Summer is here. This means a beach, pool, or spa somewhere is calling your name. It is only the first week of July and I've already lost count of the number of times I've been in the water this summer. In case you're still looking for your personal holy grail of swimwear cover-ups, I've rounded up my favorite unique options here.
An Oversized Scarf
Miraclesuit Hibiskiss Printed Pareo, $57.99
Also known as a Pareo or Sarong, I love scarves as cover-ups because of their lightweight nature and pack-ability. They also dry very quickly so you can get out of the water, cover up, return to the water, and get out again to a completely dry cover-up. The most popular way to deploy a scarf is as a skirt. Petite women can also create a halter dress out of these for more coverage.
Caslon Print Tassel Kimono, $29
Like an oversized scarf, a kimono is light, pack-friendly, and quick drying. While it doesn't offer as much versatility, it may be something you already have in your closet.
The (Literal) Boyfriend Shirt
J. Crew Slim Fit Stretch Poplin Cotton Shirt, $69.50
For a classic look, I recommend wearing an actual men's button-down as a swimwear cover up. Make sure the material is a breathable cotton or linen, so you're not sweating as you dry off.
An Easy Summer Dress
Eliza J Cotton Fit & Flare Dress, $159
Since I prefer my wardrobe pieces to pull double and sometimes even triple duty, this is my favorite swimwear cover-up option: a day dress. Choose something in a breathable, lightweight fabric and it can take you from work to weddings to waves.
A Basic Maxi Dress
Nordstrom Knit Maxi Dress, $29-$52
Ah, the joys of a maxi dress. It gives you the freedom of a skirt with the coverage of pants. They also make excellent swimwear cover-ups. You can even tie the bottom in a knot to wade water. The dress above is a universally flattering option, that is so nice I bought it twice.
The Drawstring Skirt
Nic+Zoe Open Road Skirt, $129
This last option works well if you favor one-pieces or tankinis. We all know the wet butt struggle of trying to zip shorts on over a swimsuit. Make life easier with a drawstring skirt instead.
Have you ever wondered what the process of working with a personal fashion stylist is like? I work one-on-one with real women throughout San Diego to take the stress out of getting dressed. I help my clients sort out their closets, define their style, and shop with intention. Read on to go behind the scenes and learn how my process works.
We have a chat.
All Photos By Dayley Photography
Whether it's by email, text, phone, or in the middle of your living room, we'll talk about your wardrobe, budget and lifestyle. I send all of my new clients "Style Homework" to complete before our first appointment. This assignment helps me determine the best way to serve them. I don't put all my clients in the same clothes. Each woman has her own unique style. My clients range from bohemian to buttoned-up. You can view an example of one of the worksheets I send my personal styling clients here.
We get measurements.
While this is usually everyone's least favorite part, accurate measurements allow me to make appropriate sizing recommendations and determine your correct body type. As you'll notice if you read any of my blog posts where I recommend specific garments, the same woman can be a size 4 in one brand and a size 8 in another. Even at the same store, she can be a 6 in a dress and a 10 in a pair of trousers. For those of you who love shopping online, a simple yellow tape measure (like the one pictured) is ideal for figuring out what size to order from a new retailer. As stated, proper measurements also allow us to figure out your true body type. Many women think they are "bigger in the middle" because they have a little pooch, but in reality they are actually bigger on the bottom or on top. Nearly all of us have a slightly protruding stomach, especially after kids and/or age 35. However, having a "larger in the middle" body type is quite rare.
I give feedback.
After I receive your style homework, and we've taken your measurements, the fun begins. During a closet edit or outfit creation appointment, we go through your existing wardrobe to find your hero pieces and discard items that are no longer serving you.
We create outfits.
With the treasures found in your closet, we work together to create "new" outfits from your existing wardrobe. I photograph these and send them to you via email in Digital Look Book PDF format. These images are easily viewed on mobile and tablet devices.
We find hidden treasures.
Typically, when working in your closet, I will find hidden treasure. There is usually a fabulous but forgotten statement necklace, a charming vintage scarf, or a fantastic pair of boots. We revive these discoveries by creating new outfits around them. That feeling of "having nothing to wear" will be long gone.
I follow up.
About 24-48 hours after our appointment, I email photos of the outfits we created. In the body of the email, I will also include specific item suggestions, along with brands and stores that work for your personal taste, budget, and lifestyle. You can see examples of a digital Look Book here.
I hear wonderful things from you.
You may send me an email saying you've never received so many compliments on your wardrobe. You may get a promotion at work. You might be flying high for days on your newfound confidence. Friends and family members may tell you that you've never looked better. These are actual results my clients have seen after our time together.
We work together again (and again).
Maybe you've finally launched your own business and you want my help preparing for head shots? Or, you need to look even more like a boss now that you've snagged the corner office? Or you want to look amazing for your engagement party? Perhaps you just bought your dream house and need help organizing that dream closet? Or, your a super-successful woman who wants her own Fashion Fairy Godmother to plan her outfits for the next two weeks every two weeks? I help with all of that. Take the stress out of getting dressed and hire me today.
It's that time of year where we all begin scheduling family photos. As more and more people are hiring photographers for their holiday cards, they're also wondering what to wear.
If you've scheduled your family photo shoot, it's time to plan the wardrobe too. If you're a Mom like me, this means you're most likely styling your kids and husband too. You may also have grandparents, cousins, or other caregivers in the mix. Start planning your family's outfits at least 1-2 weeks ahead of the shoot date. Seriously, put it on your calendar: "Plan Outfits for Shoot".
Stay True to Yourselves
If you never wear dresses, don't plan on purchasing one for your photos. You may feel uncomfortable or self-conscious. Even if you look objectively great--those feelings of insecurity won't photograph well. Apply this to the rest of your family too. If your husband hates button-downs, there's no reason for him to sport one for this year's Christmas photos. You will all have a better time, and better photos, if you're comfortable with what you're wearing. Go ahead and dress up while staying true to yourselves.
Consider Your Environment
For a casual shoot on the beach, denim, sandals, and pastels work well. For a vibrant downtown shoot, bold colors will pop against a city backdrop. Keep your clothing season and location appropriate.
Choose a Color Story
If you google this topic, you'll find hundreds of examples of people wearing all white or black shirts with jeans. Those are both dated and lend a somewhat creepy cult-like vibe to photos. It's best to avoid such a literal uniform look. While you don't want to match, you do want to coordinate. Similar to a capsule wardrobe, you can do this by starting with one piece. For example, if your daughter is wearing a pink, blue, and green floral dress, then the rest of the family can wear pink, blue, and green in any combination. For a large group, you can choose three colors that work well together and let everyone know to show up in some variation of them. Complementary colors include:
Work with Patterns
Solids and prints can both photograph beautifully. Try not to overwhelm the images with too many conflicting prints. For a family of four, if 1-2 people have a pattern on their clothing, that will work great with everyone else in solids. Note that the people wearing patterns will draw the eye's attention in photos. In short, don't put your shy or self-conscious family member in patterns.
Things to Avoid
There are some things that won't like right in family photos, and this includes:
General Photo Tips
Real talk: taking photos can be awkward. Most of us are not models. With a family shoot, some of this awkwardness is mitigated because you'll be interacting with your kids and probably get some great action shots doing so. However, if you don't have little ones, you can appear more natural playing with objects or holding something. Try to bring a couple of these items with you as props:
Stylists Can Help
If this sounds like too much work, you can hire a stylist to help. As a personal stylist in San Diego, I offer photo styling services. Even if you're outside of San Diego, I offer virtual styling services as well.
In true "forgotten second child" fashion, our son is nearly two and had yet to be professionally photographed. I was feeling guilty that there were literally no family photos with him in our home. So, we booked Robin Dayley for a family photo shoot in October.
I had planned the perfect fall outfits, complete with cardigans and boots. We were working with a color palette of maroon, navy, grey, and white. I was planning to wear a striped sweater, my trusted Rag & Bone blazer, and a pair of booties. My son would be adorable in jeans and a grey cardigan. My husband would look devastatingly handsome in a navy button down and grey denim. My daughter would literally sparkle in a silver sweater dress. We were going to look like a Modern Multi-Cultural Pumpkin Spice Pinterest J. Crew Catalog in the best way possible.
However, I had to change plans at the last minute because it was one of those late October days in San Diego where it was 95 degrees at 5pm. So, I scratched those layered outfits and went back to more basic tops and denims for us parents, shorts and a tee for my son. I could not change the dress for my daughter--a true fashionista in the making she was fully committed to the look. She lectured me about the fact that this was her "family photos" dress for about 15 minutes before I gave up the battle.
Since I did not have the wardrobe resolve of my four year old daughter, I changed to a navy peplum top and grey jeans, both from Banana Republic. I paired them with a layered necklace from B.P. and a pair of Rag and Bone booties. I recommend one button blazers or peplum tops for photos all the time because they are flattering. It's one reason the "peplum trend" never really goes away--it looks good on most people.
Shop the Look
I'm Jaquelyn Wahidi. I'm a personal fashion stylist, writer, and entrepreneur in San Diego. I help women organize their closets, define their style, and shop with intention. My style blog features practical style advice for women everywhere. I've been addicted to blazers since 2004.