Summer is the perfect time to try on a trend or two. Lightweight cottons and linens are less expensive than the wools and knits we wear the rest of the year. Retailers begin their summer sales by July, so you can pick up a fabulous bargain and still have weeks of wear.
Warm weather is the time to indulge in your romantic side. Romance doesn’t have to mean lace and ruffles. But if that appeals to you, pin a flower in your hair and go retro. Designers Marc Jacobs, Diane von Furstenberg, and Chanel all did takes on retro looks. Chanel showed fabulously romantic 1920s-style flapper-inspired looks with sooty eyes and bobbed hair. Diane Von Furstenberg did flirty little dresses that also have a 20s feel. Marc Jacobs showed 1950s-style full skirts and bustiers; think sexy housewife a la June Cleaver and Mad Men.
Not everyone is so dramatic in their approach. For the office or for those with tamer taste, the classics have never looked fresher. Marine stripes and whites are everywhere from the catwalks to the Gap this season. Slip a boldly-striped tee-shirt under a linen suit for a fresh look. In a more casual work place, or for the weekend, pair a striped top with white pants or a white shirt. Team this look with a sharp nautical-looking pair of espadrilles. Another cute and flirty look is a knit dress in marine stripes Keep your shoes casual; try a flat gladiator sandal or a mid-height espadrille with a short knit dress like this.
Floral prints have never been fresher, and you can wear them everywhere. Mixing patterns this season shows a sophisticated fashion sense. Dress up a favourite suit with a gorgeous floral scarf. Then add this season’s hottest accessory, an oversized floral bangle. Complete the outfit with a neutral or coloured shoe. If you have been tortured by the popular skyscraping heels of the past few seasons, now is the perfect time to buy one of the new lower-heeled shoes. Get a feminine silhouette when choosing a lower heel to avoid looking dumpy.
Keep flip-flops for the weekend or your commute, no matter how casual your office is. Be sure to store your flip-flops in a neat zip-lock bag before stashing them in your tote for commuting. This keeps nasty street bacteria from contaminating your bag’s contents. The soles of your shoes harbor E. coli and other nasty stuff.
Long bohemian beach dresses and shiny minis are opposite, but fun trends. The long bohemians can be found at all prices. I have seen cute ones at Tommy Bahama and Old Navy. They are fun for parties and look good on almost anyone. Stick a flower in your hair and strap on a gold sandal, and you’ll be fabulous at any BBQ or beach-side do. If the mercury climbs, you can even take this look to dinner in the city.
Short minis are the rage. If your under 30 and have the legs – go for it! Shiny minis rule at night. I adore short sequined tank dresses and shiny little-nothing mini skirts. What a fun look when you are young and pretty. If you are older go for a longer – a few inches above the knee – shiny shift of satin or sequins.
Short shorts are hot too. Designers such as Cynthia Rowley, Marc Jacobs and Gucci sent them down runways for day and evening. Remember, when you show your legs you need to cover up on top. Try a simple tee-shirt or tank.
Cool jumpsuits are in now. They can be flattering to many body types.
Many designers also featured a range of “tribal prints,” from African mud cloth to southeast Asian Ikat patterns. These prints are often paired with safari jackets or the new abbreviated trench coats. The watchwords this season are mix and match.
Belts of all types are used to highlight the waist and hips. Cat’s eye sunglasses as well as oversized white frames a la Jackie O are fun. If you want the fresh look for a summer shoe and bag, look for a new one in straw or raffia. I loved the straw bags from Prada trimmed with crystals; it was so fresh and whimsical. My advice is never to overspend on straw. I have bought super-pricy straw and raffia bags and they never last too long. Get a pretty one at good price – enjoy it and toss it.
Don’t forget hair and make-up can be the easiest way to update your look. Bronzer is all the rage, but use a light hand. Pick one suited for your skin tone and use it where the light hits your face naturally. Keep your make-up sheer and pretty.
Eye liner has never been more important. Try wearing it even if you never have. It opens the eye. If you don’t like black, try a colour or use soft grey or brown. Get a few different liners; you can an inexpensive drug store brand. Try a new smudge pencil, we have reviewed many. For super-humid days, I like a cake liner applied with a thin brush. It never moves. If liner rely baffles you, go to a good department store and get tips from a pro. Off hours and week nights are good times to make an appointment. You will be glad you did.
Don’t forget your lips. Lip colour can be playful, bold, sexy, or nude this season. I think the glossy pinks and trendy corals are flattering on everyone and work from day to night. Get a shade that suits you, and add a sparkly gloss for the evening. Bold red is another choice, but keep the colour sheer. There is a red to suit any skin tone, but the trendiest are deep and sanguine. Nudes are very hot now, but hard to wear. Be sure the one you pick does not wash you out. I saw a stunning 35ish celebrity on a talk show recently sporting the “nude look”. It aged her and made her face look puffy with no definition. Not fabulous.
Consider trying a new bold nail color; opt for a trendy greige, deep blue, red, or candy colour pink or turquoise. If you have a conservative work place, keep the wild stuff on your toes! If you want to try a trendy Minx mani, but did not want to shell out for one, look for OPI’s new Chic Prints at Sephora. You can buy a set of 16 printed patches for $15 U.S. to apply to your nails at home. They last about two days, but a pricy Minx mani lasts only about five days, or so the bogs tell me. I do not get Minx manis. Some ladies say, if you are handy, you can do your hands and feet with one set and make it last three days. It’s definitely a special occasion item. I used to get a palm tree painted on one big toe with a “diamond”. It lasted 10 days. I am thinking of doing it again. Many corner nails shops will paint designs on your nails with metallics for a reasonable price that will last a bit longer.
Darlings, summer is hot and fabulous and that is exactly how you should look. So pick your trend, try it on, and wow the world.