My Summer Fashion Don’ts

Memorial Day means barbecues, great weather and summer fashion — but my body isn’t quite ready for that last one.  It's still winter-ready; think bulky sweaters, black stockings, and lots of fabric covering almost every inch of me.


My mother taught me that post-Memorial Day means we all have permission to wear white shoes and pants.  Except what my mother didn’t tell me is that literally no one, except maybe a nurse, looks good in white shoes and pants. And have you noticed that now, even nurses hardly ever wear white?

I should never wear white, anyway, because invariably by the end of the day my white clothing has at least one stain on it. My husband usually can tell what I had for lunch by looking at my clothes.  If it’s a white shirt, the stain is prominently displayed down the center of it. If I wear white pants, the stain is typically on the seat of those pants.

Mostly I shouldn’t wear white because no matter how many versions of white jeans I’ve tried on, I’m certain everyone can see my underwear through the pants.

Summer is also the season of shorts. But at my age, shorts really shouldn’t be in my wardrobe.  In fact, I’ve decided that unless you are originally from, or traveling to, Bermuda, Bermuda shorts should just stay in Bermuda. 

And then there’s what I call “capri amnesia,” which I get every summer when I forget that capris make my legs look like encased sausages. I’m pretty sure that capris only look good on Audrey Hepburn in that old movie where she runs around Rome followed by Gregory Peck.  

Oh and apparently, 'tis the season to wear a bathing suit. At my age all my bathing takes place where it belongs, in the privacy of my own shower. Even my husband doesn’t get to see that much of my skin. 

Bathing suit shopping for most women is the equivalent of Middle Ages torture. Today's equivalent of being tortured on a rack is to squeeze into a bathing suit purchased off the rack. I long for the days of the old-time “bathing costume” because I’m sure I would have been considered totally hot back then.

And let’s talk about summer colors.  Who decided that red, white and blue should be a color combination on anything other than a flag? Or that the hot summer color this year would be neon yellow, which is meant only for those who are truly fashion forward, or who wave planes to the airport gate or want to be seen by astronauts living on the space station. 

I turned to a fashionable friend for some ideas. Monica Flaum, the local fashion expert and founder of Dripping in Gems, says we all love at least one part of our body and so we should “pick one asset and accentuate it.”

From Dripping in Gems Monica Flaum

From Dripping in Gems Monica Flaum

“If you love your legs, don’t be afraid to wear shorts,” she says.

If you're still not sure, she says “when in doubt, wear a simple outfit and statement accessories. Stick with neutrals and some pops of color with a great necklace or colorful shoes.”

For now, my neck is my favorite body part, so Monica’s statement necklaces from Dripping in Gems are a staple of my wardrobe, especially in summer.

Of course even Monica, who loves the look of crisp white pants, admits they can be hard to wear. She suggests buying a size up to ensure that every bump and flaw isn’t accentuated.

But here's the most liberating advice of all. If something doesn't look good, she says: “Skip it.”

It's a great rule for any season. "Skipping it" just became an excellent fashion statement. 

As first published in the Democrat + Chronicle and on the USA Today Network.