The beach bus. For a dollar both ways, we could go to Seal Beach and back from Covina. This was serious business for me as a thirteen year old. You never knew who you could meet at the beach.
My necessities were a tuna sandwich probably made by my aunt and the requisite fare. I arrived at the park ready to meet my entourage-my six girl cousins and my aunt. The oldest, my cousin Sharon, had a more than passing resemblance to Cindy Crawford. Depending on the day I was either happy to bask in her glory or shrink from it. I had to step up my game. I didn’t understand grunge and couldn’t quite get the early 90’s hip-hop look down. I wasn’t quite sure what I was. I took some green leather sandals with fishes embellished on the top from my mom’s closet. She never wore them. I was entranced.
When we got to the beach, I walked to a corner liquor store where I bought the latest Vogue magazine. My ritual was to get to the beach, get the Vogue and read it all day. Maybe go in the water once just for show.
It was June 1993 and this was the Vogue cover:
What made me so happy looking at Naomi Campbell in all her summertime glory? Her simple white crop top, no fuss hair, pure white teeth and quietly rosy make-up made me want to stay in summer all the time.
White historically symbolizes purity, not just the virginal kind but a palate kind of cleansing purity. Something about the summer-the sun, it is just as purifying as spring rain.
There is nothing like being a young girl delusional with dreams and the summer. Fashion is fantasy of style and it can send you somewhere.
The Vogue cover from that summer reminded me of the smell of Christian Dior Dune perfume and the ad campaigns from the same year evoking the same clean summer feeling.
Of course, 90’s minimalism does not mean devoid of color. An editorial inside that same edition featuring the mischievous Drew Barrymore is just as delicious- a potentially vintage look is grounded with tousled hair and a simple but strong red lip and those 90’s staples: the heeled mary jane.
Minimalism also doesn’t always have to mean lack of detail. Valentino S/S 2013 is summer incarnate: delicate feminine, while still bringing to mind what I loved about the summer of 1993 clean white, bright. Details abound with a laser-cut cotton floral dress and see-through clutch purse. This is today’s minimalism-rich in detail, clean in design.
Another minimalist era is inspiring me for the summer. The 60’s. I’m a latebloomer and have just recently discovered Mad Men, where one of the Season Two episodes talks about Rothko. Muted tones including white abound in this era, but juicy shots of color appear, especially in the artworld.
Mark Rothko’s Orange, Red, Yellow, 1961 is a whole world of red an orange you can get lost in.
Of course, Valentino and Rothko do not sale at minimalist price points. You can find inspiration from your childhood summer memories, from art and from the world around you. I found a bit of the Rothko (and summer popsicles) on my friend Erin the other day. This is a top she got from either Nordstrom Rack or Marshall’s two of my favorite places to find style heavy budget friendly clothes.
For women, “getting ready for the summer” has turned into an anxiety filled ritual of losing weight, spray tanning and buying a whole new wardrobe. Relax into the season by choosing pieces that evoke those powerful, cherished childhood memories of lazy summers, dreams of glamour and the hot reds oranges and pure whites which are the staples of the season.