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Summer is fast approaching, and with warm weather and no classes comes a new focus on fashion. Indeed, this is the perfect time to experiment with your own fashion sense, and get a better understanding of what trends, fits, and colors suit you. Although we’re excited to get started with this time of year, we wanted to warn you all to avoid some of the pitfalls that can keep you from feeling the full warmth of summer.

1. Be careful with light colors. What looked good on you in black might not look the same in white. Light colors make you look bigger, and can be see through when stretched across the body. So, when choosing white or light colored garments, be sure to choose form-fitting layers underneath that will show your summery self off in the best way possible.

2. Look for sheer fabrics. Sheer is very big this spring and summer. This year, it’s more about covering the skin subtly than blatantly trying to reveal it. Try to invest in tops and dresses that are chiffon and have subtle sheer details (sheer sleeves, transparent fronted dresses, etc.). Guys, this works for you as well. Light fabrics make it possible to be cool while still wearing staples like collared shirts. Just remember, thin fabrics don’t have to be low quality fabrics — to check this, pull on the seams and the fabric to make sure they have some give, and check carefully for imperfections in the store.

3. Find swimwear that suits your body. What looks good on you is what makes you feel comfortable. Girls, don’t be afraid of one pieces or tankini’s as long as they are figure flattering. Two pieces are not always the best choice, since even the cutest bikini can’t outshine a bad fit or an exposed flaw. Guys, find the right length for your leg. Tall guys should look for longer leg lengths, to balance out their proportions, while shorter guys can accentuate legs with shorter lengths.

4. Show only your best skin. Take care of your skin. Make sure you use sunscreen when you are outside for extended amounts of time, since no one likes peeling and burnt skin. Accentuate areas that you’re confident about. Be particularly careful with un-toned shoulders and arms. Just because you can’t see them in the mirror doesn’t mean other people can’t. When in doubt, go for cap sleeved shirts with other, interesting details. Choose the right length for shorts for your leg, and be careful with tight Bermudas or other in-between lengths, since they can often reveal the worst of your legs.

5. Accessories are key. This season is all about bold, bright colors to contrast your neutrals. From hot pink pumps to patterned outfits, it’s all about the colors you choose to wear. Do make sure you have at least one neutral purse. Guys, remember that summer is the best time to experiment with beachy jewelry and sunglasses, so go ahead and try on accessories you hadn’t considered. You might be surprised.

6. Focus on health and posture. When you’re showing skin, your health matters. Try easy workouts. Walk or bike every where. Swimming is a great full body toning exercise. Just going to the beach is exercise if you walk in the sand. Since the weather will be nice, it is best to walk to places as well. Also, summer is a good time to learn to keep your shoulders back, since they show through light fabrics. But most importantly, wear sunscreen. If you want a tan, use a lotion like Jergen’s Natural Glow. However, if you choose to use self tanner, make sure it is applied correctly and evenly. If you find yourself with a smear of color that you hadn’t intended on, use lemon juice to smooth out the color.

7. Embrace colors and layer. Experiment with both colors and lack thereof. It is best to mix colors with neutrals. Don’t wear heavy colors like royal purple, hunter green, or navy blue and instead choose hot pink, orange, or yellow. Pair them up with white, khaki, or cream bottoms.

8. Remember summer won’t last forever. Invest money only in pieces that cover many seasons. Guys, look for light sweaters, polos, and T-shirts that wouldn’t look out of place in the fall. Girls, try Polos, cardigans, versatile skirts and dresses, and neutral accessories. Get the bright, flowy miniskirt at a cheaper store. Also, remember that just because it’s summer doesn’t mean it’ll always be warm. Nights and rainy days can get cold, so remember to look for versatile sweaters and hoodies to complement your tanktops and shorts.

With these tips in mind, you can’t go wrong this summer. So, take this opportunity to focus a little bit more on yourself, feel great, and make those life changes that MIT never allowed you to make. And remember, sometimes all you need is just some time spent getting back in touch with yourself, and what better way to do that than through fashion. As this semester comes to a close, this will be our last column at Figuring Out Fashion, but we have loved sharing our thoughts and plans with you this term. We hope that you’ll take some of our advice to heart and that you remember to value your own health and happiness during this summer and beyond. Good luck.