POSTED ON JULY 11, 2007:
Just Your Style
The definitive outfit for the summer is tank tops and shorts.
With all the rain, of course, Summer comes and goes in fits a spurts. But as we approach mid-July if you walked into any store right now, you'd find all the summer items on sale or clearance. It's that time of year in retail where the fall merchandise comes in and the summer stock goes out.
You certainly wouldn't know it was summer from walking outside, but one day the sun will burn bright and it will be time to show some skin. But don't let the heat get to your head. Just because they make something small and breezy doesn't mean you can wear it.
The definitive outfit for the summer is tank tops and shorts and there are half a dozen options for this simple combination. Which one do you personally choose? Let's start with tanks, or more broadly, sleeveless shirts. Deciding what kind of tank you can wear appropriately is determined by your chest. This is a case of less is more. A girl with a smaller bust has more options than a girl with a big chest has. A woman with a large bust should really wear a tank with a one-inch or more strap because she has to wear a bra.
There's no getting around it. Bra straps showing are simply not an option, and unfortunately, strapless bras often do not provide effective support. Tube tops, camisoles, halter tops and other tops with flimsy support are best for the small-chested woman. If a sleeveless top is just irresistible, you, the large-busted lady, can wear it, as long as you wear the right supportive bra and some kind of jacket, cardigan, whatever over it. It's certainly not fair, but then again, they don't have natural cleavage, so everyone gets their unique opportunities.
Women with smaller breasts, depending on how much your cup runneth over, can choose to use the built-in bras that some camis and tube tops offer, or wear a sturdy strapless bra of your own. While it may seem like I'm being overzealous about the undergarments, all it takes is seeing one person with droopy boobs in a flimsy top for you to fully understand the importance of this lesson.
A majority of average tanks are basic cotton and jersey, but if a tank has vertical ribbing you have to be careful in sizing. Buying a ribbed tank that is too small will be apparent. The ribbing will pull apart too far across the larger parts of your chest and torso and constrict in the smaller areas of your body like the shoulder. This will accentuate the bigger parts of your body.
While not a lot has changed with the tank, shorts have had a jolt. Last year re-introduced a great new option for the shorts, the Bermuda. These shorts should hit above the knee.
Unfortunately if the hem hits in the middle of the knee or below, it won't work for you. Capri pants hit in the middle of the calf, Bermudas go at the top of the knee and there is nothing in between because that is not an attractive look.
Bermuda shorts should also fit throughout the thigh. This does not have to mean tight, but they shouldn't be so baggy that it appears as though you purchased your shorts from the men's section. These shorts are being made in a wide variety of styles and fabrics. There is always the old standby denim, but also stylish khaki, professional enough to wear on a casual Friday at the office.
While the Bermuda is a great new addition to the shorts family, summer is really about the shorty short, and those have come back with a vengeance this summer. While they too are still made in the standard denim variety, there are new elements to the shorty short, some of which are flattering, others that aren't.
The best shorty short combination for the summer is linen fabric in a light color like white or khaki. Linen is really only a fabric that appears in summer, but be forewarned that it is easy wrinkled, so it does not function for professional looks, but it is great for a casual, relaxing, and breezy look.
Popular this year for the shorty short is cuffed bottoms. To pull off the cuff correctly, make sure the shorts have a bit of length. Cuffs should not start right where your inseam stopped.
The worst shorty short option is a pleated front or cargo pockets. Pleated, like tapered, is an adjective that rarely is paired with attractive. What pleating will do to the front of a woman is add bulk to the bottom of her torso. Similarly, a cargo pocket on a shorty short will add bulk to the thighs. Eww.
The Right Time
Nighttime means its time for a dress. While stylists may continually bombard women with the "little black dress" propaganda, white is the new black in evening attire this time of year. Cotton is the best fabric for a light look that will also keep you cool. This may sound blah and boring, but it's about finding a little white dress with fun embellishment. Look for something with an extra texture, like an eyelet pattern or grosgrain ribbon attachments or something that sparkles. Because anything in white can turn see-through in the summer sun, this look requires nude bras and panties. A white dress is so simple, all that needs to be added is a great summer tan and gold jewelry. It's a look that instantly goes from day to night.
Summer also has its own set of shoes. The worst thing a person can do with her summer ensemble is to pair shorts with tennis shoes. I'm not talking about cute little slip on tennis shoes, but clunky athletic sneakers. Just add a thick pair of white visible socks and you have an unflattering end to a great outfit.
Two pairs of shoes were created especially for summer. These two can be paired with anything: Capris, shorts, dresses, whatever. Wedges and flip flops are the shoes and they were created in the largest assortment. They are in mass amounts of colors and patterns, as well as from ultra casual to super sexy looks. And there's no excuse to not own a pair, as both can be found in reasonable as well as unreasonable prices.
And finally, summer accessories. Summer is the season for all things natural. Materials like straw, raffia and bamboo are used to construct great summer bags, flip flops and espadrilles. Items with metallic sheens to them are also great to bring out into the blinding sun. But that doesn't mean you should go blind. A pair of shades that flatter the shape of your face will match anything you wear.
Even though our summer wardrobes are mostly galoshes and rain jackets now, be prepared for the sunny days that are soon to come. Go out now and grab those last few summer essentials before the stores are completely filled with the long sleeves and tweeds of fall.
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