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Hot Flash Fashion

Hot Flash Fashion

The menopause goddess look is even hotter than you think 

Harling Ross just wants to dress like Diane Keaton in Something’s Gotta Give right now. Or at least that’s what she wrote in her recent article, “Menocore is the New Normcore” for Man Repeller, the wildly popular site for which she’s Fashion Director and Brand Strategist. 

“Picture a 50-something-year-old woman who doesn’t care what other people think and just wants to be supremely comfortable,” she writes, describing her current summer fashion fantasy. She also writes that her colleagues share the vision.

Do you realize what this means? We’re sweating. We’re graying. We’re softening. And apparently, we’re trending!  So for this summer at least, we can have the comfort of knowing that dressing for a potential hot flash is actually cool. And there are plenty of beautiful ways to do it.

Comfy wide leg cropped pants are everywhere this summer, so find yourself a pair in a breezy fabric and wear it with a crisp, roomy white blouse, like the ones made by the French mother-daughter brand Maison Cleo. Marie Dewet founded this sustainable line with her mother, Cleo, 56, (who probably understands exactly what we need) and makes every piece herself, to order.

Paris-based fashion stylist Laura Boyle also understands our quest for summer hot flash comfort that looks good. She recommends natural fabrics, especially airy cotton and linen. “Look for easy-to-wear sundresses, both long and short, that can be worn with or without a tank top or a short sleeved tee,” she says. She also recommends layering tops, particularly slightly oversized short sleeved shirts, which you can wear open like a jacket over a tank, like these looks from Jacquemus.

She also likes the idea of floaty, flowy garments embellished with embroidery, to disguise any traces of a hot flash. California brand Johnny Was is the master of this easygoing boho style.

And let’s not underestimate how right the iconic slipdress from long reigning queen of comfort Eileen Fisher is for the current “menocore” moment.  Her trademark loose-fitting, layerable, breathable tops, skirts, pants and dresses are timeless, and at least for the moment, ageless.


The Summer Hot Flash Survival Kit

The Summer Hot Flash Survival Kit

You never know when a normal summer day is going to turn into your own personal scorcher of a heat wave, so you might as well be prepared. Here’s what we’re carrying in our bags this season so we can cool down and pull ourselves back together no matter where we are when a hot flash hits.


  1. iPhone Fan

Attach this little gizmo to your phone and you’ve got your own little automatic cooling machine, whether you’re on the go or at your desk.



  1. Blotting Paper

The hot, humid climate you live in with hot flashes is kind of like summer in an Asian country. So we’re doing what women there have done for centuries—carrying pouches of little papers that absorb, freshen and just smell so, so good. There are a bunch out there to choose from. Tatcha makes a particularly pretty one, made with natural abaca leaf and flecked with gold. 


  1. Hair Elastics

If your hair is on the longer side, put it up when heat starts rising through your upper body. You can’t have too many of these (have you noticed how they mysteriously disappear, like socks in the dryer?) Carry them in your bag, rather than on your wrist, where a hot flash can put them out of service. 


  1. Face Mist

A little can of spritz goes a long way to restore your cool in the midst of a sweat session. New ones are launching all the time, but we still love the iconic Caudalie Grape Water, for its gentle, soothing sensation. It’s made with 100% organic plant water extracted from grapes, and French women swear by it. Although has anyone ever seen a French woman have a hot flash? Maybe this is why.


  1. Moisturizer

When a hot flash takes it out of you, your own favorite trusty emulsion, serum or cream reinfuses you with hydration. Pump, pour or squirt some out into a travel bottle. You know what your skin likes, but if you need a new idea, we have a little summer crush on the vacation-y, water-fresh L’occitane Aqua Reotier Ultra Thirst Quenching Gel.


  1. Hair De-Frizzer

When a surge of inner heat makes your hair damp, you know what kind of a hair day that can turn out to be. We’re putting little bottles of conditioning cream in our bags for just such an occasion. Victoria Tap, owner of Salon Riviera in Redondo Beach, CA recommends Bumble & Bumble’s Don’t Blow It Hair Styler, for gently smoothing wet strands (especially those crazy grays) and leaving it feeling soft and fresh without a blow dryer. If your hair is long, distribute it evenly through, divide hair into sections, and weigh down potential flyaways by twisting the sections and securing them with hair elastics. Available in Thick or Fine formulations. Go with the Thick if your gray hair is as coarse and mischievous as ours. 



  1. Waterproof Makeup

Waterproof foundation is the way to go if you think you might have a hot flash during the day. It’ll stay on through a mild-to-medium sweat, and at the same time, it protects you from summer’s searing UV rays. We love Abella Tinted Moisturizer—it gives you a good layer of luminous, natural looking coverage without looking too flat or too shiny, in a range of shades that offers a good match for any skin tone. It’s a great base for other makeup products. And at just  $1.50 each, the travel size tubes are perfect for tucking into your bag.


  1. Makeup Setting Spray

Most hot flashes won’t require a full face do-over if you spritz with setting spray. We’re liking Coola Makeup Setting Sunscreen this summer, for its budge-free security, comfortable feel, SPF30 protection and organic formula.


  1. Menopod

 This beautiful little electronic gadget is engineered to provide instant cooling relief when you hold it against your neck, which is apparently your body’s main area for sensing and regulating temperature. Keep it by your bed at night and bring it to work with you during the day. This thing looks so much like a computer mouse, you can leave it out on your desk while it charges and no millennial colleague will ever be the wiser.


  1. Essential Oils

According to researchers in Iran, inhaling the fragrance of lavender for 20 minutes a day reduces the incidence of hot flashes1. It’s also just a really nice thing to smell. We like it in a rollerball, because it’s easy to carry and hard to spill.

1. Kazemzadeh, R, Nikiou, R and Norouzi, H, Effect of lavender aromatherapy on menopause hot flushing: a crossover randomized clinical trial.  Sept., 2016  Epub July 4 2016.

Anti-Flash Iced Teas

Anti-Flash Ice Teas

4 brewable botanicals with natural cooling powers   

Maybe hormone-related body changes have got you exercising more this summer. Maybe you’re sleeping less too, between warmer weather and night sweats. In the meantime, the sun has got your car, your house and your workplace heating up to sauna-like conditions. Summer still means fun…it’s just that now, it also means more hot flashes.

So when you reach for a cold drink, try one that’s got some extra cooling magic. Our ancestors used these gifts from nature to make it through menopause. Now it’s our turn.

Sage (Salvia Officinalis)

Drinking sage iced tea has been passed down by herbalists from generation to generation as a great escape from summer hot flashes. In Germany, it’s the go-to for both men and women to counteract excessive sweating. In the Native American tradition, this herb is also ritually burned to clear away bad juju.

How to drink it:

Steep one tablespoon of dried sage in one cup of hot water for 15 minutes or longer to make a tea. Strain it, cool it, and drink up to three cups a day. (It’s also nice to put it in a spray bottle and spritz it on your neck. ) 

Passionflower  (Passiflora incarnata)

Named for the resemblance its unique, feathery flower bears to the legendary crown of thorns, passionflower has been keeping women’s bodies and spirits cool for centuries. You can find passion tea on the market, but it’s also easy to grow. We like to brew up a fresh batch of the dried leaves, squeeze in a bit of the fruit for flavor, and enjoy our own passion blend over ice.

How to drink it:

There are several makers of organic teas that offer passionflower. If you have your own vine, place a teaspoon of dried leaves in a strainer or tea infuser, and add 8 ounces of hot water. Steep for 5 minutes and pour over ice. 

Hibiscus (Hibiscus Sabdariffa L.)

We menopausers are always looking for ways to cool off a facial flush, and the hot pink iced tea you can make from a hibiscus plant is right on our wavelength. Grab a few teabags and steep them in a pitcher, or if you have a plant growing in your garden and you’re not using chemical pesticides or fertilizers, you can pick your own flowers, dry them in the sun for a few days, and then use about 2 teaspoons of your harvest for every standard teapot full of water. The brilliant color of this tea in a glass is so pretty, it’ll make you feel good even before you take your first sip.  

Kava (Piper methysticum)  

South Pacific Islanders have been relaxing over cups of cold kava for more than three centuries. Since the 1700s, when Captain Cook’s botanist identified it and gave it a Latin name, clued-in Westerners have known kava as an all around cooling tonic for the body, mind and spirit.

How to drink it:

Brew a commercial kava tea hot (Yogi Tea has a nice one) and then pour it over ice. Or place 2 tablespoons of kava powder in a muslin bag and place it in a cup or a glass. Then add 8 oz of water and steep for 4 minutes.  Kava can be sort of bitter, so its fans often add honey, lemon, cinnamon or coconut milk, or brew it with fruit juice instead of water.