COCO CHANEL ONCE SAID, “Fashion changes, but style endures.” The same applies to seasonal dressing. Just because you might choose to introduce color into your otherwise monochrome (black) wardrobe in the summer doesn’t mean that you should look any less polished. White jeans, brightly colored caftan blouses, floral prints in every color under the rainbow and flat leather slides seem to be summer staples for many women. If you take your fashion cues from Paris versus Palm Beach, however, you know that less is sometimes more. Fortunately, now’s the time to pick up great pieces at discounts of 40 percent or more during the sales that kicked off the end of May. Here are some options to add or play with to spend the summer season in style.
Every woman probably has one or more LBDs – “Little Black Dresses” – in her closet. This go-to item never goes out of style and depending on how you accessorize it, looks as chic in the office as on date night. The LWD, or Little White Dress, is the summer equivalent of the LBD, and it’s available in various styles, lengths and fabrics. When choosing yours, think of the places and occasions you will wear it most. If you are looking for a business-friendly style, stick to the tailored variations and accessorize with black, nude or monochromatic shoes. If the laid-back boho look appeals to you, go for a loose-fitting or spaghetti-strap version, maybe in full or partial lace, and accessorize with funky sandals and ethnic jewelry. If your look is somewhere in between, a shift or structured style accessorized with colorful ballerina flats, kitten heels or strappy sandals will work best.
Every French girl has a marinière (a long-sleeved cotton shirt with navy or red horizontal stripes) in her closet. Once the traditional garment of Breton fishermen, this simple style was popularized by style icons such as Brigitte Bardot, Audrey Hepburn, Jacqueline Onassis and Mademoiselle herself. It adds a French touch and visual pop when paired with a solid-colored (denim, white, red, etc.) or even patterned (especially floral) bottom, and can be accessorized up or down to fit any occasion, particularly with gold jewelry.
The Nude Heeled Sandal
Warmer summer days and nights mean plenty of opportunities to show off your gams. There are many footwear options to do so, from jewel-colored pumps to multi-colored and textured sandals to Valentino’s now classic Rockstud in all its variations. The all-around standout, however, is the nude heeled sandal. It elongates the leg and because of its neutral color goes with just about every color combination, particularly the brighter ones. Wear these to avoid the visual overkill that is too often caused by busy or revealing outfits paired with equally busy statement shoes.
While nude heeled sandals may be the perfect dress-up shoe for summer, espadrilles are the perfect ones for dressing down. These jute-bottomed, flat canvas slippers, which were originally worn by Spanish soldiers in the 13th century, have become the summer shoe of choice for women with a laid-back but classic approach to fashion. They are the more “chill” version of the flat-soled ballerina shoe. The style has evolved, or rather has risen, above its modest origins. Most high-end designers – Chanel, Valentino, Jimmy Choo, to name a few – now offer their interpretations of the style in their resort collections which sell out as soon as they hit the sales floors. Higher, wedge-heeled sandal versions with jute bottoms have also become popular and are ideal for occasions (or dates) that require some height but minimal formality. The key to pulling off this look is to make it look effortless – like you just threw them on between the beach and your final destination.
Summer is a great time to showcase statement bags. Whether you prefer a tote, shoulder or small/clutch bag style, now is the time to pick one in a bright color or colors, or with an eye-catching design or motif.
Gold jewelry never goes out of style, and with good reason: it looks good on any complexion, and it adds a touch (or a lot) of bling in everything from sporty to ultra-feminine styles. You’ll never go wrong with classics like stackable bangles or hoop earrings, but take advantage of this detail to show off your personality, whether a ladylike charm bracelet or a fierce talon necklace does it best.
The finishing touch to any summer outfit is the right pair of sunnies (sunglasses), and nothing conveys the bright, playful spirit of the season than the mirrored aviator. Designers on the haute end of the market have incorporated the trend into their collections, but classics like the Ray-Ban aviator are available for a reasonable price in a multitude of frame and lens colors.
And don’t forget the sunscreen, bien sûr.
Sylvia Colella blogs about fashion and lifestyle-related subjects. A former Parisienne, she is obsessed with all things chic and glamorous.