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Ask Avery: Day and night

Photo courtesy of Flickr / Michael Benatar

blog by Avery Hartmans  • 

Dear Avery,
I was invited to spend the day at a friend’s beach house next weekend which should be really fun. We plan on hanging out by the water all day then going out at night, but I probably won’t have a lot of time to get ready before we go out to dinner and whatever comes after that. What can I wear that will take me from the daytime to the nighttime without much hassle?
Thanks!
Kate

Taking advantage of friends with beach houses is just one of the many perks of lakeside living. But finding an outfit that looks casual enough for a day in the sand and dressy enough for a night out can be tough. You don’t want to be that girl trying to maneuver the dunes in four-inch wedges, but you also don’t want sand flying everywhere when you’re trying to shake it on the dance floor.

The integral part of this whole operation is, of course, the bikini. The right bikini can easily be incorporated into your outfit, giving you that California surfer chick look that beach-goers everywhere strive for. Choose a bikini that is flattering and keeps all the important parts covered, but one that can easily work as a base layer for your evening ensemble.

Top pick:
Victoria’s Secret, $55

Once you have your bikini, you can work on your daytime outfit. Your beach look should be relatively simple, especially since you really won’t be wearing clothes for most of the day. A white tank with denim cutoff shorts is my personal favorite beach look: it’s casual, summer-y and simple, and just so happens to show off your tan to its best advantage. But don’t confuse “simple” with “boring” — mix up your look with salmon-colored high-waisted cutoffs instead of classic blue jeans and a white tank with an asymmetrical hem. Throw on some metallic flip flops, shades and a big tote bag and you’re ready to hit the beach.

 
 

Top picks:
Button Down Tank, Asos $43.49
Overdyed Cutoff Short, Urban Outfitters $44
Capri Sandals, Old Navy $14.94
D&G Square Sunglasses, Lord & Taylor $135
Studded Tote, Forever 21 $32.80


Despite what I may have said in the past about colored denim, I have finally come around and embraced candy-colored jeans and shorts as an acceptable form of pants. So wear your mint skinnies with abandon like those girls on your Pinterest board and bust out those purple South Pole jeans you picked up on a particularly depressing trip to Marshall’s. I give you my blessing.

On that note, when it comes time to do a quick change for an evening out, colored jeans are the way to go. Keep your white tank and bikini top, swap your cutoffs for bright skinny jeans in a similarly warm hue, throw on a pair of statement earring and exchange your flops for a pair of patterned wedges. I’ve been seeing these Steve Madden sandals everywhere and frankly, I’m pretty thrilled I’ve found something to pair them with. Clearly it doesn’t take much to get me excited.

 
 

Top picks:
Mid-weight legging jeans, Gap $69.95
Winonna Wedge Sandals, Macy’s $69.30
Sparkling Feather Earrings, Forever 21 $5.80


Avery,
How do you French braid? I’m sure it’s probably pretty easy but I can’t figure it out.

Lucky for me, my mother is a master French braider, so my hair was tightly braided for the majority of my childhood. But once I got way too old to ask my mom to do my hair for me before lacrosse games or on bad hair days, I had to teach myself the secret of the French braid. It is pretty easy, but it might take a while to get the hang of it.

A single French braid down your back a la Katniss Everdeen is the easiest to learn, and once you’ve mastered that, you can move on to more complicated stuff. To start, comb out your hair so it’s tangle free and find an elastic to secure your braid with. It also helps if your hair is a little damp or not quite perfectly clean — freshly washed hair can be too slippery to braid.

Gather a small section in the center of the front of your head and divide it into three equal parts. Braid those first three piece once as your normally would, crossing them on top of one another. Before braiding the first piece in again, however, add in some of the hair near the front of your head and braid the piece in as usual, crossing it over top of the other two pieces. Continue doing this with the other two sections: add in some of the hair you left down in small chunks so that the braid is anchored to your head.

An important thing to remember when French braiding is to pull tightly after braiding in a piece of hair. You can always loosen the braid later so it looks a little messy, but if your braid is too loose, it will end up falling out. You also want to grab equal chunks of hair every time so that all three sections are an equal width. This will come in handy at the end of the braid when you hit the base of your head: once you run out of hair to add in, continue to braid down your back as you normally would. If one of the sections is smaller than the others, your braid will look lopsided and you’ll have to tie the elastic in higher up on the braid.

Once you’ve mastered the technique of adding in hair as you go, you can try more complex things like inside-out French braids (instead of crossing the sections on top of each other, you cross them underneath each other) or sideways braids (braiding across your head at an angle). And if you look online, there are tons of video tutorials that will teach you how to create some really fancy styles. Happy braiding!


Photo courtesy of Flickr / Michael Benatar.

TAGGED: bathing suits, beaches, bikinis, nightlife, sandals

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