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Page 3 in the conversation "Summer Dressing epiphany: is it just me?" by
Lisa, forget Emanuelle Alt. Victoria Beckham has sworn off heels and embraced sneakers.
Ooh - more good ideas here - thank you all ! And I'm so relieved to hear I'm not the only one who dreads getting dressed for summer.
Maybe I'm too hung up on shorts being the only option for those inside-outside days that Jenn described perfectly . That is my casual life.
SandyG - a belt of any kind has been a HEWI of mine for a few years now. I don't own a single one anymore. But I'm really liking the idea of a boho style belt to add some definition to a linen pant and tank outfit. Definitely keeping this on the top of the list. Belts never feature very prominently in stores anymore - with the exception of department stores. I want to design my own belt line
Jenn - you described my casual days exactly. Again, maybe I need to stop obsessing over shorts that make me feel bad and just move into loose pant. Love those sandals you posted.
Maneera - I'm clipping and saving pic #4 - that's my kind of look . So perfect, thank you!
gradfash - I know ! I saw that posted today and my god she looked great. But never mind the shoes - that I can handle on my own- it's the rest of the outfit!
cocolion - you're right - permission is needed to do something different and go more feminine and boho. I thought i should be trying to be consistent with my look throughout the year, but maybe that's not realistic. And thin? I used to be thin , but am now carrying wine and menopause weight unattractively around my already high-hip and ab region (hence the no-tuck or no semi-tuck policy I've adopted- lol) . Working on it, but am no longer pretending I may be able to do anything about it.
I also dislike summer clothing and have read through everyone's responses but will read again tomorrow with fresher eyes. I'm a pear/hourglass but with very heavy legs (thigh to ankle) so even being on the thin to average side I don't like a lot of leg exposure but feel overwhelmed by maxi dresses and wide legged pants, need waist definition, and have a difficult time finding flattering shoes/sandals. I have pretty much come to peace with my shape and also wear a lot of dresses in the summer for casual. I do have 3 pairs of shorts, hate them but find they are necessary for hikes, yard work, etc (planning to check out athleisure skorts). The rest of the year I like structured clothes so boho/resort wear doesn't feel me. Summer clothes also have a throw away feel to them which I really dislike but I have a difficult time wanting to spend any real money on them. What a great thread!
I'm also very pleasantly surprised to hear so much love for linen pants and shorts . I've always dismissed them assuming they would be baggy and frumpy in the butt and front after wearing for awhile . I need to revisit this - clearly a solution I haven't considered fairly .
Muffin- me too , exactly . I've always treated summer clothes as to be bought as quickly and painlessly as possible . Grab things off table at Gap or Joe Fresh and hope for the best . Of course this strategy is all wrong , but like you , I prefer structure in the winter which is also when I feel I can control what I look like a little better . Thanks for the commiseration:)
Capsule imaging trick:
It's very simple! When I buy something, I save a picture of it. I put it into a PPT. I do a "format picture" --> "remove background" on it. Then it's like playing with paper dolls, like when I was a kid.
I can organize the pictures by color, by capsule, etc. Or just play around and see what accessories or shoes or other pieces might pull it all together. When I have to pack for a trip, I visualize it all in my PPT first, before doing a try on and packing final selections. I can play in my closet without leaving my laptop.
Not every item can have the background removed successfully. Cropping close as possible works for these. Also I prefer images of clothes without models wearing them, so I frequently do an image search with the word "polyvore" because you can find items without models wearing them, they might not be the exact item, but close enough! If you want to catalog items that you bought long ago, just google terms and you can get an approximation.
And YES to dresses, and YES finding the right underwear is key. I have lamented forever that underwear does not come in petite sizes, and by petite I don't mean slim. I mean scaled to a shorter vertical height. It's not impossible, but no not easy either. Once I find underwear that works, I duplicate the hell out of it.
Shiny I recently discovered the ppt capsuling trick and love it... I can play round with shoes etc from online so you chwck which colour, style etc would look better before heading to the store.
I have been thinking more about this. I think maybe putting one's style persona into words may be helpful. Instead of focusing on the what's, one might think more about the spirit of the thing and then go looking at the what's and play around with styling them. Also looking farther afield. Like I sorta had to detach a bit from my American aesthetic and cotton sundresses - not that I could ever look anything but fatally American, nor will I give up the comfort of those dresses, but you know...
I totally wear dresses for super casual in Summer too, Lisa. For me, nothing beats the breezy feel of nothing touching my midsection when it's really hot. And I would wear those COS dresses for example in a heartbeat just to hang around the house or garden.
Perhaps it's worth re-thinking that you can only pair a casual top with casual bottoms for super casual wear too?-) E.g. Sporting a linen or cotton (dressier) shirt with cut-off denim shorts or harem pants or joggers etc. still looks casual, and it might give you that crispness that you're after?
By the way, I definitely think you need to try harem pants (and shorts), I bet they'll look amazing on you (and fit your style aesthetic). Also liking the idea of giving linen trousers/shorts a go. How do you feel about a knee-length culotte (denim or a soft material?). If those Monki denim culottes were still available in my size, I'd snap them up right now. Harem-adjacent shorts like crossover culottes could work too (harder to find, perhaps).
I'm adding some suggestions below.
Re: tops, no matter if you're doing a casual or dressy top, I fully agree with what Aida wrote:"And if you're out of the interesting third piece option, then it becomes
much more critical to find summer pieces with interesting design
details built in. E.g. asymmetry, exposed seams, beading/embroidery, prints or printed sections, mixed media, etc."
I also think that tops with asymmetric hemlines, crossover or faux wrap styles, and "knotted" and surplice tops can go a long way with not feeling "like a blob" (by the way, I'm 100% sure you could never look like a blob!!) because they add structure or interesting lines. Crossover, knotted and surplice tops also help when you don't want to tuck, because they often have some kind of built-in tucked effect while still covering (part of) the tummy area. Problem solved:-)
Suggestions below.(I realize some of these have polyester content which you may not like for Summer, but it's just to show you the styles.)
Lisa...what a fabulous thread you started!! So many wonderful ideas posted here.
I love heavy linen, and totally don't mind wrinkles...the linen is just too comfortable to wear when it's hot and humid outside. What ticks me off is the trend for T-shirts so thin you need to wear another layer...aack...too hot for that!!
I like knee length shorts, crop casual pants, knee length denim skirts etc for "nice" casual wear bottoms. So far, I have a new pair of white linen crops, and crop length harem"ish" black jersey pants waiting for warm temps.
Just got an email from Everlane yesterday about this new (photo 1) shirt..will probably end up ordering one in a smaller size (for me I'd try a size 8) so that it's not too oversized.
The next photo is a little silk shrug that I wear over my sleeveless tops, that make me feel just covered enough.
The black dress was a total workhorse for me last summer, and will carry over again this summer.
I don't feel good wearing the blue cotton dress as a dress, but it's great over a pair of crop skinnies.
I found some pictures and see I do a lot of variations on long shorts and drapey tops. As Aida suggested, each piece needs to be a bit more interesting in the summer and shoes are key for me. A lot of great ideas on this thread - thanks for starting it.
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I adore your Summer style, Jaime, and your outfits are the perfect example of how a great top and/or shoes can add a lot of interest without needing an extra layer or a third piece.
Just in case anyone is looking for dresses and/or tunics to wear over (cropped) leggings, skinnies, shorts, here are some ideas:
Thank you Angie for thinking of me.
We have warm or hot weather for about 8 months of the year where I live. We don't have a/c at home, just fans. I prefer to wear casual dresses when it's hot because I can't bear the feeling of pants around my legs. I go for loose soft cotton/jersey/rayon styles that are comfy and casual but I could still wear out of the house without feeling completely daggy.
When it's not so hot, I also wear light denim skirts or a cotton tube skirt with soft drapey tees or some other style of loose-ish longline top. I do wear shorts occasionally, depending on the situation, but I'm not much of a fan.
I love Inge's suggestions for soft drapey tops.
Lisa - This is a great thread! I'm loving everyone's ideas and all of Inge's finds. I have to admit that I love summer and summer dressing. I have nice legs and arms (not Madonna arms, but nice enough) so I'm pretty comfortable in shorts and tanks. I have a pudgy middle but I feel that loose tanks and shorts cover that up nicely.
I hope you're able to figure out a solution. You have nice jewelry and that's one of my solutions to summer dressing - bracelets and pendant necklaces make me feel more pulled together even if I'm just wearing a tank and shorts.
This is a really great thread! Summer dressing is definitely my biggest challenge. Lately I have been putting some thought into my spring/summer wardrobe, which I usually don't do, with hopes of amping it up a bit. I generally reserve my energy and budget for fall/winter. I realized that I have a style shift in summer, which I enjoy, and clearly I'm not alone. I also realized that I actually dress up more in summer because when it's super hot I wear dresses and flowy pants, which I never wear casually in fall/winter. Even if the dress is a casual t-shirt dress with thong sandals the perception is that 'I'm all dressed up' and I'm fine with that. And I run cold and live in constant A/C at home (my SO has terrible seasonal allergies) and everywhere I go I freeze, so I always have to have a topper available.
So what do I wear? Honestly, other than dresses I kind of forgot because my summer wardrobe is not that memorable. I don't wear shorts at all. I'm your opposite, my legs are not great (understatement) and my arms follow closely behind. I experimented with chopping off a pair of crops and making them knee length but it was not pretty so I won't do that anymore. When it's hot and I'm super casual I wear capri leggings with some sort of top that covers the front and back bits. It's long over lean in lighter weight fabrics and shorter sleeves, nothing new to add here. I even use this formula for my most casual activities, gardening and dog grooming, with demoted items because I always manage to get dirty and full of doggie hair.
Thanks again for this thread, I'm taking notes.
Am I the only one who finds those sack silhouettes really hard to wear? I feel like a giant block of frump whenever I try one on. Maybe because to work properly and have a little bit of structure they should be above the knee, and I don't have fab legs? They look easy and breezy on young, thin-limbed models but I feel like Mrs Roper when I try them on.
Wow - Inge , again, thank you SO much for all of the time you have taken putting together some potential solutions for me. I appreciate this very much. Culottes aren't something I'm attracted to , but I am now obsessively on the hunt for harems and will be keeping an eye out for a nicer short for this summer. Lots of good tops here too - and images are so much better than words in terms of putting ideas in my head. Why can't I wear "nicer" tops for casual summer wear? Why restrict myself to cotton t's from the GAP bought as quickly as possible and with little thought to actual flattery.
shiny - thanks again - I assume PPT is Powerpoint? I'll give this a try someday soon . Sounds time consuming though to find photos of one's entire closet - but attacking it in small groups might be the best way.
dakotacheryl - thanks for putting your thoughts down here - you and I share similar style preferences I know. I like the idea of the silk over top thing from EF- that is a cool piece and would be so useful!
colette - another vote for cropped leggings I see ! OK - you guys have me convinced they are a viable alternative .
janet - I like them in denim and tercel, and do wear the odd one, but have no false illusions as to actual flattery. Occasionally I'll catch a view of myself from the side and cringe. They look great on smaller breasted women, that's for sure. I have given up continually trying to find things that are flattering and sometimes just grin and bare it and wear it anyways. And pretend i'm one of those crazy women from Advanced Style. I do go with them above the knees for sure though - because that I can get away with - but they do make our chests look massive and shapeless.
Re: belts, someone on the forum (and I'm very grateful but can't remember who it was!) posted this Canadian maker, they are made right in Toronto and I'd never heard of them! Lots of interesting texture and lighter colours for summer, some edge too. I'm actually about to order one for my husband and in their FAQ they mention they can even do custom sizes
Lisa, after reading Angie's drapey post it made me think of a couple of sites here in Australia you might be interested in. Both are in sub tropical Queensland so heat worthy and sound like styles are you... surafina.com.au and nikki parkinson on styling you.com.au. Nikki does a sample wardrobe for each season so her spring and summer just gone might be useful.
I am small on top but still find those shapeless dresses nearly impossible to wear with any feeling of style. I do like the shirt dress styles that aren't as full and the sheath style again, that aren't as full (more of a slight a-line).
Some of the dresses remind me of muumuus.
texstyle and Aileen - I agree - not all of them would work on me either. I have to be able to put my hands in the pockets to reign in any crazy triangle volume - if only to reassure myself I'm not built like a, well, never mind. As long as there is drap and flow to the fabric, it's a little easier to wear . In crisp cottons though? I don't have the nerve.
Sack dresses don't suit me, either, Janet.
I would be interested in seeing how harem shorts look in person. I bought (and returned) a One Teaspoon denim pair last summer ... I thought they might give a mini skirt impression but it was more of a droopy diaper look.
I'm really interested in both harem pants and shorts, but am clueless as to what top I'd wear with either. It seems to me that you need something fairly fitted and cropped or at least tucked in. Please tell me otherwise ?
Re: sack dresses, I think they work best if you have straight shoulders. I am chesty so I look for styles that have a scoop or vneck, to elongate my neck but also I think they drape better on the chest. If it has sleeves, they need to be fitted. And yes, above the knee length. With those features you are adding back structure at the neck, the arm, and the legs.
I also wanted to add that I find it hard to envision summer dressing until summer actually hits and it gets hot! A sack dress in February may seem quite unappealing, but hit August and that'll be the most appealing option in my closet because the fabric is not sticking anywhere and air can flow freely. Oh, and make that a non-black sack dress... black gets too hot in the sun. And please no synthetic fibers! And no heavy metal jewelry either!
If you live in a 4-season climate it's so easy to forget these things, which is part of the reason I started documenting my closet with PPT. I can look back and see what I really wore, not just for summer but also for a variety of climates during my travels.
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