It's not a proper city summer until you go to a rooftop party. No, we're not talking about the fancy rooftop parties at trendy hotels that serve weak $20 cocktails, we're talking of the sort that your homies living somewhere in Bushwick or Harlem throw, inviting you and some friends over for a high-rise romp that may or may not be cool with the landlord. Especially if you're living in a city with lots of tall buildings, unbearably cold winters and equally as intolerable summers, rooftop parties are a yearly tradition as storied as Sunday brunch.
But before your calendar fills up with solstice parties and nighttime soirées, follow these six simple tips that will keep you looking great on any rooftop all season long.
Wear dark bottoms
Unless you're on a rooftop designed for entertaining, pay extra careful attention to what you're wearing. Roofs tend to get pretty dirty, especially after a long winter of getting snowed on and collecting city pollution. The last thing you want to do is sit down on somebody's Bushwick roof in a pair of white shorts. That's dirt-butt city right there. Stick to darker bottoms, so that just in case you do get dirty, no one will be able to tell.
Slather on some sunscreen
Beauty experts will tell you that sunscreen is something you should wear at least on your face every day, but not everyone follows this rule. If you're going to a daytime rooftop party, you need to protect your skin. Many rooftops are painted with a reflective silver coat, which combined with direct sunlight, will have you cooking like a rotisserie chicken. Make sure you put sunscreen on your whole body, not just your face–don't worry about catching a tan. You most definitely will with all that reflective paint. Avoid any serious damage with a little SPF.
Wear a sun hat
Rooftop parties provide the perfect excuse to break out your flyest headgear. If sunscreen's not your jam (in which case, shame on you…SPF 30 should be worn every day!), or you want some extra protection, shield your face from UV rays with a stylish wide-brimmed hat. It'll provide shade, plus a good topper can uplift your outfits. It's a win-win!
Bring a hand fan
This is shaping up to be an extremely hot summer. Even if you or your host can get an extension cord on the roof to set up a fan or two, you're most likely going to be jockeying for space in front of it with a bunch of other people. Bring your own personal cooling device so you don't have to deal with the crowds.
Wear shoes that don't expose the bottoms of your feet
Leave your flip-flops and d'orsay flats at home. Again, rooftops are dirty, and if you think your feet are going to be protected just because your shoes have a sole, think again. Flip flops seem to get your feet the dirtiest when you wear them around the city, and that's because they don't actually stay firmly on your feet all the time. Make sure your feet are properly covered. Worried about hot feet? Try an espadrille or mesh oxford to keep your piggies cool.
Maxi dresses are your friend
Rooftops can get windy…really windy. Sure, the breeze feels great on a hot summer day, but if you're wearing a flowy mini or midi skirt, you're in danger of showing everyone your skivvies if the gusts are a little too strong. Throw on a maxi skirt or dress. They'll keep you cool…and covered.