Beat the Heat: Independence Day Fashion Tips from Sarah Phillips

With so many sizzling summer events coming up, dressing for both style and comfort can be a challenge. Whether you’re celebrating American independence on the 4th or French independence on the 14th (who doesn’t love a good Bastille Day party?), we’ve got advice from an expert. Sarah Phillips, co-founder of the lifestyle blog 52 Thursdays, recommends floral, denim and off-the-shoulder looks for your next barbecue or pool-side party.

The popular lifestyle blog features Phillips, 32, and her co-founder Michelle Martin, 31, wearing the styles they love. Right now, it’s all about summer – from fashionable fitness apparel to casual nautical looks for a day on the water. In the photo to the left, Phillips sports an inexpensive floral dress from Forever 21 paired with a beautifully crafted Gucci leather handbag for an easy elegance with a touch of luxury.

Phillips and Martin met at Radford University, where they both majored in fashion and pledged Sigma Kappa sorority. After graduating and moving to Northern Virginia, the pair worked together at BCBG Max Azria and French Connection. On Thursday nights, they’d meet up for wine and dream about starting a business. In 2015, the best friends launched 52 Thursdays, where they write about style, beauty, fitness and travel. Since Martin moved to Los Angeles last year, the business has become bi-coastal.

“Starting your own business isn’t easy,” Phillips says, “especially one where you have to put yourself out there in the way that we do. But it is so rewarding to be able to do something that we both love – and we are able to share our experiences in [the] hopes that we might help others, too.”

The blog is full of summer tips, like helping you pick a great bathing suit while also teaching you how to make a delightfully cool watermelon Moscow mule. And for Phillips, summer nights are always better with a cold beer – especially a hoppy IPA.

“We usually head to K-1 to pick up our favorite beers and then enjoy them with friends on our back patio when we aren’t heading to the local breweries,” she says. “We love 3 Stars, Old Bust Head, Port City [and] Atlas.”

So, for your Fourth of July barbecue, pack up your cooler and dress in something that is “cute, comfy and won’t make you sweat to death,” Phillips says.

“You can even go with cut-off shorts and a great tee,” she recommends. “Wear these looks with espadrilles or a pair of high-top Chucks for a true all-American look.”

Check out 52 Thursdays at

Photos: Emma Weiss Photography and  Taylor Cole Photography


Vanessa Mallory Kotz

Vanessa Mallory Kotz has been a writer and editor for more than 15 years. She covers visual arts, fashion, food and anything that advocates for better treatment of humans and animals. Her work has appeared in Popular Photography, American Photo, The Writer's Guide, Hirshhorn Magazine, First Person Plural, Goucher Quarterly, AmericanStyle, Niche, Reflections: Ultra Short Personal Narratives and art catalogs for museums across the country.