Every year, Ali Babe looks forward to Jazz on the Green.
She lives near Midtown Crossing, and she welcomes the chance to listen to the music, meet up with friends and check out the vendors that set up shop on the edge of Turner Park.
She also welcomes the chance to put together a fantastic summer outfit.
Babe, a production assistant for Omaha Fashion Week, aims for a look that's cool on a hot July night, that's comfortable enough to walk around and sit down in, but that's a bit more interesting than the ubiquitous shorts-and-T-shirt look.
With a bit of strategic shopping, she says, it's not too difficult — or too costly.
Babe recommends focusing on accessories: say, a pair of strappy sandals with a pop of color, a skinny belt, a pretty scarf, an oversized hat to provide a bit of shade, a great pair of sunglasses.
Pair a few of those things with a simple cotton maxi dress, a pair of printed leggings and a tunic or even a pair of shorts and a tank top, and you're set.
“You don't really have to do much to spice up an outfit,” she said.
Sofia Wacksman, vice president of trend and color for Kohl's Department Stores, said in an email that the “festival look” was back this summer. She recommended combining graphic tees, gladiator sandals and mismatched bracelets to achieve a look that's both laid-back and on-trend.
Emma Headley, manager of the Dundee resale shop Scout Dry Goods, recommended opting for cool, natural fabrics such as cotton or linen on hot summer nights. Sundresses — bright, printed ones are big this season — are always a good bet, she said. If it's windy (or if the dress is short), she suggested throwing on a pair of shorts underneath.
To update the more casual shorts-and-tank top look, Headley suggests swapping low-rise cutoffs for a pair of high-waisted shorts and trading in a basic tank or tee for a crop top.
“It's a new rendition on it,” she said, “or a '90s take on it.”
Headley's also big on accessories: layered necklaces, platform sandals or canvas sneakers — and a sweater for when it cools off after the sun goes down.
Scout's mobile store, Lil Scoutie, often makes the rounds at music festivals and other summer events (though it won't be heading to Jazz on the Green this year), and sweaters are always popular, particularly later in the day, Headley said. So are sunglasses — popular ones this season include oversized angular and cat-eyed versions that harken back to the 1960s — and graphic or vintage T-shirts that stand out a bit.
Her other recommendation: a big floppy hat, which she said “will assist with your wardrobe and with being stuck in the sun.”
Stylist Meghann Schense also recommends hats for about any summer activity, as well as a pretty tote bag to hold bottled water, sunscreen, a blanket and maybe some snacks.
For those who are too timid or too thrifty to splurge on printed leggings, a bold scarf for a midriff-baring crop top, Schense suggests adding a little color with one of the bright nail or lip colors that are popular this summer. Pale blue, mint green, peach, navy and neon nails add some interest to any outfit, as does a coral or hot pink lipstick.
Babe suggests, at the very least, swapping out plain flip-flops for a pair of flat strappy sandals.
Until this summer, Babe lived in her flip-flops when the weather was nice. Then she bought some strappy sandals and she noticed that suddenly, even leggings looked a little less casual. Now, she pairs a scarf and sandals with even the most basic elements and always feels more put together — something inspired in part by working for Omaha Fashion Week.
“If you're going to work in the fashion world, you should probably know what you're talking about,” she said.