by Naila Ruechel
Summer is the time to be casual, travel, and spend lots of time in the great outdoors. My number one advice for staying cool is staying fit! Exercise, good nutrition and staying hydrated are key to surviving summer’s brutally hot days, especially if you are working on 12 hour long production and shoot days. Whether in a studio or on location, lethargy is the enemy. Exercise is the number one way to keep your energy up. I run through the woods near my house and do strength training as well; while eating a protein rich diet with lots of salads and drinking plenty of water!
Fitness aside, fun hats and visors are must have accessories. Spray mists to keep you face cool and hydrated are really handy too. There are many options at the local apothecary, but I like to make my own with a variety of essential oils mixed in. I experiment with rose, geranium, lemon, peppermint, and eucalyptus.
Summer can pose some challenging, un-sexy issues on set too. Pitt stains! There, I said it. An inconvenient reality that I don’t worry about very much in real life, after all, they are natural. However, it can be a real hassle when they turn up in a photograph. Having your models wear cotton camisoles or t-shirts under the featured garments can help. This is not always possible when shooting lighter materials like silk and chiffon. Here’s the secret: Garment Guard disposable underarm shields.
During summertime, I choose simplicity and comfort over fussy clothing. Natural, breathable materials like cotton and linen really make a world of difference. Cotton, cool yet durable, really is the “fabric of our lives.”
I was recently in Paris and all the boutiques lining the streets of my neighborhood, Saint Germain des Prés, were filled with gorgeous white cotton blouses and dresses. Women glided around the streets in outfits that seemed to flow behind them in the gentlest breeze. They rode bikes in high heels or walked around in strappy leather sandals with effortless grace and elegance. It was all very romantic and heavenly.
Soft button-downs, sleeveless sundresses, and lightweight scarves and shawls are my “go-to’s.” Last summer I wore a lot of floral. This year I’ve opted for a decidedly more Gustavian color palate; tone on tone whites and grays, sage and a variety of muted blues. My uniform at the moment is a gunpowder and white, vertically striped, soft cotton button-down shirt, paired with light cotton or denim shorts. It is a great base that can be dressed down for a nautical beach feel or dressed up for a late summer supper at an outdoor bistro. It is a relaxed elegance that says CHIC but is comfortable and versatile.
See more of Naila's summer work below and on her website:
Words & Photography by Naila Ruechel