Summer’s in full swing, and I’m ready to make the most of the next few months. My calendar’s full of beach days, weekend trips, work events, cookouts, and more, and I’m sure yours is, too. The days may be long and scorching, but that’s no reason to go around looking (or acting) like a hot mess. =)
Here are 10 of my favorite summer essentials to get you through the season in style.
From the beach to the bar to the office, I’ve been wearing these J.Crew 3″ Chino Shorts ($45) virtually everywhere this summer. I’ve got navy, khaki and hot pink on repeat, and since they’re so easy to wash, dry, pack, and wear, I see no end in sight for these shorts throughout the rest of July and August.
If you’re one of those people who still doesn’t wear sunscreen, then you may as well be smoking a pack a day. I can’t be out in the mid-day sun for more than 20 minutes without long sleeves or some kind of SPF on my skin. Here’s what’s in my beach bag right now:
Ultimate Sun Protection Cream For Face SPF 55 PA+++ ($35)
Fresh Sugar Coral Lip Treatment SPF 15 ($23)
Banana Boat Sport Performance Sunscreen SPF 30 ($7)
Hawaiian Tropic Shimmer Effect Lotion SPF 20 ($10)
And one I’d like to try out soon:
Margaritaville Parrot Head Floridays Moisturizing Sunscreen SPF 30 ($14)
I’ve been using an older version of this Nautica beach chair for the last few summers. It’s the best one I’ve ever owned, and it’s held up quite well. You can usually find these at Bed Bath & Beyond, Sam’s Club, Costco or other local stores that carry name-brand beach chairs. Surprisingly, the best place to find Nautica beach chairs (in a variety of colors) online right now seems to be eBay ($60 + free shipping).
Tommy Bahama carries some really nice beach chairs, too — complete with backpack straps and cooler pouches.
Most of my favorite suits come from designers Trina Turk, Vitamin A, and Nanette Lepore (mostly via Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, 6pm.com, and sample sale sites). For budget-friendly options, I love JCPenney’s Arizona Mix-and-Match Separates, which is where I stumbled upon the pink-and-white striped suit pictured above.
I’ve been hauling the same tote bag back and forth to the beach with me for going on ten years now. I’m ready for something new, and this Parrott Canvas Windjammer Ketch Tote ($75) is on my radar. Not only will it easily replace my past-its-prime beach bag, it will also make the perfect summer travel carry-on.
It took me a good 30 years to realize I was never going to turn the enviable color bronze I dream about, and it’s been a challenge to find a self-tanner that doesn’t turn me a ridiculous shade of orange. Spray and airbrush tans are off-limits for me, but this summer, I discovered St. Tropez Everyday Gradual Tan ($30). It’s available in Light-Medium and Medium-Dark, the first of which is perfect for me. I love using it right after a day at the beach. =) Best part about it? It doesn’t smell like self-tanner. People actually tell me I smell nice when I use this stuff.
A budget-friendly alternative (that’s almost as good with a pretty tolerable scent): Jergens Natural Glow Revitalizing Daily Moisturizer ($10)
I never thought I’d be able to pull off hats like these, but once I started wearing them, I couldn’t stop. A hat is the best way I can think of to protect your hair and face from the sun on a summer day. Not to mention, the right hat is an easy outfit-maker. My four favorites (from left to right):
Nine West Packable Super Straw Floppy Hat ($40)
Tommy Bahama Medium-Brimmed Scarf Hat ($115)
Charlotte Russe Bow-Back Straw Fedora ($10)
Straw Boater Hat (very similar for $30 here)
Summers were simply made for riding bicycles. Obviously, a beach cruiser isn’t the best choice for everyone, but mine are my two prize possessions. Beach cruiser #1 is the 2008 model of this Electra Women’s Coaster 7. Beach cruiser #2 is this year’s Electra Women’s Cruiser 1.
I’m big on low-maintenance make-up in the summer. A light-colored eye shadow, a coat of mascara, a dab of lipstick, a dusting of bronzer, and I’m out the door. These two have had a presence in my make-up bag for years, and I can’t imagine spending a summer (or winter) without them:
Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzing Powder ($29)
Benefit Hoola ($28)
I can’t go anywhere without sunglasses, and ever since they put a Sunglass Hut inside Macy’s, I haven’t been able to stop buying them. These Ray-Bans are my latest acquisition, and the last pair I bought before I realized I needed some way to organize them all. Can’t get enough sunglasses like me? You can find a few more of my favorite pairs here.
And that’s all I’ve got. What are your summer essentials?