Taylor’d with Style -Picnics, Parades, Pools, and Porches
By JeanAnn Taylor
What says “summer” more eloquently than picnics, parades, pools, and porches?
Call me old-fashioned (you won’t be the first) but I love simple picnics, slow parades, pool parties, and quiet evenings on my front porch. It’s during these special moments we can appreciate the summer joys of watching children chase fireflies, smell blooming gardenias, pick bouquets of wild daisies, and . . . wear our favorite summer fashions.
The objective of summer fashion is to keep us cool, comfortable, and fashionable while we enjoy our fun-filled outdoor activities. Fortunately, with sundresses, wide-brimmed hats, sandals, and big sunglasses, the question of what to wear while having all this fun is quite simple.
Let’s begin with the quintessential summer fabrics: eyelet, gingham, seersucker, chambray, and linen.
Eyelet is a mainstay during the sizzling months. Once considered to be only appropriate for young girls, it’s now trending in all forms of adult wear. This lightweight material is defined by small circular cutouts carefully designed to create floral or geometric patterns.
Buttonhole stitching around each hole keeps the fabric from unraveling. The durable and pretty look make eyelet popular for both clothing and home decor. Eyelet was once only available in white, however it now comes in every color from emerald green to tangerine. Depending on the cut and style, eyelet can have a sporty, classic, or sweet vibe.
Gingham fabric was created in Europe during the 17th century. It was originally a striped fabric and not woven into checks until the 18th century. The checked fabric of white and one other color, became more common and is now considered to be the standard for gingham.
Gingham can be found in many summer colors like peach, lime green, and strawberry pink. The lightweight cotton or cotton-blend fabric is perfect for warm-weather fashion. Gingham’s versatility makes it ideal for shirts, dresses, skirts, shorts, and pants. A touch of gingham on a collar or cuff can add a fresh accent point. Gingham accessories can be found in shoes, handbags, belts, hats, and even jewelry.
Famous gingham-fashionistas include Brigitte Bardot who wore a pink gingham wedding dress when she married Jacques Charrier, Dorothy who wore a blue gingham pinafore in the Wizard of Oz, and Mary Ann who wore a red gingham dress on Gilligan’s Island.
Seersucker is a thin, puckered, striped fabric. The “pucker” comes from one stripe being smooth while the other stripe is rough. The different textures create the crinkle. This cool, cotton fabric never needs ironing because it is designed to be wrinkly. Its easy-care, durability, and comfort level make it great for traveling.
Seersucker is often used for men’s summer shirts, shorts, and suits. For women, seersucker is perfect for everything from sundresses to shorts to pants. Traditional seersucker is light blue and white however, like eyelet, it’s now available in a rainbow of colors.
Chambray looks and acts a lot like denim and they are both made with the same type of indigo cotton threads. The difference comes from how the two fabrics are woven. Denim is woven with a twill weave, chambray is woven with a plain weave. The difference in weaving techniques gives chambray a lighter weight making it the perfect denim-look summer fabric.
Chambray is commonly used for both men and women’s shirts. It also works well for dresses and skirts. The tight weave of chambray can protect from the sun during the afternoon and the chill of a summer evening.
Linen is a summer must-have for many men and women. It is a natural fiber coming from the flax plant. The loosely woven fabric is often made into flowing tops and loose-fitting pants. Linen becomes softer with each wash and will need ironing before wearing. If ironing is not an option, lightly mist your garment with water and smooth over the wrinkles with your hand. Hang to completely dry.
These timeless fabrics can be updated by mixing the sweetness with a bit of boldness. A yellow eyelet top worn with white pants and accessorized with a daisy-motif necklace can look both modern and classy. Simple gingham shifts are cool and casual. Add a pair of nude wedges, bright bangles, and cat-eye sunglasses for a modern-retro vibe. A seersucker shift with bell sleeves gives it an up-dated look.
Summer footwear means comfortable sandals, sneakers, and slides. The summer styles of these everyday shoes are often available in bright colors of aqua or coral. They may also be adorned with summer motifs like seashells and seahorses.
Wearing these fun shoes will add a touch of whimsy to your overall look. Classic, white sneakers can be worn with everything from sundresses to shorts. For an easy breezy go-to shoe, a pair of nude ballet flats will flatter almost any outfit. For a fashionable footprint, try a pair of glittery or crystal-embellished shoes. You’ll leave a sparkle whenever you go.
Topping it off, we have hats and sunglasses. The fun and functional hat can elevate your style statement quicker than any other accessory. Wearing a hat signifies confidence and an understanding of your individuality. While hats come in and out of fashion, they are currently “in” as we become more and more aware of the consequences of too much sun exposure.
Bucket and floppy hats with wide brims provide the most protection for your face and neck; baseball caps don’t protect you at all. While hats can be found in many colors, light-colored hats will reflect heat from the sun. Straw-colored hats are a practical choice as they go with practically everything—just take care that the weave doesn’t allow sun rays to penetrate through if you are wearing it for sun protection. Hats can be plain or embellished with flowers, bows, or brooches.
The summer bonnet is the perfect accessory to a summer outfit.
Sunglasses serve a very important role in protecting our eyes from the harmful rays of the sun. With the abundance of styles available you’re sure to find one that fits both your face and your personality: cat-eye shapes in colors like cherry and grape, round boho lenses, and sporty aviator sunglasses are all in fashion. In addition, wearing a chain is now trendy. Added bonus; it keeps you from losing those expensive shades.
You can beat the heat while enjoying your summer in style.