It doesn’t matter how active you are over the summer, I mean let’s face it we all take our foot off the pedal during the summer months what with holidays and festivals and the like, there are certain summer essentials that every active woman needs in her wardrobe. Items that are both suitable for exercising in the heat and lazing around the pool, plus they look lovely too. With that in mind, I have put together my top 10 summer essentials that I simply couldn’t get through the summer without. Let’s take a look!
1. A Well Fitting Swimming Costume
I am by no means a swimmer. I can swim. But I’m one of those people that swims with their head stretched as far back out of the water as possible for fear of water getting in my eyes and I get by with a mixture of breaststroke and doggy paddle. Like I say, I can swim, it just ain’t pretty. I do still wear bikinis, but in general I prefer to cover up a bit more with a swimsuit. Plus, if I am ‘swimming’ I want to be safe in the knowledge that all my lady parts are gonna stay where they’re meant to be without any risk of them popping out to say hello when I emerge from the pool.
Now, you might be looking at the photo at the beginning of this article and thinking, there’s no way that swimsuit’s gonna keep things contained. For starters it’s only got one strap and there are way too many cut out bits to hold stuff in. Not gonna lie, I thought that too at first. But what prompted me to choose this particular swimsuit when adidas said I could choose some things from their website (adidas blogger perks whoop whoop!) was the fact it looks a bit sexy. I am so fed up of women’s swimsuits being all about hiding our bodies away. The belief that swimsuits are somehow less sexy than bikinis. That they’re the practical option for the older lady. Rubbish. Any woman can wear anything she likes, no matter what her age or size. My body, my business I say.
This swimsuit to me, is the perfect in between. It looks incredible, even if I do say so myself (the backdrop of a beach in Zanzibar helps I grant you, but still I think I look pretty fine!), but it is also way more practical than it looks. The strapless part of the top is held up with strong elasticated grip that fits snugly to the body. And let me tell you, that bad boy was going nowhere. Not once did I feel as though my girls were gonna sneak out. It’s super comfy, super supportive, super sexy, and the tan lines are pretty spectacular too. Literally my dream swimsuit.
2. A Sun Protective Hat
If you’re exercising outside during the summer, a hat is an absolute must. And it doesn’t matter whether the sun’s shining or the rain’s lashing down, either way a hat is going to serve you well. As a runner, I wouldn’t be without my adidas baseball cap. It keeps the sun out of my eyes and it also stops the rain getting in my eyes and playing havoc with my contact lenses when I’m running. But what I love more than anything else about wearing a hat, is that I can literally get up in the morning, shove my hair up in a messy bun or ponytail, pop a hat on and no one would know how rubbish my hair’s looking. It makes getting out there just that little bit easier and quicker.
I also wore this hat loads on my recent safari holiday in Tanzania. And thanks to the adjustable strap at the back I was able to make sure it fitted securely to my smaller than average sized head, meaning there was no risk of it blowing off into the Serengeti as we hot footed it in the open-top van to go and find a rhino – which we did (3 of them!!). 100% a summer essential that every active woman needs.
3. A Supportive Sports Bra
One of the most important bits of kit that you can own as an active woman is a well-fitting supportive sports bra. It is super important that your boobs are supported in the best way possible when you exercise, so that you’re comfortable and so that you don’t risk hurting yourself in some way. The design of sports bras can vary a lot and the one you choose will depend on your size, what exercise you’re doing, as well as the comfort level you’re after. Some bras will come with padding that’s either sewn into the bra itself or that can be removed from a gap in the side. As a general rule of thumb, padded bras offer better support and give an overall better shape appearance than unpadded bras. Other features to look out for in a good quality sports bra include adjustable straps and moisture wicking fabric. You should also think about whether you want a pull over the head bra, or one that fastens with hooks and eyes around the back. It’s all pretty much personal choice and the best piece of advice I can give you is to order a load, try them on, and return the ones you don’t want. Trying on is an absolute necessity when it comes to finding a good sports bra, so don’t just buy one on a whim and think that will do, because it won’t. Your boobs will thank you for it, trust me.
4. A Pair Of Comfy Trainers
I love trainers. Absolutely love them. So a pair (or two!) of versatile, stylish, practical trainers for women is definitely worthy of a place on my summer essentials list. In the summer I want trainers that look equally great with a cute dress as they do on a tennis court or in a hotel gym. And for me that means white trainers. Now, I’ve done a whole other post on white adidas trainers, I love them that much. And you might be thinking that surely a white trainer is a white trainer, what difference can there really be, but it’s all in the details. I now own multiple pairs of white trainers (my husband would say too many, but can a girl ever have too many white trainers, I think not!) ranging from completely white, or white with black stripes, silver stripes, or red stripes, canvas white, leather white, all of them have their distinct details. They all go brilliantly with my swishy summer maxi dresses and I’m happy popping them on for a dog walk, or wearing with shorts and a vest for a day at the beach or in the garden. Versatile is the word here.
Now, I’m going to be honest, I wouldn’t usually choose black trainers, but these ones caught my eye. You see, I think they’ve got a lot of things going for them. They’re classic looking for starters, which means I can pair them with a black jumpsuit, accessorize myself up and I’m good for the evening. On top of that they are also really soft and flexible. This means not only are they incredibly comfortable to wear, but they have the flexibility to move with my feet making them a great option for a longer dog walk and can even cope if I have to break out in a run (sometimes my dog likes to chase squirrels!). So I’ve figured out that actually when it comes to trainers as my summer essentials, I want both a white pair and a black pair to make sure I’ve got all bases covered.
What I will say is depending on your activity levels, you will need a more beefy shoe if you’re running or hiking long distance over tricky terrain. You need a much more technical shoe for these activities, ones that are fit for the job and that fully support your feet. I’m writing a post about my favourite ever hiking trainers soon so keep an eye out for that as I am talking about walking lots of miles in them with zero blisters – they are the best!
5. A Bottle (Or Two) Of Sun Lotion
OK, so not a wardrobe staple per se, but a summer essential nonetheless. I know this is England, and I know for the most part our summer has consisted of a lot of rain, but when that bright yellow thing in the sky does make an appearance it’s really important we whack on the factor 50. In fact, if you’re active in the hot weather, it’s even more important to keep slathering on the sun lotion, as it’s likely we’ll be sweating more and therefore reducing the effectiveness of the lotion we’ve already applied.
Regularly applying sun lotion not only helps to reduce the risk of skin cancer, which is the most important thing, but it also reduces the likelihood of you developing age spots and wrinkly skin – well it will hold it off for a bit longer anyway. So it’s really worthwhile taking a moment to lotion yourself up before heading out in the sunshine. Or even on those cloudy days for that matter, sometimes they can be the days when you risk getting burned the most. If in doubt, cream it out I say.
6. A Pair Of Stretchy Shorts
I’ve never been much of a shorts to exercise in kind of girl. I’ll wear 3/4 lengths sure, but anything above the knee and I’m a bit like hmm no I’ll give it a miss ta. I think it’s to do with the fact that I’m not overly happy with how my legs look. I give it the whole oh yeah I’m totally fine with my body thing, and for the most part I am, but I still have a bit of a love hate relationship with my legs. And the thought of exposing them and allowing them to wobble freely when I exercise, especially in front of people I know, well let’s just say I haven’t totally made my peace with them yet.
I ordered this pair of adidas short leggings with a degree of trepidation, but also with the view that this was kind of a compromise. They were shorts but they were also called leggings, somehow my brain could handle this. And you know what.. I am totally feeling them. They’re high-waisted. They don’t ride up. They don’t fall down. They’re comfortable. All requirements I need from something I’m going to run in. And even more so in the heat, when you’re already feeling a bit uncomfortable and tugging at your clothes because they’re sticking to your body more than you’re used to. One of my new summer essentials, but one that is going to be featuring a lot in future summers!
7. A Sweat Soaking Neck Buff
You’d be forgiven for thinking that a neck buff was something you’d only wear in the colder weather, but that’s really not the case. Neck buffs, neck gaiters, snoods, whatever you want to call them are perfect summer essentials for active women, and I’ll tell you why. Firstly, they are amazing for wiping sweat from your brow. Secondly, they protect your neck from the sun. And thirdly, and possibly most grossly, they are a handy substitute for a tissue. Yes, I know it’s grim, but I can’t be the only person who does this. You’re out on a run, you need to blow your nose (the hayfever is real!) and when you’ve got a neck buff on you can simply stretch it up, wipe your nose, fold it up a bit when you put it back, and all while still running. Of course you wash it afterwards, and you’re not going to want to do a full on nose blast in there, but for the odd wipe here and there, it is ideal. Look out for ones made using fabrics that have been tested for UV protection.
8. A Pair Of Pool Sliders
Pool sliders have rapidly become my summertime slippers. These ones in particular are lovely and cushioned and feel a bit like walking on a cloud they’re that comfortable. Like most of the items on my summer essentials list, I love how versatile they are. Just look at this:
- Home – Great for pottering about in, especially if like me you love the freedom of being bare foot, but your house is undergoing major renovations and heaven knows what nail/screw/floorboard splinter (delete as appropriate) you might stand on next.
- Poolside – Well they are pool sliders after all! Wear them to and from your local swimming pool – way easier than trying to cram your slightly damp feet into socks and trainers. Wear them when you’re going from sunbed to pool and back again – those floor tiles can get sooooo hot in the midday sun. Wear them in the sea if you’re worried about stepping on rocks or seaweed. Basically, these were made for the summer.
- After Gym – You’ve done a workout, you’re hot and sweaty, but haven’t got time for a shower at the gym. Taking your socks and trainers off and slipping them into a pair of sliders will instantly make you feel better.
- Garden – I mean what can I say, I’m a middle aged woman, wearing sliders to do the gardening is pretty much my life now. Just be careful of that mower!
- Anywhen – I remember a time, and I’m talking years back, when wearing sliders would have been the most uncool thing ever. These days however, they are totally the thing to wear. Especially with socks. Both my teens regularly wear black sliders with white socks pulled up as far as they’ll go and tell me that apparently that’s the fashion. I mean, who am I to question. Sliders can be worn anywhere and everywhere, so to not be included in my summer essentials list would be an absolute crime against fashion.
9. A Pair Of Polarized Lens Sunglasses
We should all be wearing sunglasses to protect the health of our eyes when we spend time outdoors and it’s sunny. When you’re exercising outside you need to make sure the sunglasses you choose are up to the job. A fashionable pair of aviators will do the job to some extent, but you’ll soon realise that the sunglasses you wear when exercising have a whole unique set of requirements that your poolside sunnies simply can’t live up to.
Polarized lenses are a great choice, as they can help you see better by cutting down the glare from things like glass buildings, cars, lakes, road surfaces etc. This not only helps to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays, but it should also reduce your risk of tripping over things or having an accident because you can actually see! Runners and cyclists also benefit from wraparound style sunglasses, as these shade the eyes at the side as well as the front and fit more snugly to the face. Which in terms of sun protection means that the eyelids and skin around the eyes are way more protected from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
10. A Loose Fitting T-Shirt Dress
I cannot even begin to describe how useful a t-shirt dress is. Pair it with white trainers and a cross body bag and you’ve got yourself a classic summer day outfit. Take it with you to the beach and not only do you have a cover up for when the sun’s rays get a bit too hot, but you can also change out of a swimsuit and back into your underwear without giving the locals an eyeful. And let me tell you, when your teenage daughter’s luggage gets lost for the second time during a 2 week holiday and she needs to borrow something to sleep in, it makes the perfect nightdress. OK so that last one is a bit niche, but it happened, and this dress literally saved us!
Everyone needs a loose fitting t-shirt dress in their wardrobes. It’s one of those summer essentials that outlasts any fashion trends. It does what you want it to, no frills, and is probably one of the most comfiest items of clothing you’ll ever have the pleasure of wearing. If you don’t own one, get one.
I’m sure I’m not alone when it comes to buying a few new pieces to wear each summer. I mean any excuse to buy something new, right!?! However, there are some things that stand the test of time that I simply could not be without when the summer months come round again. These 10 items make my summer essentials list because they are practical, versatile, durable, and they look cool too. But more than anything it’s because they make being active in the summer way easier. And we all know that when things are easier, we’re way more likely to stick with it. It would be all too easy to throw in the towel and say, nope it’s too hot I’m not going running tonight. When you’ve got a stretchy pair of shorts, a decent sports bra, a sweat soaking neck buff, and a pair of polarized sunglasses though you’re pretty much halfway out the door already and that is a key component to staying active in the summer!
*Products gifted by adidas as part of their adidas blogger campaign.