comment.


  • Elena Peters says:

    Oh Anita! I am so struggling with this, this summer. What makes it all worse is that I am as white as cheese and that just makes baring it even worse. I’m thinking I need to spray tan and maybe that will make it easier. I hate being asked by my kids constantly why I am wearing a cover up when it is so hot out. I could work out more too but summer would be over before seeing any real results so meh! lol

    • Anita Irlen says:


      On the bright side, let’s look there. You’ll have no worries (or fewer anyway) about skin cancer! “White as cheese,” now that’s funny. All I know is that spray tanning can turn you orange like that fake cheese. Been there, done that. I know you know working out is a commitment. Don’t want to sound preachy, (no way do I) but make the commitment now, in the summer, when it’s easier. Then when fall comes, you’ll be in the swing of things. I’ll be your mentor 🙂 Seriously. And when it’s lousy hot, put on the sunscreen and go bare! What the hell.

      Anita 🙂

  • M-T says:

    Well, this is a dilemma for any woman w/very skin (moi) no matter her age (I’m in my 60s). I still have good, pretty firm upper arms and smooth skin at the décolleté area, but, no matter how firm/muscular my legs are, they’re still very pale. So, it’s either mid-length to long skirts w/heeled sandals or a light coating of liquid bronzer if I wear short skirts. Works well.

    Cheers, M-T

    • Anita Irlen says:


      Grrrr, as I wrote, the arms have left me. What kind of bronzer do you use? I always end up all orange and streaky! Wouldn’t mind a suggestion. Thanks for the comment.

      • M-T says:

        I’ve had good luck w/Laura Mercier’s liquid bronzer. I use a very light hand and then go over it w/a tissue. If you add too much, you will end up orange and streaky. Try using a little, give it a bit of a rub and add some more, if needed. Remember, we’re not going for a full tan here, just a little bit of coverage and a natural, healthy glow.

        Let me know how you make out.

        Cheers, M-T

  • Hmmm, when it does actually get hot in London I’m usually sent into a mad panic! I’ve got a terrible issue with baring at the moment (which I am attending to) but I do know that a tan – fake or otherwise – certainly helps and I’m a huge fan of natural fabrics which are always much nicer in the heat than some horrible polyester number.

    When (note the when) I am feeling confident I usually either wear a shorter dress with my arms covered or a maxi dress with my arms out- rarely both at once!

    Is that a Loup Charmant dress that woman is wearing, do you know? It looks like it, I love their clothes but a bit too flimsy for me! xx

    • Anita Irlen says:


      I know! Isn’t it funny, I dare to bare one thing at a time too. Legs, but not arms, then arms, but not legs. That alone should tell us something. But I’m not sure what? I think that may be Loup Charmant but I’m not sure. I like their things too but agree that most is too flimsy, especially for the city. But at the beach, that’s another thing.

      Anita xx

  • Jennifer says:

    I’m not more comfortable in a bikini, and never was. Even when you could bounce a dime off my abs.I don’t tan, but never let that stop me from baring my arms or legs when it’s hot. The fine line between baring and decorum gets stretched each year in more unflattering ways.It’s sad when an older woman flaunts what should be covered. It looks desperate. I can be cool, without being bare. And if my arms look like a 59 year old’s arms (which they do) people can just suck it up and mind their own business. I do what makes me happy and comfortable.

    • Anita Irlen says:


      Great comment. I know, there is a line. You don’t have to be unpleasant looking to be comfortable, and you don’t have to be dowdy to look well mannered. What happened? People always say “it’s a matter of taste.” No taste, I think.


  • At 61 I can still bare my legs and my cleavage is much more ample than when I was 20. It’s everything in between that I keep under an empire waist dress.

    • Anita Irlen says:


      I’m having so much fun learning about who bares what how much. If you put all of our covered parts together, we’d be wearing burqas! Or conversely, naked 🙂 Thanks for your comment.

  • This is such a toughie. I tend to pick a body part to expose. But only one. Like short shorts w/ arms more covered. Or bare back but legs are covered. Then again, I live in Wisconsin!

    • Anita Irlen says:


      Me too, I do the same. I don’t think it’s unusual. The question seems to be how do we bare creatively and attractively in order to be comfortable? Thanks for the comment. Love cheese curds 🙂

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