add polish to your summer outfit and stay cool too

I find that wearing a lot of accessories in the summer makes me too hot. A big scarf or heavy necklace around the neck, bulky bracelets, or statement belts become increasingly more uncomfortable as the day goes by. In summer, I’m drawn to fine-weight jewelry, skinny belts, and if it’s really hot, no accessories at all.

What to do, when you know accessories add that extra polish that pulls an outfit together and helps you feel your best?

wear a silk scarf in your hair

A small silk square tied as a headband or added to a bun or ponytail has oodles of style!

or elsewhere!

Wearing a scarf in an unexpected way adds intentionality and style to your outfit. Tie a small silk square around your wrist to make a fabulous – and lightweight – bracelet. Use a long skinny scarf as a belt with cropped jeans or to add polish to a maxi-dress or skirt.

Or go classic and wear a small bandana tied as a neckerchief with a casual tee. Be sure to avoid too big a scarf or the volume of fabric will make you hot – a smaller one adds a pop of color, but beats the heat.

make the print the accessory

A bold print summer dress is the perfect antidote to the heat. The pattern is the highlight, so no need for accessories (unless you really want them), and dresses are breezy cool!

wear fun shoes

I firmly believe that shoes make or break an outfit. Adding a fun shoe to a very basic outfit can transform it from “meh” to “fab!” Choose an interesting sandal, espadrille, flat, or sneaker to pull together your outfit. A bright color, bold print, wedge or block heel, delicate straps or laces, or metallic finish can make all the difference.

Step out in cool style and enjoy the dog days of August!

Images (except for my own) via Pinterest

 

from ‘meh’ to ‘fab!’ in a single step

Here is a trick I share with all my clients because it is so stinkin’ easy to remember and to do. It’s all over the fashion blogs, and it is the primary reason stylish people look so, well, stylish.

Are you ready?

the third piece rule

Add a third piece to what you are wearing. That’s it.

You have to put on a top (1) and a bottom (2) for coverage. Add a distinctive belt, scarf, jacket, colorful or interesting sweater, or statement necklace (3) – instant ensemble! You can even feel daring and add a 4th and 5th element, like a hat, bracelet, or fun shoes to further express your personal style.

meh

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My stripey Breton shirt is kind of fun and is a favorite. I LOVE stripes. See my logo up there? I really love stripes. But even with the fun stripes, this outfit is kind of blah. With the high boatneck cut and long length, the shirt looks like a sea of stripes, which throws off the balance of visual lines for the outfit. (Another thing I talk about with my clients all. the. time.)

baby bear steps

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Lookey there. I added my third piece, a chunky jeans belt, and partial-tucked my shirt to highlight it. The sea of stripes is now balanced by the belt, and the partial tuck adds definition to the overall lines of the outfit, while maintaining an easy style with softer lines than a shirt tucked in completely.

mama bear

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Even though the belt acts as a third piece, let’s take it a step further. For me, I consider the partial-tuck and belt part of the basic ensemble, since I almost always use them when I wear jeans (and often other pants) to create balanced lines for my body.

Look at what the polka-dot scarf paired with the stripes does for the outfit! This is still a really simple, casual ensemble – great for knocking around on a gorgeous spring day. Adding the scarf shows I thought about my outfit. It also creates more balance by adding vertical flow to the visual lines. And pattern mixing shows even more intentionality and polish.

papa bear

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The structure of a jacket instantly adds polish to any outfit. A jacket particularly ramps up style when paired with jeans. It can be a blazer, military-style, denim, knit, leather, you name it. Jackets should fit well in the shoulders, provide definition, and full-length sleeves should hit at the base of thumb.

I’m going for a French-inspired look with my Breton stripes peeking out from a belted navy blazer. I did tuck the shirt in fully to maintain the clean lines of the jacket.

I love this blazer. It fits perfectly and will be so much fun to wear this spring.

goldilocks!

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To fully embrace the French look, you need a silk scarf. This one is Emilio Pucci, and I really love the vibrancy of the blue geometrical design. See how it pulls the whole outfit together with a pop of color and polish? Casual, but intentional. And this outfit makes me feel great. That’s what it’s all about.

Outfit details:

Breton-stripe shirt – JJill – old (I will be so sad when it dies – it’s been a great staple); jeans – JCrew – old; belt – SO old, but another great staple

Blazer – Sharagano Suits; polka-dot scarf – JCrew; silk scarf – Emilio Pucci; loafers – Cole Haan. All are from Nu Look Consignment in Minneapolis! I had great success during their winter clearance sale a couple of months back.

 

how to: jumpstart spring with silk scarves

Silk scarves – think Hermès and classic French style – continue to be on trend and are a perfect, easy way to help an outfit feel fresh and bright for Spring. Silk (or well-made faux-silk) instantly bumps up polish and style in a casual outfit and adds an element of dressy fun and interest to workwear.

And they are easy to come by. Most of us have vintage scarves from our grandmothers, mothers, and even ourselves hanging out in our dressers. You can also easily find them new-to-you at very affordable prices.

“How do I wear them without looking like an old lady?” you say.

First, don’t wear it this way. The Queen is allowed, but we aren’t, unless we are riding in a vintage convertible and channeling Grace Kelly.

The key is to make the scarf the statement piece and to go for simple, clean lines with the rest of the outfit. The French look fabulous with their scarves because they pair them with classic pieces like a blue blazer, a crisp white or striped collared shirt, or a simple shift dress. Going otherwise monochromatic with the outfit is a great contemporary way to wear them. Navy, black, white, and gray are good colors for highlighting the print of a silk scarf.

The scarf print is entirely up to you – I’m drawn to bold floral and geometric prints. You can go classic with paisley or more traditional florals or embrace signature designer styles. Do choose scarves that have saturated colors – you want it to pop, not wash out your complexion.

Check out these super simple ties and have fun!

the classic knot

Use a small square scarf folded in a triangle and then rolled with the points tucked inside. Take care to make a tidy knot, and wear it in front or off to the side. I’m wearing it with a boatneck tee here, and you can also pair it with a collared shirt or jacket.

the choker tie

choker tie

If you feel too much like a 1970s stewardess wearing the classic knot (you aren’t!), you can push the knot to the back for a choker tie. A collar or your hair can cover the knot, or you can sweep your hair up in a bun or ponytail to highlight the knot.

the French twist

french twist tie

This tie works best with a long, skinny scarf like the one I’m wearing, or you can triangle-fold and roll a large square. Start from the front of your neck and wrap the scarf around once or twice, depending on how long you want the tails of the scarf to be. Make a tidy knot off to the side.

the loose tie

loose knot

Triangle-fold and roll a large square and make a low, loose knot. This goes particularly well with a blazer or over a fitted, collared shirt. Aim for the knot hitting just above the bustline for balanced lines, and plump the scarf a little above the knot for a soft look.

the wrist tie

wrist tie

This is a colorful alternative to a bracelet and has oodles of style. I tied this one ALL BY MYSELF using the method in this tutorial with one tweak: I did the slipknot on the outside of my wrist and tied the final knot on the inside so I could use both hands to tie it and then slid it around. You can use a long skinny scarf as demonstrated in the tutorial, or a small square triangle-folded and rolled like I did.

the purse tie

purse tie

So easy. And so fun! Tie a small square in a classic knot around one purse handle. Fabulous. (Hint: No other scarves when one is on your purse – overkill.)

where to buy

My favorite places to buy new-to-you scarves in the Twin Cities are Second Debut in St. Louis Park and St. Paul, Elite Repeat in St. Paul, and Fashion Avenue in Edina.

Second Debut is owned by Goodwill and pulls designer and high quality items from their donations to sell there. They consistently have gorgeous vintage silk scarves – I purchased the skinny black and blue floral, the neutral circle print, and the orange and pink geometric print scarves there.

The long multi-colored swirl print scarf is from Elite Repeat, and I have found several other scarves there as well, including a long skinny silk Coach scarf in winter colors.

If you have a yen for designer scarves, Hermès included, Fashion Avenue is the place to go. I purchased a gorgeous textured plum winter scarf by Armani Collezioni for a fraction of its original price there last month. Their stock is just lovely.

your turn

What silk scarves do you have hiding in your wardrobe? Pull them out and give them a whirl for Spring! Often they have memories of loved ones attached to them as well – post a picture of your favorite and share a memory in the comments below.