Under Cover Chic

Style guru, Petra Laranjo, looks at ways to keep safe but look sexy under our summer sun.

It’s summer! People seem friendlier, our pets have found their bounce again, the birds are chirpier, the sun is out and… Eish! The sun is out.

We all know that the sun’s rays can damage our skins, but this is especially true after chemo. Many chemotherapies are radio-sensitizers, making the sun’s rays far more damaging on the body for several years after treatment. If you’ve had radiotherapy the area can also remain sensitive for many years.

There’s no sun protection that is 100% effective, unless you are indoors where the sun’s rays can’t reach you. But where’s the fun in that? And let’s not kid ourselves, who wants to stay indoors on a gorgeously sunny summer’s day?

The sun is at its worst between 10am and 3pm. Cover up with clothing, wear a big, floppy hat and liberally apply sun-protection cream with a minimum SPF of 30, even if you’re only popping out to your garden to pick some herbs for your cream cheese panini.

  • Sunscreens can take up to 20 minutes to start working …so plan ahead and reapply often.
  • Remember ears, neck, feet and toes and the backs of legs … especially behind the knees.
  • Indulge your lips with a lipbalm with an SPF of at least 15 – the higher the better!
  • Opt for waterproof sunscreen in case you perspire.
  • I carry travel size everythings wherever I go. Look for sample-sized SPF moisturizing face creams and sunscreens to keep with you for emergencies.
  • Cloudy days are sneaky! Some of my worst sunburns happened when the skies were gray.
  • ALWAYS cover-up when going outside.

Stylish Cover Ups

  • Wide-brimmed, oversized, floppy hats. Don’t let the number limit you. Each has its own personality and voice. Embrace your inner voices!!
  • Experiment with scarves and bandanas in colours and prints to suit YOU.
  • Invest in some stylish sunglasses with a high UV rating.
  • Wear lightweight full length,long-sleeved cotton shirts and tunics, pants, skirts and dresses to add an extra barrier of protection.
  • Stylish sandals or light, comfortable shoes.
  • Accessorise! If earrings are the most that you can attempt this summer, then earrings it is!
  • If your nails have changed colour you may need to use a lighter or darker shade of nail polish to that which you usually wear.

Head scarves

Scarves are so versatile and multi-functional. We love them!

  • Use yours as a head scarf, neck tie or bandana.
  • Ensure that it fits snuggly (but not too tight) as it will ‘relax’ after a while. You need to know that it won’t slip or fall.
  • Lightweight silk or cotton will keep you cool and sophisticated.
  • Brighten up for summer with a dash of colour. Look out for interesting prints but remember to keep the print in proportion to your frame. Have fun! Why go safe and predictable when you can express your personality?
  • Experiment with different ways to tie, knot and style.
  • A silk scarf with threads that shimmer is great for evening events. Solid metallic is not!
  • If your outfit has a lot of print and colour, tone your headscarf down.


  • Wide brimmed hats offer the most protection. Be they straw or floppy fabric, go forth and conquer with a variety of colours and textures.
  • Tie a scarf or ribbon around it, loose with a bow or neat and stitched down – toned down in a neutral colour or colourful.
  • Not everyone looks good in black. Navy, plum or dark grey are alternatives.
  • Bring out your eye colour by replicating it in the trim. Blue eyes = blue ribbon (width in proportion to YOU please), lilac bow or purple flowers.
  • Offset a neutral outfit with a bold, bright hat.
  • If your outfit is busy, keep your hat plain and vice versa.


There’s one accessory all celebs don that adds to their graceful, stylish and glamorous aura, a fabulous pair of sunglasses. Apart from protecting your eyes and preventing crows’ feet, you’ll also look refined. Think Jackie-O! Don’t be fooled by high prices or lens colours, look on the label (or sticker on the lens) for UV info. Sunglasses marked as UV 400 means the lenses should block 100 percent of UV.

Framing your Face

  • The frame shape should contrast with your face shape and be in scale with your face size.
  • If solid black frames look too harsh on you, opt for brown or tortoiseshell.
  • Pick up interesting details or colours that suit YOU, eg. a bright lime stripe inside the frame, a lilac print on the edges etc. but keep the majority of the frame basic.

Matching frames to your face shape

Oval Face – Lucky you! Most styles and frames will look good. If you have dainty features don’t super-size your frames and overpower your face. The bug-eye look is SO last season.

Square Face – Do you have a strong, square jaw-line and equally square hairline? Round and oval glasses suit best as they soften the jaw by adding contrast. Cats-eye frames are fun too.

Round Face – What’s your angle? That’s how you’ll create definition for a round face. Angular frames with rectangular or geometric shapes make a round face look slimmer, thinner and longer.

Heart Face – Wide at the temples and hairline – narrowing to a small delicate chin. So pretty. Butterfly or cats-eye styles are great for a heart-shaped face. Round frames in lighter colors will balance and soften a wide forehead.

Rectangle Face –Vertical vs horizonal! Large round or square frames suit rectangular faces best as they make the face appear shorter and more balanced.

Pyramid –You’re a bit of an unusual one, aren’t you? Draw attention to your eyes by achieving balance with wide frames. Cats-eyes are good. Squares not so good. We don’t want to accentuate the jawline now do we?

Diamond – Just like the precious stone, this face shape is the rarest. With a narrow forehead, wide cheekbones and a narrow chin, you need oval-shaped or rounded square frames to soften the extreme angles. Avoid frames that are wider than your cheekbones. You’ll look superb in dramatic, oversized frames.

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