Summertime and the livin’ is easy, especially if you happen to be the subject of a Slim Aarons photograph. No one does summer quite like the ultra rich and stylish people captured by the American photographer in the years following the second world war. It was the Golden Age of travel, of Hollywood and of commercialism. There was an optimism in post war life: the worst was over, the economy was booming, and families had the time and money for leisure. Nowhere was this new sense of optimistic freedom more apparent than in the exclusive settings accessed by Aarons and his camera.

Slim Aarons began his post war career working at magazines such as Life and Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Holiday, and Town & Country. He shot “Attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places” as an antidote to the horrors he had witnessed as a combat photographer overseas. While working for editor Frank Zachary, Aarons was introduced to a style called “environmental photography”, which focused on taking pictures of subjects in their natural habitat with natural lighting and in their own clothes and makeup. It would be a style of photography that he would continue using for the rest of his career and it would become the very key to the success of his images. Aarons shot his subjects where they were most comfortable and with very little to do, he carried only one camera, a light meter, some lenses and had a single female assistant.

Slim Aarons gained access to the rarefied upper echelon of society, to socialites, starlets, and even to royals such as Prince Philip, by building their trust in him. He made them look good and they knew it. He was liked by everyone he photographed, so much so that after meeting Aarons, Alfred Hitchcock made Jimmy Stewart’s character in Rear Window a photographer and took inspiration from the apartment Slim kept in New York. In fact, Slim Aarons was often called the “Jimmy Stewart of photography” for the low maintenance approach he took to creating his stunning images.

Today, Aarons still provides inspiration for interior and fashion designers alike. Gone are the days of photographers who travel the world documenting the lifestyles of the rich and famous, but hey, we can still dream of sun soaked afternoons spent lounging, cocktail in hand, poolside at the Hotel Punta Tragara. Not to worry if your budget is a little more Capri Sun than it is Capri, Italy, you can still live your best life right in the comfort of your own backyard. I’ve pulled together a few must-haves to get you started and it is my happy duty to inform you that, due in no small part to my procrastination in writing this post, most of these items are now on sale! Let’s get started, shall we?

1. Sunbrella® Canvas Buttercup 20” Square Outdoor Pillow

This bright cushion is a lovely sunny accent for your backyard chaise and the Sunbrella® fabric is made to withstand fading and can easily be wiped clean.

2. Easy Bean Everest Chair in Flame

Summer lounging at its best, imagine curling up in this luxury bean bag chair with a good book on a sunny afternoon. Also upholstered in weather resistant Sunbrella® fabric. Now, can someone give me a hand getting out of this thing, please?

3. Beaded Floral Maxi Skirt

A swingy classic floral maxi skirt. Wear it with a white t-shirt and chunky necklace or with a white button down and big earrings.

4. Chanel Longwear Nail Colour 634-Arancio Vibrante

Well if it isn’t my old friend, Chanel Longwear Nail Colour. If you remember back in February, I mentioned my obsession with this polish and the love affair is still going strong. I am currently wearing the colour 167-Ballerina with Le Gel Coat on top and 6 days in there is nary a chip in sight. Arancio Vibrante, or vibrant orange, is the punchy perfect match to a certain pre dinner aperitif.

5. Antique White Premium Tent

Does this tent make me want to camp? Hahaha, of course not. But I would enjoy styling it with a beautiful rug, cushions and lighting for a lovely backyard cocktail party. Comes with guylines and stakes for windy beach days.

6. First Aid Striped Band Straw Hat

Wear this hat with the sunnies and floral maxi skirt and we might as well start calling you Sophia.

7. Globe Portable LED Lamp

Like a translucent glowing balloon, the Globe Lamp comes in three sizes and is operated by an app that controls color and modes. It is rechargeable, weatherproof, and will float in a pool- kiddie or full size.

8. Mary Beth Keane Ask Again, Yes

Next on my reading list, this book about friendship, love and loyalty is waiting patiently on my bedside table.

9. Le Big Sac Woven Straw Tote

BRB, just running to the market to fill this bag full of fresh cut flowers.

10. Vintage Yellow Stripe Premium Beach Umbrella

The Umbrella of my dreams. Everything about this umbrella from the vintage looking stripes, to the scalloped edge, to the fringe makes it look like it folded itself up and walked right out of the frame of one on Slim’s poolside portraits.

11. Hampstead Teak Mesh Stacking Chaise

This set of two poolside loungers is sleek, teak and with its antique brass hardware it would be as at home on the deck of a yacht as on the deck in your yard.

12. Classic Stripe Underwire Bikini Top and High Waist Bottom

Red and white stripes and a retro high waist really do make this suit a classic.

13. Aperol

What to drink? I mean, there really is only one option.

The Spritz

3 oz Prosecco

2 oz Aperitif (Aperol or Campari)

1 oz Club Soda (or to taste)

14. Greek Key Border Beach Towel in Melon

A large, bright velour towel with a classic border print.

15. One Shoulder Maxi Dress Cover Up

A sophisticated showstopper that can go from the beach straight to dinner.

16. Sir Scarf-A-Lot

Vine ripened tomatoes on a blue and white windowpane check with a yellow scalloped edge. This scarf should literally be mandatory for anyone planning, or even dreaming about, a trip to Italy. Or anywhere. You know what? Just buy it. It’s adorable.

17. Fire Starter 49 mm Round Sunglasses

Translucent blonde color frames with light coral tinted lenses.

Looking for a little more inspiration? You can find a catalogue of Slim’s photographs on the Getty Images website. Here are a few of my favorites: Palm Beach Idyll, Leisure and Fashion, Sundowners, Sarah Marson Williams, Poolside Gossip, Bahamas, and Conca dei Marini.

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