SEASONAL: Summer Essentials

Summer here is a mix of hot balmy days and cool (or humid) rainy days. These are my summer essentials for this year. A good sunblock is also a needed Summer essential. Check out this guide to see how well your favorite brands work at actually protecting your skin from the sun. Below the image is an explanation of why these fashion items are useful for me.

Summer Essentials

COTTON DRESSES

I tend to wear maxi dresses the most, but I'm not opposed to shorter ones. The cotton fabric breaths well in hot temperatures, and protects your skin from the sun. I sunburn easily, so it's important for me to protect my skin. I like to wear dresses that aren't fitted from the waist down, so they don't cling to me if I sweat and are easy to move in. I wear maxi dresses year round, but my cotton ones get the most use during the summer. I tend to get cold easily (too cold A/C in Summer) and am lazy with shaving my legs, so the maxi length covers my legs well.


CARDIGANS

As I've mentioned before, I get cold easily, so cardigans are a must for me year round. In addition to warm, they provide great sun protection where they cover my skin. For Summer, I like cropped lengths and jersey fabrics. Again, that cotton fabric breaths well in hot temperatures. Since I normally carry a big bag with me, if the weather is too hot for a cardigan, I can easily fold it up and stash it in my bag...until I need it somewhere with too cold A/C.


TANK TOPS

Tank tops are a normal Summer staple. As someone with small boobs, I tend to wear my tank tops layered, so I can avoid wearing a bra. I don't want to overheat myself with the layers, so I normally wear a cotton tank under a sheer tank. The layers provide enough boob coverage, without losing the feminine details I enjoy wearing...lace and chiffon, mostly commonly. With this sort of layering, you want to make sure the straps match up the best as possible...racer back over a racer back...vs a racer back over a two strap tank. It's just an aesthetic thing for me.


CROP TOPS

As I've mentioned before, I don't like wearing bras. I do like making sure my boobs are covered though. Crops tops are a great way to provide coverage without much bulk. I like to wear them with underbust corsets, so I have top coverage, and little bulk for cinching the corset. They are also great paired with high waisted skirt and tailored high waisted shorts. Depending on how high the waist is, will determine how much skin will show between the skirt waistband and crop top hem. If you aren't confident about showing mid-drift skin, put a fitted vest or cardigan over the top, and that sliver of skin will be covered.


SKIRTS

I wear more skirts than pants. I have one pair of black jeans that are a year round essential, for the days I want to wear jeans. From maxi skirts, to high-low, and short skater skirts, I like them all. We've all seen and probably worn a maxi skirt some time over the last few years, because they are common. What about the two newer styles of skirts? The high-low and skater skirts. I've read mixed comments about the high-low skirt, but I do enjoy wearing them. A good high low skirt is one that isn't too short in front and doesn't have a sharp angle to the back. If it has too sharp of angle between the front and back, it can look like an odd tail. You want one that covers your front...about knee length to slightly above looks nice, and can go anywhere between a foot below the start to your ankles. Before you buy one, try it on! This skirt doesn't look good on everyone. With any new style, you want to try it on before you completely love it. You might find that different fabric and lengths work better on you, so I'll leave that up to you. I have a couple of old hi-low skirts that I've had for over 10 years...when they were unusual to find. Recently, I've purchased a few new ones (including a dress version), and a vintage one. Moving on, skater skirts! What is a skater skirt? Think ICE skating, not skateboards. They are the skirts that great for twirling in, because they flare out more in a circle. They can be cut like a circle skirt or a flounce, depending on the fullness. They are typically not gathered at the waist, but can have elastic waistbands, to keep them fitted on your body. For me, mine tend to ride high on my waist, and fall right below my butt. Honestly, I'd like them a little longer...and I do have a few that are. For the faux-leather one, I have to wear little booty shorts under them, to provide more coverage. That particular skirt is one I like to wear out dancing, because of the length, fabric, and ability to move well while dancing. It looks great with a crop top and faux leather underbust corset. Again, this is a skirt style that you want to try on. They come in a variety of fabrics, short lengths, and colors.


BIKINIS

Some women my age are somehow afraid to wear a bikini. I'm not. Honestly, I don't have much choice. One pieces look terrible on me, because they can't accommodate my small top and larger bottom. Bikini's can, because they pieces are commonly available to purchase separately. This is great for me. I normally need a small to medium top, and a medium to large bottom. Those sizes never coordinate for me. I'm a fan of vintage and classic styles. All ladies should have a black bathing suit. Black is great whether you want a classic cut, or one with details like ruffles. Other than black, I like stripes and florals. I try to keep the cut of the swimsuit flattering and without a lot of distracting details. I need ones that provide adequate coverage, so I can easily move around the water without the bathing suit slipping around. A bathing suit pet peeve of mine is seeing women with too small swim suits. Ladies, if you have large boobs, get a top that they fit in!!! Do not get a tiny one that barely covers you. You just look silly and like you're trying too hard to look sexy. You figure will look better with properly fitting clothing. The underbust strap should fit UNDER THE BUST, not over it! If it doesn't easily fit under your bust, the top is the wrong size. The neck or shoulder straps shouldn't dig into your skin, nor should they slip about. If they do, you need a different size or style of top. For bottoms, they should cover your butt to the amount you are comfortable with. They shouldn't be too tight where they are digging into your skin. It's true that the fabric will loosen up in the water a bit, but not a dramatic amount. The bottoms should fit smoothly across your body, not bunching or gaping. Bathing suit shopping can be a long process with a lot of trying on. Keep an open mind, and you will find a few that fit great. You might have to pay a bit more for your bathing suit, but if it fits fantastic, it's worth the cost to have something that will look great for years.


SCARVES

Scarves are great in the Summer for beach cover ups. Go from the sand to the boardwalk easily with a scarf wrapped and tied like a dress. Lilith Moon shows 8 Different Ways to Tie a Scarf into a Summer Dress. You will need a big scarf to do this. In addition to working as a swimsuit cover up, you can wrap them around your head to protect your hair and scalp (sunburned scalp is extra painful), tie them like a vest, tie two into a bag, and many other ways. Check out Liberty London's various ways to tie a scarf into useful fashion items...Season 1 and Season 2.


BIG BAG

I tend to carry around a large bag often. In the Summer, we get random rain storms, so I normally have a couple Totes Umbrellas in my bag. In addition, I have my money, cards, phone, fan, lip balm, sun glasses, camera, cardigan...etc. Besides daily use, a big bag is great for the beach. We live about 1.5 hrs from the Virginia Beach area, so it's not unusual for us to pick a random nice day to go lay about the beach, and eat seafood. They are also great for the pool too. For either, a big bag is great to stash pool toys, sunblock, water, snacks, sunglasses, goggles, towels, swimsuits, a book, a camera, keys, money, and ID. For wet stuff, like a swim suits, put a couple gallon size zipper seal bags. I roll up pool toys in the wet towels, so they will dry off quickly. Sandy stuff always goes separately. With sand buckets that stack into each other and a plastic sand bag (so sand will sift through easily), there is plenty of room for other sandy things...like sand packed swim suit bottoms. Too bad you can't put sandy kids in them.


LIGHT JEWELRY

Summer is hot, so if you wear jewelry, wear something light weight and small. Statement and bib necklaces cover a lot of skin and can make you sweat where the materials touch your skin. Avoid this if possible. There are many styles of delicate jewelry available now. Go minimal and you'll still look great without sacrificing comfort.


ELASTICS AND BOBBY PINS

I have long hair, so to stay cool and comfortable in hat weather, I tend to wear my hair up. Hair elastics and bobby pins are essential. Check out Lilith Moon's hair tutorials for lots of great casual updos and braids. Pinup Doll Ashley Marie has a lot of great vintage style hair tutorials (and makeup ones too) that will keep you cool and chic all Summer. A few use some small scarves...in case you want to know how to wear on in your hair.


SUNHAT

Another essential item that will keep your scalp sunburn free, and also protect your face from the harsh sunrays. These come in a variety of styles and can be very inexpensive. Check out these various ways to Personalize Sunhats.


SUNGLASSES

We all know that sunglasses protect your eyes, but did you know that large ones also protect the SKIN around your eyes? They do! Big ones will keep out the sunlight better by the size of them...less likely for the sun to peek around the sides...and covers the skin around your eyes, which helps protect it. The skin around your eyes is very delicate like your eyes themselves. Wear moisturizer on your fan...one with a nice SPF is handy...and put on those big sunglasses!


FLAT SHOES

I do a lot of outdoor things during the summer...parks, beaches, roadtrips, and city exploring. I need flat shoes to stay comfortable while on many adventures. There is no need to sacrifice foot comfort when having fun. I wear flat shoes like the pictured maryjanes, the most often. For beaches, I wear flat sandals that have wrapping straps. I need my shoes to stay in place while protecting my feet.


These are my Summer essentials. What are your must have items for the summer?

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