Oh, summer in the city. Such a beautiful, painful, uncomfortable, wonderful time! Surviving a summer in the city takes more than just grit and determination, though that’s a great place to start! What it really takes is a well-stocked purse and a very specific city kind of know-how of all the ways to beat the heat. Because city heat isn’t like your regular heat. It carries with it a certain something . . . special.
I’ve compiled my annual list of city summertime must-haves after the jump. And I’d also love to know what tops your lists!
A Great Maxi Skirt 1 of 12I am not one of those girls who look effortlessly leggy and cool in a pair of shorts, and as much as I love my collection of knee-length summer skirts, sometimes I just really want something less... girly. I love a good maxi in the summer because, when made from the right fabric, they are so breezy! And they create a more linear silhouette when you just can't stand another a-line day.
Buy this summertime essential at Forever 21 for $27.80
Mojito Lip Balm 2 of 12Summer is a tricky time for makeup. I'll usually focus on one feature and just ignore the rest (melty make up syndrome can happen to anyone), but I always always have a tube of this lip balm on hand. A friend of mine turned me onto it, and that mojito is the perfect herby, juicy scent for summer.
Buy this summertime essential at Malin + Goetz for $12
Band Aids For Blisters 3 of 12Cute strappy sandals do a number on my poor feet. And with all the walking you do in the city, you need to be fortified. I always bring a pair of back up shoes, and at least two boxes worth of these exact Band Aids. They're cushioned for blisters and they stick like a leach. Seriously, these kids don't come off without a fight. They're also clear enough that they don't scream out, "This is my first time wearing these shoes!" to every person who walks by.
Buy this summertime essential at Walgreens for $5.49
Water, Water, Water! 4 of 12Yeah, you're going to want some water. The city in the summer is SWEATY. I like to find a thick glass bottle to keep the water cooler longer. This one suits my aesthetics and the rubber grip helps me not to drop it when I'm simultaneously steering the stroller, holding my cell phone and flipping off cabbies who almost don't stop at the lights. I'm kidding! I usually have my phone in my pocket! ;)
Buy this summertime essential at Amazon for $18.80
Tote Bags 5 of 12I read in the New York Times that the new "it bag" was, of all things, tote bags. As soon as I finished rolling my eyes I continued carrying mine around town. Because the genius of a tote bag, especially in the summer, is it's washability. You can toss in picnic goodies, clothes to be dropped off at the dry cleaners, the half gallon of ice cream that Trader Joe's refuses to deliver (rude, Trader Joe's!), wet towels and clothes from the playgrounds that have turned the water on, or sunscreen bottles that you know are just going to explode on you the minute they get the chance ... Most days I have two or three tote bags stashed in the stroller for emergencies. My favorite place to buy totes is AlphabetBags.com. Isn't this one cute?
Buy this summertime essential at Alphabet Bags for about $15
Wide Brimmed Hat 6 of 12The best part of a sun hat isn't its sun blocking, as wonderful and handy as that is. No, the best part is its ability to camouflage really bad summer hair. You know, when you've been out all day and it's gotten crispy and tangled and flat on top? Yep. Hat time. You know, you don't want sun damage on your skin. ;)
Buy this summertime essential at Gap, $25.99
Salt Water Sandals 7 of 12Far and away the best summer sandal on the planet. They wear better than any other sandal. I've had the same two pairs for going on seven years now, and they look as good as the day I got them. Which brings me to this: there is nothing in life more satisfying than opening a new box of Salt Waters, taking them in your hands, and bending the soles and pulling at the leather (as per directions). Ahhh. Now it's really summer!
Buy this summertime essential at Shoedaca.com for $37.99
Spray On Sun Screen 8 of 12A giant collective "DUH!" for sun screen, but make sure to get it in the spray form. Nobody wants to stop what they're doing on the busy sidewalk, squeeze white pasty junk all over their hands, then apply and rub it in while people are passing you trying to get where they're going. The spray is a one shot system. Spray and off you go. There is also just something really refreshing about misting yourself on a sticky day, even if it's just sun screen.
Buy this summertime essential at Amazon for $9.89
Sunglasses 9 of 12In the city, you can't get two blocks without seeing at least one of the three more popular models of Ray-Bans. I like the Clubmasters best. A little vintage, a little rakish devil-may-care, a lot of eye protection. Cement really reflects that sun, man!
Buy this summertime essential at Nordstrom for $130
Baby Wipes 10 of 12Even if I didn't have a kid, these would be top on my list of must-haves during a summer in the city. I use them as portable coolers (so refreshing on the neck on a really sticky day), to clean up ice cream spills (seriously, unavoidable), to de-germify after I've been on the subway, and to wrap around a Coke can to catch condensation. (I might be the only person who so strongly dislikes the feeling of half damp/half dry napkin around a sweating can of soda. Yuck!)
Buy this summertime essential at Amazon for $13.45 (Pack of 8)
Portable Water Mister 11 of 12Last summer had to have been one of the hottest, stickiest summers on record. It was so hot, I was almost afraid to leave the house with my 9-month-old baby. I bought one of these and it was a total game changer. The fan is surprisingly powerful and a little blast of that mist really goes a long way. Stock up on AA batteries and you can rest assured you will stay cool even in the worst heat.
Buy this summertime essential at Meritline for $8.99
Diet Soda, In Mass Quantities 12 of 12Nothing beats a cold soda on a hot day. I'll even take a Diet Pepsi, if that's what ya got!
Buy this summertime essential at your local bodega