what to where: poolside style

Friends, it is my most fervent hope that, whatever stresses and calendar obligations might befall you this summer, you have at least one day blocked off to do…absolutely nothing. And ideally, you’ll be doing all that nothing poolside, with a cocktail in hand (or at least a glass of wine). poolside style

I’m a latecomer to this fine art of il dolce far niente – in truth, I was never much for relaxing of any kind until Mr. SMC came along and showed me how it’s done. But as a new convert, I can honestly say that few things recharge a person like spending a day lounging on a chaise, with no obligations in sight beyond napping, reading and occasionally plunging into a perfectly-temp’ed (and, in my fantasy world, child-free) swimming pool.

Plus, how many excuses in life do you get to wear a caftan? Not nearly enough, in my book. pool-style My picks for a flawlessly stylish day of niente? I’m so glad you asked.

  • No surprise that L.L. Bean makes the best beach tote in the biz, but this new leather-handled version takes the cake. It’s small enough to double as a market bag or even an everyday tote, and it’s made of the craziest malleable canvas that stands up straight instead of falling over and spilling its contents under your lounge chair. Genius, I tell you.
  • I know it’s not very fashion-y of me to admit this, but I am so much less stressed when I take cheap sunglasses to the pool. They can drop on the concrete, get covered in sunscreen or piña colada, and I just don’t care. This season, I stocked up on several pairs from ICU Eyewear, and have been frankly amazed at the quality-to-price ratio.
  • Sure, if you’re at a resort, they’ll have towels handled. But if you’re slumming it at the rec center or your condo’s clubhouse pool, you’ll need to BYOT. This turkish cotton is undoubtedly the more sophisticated choice, but I confess to being utterly in love with these slightly more colorful versions from The New Yorker.
  • Try though I might, I’ve never been able to pull off those glamorously oversized straw sun hats, but this classic Panama hat from Black perfectly manages that nonchalant thing I’m after (and can also be worn in myriad other circumstances). Size up, so you can tuck your hair underneath when things get messy.
  • I shall continue to harp on SPF until each and every one of you assures me you’re lathering it on liberally. Gwyneth endorsement notwithstanding, this Supergoop spray is my favorite because it smells nice, is easy to apply, and is strong enough to actually do some good.
  • Small-busted girls are going to adore this sweetly sexy (yes, it’s possible) one-piece suit from those swim geniuses at Eberjey. If you’re on the more-endowed side of things, my favorites are still from Seafolly, and I invariably find the best selection from my friends at Popina in Portland (bonus: no sales tax!).
  • I’ve had a serious poncho-phobia for years, but this light linen version (also from Black) has me singing a whole new song. Perfect to cover up sensitive shoulders while lounging, it’s also remarkably chic with white jeans for dinner.
  • And speaking of overcoming fashion fears, I’m not sure whether I’ve conquered this one or just stopped caring, but it would not be an exaggeration to say that just about every single morning, I get up and try to convince myself it would be okay to wear this Emerson Fry caftan all day long.

If you need one final push to take the plunge (ahem), my friends at Black.co.uk – who, frankly, have enough glamorous beach-ready goods to fill this entire guide – are celebrating their 8th birthday with 25% off sitewide through 7.28 (no code needed).

So, tell me friends: what summer lounging plans do you have in store?

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