July 13, 2009

What to Wear for Summer Work in Arizona

Q: I'm 19 years old, and I'm planning on becoming a paleontologist. I have a three-week long summer internship in Arizona where we'll be digging up fossils and studying them, and I need help on what to wear. I need something that'll keep me cool at the site, and something else that's stylish for going out with friends. Help!

Outfit Idea #1-- Relaxing After Work

Arizona Outfit Idea #1

Tops: You'll want to pack lots of white shirts to keep you cool under the scorching sun, and make sure they're lightweight and made of a soft/thin fabric such as cotton. You can accessorize a simple white top in so many ways, the possibilities are endless. Try to get ones with 1/2 or 3/4 sleeves and a clean, simple shape. Tuck in your shirts whenever possible (unless they're a flowy blouse/ tunic) for a more casual chic look.

Bottoms: Cropped pants or shorts are your best choice, but make sure they're not too long and not too short. Bermudas are classic, so choose a simple one that's about knee-length, and shorts should not come close to exposing those little white pockets. Mid-thigh is probably the highest you want to go. Remember, you want to look stylish, not trashy. Like tops, your pants should be made of a lightweight fabric that's comfortable. If you choose denim, go for a lighter wash.

Shoes: It's all about comfort (and looks, of course). We recommend packing tons of flats and flat sandals for your walking pleasure. Flats, to us, are the most comfortable shoe, so wear one that's versatile and in a solid color (just about any color is fine). When it comes to sandals, everything is in the details. What's "in" now? Lots of straps, braids, embellishments, jewels, etc. A neutral color (like brown, tan, or beige) would work great because it adds to the casual, laid-back style-- plus, it makes your legs look longer.

Accessories: When roaming around town, your bag should be small and easy to carry, but also versatile and functional. Shoulderbags with long straps are a great choice. Make sure it's not too bulky, and that it can carry your essentials (such as your cell phone, wallet, make-up, and maybe a bottle of water). A neutral would be best because they go with almost anything. But, a pop of color doesn't hurt. Belt your bottoms with a bright hue (we chose a sophisticated red) to make your whole outfit look more polished. Another tip? Always keep a pair of sunglasses in hand when you're in a hot, sunny area.

Outfit Idea #2-- Having Fun With Friends

Arizona Outfit Idea #2

A cute and casual way to hang out with friends after long hours of work is in a young and fresh sundress. We love the crisp white with the multi-colored floral details-- that way, your accessories can be almost any color and not look strange. Pair it with a light denim jacket in a classic shape to contrast the femininity of the dress (denim jackets are actually back in style). As for footwear, keep it comfy with a pair of bright yellow ballet flats (yellow is the 'it' color of the season!), and we love shades of blue with yellow, so we chose a nice teal handbag to finish off the outfit. You don't want to carry a huge bag after a whole day of digging, so choose a small one. With all this simplicity, you can even add some bold statement earrings to draw attention to your face.

Outfit Idea #3-- On the Job

Arizona Outfit Idea #3: Excavation Site

Last but not least, here are some tips on what to wear when you're actually working at the excavation site. We suggest some comfy cropped cargo pants in a light color like cream, tan, khaki, or brown. Please avoid the ones with dozens of pockets all over and bunches of unneccesary tie straps. Wear your pants with a simple fitted white tee (tucked in), then throw on a bold scarf in a thin fabric (e.g. chiffon). Don't go too bright (no hot pink and neon yellow), but feel free to go for exotic patterns and cool colors like coral, navy, teal, or red. If you like, you can also add a chic neutral colored belt to pull everything together. About bags, you should probably get a backpack style so that you won't have an annoying handbag on your shoulder the whole time. It's not the smartest choice to bring an expensive leather piece to the desert, so choose one made of a durable fabric, and check to see if it'll fit all of your tools, snacks, etc. Now, your work group will probably tell you what type of shoes to wear while working, and even though they may not be very fashionable, remember to follow all rules and instructions!

Oh, here's a little hair advice for your whole trip: loose ponytails and slightly messy chignons are always a DO for sunny places like Arizona. And another easy hair trend is small braids. Wrap one around your head with a simple updo for a goddess-like glamour, or let one hang loose at the side. These will make any outfit look even better. Best of luck on your internship!


  1. WOW! This is amazing! Thanks soo much for doing this. I LOVE the first outfit the most- simple, casual, and perfect for Arizona's heat. And that floral dress is adorable!

    Great tips!! Thanks for the advice about the hair- I've been wanting to try out the braid trend :D Thanks, again! Love your style!

  2. i really like that first outfit! it's so casual yet put together. too bad it's been cold the last few days where i live...what stores are the bag and shoes from? very good advice, btw!

  3. You're welcome, Cora! We hope you have fun in Arizona!

    And Tara-- the bag is from Delia's, and the sandals are from Charlotte Russe. You can click on the images for more information.

    Thanks for the comments!


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