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Summer Clothing No No’s

Sleek and sophisticated summer clothing

summer clothes notWell, we’re only halfway through summer and I’ve officially seen enough bad dressers this season to last me well into fall.

The saturation point came at the Fourth of July celebration in the park last week when I saw enough dimpled thighs, flabby arms, bulging bellies, and sagging breasts to last me a good long time. And that was just on the men.

Some of the getups I saw on the female contingent just made me shake my head in disbelief. Doesn’t anyone own a mirror any more? What ever happened to taking pride in one’s appearance?

Or did I just miss the memo that said that everyone’s rag tag, clean-the-house, weed-the-garden, wash-the-car kick around clothes are now considered casual wear?


Dressing well isn’t much of a challenge any more, particularly in the summertime. All you have to do is put on something OTHER THAN a sloppy t-shirt and frayed shorts to stand head and shoulders above the crowd.

So why do so many people who manage to dress acceptably for work during the week suddenly take leave of their common sense come Friday night, quitting time? I have no idea. It remains a complete mystery to me.

All I know is that if you’re one of those people who likes to “let it all hang out” when you’re off duty, let me offer a piece of advice:

Gather it up and put it all back in.

Because unless you have some secret potion brewing in your basement that makes you invisible, here’s a news flash: people can see you when you leave the house.

And chances are, when you look your very worst is when you’ll run into people you know from work, church, your kids’ sports, or whatever. Their shocked expressions and kind, “Oh! I didn’t recognize you!” will really mean “Good heavens! Is that what you wear when you think no one is looking?”

So don’t tempt fate.

Make the effort to pull yourself together.

Since it takes just as much time to put on ratty clothes as it does nice ones, I encourage you to take the sharper approach. Not only will you stand out in the sea of sloppily dressed people around you, you’ll also enjoy more attention and get better service from those with whom you interact.

Here are some tips for creating a sleek and sophisticated summer look:

  • If you don’t have any casual clothes to wear when you socialize or run errands, go out and buy some. You don’t work all the time, so you shouldn’t have just work clothes in your closet. Opt for simple coordinated pieces that mix and match with each other and other items in your wardrobe. Solid color pieces are the most versatile.
  • Wear clothes that fit. Apparel that hangs off of you or that makes you look like a trussed turkey does not fall into this category.
  • Determine which assets you’d like to accentuate and which areas you’d rather hide. Have awesome upper arms? Show them off in a sleeveless top. Have jiggly upper arms? Wear a short sleeve top instead. It isn’t complicated — it just takes a little thought and experimentation.
  • Wear appropriate undergarments. Bras, panties, and slips should be smooth, fit properly, and be invisible under your clothes. Always look at your backside in the mirror to make sure you’re not giving an awful eyeful to anyone walking behind you.
  • Iron those cottons. You can’t look crisp and pulled together if your clothes look like you slept in them. I personally hate to iron, but I hate looking rumpled even worse. Iron while you watch your favorite TV show and the chore gets done in a snap.
  • Have a lean clothing budget? Take advantage of the end-of-season sales going on right now to stock up on basic items at budget-friendly prices. Try:
  • Make sure all of the skin that’s showing can stand up to scrutiny. Shave, wax, exfoliate, and moisturize, or cover it up with clothes.
  • If you’re wearing sandals, get or give yourself a pedicure. Don’t turn off people with your poorly shod feet. If your budget’s too tight for a spa-like treatment, check out the beauty schools in your area. You can get a student to practice her pedicure skills on you for about the cost a double-espresso.
  • Go light on the makeup. Nothing says, “I can’t handle the heat” like humidity-sensitive mascara or makeup that slides down your face.
  • Opt for a simple but elegant heat-friendly hairstyle. Forego the sticky styling products and try a ponytail, chignon, French twist, or bun. Never leave the house with wet hair, even if you just stepped out of the shower or the swimming pool.

Finally, remember that first impressions are lasting ones, whether you’re meeting a new client, going on a first date, dropping laundry at the cleaners, or any other situation. Don’t let your appearance say that you’re lazy and unimaginative. If you care about how you look, others will take care with you. In the sea of uninspired summertime ne’er-do-wells, you’ll stand out like the jewel that you are.

About Diana Pemberton-Sikes

Diana Pemberton-Sikes is a wardrobe and image consultant and author of Wardrobe Magic, an ebook that shows women how to transform their unruly closets into workable, wearable wardrobes. Visit her online at Fashion For Real Women. Need some tips and tricks? Pick up a copy of Wardrobe Magic. Visit her site for more information.


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