Have you ever been out and about, say at a restaurant or a movie or your great-aunt's house and seen an ensemble that made you blurt out (hopefully just inside your head, but maybe out loud): What were they thinking?
We've all been there. Maybe it was an adult in a pair of turquoise overalls, or someone who looked like they were about to be drowned by over-sized accessories, or maybe it was shorts that were just a little (a lot) too short, or a sweater with some kind of fur, to give a few examples of things I may or may not have seen myself.
Now, while judging others is all fine and good, have you ever stopped to wonder if people have ever thought the same thing about you? I am sure you are all fashion-conscious and self-respecting individuals who would never consider wearing a piece of clothing that can also double as upholstery, but bad things can happen to good people. Take, for example, the debut of my new yellow, faux crocodile pumps the other Sunday. Pairing them with a bright pink skirt was a good idea. Pairing that skirt with a black top, however, was not. Unless I wanted to look like a bumblebee, of course. Which, of course, I didn't.
My point is simply this: everyone makes mistakes. But, here are some tips to get you through the rest of the summer with fewer of them. (If you live in Utah, like me, you'll probably be using these tips for another couple of months. Seriously, is it ever going to cool down around here?)
1. Don't match too much.
Your pink shoes, pink belt and pink handbag are all lovely, but don't wear them all together, unless you are going to a theme party. Or trying to dress up like a bag of cotton candy. Too much matching makes it look like you are trying too hard, and summer collections make it an easy trap to fall into. Branch out with colors and patterns. Your six-year-old niece might look cute in her Hawaiian print hat, pants and sandals, but you will not.
2. Do wear white pants.
The trick here is to make sure they are the right fit (and that you are not going to a chocolate tasting later that night). White pants are great for summer dress-up events, and even white jeans are making a comeback, so go ahead and wear them if you dare! Just make sure they are not so tight that every one can see your underwear line along with your other curves. And while they might mean more laundry to be done, the good news about white pants is that they go with basically everything.
3. Don't show your midriff.
I don't care if you have abs like Madonna, (have you seen those things?), showing your midriff is always tacky no matter who you are. Save it for the beach. The end.
4. Do wear summer dresses with sandals.
Dresses are a much cooler alternative to pants or even shorts, and wearing a dress doesn't mean you have to be "dressy." Go casual with a cotton jersey knit, flip flops and a baseball cap for a trip to the playground or the mall, just like you would in a T-shirt and shorts. Or, dress it up with a big belt and high-heeled sandals. Dressed up or down, you'll always win with a dress.
5. Don't go too tan, or too orange.
We all know the dangers of too much sun, but the alternatives have pitfalls of their own. Tanning sprays, creams and lotions are safer than the real thing, but spend the time to find one that works with your skin tone, and don't overdo it when you do. Unless you're making a bid for a spot in Willy Wonka's factory.
6. Do trade in for light, summer purses.
This is quick and easy (and inexpensive) and shows you are ahead of the season, and the trends. Express yourself with a bold pattern, such as floral prints, or a unique fabric, like canvas. You can pick a bag big enough to hold a water bottle, sunscreen and a trashy romance novel for a day on the beach, or small enough to fit your lipstick and a few sticks of gum for a night out on the town.
7. Don't wear short shorts.
Unless you are under the age of 15, in which case you should be doing your homework instead of reading this blog. Go on now, or I'll tell your mom! For the rest of us, short shorts are just not classy. There's no other way to say it. And, if you think they look good on you, you're probably wrong. (Except if your name is Beyonce Knowles. And even then I'm not so sure.) Being fashionable doesn't mean showing everything you have. Get creative and accentuate your good features.
8. Do get a new pair of sunglasses every summer.
If you're anything like me (and I hope at least some of you are), you end up doing this anyway because you sit on your sunglasses, step on them or leave them in a public restroom. Sunglasses are an easy way to make a statement, and the statement you want to make this season is BIG. You can also make a statement with bold colors like white, turquoise or red. Just make sure you have UV protection, even if you are going with a cheap pair. Your pretty peepers will thank you.
And, there you have it. A fool-proof way to enjoy the rest of the summer in easy, breezy style.
Tell us! What is your favorite summer wardrobe item?