Summer Style and lifestyle Musings

I've been reading my way through the posts linked to in Angie's Needs and Outfit Creation posts, and making mental lists to work toward defining my summer style.  Some things I noticed were:

Lifestyle:  We go to the lake several times a week, and to the pool several times a month.  We rarely run the air conditioning in our house or car, therefore I need a set of clothes that are cool, durable, breathable, fast-drying and good for playing near the water or in the yard.  This makes me think my summer style should veer toward "sporty".  And skirts/dresses - they're cooler than shorts.  I'll also need a swim-suit cover up, since I tend to fry after about ten minutes in the sun, regardless of sunscreen, and will want to cover my skin while staying cool.

Lifestyle part 2: Then there's work - which is less warm (because it's in my basement), and less relaxed.  And church, which is nearly frigid.  For both of these I like a somewhat polished look, without looking at all fussy.

Lifestyle part 3: Finally, there's a few special events - weddings, showers, parties, that I'll be attending.   Church/work clothes might work, but I like the idea of stepping up the dressy-ness a bit.  We'll see.

I'm also working through the adjective lists in Describing my style and defining what my style is not.  I'll post those when I get there.

Thoughts?  Am I on the right track?  What are your summer style descriptors and goals?

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Beth Ann replied 7 years ago
    Your summer sounds relaxed and active -- which is not a contradiction!  You're making some great memories for your kids by the sound of it!  I like dresses and loose skirts for the hottest days, but need longer shorts and capris when we're out and active.

    At first thought, I think you'd look great in the Eileen Fisher sleeveless dress that Angie just put in her store --- very cool and modern.  I've contemplated trying to sew something like this.  Also, Eddie Bauer has just come out with some quick dry performance fabrics in "everyday" styles.  I'm thinking about a pair of capris in this kind of fabric for Summer hikes and our annual trek to Great America.  A few items in these kind of fabrics can be handy for Summer days.

    Also, I'd check Sarah A's posts -- she does Sporty Summer really well.
  • bj1111 replied 7 years ago

    hey, don't forget lands end. I have spent the entire weekend in a zip up cotton hoodie dress. Very cool and comfy, makes a great swimsuit cover up and still looks good duting bbqs and active play.

  • Wendi1984 replied 7 years ago
    It sounds like some of the things from Athleta, Patagonia, Horny Toad, and similar places that sell active and travel clothes would work. They have some really cute dresses and skirts that are supposed to be quick-drying, pack well (so no wrinkles), etc. You might even find some things that work both at the lake and at church with different shoes and accessories!

  • amiable replied 7 years ago
    Thanks Beth Ann and bj!  

    I don't see the Eileen Fisher dress in Angie's store - do you have a link?

    I'll check out Sarah A's posts, and Land's End, Eileen Fisher and Eddie Bauer - thank you!
  • replied 7 years ago

    Also check out Roots -- they are Canadian but might have a US store. They are known for a kind of sporty casual look.

  • amiable replied 7 years ago
    Thanks Wendi - I've been looking at Athleta, Patagonia and Horny Toad, and think that perhaps I can sew some similar dresses and skirts quite easily.  Now I just need to get the time :)

    Kate, I've never heard of Roots - I'll check them out.  Thanks!
  • Sarah A replied 7 years ago
    Your summer needs sound very similar to mine!

    A signature bag (I often choose a pop of a bright color) is good when the rest or your outfit is a bit more casual. I like the ExOfficio sun shirts as I think they breathe and look the best. I like Patagonia dresses (I have 10!) the best and I get them at usually for a good price. I add on some great sandals (again Patagonia works for me... looks delicate functions like gear!) and toppers and am pretty set. Here are a few snaps from last year. I have changed hard drives since last summer so I dont have a ton on here right now.

    Beth Ann coined the term "really swanky gear" for one of my summer bags and I think it sums up what I go for in summer pretty well. Ill will try to post more frequent WIWs soon I promise!
  • amiable replied 7 years ago
    Found the Eileen Fisher link - YES!  I do want a dress like that, and already have a sewing pattern that I think will work for it :)

    Sarah - thank you so much for the tips and the pics!  I need to work on a bag, I think. And some sporty dresses.  I like the descriptor "swanky gear"!  And I'm headed over to 6pm to check out their patagonia dresses now.  

    And thanks for the rec on the ExOfficio shirts - definitely looking for one of those too.
  • Sarah A replied 7 years ago
    Sierra trading post usually has a good deal on the ex officio sun shirts (about $30/ea as opposed to $75+)
  • amiable replied 7 years ago
    Thanks Sarah - I noticed that 6pm also has a lot of options on upf clothing.
  • Suz replied 7 years ago
    Wow, Sarah has given you some fantastic ideas and visuals!! Sarah, you have summer casual style totally wrapped up here! 

    Ami, I think your analysis is spot on. LIke you, I live and work in a non-air-conditioned environment with occasional forays into frigid icy places. It is a challenge to dress for, no doubt about it. I love the idea of a signature bag and maybe a cuff or something like that. 
  • unfrumped replied 7 years ago
    Sounds like a great analysis and good "capsule" thinking. I think it should help you with putting the right percent effort on which capsules, and also be intentional about how to have a high  happiness factor in what you get.

    For example, it sounds like you need a lot of gear/nearly-gear but it can still be in your best colors, have fun details, and maybe include brands and items that might have the same functionality but don't look so utilitarian. If you look at your weeks and laundry issues you can see about  how much you need, and how much is overkill that could be put to the other capsules. That was an eye-opener for me--I might kind of mindlessly expand some types of clothing beyond what I could  use, when I really looked at patterns of wear.

    For special occasions, you deserve to have some go-to outfits that are distinctly different from daily kid activities, but if you tolerate repeat outfits fairly well, you can focus on fewer, fabber items and update them at intervals, or update with accessories (the really great LBD  or great tuxedo-pant outfit   comes to mind).
  • Sara L. replied 7 years ago
    I like your analysis of your summer activities.  It really allows you to focus on your primary needs and helps with not getting distracted by clothes that won't work for your lifestyle.

    Love the suggestions from Sarah A too - I need to look for some of those casual dresses as well.
  • Peri replied 7 years ago

    I think this is a great way to dress. That's all I aspire to in the summer heat, and my job/life is very casual too. I get closer to fab in the colder months, but it is sweltering where I live and in the summer I just want to be happy.

  • rachylou replied 7 years ago
    Smart questions. Heh, I wonder if I should review my summer clothes for style and currency. My main goals are to not burn (so everything has to go with my visor hat) and be unburdened by cloth. This has translated into a wardrobe of walking sandals, cotton skirts/sundresses, and super lightweight cotton tops. It's sort of hipster retro. 1950s France or Italy or something. I did get a new halter-top jumpsuit in preparation for summer, which is hipster modern and could be *Florida Now.* It doesn't go with my visor hat tho... I didn't think about that.

    And then there's my camping stuff which is in the region of 20 years old now. Heh.

    Well, I know one thing, I need some shorts that I want to wear. Only one pair because I don't really like shorts, but there's always a moment when they're useful.

    I think the thing is, Quirky Warrior Waifs don't really do summer.

  • CocoLion replied 7 years ago
    I really like how you have broken down your needs with Lifestyle Parts 1, 2 and 3.  Don't forget the need for swim suits!  I should take another look at my lifestyle needs and break them down the way you have.
  • Angie replied 7 years ago
    You are totally on the right track, Amiable! Well done :)

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