While most people probably think of the holiday season when they think of formal events, summer has its own share of special occasions. Whether you have a wedding to attend or a beachside dinner, chances are you’ll have at least one opportunity to shop for a formal dress. However, the hotter temperatures and outdoor settings make it vital that you know how to wear a formal dress during the summer.

Hairstyle: Go for the Updo

While this isn’t part of the dress itself, your hairstyle will need to complement your outfit, so it’s a good idea to be thinking about it from the start. Keep in mind that outdoor events can be particularly warm during the summer, so you may want to wear your hair up rather than down.

Fabric: Breathable Is Key

Some fabrics lock in heat and moisture, while others wick it away from your skin. Cotton, silk, linen, and polyester blends are good choices for keeping you comfortable on even the hottest days. Stay away from nylon, acrylic, and pure polyester unless you enjoy being miserable. Of all the tricks on this list for wearing a formal dress during the summer, this might be the most important!

Shape: Let It Flow!

The length and style of dress you choose are largely up to your personal tastes. However, you may appreciate dresses with loose, flowy elements since they allow more air to circulate around your skin. Side slits and cutouts are also helpful—just don’t forget your sunscreen!

Hem: Protect Your Dress

If your dress isn’t floor-length, then you’re good to go. If it is, make sure to protect your hemline from dirt and dust, especially if the event is outside. Your local dry cleaner can do a lot to remove stains, but they’re not wizards.

Color: Bright and Bold

Depending on the event, this one might not be totally in your control. If you can, avoid colors that absorb heat in favor of those that reflect it. It’s pretty easy to tell which does which—dark colors absorb more heat while light colors do the opposite.

Accessories: Avoid the Sun

Lightweight shawls and scarves are a great way to add interest and versatility to your outfit. Not only do they help protect you from the sun during outdoor events, but they double as an extra layer of warmth if the temperatures drop in the evening.