Summer Fashion

By Karen R. Smith


This summer, fashion is featuring enough prints and colors to create a kaleidoscope! With a few bright additions, your older pieces will look fresh and you’ll start the season with a smile.

Big dots

While there are still some great stripes, this season the focus is on polka dots, and it seems for many designers, bigger is better. You’ll find dots at every price point, from Balenciaga to Target, so decide what you want to spend and pick up a tote bag or tank top. Whatever you chose will give an instant lift to everything else in your closet. My favorite? The Marimekko Special Edition Collection at Uniqlo. Here, the dots are called “polle” and are described as “the footprints left by small plump pony”. The sleeveless blouse is 100% cotton, your black pants, capris, and shorts are gonna love it, and right now it’s even on sale. (

Animal magnetism

While animal prints never really disappear, they do wax and wane in popularity. This season, snake is having a resurgence, and since it’s my favorite, I’m going to stock up. Whether you opt for snake-print pants or just add a reptilian belt or bag, get your slither on this season!

For a slinky snake print dress perfect for clubbing, head to Bebe. Need something more sedate? Ralph Lauren has a classic short sleeve aline done in a snake print. Enter ‘snake print dress’ in the search window at Amazon and see lots, lots more!

Lose the pink

Whatever our age, whatever our style, we eventually bought into pink. And truthfully, it was good. Flattered most complexions, and gave classic pieces a modern lift. After several seasons, it’s being retired in favor of lavender and lilac. The purple tones are looking fresh and sophisticated by comparison, and this might be the color to work into your wardrobe with accessories because they pop a punch even in small doses. Converse has Chuck Taylor All Stars in light purple (on sale at Nike for under $40) and Van’s redid their Old Skool Skate Shoes in Lavender (buy them at and you can get a first-time user $5 discount).

Lights out, brights in

Florals are always more popular in spring and summer, but the difference this season is in the brightness of the backgrounds, which lifts them from tame to terrific. If you’re a curvy plus, check out the Floral Surplice Palazzo Jumpsuit at Forever 21 -- exclusively on their website, this dark floral beauty is 100% rayon and has adjustable cami straps. Not a plus? Check out the amber & lavender Floral Self-Tie Maxi Dress, also 100% rayon, available in S, M and L. ( And note how the lavender pops against the warm amber background; take a lesson!)

Sale on!

Whatever additions you’re thinking about this season, you can get them on sale with a little planning. Right now, Nordstrom’s half-season sale is on (until June 3), so get busy and enjoy free shipping, too.

The fast-fashion retailers have an increased number of sales since they have added additional ‘seasons’ to their offerings. Outlet shopping has given many brands the opportunity to reduce prices year-round as they introduce new merchandise. If you have a particular favorite brand, head to their outlet store for savings. Tucson Premium Outlets are a great resource!

Prints charming

While there are lots of dynamic prints to chose from this season, I was beguiled by the knot-front printed dress at Zara...with an open back, this midi is perfect for summer. ( )

Neiman Marcus has an assortment of spring and summer dresses under $300 in perfect prints and patterns. Take a look at the palm leaf sleeveless dress by Alice + Olivia, or Trina Turk’s Amado cold-shoulder mini, or the Joie high-low silk midi dress...and don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Macy’s has regular sales (and offers free merchandise pick-up when you order from their website) and right now, they have a wonderful selection of summer maxi-dresses in solids and prints. Check out the I.N.C. floral print maxi, created especially for Macy’s along with several other summer-worthy styles. Lots of gauzy beauties by Free People, too.

Plan an expedition

You will not find out what you can wear without trying things on! You may be pleasantly surprised to discover you look perky in polka dots, luscious in lavender or stunning in stripes --- but you WILL NOT find out unless you get into a dressing room and START TRYING THINGS ON.

A little planning can make this painless. You can do this. Really. Bring a friend -- an honest friend who will tell you what does and does not flatter. Wear the right undergarments for what you are seeking. You cannot find an evening gown wearing a tee shirt bra. If you are trying on bathing suits, wear tiny panties that won’t interfere with the line of the suits, and a simple sandal like a flip-flop(not sneakers and socks). You can stay in the fitting room while a sales person (or your friend) brings you things to try on and returns what you don’t want to the racks. If you suffer size angst, don’t look at the tags; when you get your new clothes home, you can cut the tags off and no one will be any the wiser. If you get tired and thirsty, bring a bottle of water and an energy bar. You are an adult now, and this is easy. Woman up!

About the Author:
Karen R. Smith is an award-winning journalist and publicist. Her book, "Stylishly Sexy" is available online and she takes private style clients throughout Arizona and across the country. Visit her at