Deciding what to wear on a sweltering day can be a balancing act between looking fashionable and feeling cool. We caught up with five stylish Torontonians in the city’s verdant High Park to find out how they manage to maintain their polish on a hot day, from makeup tips to fabric recommendations and even where to find the city’s best glass of lemonade.
Founder and creative director of United Contemporary art gallery in Toronto’s west end
Swapping in business-casual staples made of summer-ready fabrics is a keep-cool strategy that works for Burke Paterson. “I ditch denim and wear lighter materials,” he says of his Kit and Ace pants and breathable Adidas Stan Smith sneakers in red mesh. “I love to be barefoot in the summer, but in terms of business and running the gallery, I like to have my toes covered.” His printed top was a bold find at the Palm Springs boutique Seaplane, a men’s wear label that makes small-batch production runs using leftover textiles. On muggy days, Paterson likes to cool off by taking his miniature dachshund, Sally, who’s wearing a harness by Ruffwear, on a walk along the lakeshore. “We live on this amazing lake in the city,” he says. “Just walk towards Lake Ontario and it gets cooler right away.”
Stylist who also works in film as a costume designer and set supervisor
On any hot summer day, you’ll catch Cat Calica with her hair tied up in a bun with a colourful scrunchie from the Philippines or one that she’s made herself. “It makes me look taller, because I’m five-foot-one,” she says. Most of her wardrobe is local, like her top, which was hand airbrushed by the artist Diana Lynn VanderMeulen, her Warren Steven Scott earrings, her lime green Corey Moranis keychain and her ring, which is from Newfoundland’s Stitched by April. “I try my best to wear local. It’s community and it’s important,” she says. Her belts and sunglasses are all from Kensington Market vintage shops Courage My Love, Hi Kensington and Butterfly while her wallet is a Value Village find. To keep cool, Calica gravitates toward tulle skirts with bike shorts and a loose top. “Or I’ll just wear swimsuits as a top with flowy pants.”
Coordinator of major gifts at SickKids Foundation and a board member at the Gardiner Museum
With a social calendar chock full of events, Kulin Matchhar has loaded his summer wardrobe with versatile, elegant pieces made primarily of linen and cotton. “These are materials that people in India or Egypt wear, and they stay cool in them,” he explains. On a trip to visit family in India in February, 2020, Matchhar had this kurta custom made at Gohel Men’s Wear in the Mumbai suburb of Ghatkopar, choosing a pale blue fabric evocative of Mykonos. It’s an ensemble he says he can wear to the beach with brown sandals or dress up with his black Gucci loafers. “It’s cooling but it still looks formal.” When it comes to his sunglasses, Matchhar recently picked up this pair from H&M for his summer travels. “I tend to lose my sunglasses so that’s why I didn’t want to get something too expensive, but they’re still stylish.”
Celebrity makeup artist and hairstylist and content creator
A handbag that blends fashion with function, like Nate Matthew’s bookbag style by Toronto brand Ai, can be a lifesaver on a long summer day. “I’m changing my outfit later and I have a whole other outfit in here,” she reveals. In this witchy Y2K ensemble, Matthew is wearing a Curetty top she bought at Editorial Boutique in Montreal with a skirt by Australia’s I Am Gia (“It’s a good staple piece shop. I get a lot of my black skirts and tops there.”), vintage cowboy boots found at Ninety Six Tears Vintage and a stack of necklaces from Toronto jeweller Cuchara. As a professional makeup artist, Matthew recommends taking a less-is-more approach on hot days, skipping foundation and favouring cream products. “I try not to overload my face with too many layers that are just going to melt off.”
Co-owner of Ode, a boutique hostel on Dundas Street West, and a mother of four
For Erica Herbert, summer is the time to flaunt your assets. “The legs need to be on display after being cooped up all winter,” she says, explaining that dresses are her item of choice on a hot day. The vintage Dior frock and her Miu Miu sandals seen here are both from VSP Consignment, a Dundas West designer fashion staple and neighbour to Ode. “Britt and her team there always help me find something stylish to wear,” Herbert says of VSP owner Britt Rawlinson. A true local, Herbert has a plethora of neighbourhood gems she recommends cooling off with just steps from her door, like the pineapple lemonade from Tucana Coffee, gelato from Death in Venice or a chilled glass of white at The Loveless Café.
With reports from Odessa Paloma Parker
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