With the kids out of school and everyone needing a break, we piled into the car and headed to Hershey, Pennsylvania, the town built around a chocolate factory and home to HersheyPark. Crowded with people from all walks of life looking for a little R&R, the amusement park offered an interesting view of how people dress when they’re at their most casual – and how careless some can be when they think no one’s looking.

If you’ve scheduled some free time over the next few months, remember that just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you should leave good taste at home. On the contrary. With just a little attention to detail, you can stand out in the sea of sloppiness and enjoy better service and better manners as you visit your favorite hot spots.

Here are some things to remember as you dress for the heat of summer:

Wear Clothes That Fit

If your shape is obscured in an oversized t-shirt, or if your clothes are hard to get on, uncomfortable to wear, or leave indentation marks on your skin when you take them off, they don’t fit. Wearing clothes that are too big makes you look sloppy, just as wearing clothes that are too small makes you look heavy. Don’t do either. Instead, be as demanding as Goldilocks and look for clothes that fit “just right.”

Way too Big!
Way too big!

Appropriate Coverage

Dimpled thighs, saggy upper arms, bellies that spill over waistlines – there are just some things that weren’t meant for public consumption. If your goal is to be well-dressed, take a realistic inventory of your body to determine your best and worst features. Then, use your clothing to camouflage the trouble spots and direct attention to your best parts.

Invisible Undergarments

Bras and panties are meant to offer support and provide an extra layer between your body and your clothes. Yes, they can be pretty and sexy, but intimate apparel isn’t meant for public display. Start with pieces that fit correctly and then keep straps and bands out of sight. Wear flesh-colored styles under white (NOT white under white), and always check your rear in the mirror to look for panty lines (boy-cut styles eliminate panty lines).


White bra under white top
White undergarments show through; wear flesh-toned colors instead


Perspiration Control

Dark and light colors hide perspiration; just about every other color shows it easily. If you’ll be standing around for long hours in the heat at amusement parks, backyard barbecues, or reunion picnics, opt for color combos that hide the sweat. White reflects sun, but dirties easily; black absorbs sun, but hides dirt. Keep that in mind as you dress for hot days.

Grooming 101

The more skin you reveal, the more grooming you need to do. Before you slip into that swimsuit or slide into those flip flops, make sure you’ve exfoliated and moisturized your skin, removed hair from parts usually covered by clothes (thighs, bikini area), and partaken of a pedicure. Otherwise, people will notice.

Woman in need of pedicure
Get thee to a nail salon!

Lighten Up

If you’ll be out in the sun a lot, keep makeup to a minimum. Heavy makeup looks like a mask in the sunlight, and will run and clog pores in the heat. Go easy on the foundation and powders and save the dark colors (burgundy, dark brown) for fall; pastels shades (pink, orange, plum) better evoke the season. Also lighten up on the perfume. Heavy musk scents are okay for winter; lighter florals work better for summer.

Adjust Your Routines

Because skin and hair tend to produce more sebum (oil) in warm weather, you may need to adjust your skin and hair care routines for the new season, depending on your activities. If you swim a lot, chlorine can really take a toll on skin and hair — particularly if you color your hair. Look for shampoos that counteract the effects of chlorine, or ask you hair stylist for a recommendation. Let your hair air-dry more often in warm weather to keep blow-drying damage down. Also, if you like to wear your hair up, vary the styles to reduce strain caused by clips, bands, and pins.


Bad hair day
Warm weather can be
hard on skin and hair

So what’s the bottom line?

Just because we tend to slow down in summer is no reason to take time off from dressing well. You’re not invisible. People will still look at you. Whether you want them to just gloss over you because you look just like everyone else — or do a double-take because you obviously don’t — is up to you. “The devil is in the details,” as they say. Attend to those details and see what a difference it makes.

Need some more tips on dressing well for the season? Download a copy of OCCASION MAGIC:


To see how easy dressing well for various occasions can be.

Occasion Magic