From bangles to bucket bags, fedoras to flatforms, it's time to pack it all in and escape — even if it's to your own backyard or the little outdoor cafe down the street. Lighten up your wardrobe and lighten up your attitude. Here are 10 hot picks to chill out in this summer:
—Bangle and jangle. Skip the heavy, clunky cuffs, and arm yourself with a few slivers of your favorite gold or silver bangles, or rock them in leather. Layer on these little bracelets in multiples — the more the better. Mix your metals and your gemstones. Add your favorite charms (I love to find these at vintage flea markets) and you've got the latest fashion jingle.
—Boaters up. Hats are always a favorite summer fashion accessory — and often a necessity if you spend hours in the sun. Big floppy-brimmed hats may do a great job of shading your face, but snappy straw fedoras are another way to jazz it up in the sun and protect your skin from harmful UV rays.
—Tote it. We all seem to have more "stuff" to keep up with in the summer, so when it comes to stashing it all, a great tote bag is essential. This season, there are plenty of ways to load up the beach towels and the sunscreen. From satchels in artsy prints to bucket bags in lightweight leathers to straw tote bags, bigger is better when you've got a lot to stow away. If you're just swinging into town for dinner, then switch to smaller "pouch" cross-body bags; the newest are trimmed with fringe.
—Get the specs. Sunglasses are a year-round accessory now, but in the summer, they are a daily staple, so why not make them a fashion statement? They're probably one of the fastest ways to change your image. Colored mirrored lenses in retro aviator styles are the way to go this summer if you want the latest lenses. Cat-eyes, anyone? Round frames are also trending. And remember: You may want to skip the cheapies when it comes to sunglasses. Invest in a pair of good ones that have 100 percent UVB and UVA protection. Your eyes will thank you for it.
—Slip slide away. Give your feet a breather this summer and slip into some snazzy sandals. Flip-flops may be de rigueur for some of us in the summer, but it's time to take it up a notch. Try a pair of sturdy flatforms (the hottest new wedge), crisscross slides or strappy gladiator sandals.
—Go to the maxi. Whether it's a long "shirtdress" layered over shorts and a tank top or a filmy sheer caftan worn over swim separates or a pullover knit sundress, the long maxi is a wardrobe winner this summer. In all its many variations, this dress is a fashion-forward option for a host of warm-weather occasions, from parties by the pool to cover-ups at the beach.
—Lace up the shorts. Yes, we're talking about wearing lace shorts. Jean shorts are still a summer favorite, especially if they are on the distressed side, and rompers are all the rage, but if you really want to dress up and show off your legs this summer, try pulling on a pair of lacy shorts — lined, of course.
—Whiten up. Think your little black dress is just a little too dark to soak up all that summer fun? Then think the little white dress. In form-fitting sheath styles or flattering A-lines, the LWD is the perfect backdrop for colorful accessories — even ones in black.
—Scarf it up. Oversize silk or cotton scarves are one of summer's must-haves. These versatile accessories are easy to pack and easy to wear — as a sexy sarong cover-up or as a head wrap on sunny days or layered over bare shoulders on a chilly night. Pick one up in your favorite color or bold print to give your summer basics a stylish update.
—Pull off palazzos. Wide-leg pants are big hits this summer, giving us all an easy breezy option when we want to get out of the skinny jeans and capris. Try them in geometric and floral prints for even more knockout style. Team them with crop tops or layered tanks and dress them up or down. Now all you need are a few bangles to pull off some great summertime flair.
To find out more about Sharon Mosley and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.