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Top 5 summer items to maximize outdoor style and fun

About this article

This article was originally published in the May/June 2016 issue of M: North Atlanta magazine, a publication of the Forsyth County News. To read the entire magazine, click here.

There are a few things that come standard with the end of May. White pants, vacation planning, grilling and sun. While everyone may have their go-to checklist of outdoor accessories that make any activity complete, here are some reminders.

The items are simple and may seem obvious. But the key is finding the right variety that fits, both in how you look and how you feel.
Whether heading to a spontaneous day-trip on the water, hosting a dinner party in your backyard or simply relaxing outside with a good book, always be sure you have what you need.


With countless pairs on the racks, the best way to find your favorite sunglasses is to try a lot on until you see what you like. There are some who would try to match the shape of a person’s face to the best style, and you certainly can research that, but if you put a pair on, look in the mirror and feel confident, that’s the one for you.

I like to keep a larger pair for when I’m going to be around water a lot so more of my eyes and face is covered. Then I also have a smaller, nicer pair for less active, more stylish occasions.

Beach bag

Once you have all these accessories, your wallet/keys/phone and anything else you may want to bring for a day out in the sun, you definitely need somewhere to put it all.

My biggest rule for a beach or pool bag is that it doesn’t matter if it gets wet and can be wiped off easily if it gets sandy. It also needs to be big enough to fit my towel and other items so I can keep anything I don’t want in the sun cool and dry.

Summer hat

Again, there’re so many options to choose from, between big floppy hats to fedoras to caps and even to wraps.

A lot of department stores will have one-size-fits-all hats, which can work. However, you may want to try a boutique or even a hat store if you are particular about the fit on your head (I have a small head, so one-size hats usually fall right off of me).

Here’s one – maybe obvious – tip for finding a good summer hat. You don’t need just one. Maybe grab a floppy hat for the beach and a fedora for outdoor social functions.


Whether you’re hitting the pool or the beach, or even taking the kids to a pool party, a cover-up to wear over a bathing suit that is comfortable and easy to get in and out of is key.

I personally like having one because it’s all one piece that doesn’t get soggy or irritating if it gets wet and is easy to keep track of. As with sunglasses and hats, there are endless types to choose from. Opaque or transparent, short or long, lose or form-fitting, skirt and dresses or shorts and pants, it all depends on what you like.

Tip: You don’t need to spend a ton of money on a cover-up, since that’s all it needs to do, and it will probably be thrown in the sand or splashed with water.

Lotion with sunscreen

I’m a big fan of lotion, especially when the summer sun can dry out your skin. Keep a travel bottle in your brand new beach bag to always have some on hand.

Bigger bottles to keep at home can include after-sun aloe lotion. Sunburns can be soothed with aloe vera gel, but there are also moisturizers that have the plant’s extract in them. This way, you get the benefits of a lotion and the soothing nature of aloe. Aloe lotions usually also come in summertime scents.

If you’re planning on being outside a lot this summer, look for a daily moisturizer that also has sunscreen in it. They come in face lotion, Chapstick and body lotion and can help protect your skin even when you’re not poolside or at the beach.