|hot in the city|
Of course a tank top and shorts are perfect for this climate, unfortunately they are not proper for all situations. For example, my kids' school has a sign at the entrance reminding parents to dress appropriately (no gym clothes etc..) when entering. I wouldn't say Panama is particularly conservative in dress, but there are definitely expectations and people notice. People here look well turned out: shirts pressed, shoes polished. I have found this equally charming and intimidating. As a foreigner there's a certain amount of leeway(people will kind of expect you to be a slob) but it's never fun to feel underdressed or worse, like a sweaty mess.
Being a teacher, and having to attend functions as a parent I've figured a few things out. I know I will never be as elegant and fabulous as Panamanian woman and I'm totally okay with that--frankly, it looks like way too much work. It's possible that this list will seem really obvious. But honestly, having grown up in Canada, I didn't know. Also, I suspect I'm sweatier than normal people. So keeping that in mind, here are a few things I've learned about dressing in the heat:
- a sundress with a light short sleeved cardigan is a great combination for any event. You can take the cardigan off if you need to walk somewhere or if you're outside. It will give you some protection from frigid air conditioning. You can put it on if you don't want to show too much skin. Also, the cardigan will cover any pit stains.
- Chinos are more comfortable than jeans. I find they need to be pressed, but it's worth it because they are light and they look good.
- Get a pedicure. It's cheap here. And you won't look like a total slob in your flip flops at the school open-house (where all the other mothers will be in heels).
- If you have to walk even just a block, you will arrive sweaty. There's a small window of opportunity before the sweat transfers from your body to your shirt--my strategy is to duck into the bathroom and take my shirt off and blot myself dry and put the shirt back on. It sounds like a long procedure, but it only takes a couple of minutes and it really helps.
- Light cotton with a print is your friend. It dries quickly and the print won't show sweat.
- Tissue tees and silk seem like a good idea because they are so light, but they never work for me. The slightest dampness shows and if you're really sweaty it will be horrifying.
- Carry a shawl in your handbag. The air conditioning in some places can be brutal. Movie theatre are particularly bad (you might even want a sweater for going to the movies).