Happy Independence Day, United States! There is such a range of activities going on to celebrate the 4th of July- bbqs and picnics, boating, parades, fireworks, pool parties, etc. All of them fun, and best of all, casual. In Iowa, July 4th is usually hot and humid with a chance of irritating bugs. That means that I want to be dressed in sweat and bug-spray-friendly clothing (i.e., not dry-clean only). Some of you are also wrangling kids and I'm sure you need to be prepared for red and blue (and maybe orange and purple??) stained hands grabbing at you as well. So, lets talk about heat, fun, and kid friendly ways to look put together for the 4th while still being uber comfortable.
My favorites, Damsel in Dior and Song of Style, recently posted their 4th of July picks, and while I loved many of them, they reminded me of the disconnect between my fashion reality and my fashion fantasies. So I considered what it was I liked about some of their picks and I thought about how I might translate that based on what I already own, items in my price range, and pieces that were more functional.
Tweaking the go-to shorts and t-shirt look: I'm not actually one who feels the need to be decked out in patriotic red, white, and blue but I don't rule it out either. I amp up my shorts and tee look by mixing in a colorful short (in this case a red pair from the JCrew outlet from a couple of summers ago) with my typical navy blue t-shirt. I feel like the trick to really making this outfit look more polished is the shoe choice. It would be easy to toss on my white sneakers or flip-flops, but it just doesn't feel as pulled together as I'd like. So I'm pairing this with a nude sandal that feels more 'grown-up' (I got these sandals on sale for $40 at my friend Catherine's store in Iowa City- call and see if they have your size. The off-the-shoulder chambray top is also from her store). If you are going to be on the move a lot you could also toss on a pair of red sneakers (I'm imagining something like a Keds or Converse). I've styled my red shorts 3 ways with some slight variations, but there are so many other ways to change up this look. Statement pieces like these shorts don't have to be as limiting as you might think. Wear them and wear them often, just change up the look with your top and accessory choices.
The one-stop shop: There is nothing easier in the summer than pulling on one piece of clothing and heading out the door- we're talking summer dresses and rompers here. Starting with the easy summer dress, I like a less fitted dress for casual events like picnics and bbqs (read: I can eat and drink without worry or discomfort). I just got a simple navy cotton midi from Splendid that would be great for an outing on the 4th. Since the dress already feels a bit more polished, I like the idea of balancing it with the white sneaker, but the nude sandals would also be good here (really, a sophisticated nude sandal will go with almost everything). The black sandals I paired with the red dress are Dolce Vita- also purchased on sale at Catherine's ($30).
The other option for a one-piece is a romper. You get the comfort of shorts with the simplicity of not having to decide on a top to coordinate with it. Now, the caveat here is that rompers are not always easy bathroom attire. You basically have to strip the whole thing off to go to the bathroom. I do this all the time, but I definitely think about what setting I'm going to be in and if its the best idea. If a bathroom isn't readily available (you don't want to short shrift yourself on time when you have to untie, unbutton, etc) or it's not the cleanest (the last thing I want to deal with is undressing in a dirty environment to do my business) you may want to steer away from the romper. Now, if I'm just headed to a friend's house or trusted public facilities this isn't a big deal and I don't hesitate to throw on the romper.
Water proof: I can't remember the last time I was on a boat or dressed for a pool/lake party. That doesn't mean I don't have some ideas of what I would wear if I was though! I don't have these items in my wardrobe, but I have been eyeing a few of them in the event I will in fact need to get myself into pool/beach mode. I'm not in my best shape at the moment (I'm starting to work on that, but it's going to be a process!), so I would be far more comfortable in a one-piece swimsuit and cover up, but for those of you bikini bound, I have some cute options there as well. I don't spend much time in swimsuits, so I'm not one to invest much money in them. Note: I haven't tried the aerie line yet, but they have me inspired by their low prices and diverse sizing/advertising. I appreciate a brand that shows me their items look good on a variety of body sizes and shapes and it gives me a more realistic idea of what the item will look like on me.
All of these are great options for summer events but they don't have to be put away at the end of the season. I extend the life of my summer dresses and rompers into fall by tossing a jacket over them (denim, moto, whatever, really). Some of my rompers can even extend into winter if I pair them with some cute tights and a cardigan.
Enjoy your 4th of July celebrations and be safe! We are keeping it simple this year and hitting up some music at Jazz Fest (Iowa City always does this festival over the 4th holiday) with fireworks over the Old Capitol Building to close out the night. What are your plans for the 4th?