It seems like the older (and wiser?) I get, the less stuff I can tolerate. That goes for attitudes, messes, memorabilia, paper…even my carefully curated wardrobe is becoming a burden. Maybe it’s because I have a greater appreciation of the value of time or a more grounded sense of self, but I want to be able to get up, get dressed and go without investing too much time and energy into the process.
That being said, I still want to look chic or hip or tidy…or whatever persona I’m in the mood to project for the day. I spent the past holiday weekend hopping from one thing to another – many of which were unplanned, last minute activities. I amazed myself with my sartorial execution over the extended weekend, and realized that with some forethought, I could, theoretically, make it through the summer with five key pieces in my suitcase. So here goes:
1) The LBD – or whatever color makes you feel feisty. Black tends to be my go-to. It works with my hair and skin tone, and with the right accessory can take you wherever you want to go. Coral or salmon also tends to be a universally flattering color, offering the same magic dress up/dress down properties commonly found in the LBD.
The Magic Dress, available at Sara Campbell (approximate retail cost $350), will be your best friend now and forever. This dress magically erases 10 lbs, makes your backside look tight and perky, slims your waist, and flatters in a way that will make you toss every pair of Spanx and let you eat pasta without a second thought. Nicole Miller also makes a great magic dress. It is casual chic and is appropriate for practically every social event that you get invited to. Buy one now. Thank me later.
2) Boyfriend cut linen shorts. When it comes to summer basics, The Gap delivers. These linen shorts have a loose cut and a longer inseam so you can wear them on fat days, skinny days, rolled down on cooler days and hitched up when the temps climb. Plus, they are made of linen, which automatically gives them a summer chic. If you hate ironing, they also come in a cotton poplin.
3) A Matta scarf. Hands down, these are the perfect scarves. Lightweight, season-less, functional in size, a Matta scarf will keep you warm on a chilly night or in an over air-conditioned building, double as a sarong at the pool or beach, dress up a pair of cutoffs, and help channel your inner Bianca Jagger if you’re having a bad hair day. You can find Matta scarves at Portobello Road on The Street in Chestnut Hill.
4) A crochet top or tunic. Go ahead…show a little skin. It’s summer! A crochet top can take you to a back yard bar-b-que, look elegant and stunning over a slim pencil skirt, cover what needs to be covered at the beach, and also add a little funk to a summer dinner at an outdoor cafe. Free People has a great selection of crochet and lace tunics and tops. I particularly like this one:
5) A Tie-Dye Maxi Dress. Or tie-dye anything. Seriously, summer is really the only time you can pull off tie-dye, and it’s so much fun to wear that you may as well indulge while the sun shines, so to speak. Gypsey05.com has a great selection of cotton, silk, and jersey maxi dresses in a myriad of prints and solids, including tie-dye. A few years ago I purchased several of their basic Organic Maxi Dresses, and they quickly became the foundation of my summer wardrobe. Casual enough for a cover up, fitted enough to work as a legitimate dress, they pack easily, dry quickly, hide a multitude of sins, and show just enough skin to make you feel sexy. Moreover, they are ageless, so don’t be surprised if your children borrow them for themselves.
Find a comfy pair of sandals, a bathing suit that makes you feel good about yourself, and a pair of (preferably bi-focal) shades, and you will be ready to dress and go wherever and whenever the fancy strikes.