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Maxwell’s Billet-Doux: Summer bling means everything

Billet-Doux: n. (bĭl'ā dōō, or "billa doo") A love letter. (literally "sweet letter" in French)

It’s summertime and the possibilities are endless.

May is gone, but June is here and that means summer is in full swing!

What better way to get into the groove than by sharing my fabulous must-haves of the summer, as well as a few tricks to help make that outfit customized to your personal style!

When it comes to accessorizing, I like to think of myself as a professional, especially since two of my jobs are managing boutiques that made a name for themselves dealing in only accessories.

Whether it be necklaces, watches, scarves, wallets or clutches, this summers apparel is fun and inventive. There is so much room to play this year. More and more people are learning that it’s ok to step out of their comfort zone and try something that they like, not just what the masses tell them to do. Try something different. Change is inevitable!

Why not change yourself in a positive way and feel comfortable and confident when walking out of the house because you know it looks good, not because the editors of Vogue think it does. I love change!

Now, I must admit I’m not one to go with the flow, but the people around me are slowly teaching me it’s ok to not constantly be under a schedule. I may not love change in scheduling, or in how my night was planned, but I cannot live without change in seasonal style.

Hillcrest has something going on every day of the week. My favorite day is Sunday, aka "Sunday Funday."

Reason being, I enjoy mingling with new people and what better way to do that than to go have an amazing, slightly intoxicated Sunday? There are so many places to show face at all in one day.

My personal favorite Sunday Funday mix-up is:

Mo's till 2 pm with unlimited mimosas; The Hole with amazing happy hour till 3 pm; Babycakes aka Church with happy hour till 5 pm; then Rich's or Bourbon Street: where it is ladies night with the hottest mixes in both the front and back room.

All of this within one day requires two or more wardrobe changes.

Lately, I have been very neutral in my color pallet, but that doesn’t stop me from playing with different varieties of accessories. You know this queen loves the bling.

My summers must haves for any occasion are:

The perfect clutch!

Men, don’t be afraid to branch out; carry a clutch, you’d be surprised what a convenience they are. They come in all different shapes and sizes and fantastic colors. They also hold everything from your phone to your sunglasses when the sun goes down. It's also a great place to store your rubbers.

Wayfarer sunglasses

My favorite pair are by Tom Ford. Fords are pricy, but you can find similar styles for as little as 10 dollars at many retail locations.

A wrist watch!

In recent years, watches have made a huge comeback. Please, I beg everyone to leave white watches alone. In my opinion, I think they are tacky; some people may be able to pull them off, but they have no business being worn in a everyday setting.

I feel the same way about white sunglasses on men -- they are just gross. However, a gold, silver -- or my personal favorite -- a rose-gold Michael Kors will go a long way.

A combo of outfit-appropriate jewelry

My favorite combo is a wrist cuff, a necklace and a few rings (not too many rings, we aren’t trying to look like Steven Tyler).

You can find all of these items at any well known retail store, such as Forever 21 or Urban Outfitters. When looking for a necklace, you have to search for the perfect length to fit your body. You don’t want one that is too long nor overly short (puka shell chokers are a no-go, so please leave those in the 90’s).

Don’t be the last of your friends this year to add a little something extra to any outfit.


Some individuals like to spend extra time at the gym this time of year to look amazing in the perfect swimsuit. Whether it be an amazing bikini, a speedo, or trunks, it's important to find the piece that makes you feel the sexiest and most comfortable.

My favorite is a nice trunk style. I find it appropriate for all occasions, from a gayborhood pool party to a family get together at the beach. You can find many different styles at well-know boutiques in our community, such as Rufskin. They have the hottest swimwear, as well as amazing accessories for the summer.

Customizing your shorts

Shorts are a number one go-to for my summer attire … I know, I know, even in the winter I’m wearing shorts, but in the summertime, they come in better colors!

My favorite length this summer is mid-thigh. Although I’ve been known to wear much shorter, I find that it’s a great length for my body type right now. It’s all about customizing the shorts to fit your body and taste. So here is my secret to the perfect pair of shorts that can be custom to you … BUY THEM AS PANTS.

I know it sounds ludicrous, but if you cut the pants to the right length yourself, you will never question whether they are too short or too long. Everyone has a different body type, and what fits me perfectly from one boutique may not fit you exactly the same. I’ve been using this trick for years.

When I first turned 20, I went through a phase and started hacking off all of my jeans into shorts and I fell in love. It came to a point where even my dress slacks got slashed into booty shorts. Going forward, use my secret; cut the jeans to customize your look. Find the perfect fit for you.

Illuminating bronzing oil (body)

Let's be real, a summer glow is necessary if you’re going to be wearing tank tops and shorts. Nobody wants to be pasty white in San Diego, but instead of hitting up the beds every day for up to 20 minutes, why not hit up Sephora once for the most amazing bronzing oil I have ever used.

Yes, there is a shimmer to it, but it gives the most amazing, even tan without the skin damage. You can buy this amazing product at Sephora for only 14 dollars! Trust me, once you start using it, you wont stop. You’ll be addicted to the healthy glow.

Mascara and bronzer (face)

I’m a firm believer that all men should wear mascara and bronzer. Never eyeliner aka “guyliner,” it’s just horrible (we want to look awake, not like we have been up for two weeks straight).

My favorite mascara right now is a mix of two: one for length and one for volume. I love Volumous by Maybelline (probably because Beyonce uses it) and telescopic by Loreal for length. They can both be found in any drug store that carries cosmetics.

My favorite bronzer is called Warmth by Bare Essentials. It is perfect for almost any skin tone. You can use it as a bronzer all over your face or as a blush.

With all of these great pieces added to a summer wardrobe, how could anyone not feel flawless? When you’re out on the town, observe others in a different mindset. Look at their individual style, appreciate the good as well as the bad.

Take your favorite ideas from others and incorporate them into your own, every day wear. Also, compliment others when you like something they are wearing. You never know, they might have made it themselves. Maybe they’ll teach you a few new tricks. I know I’ve learned some.

Take it from me … xoxo

More about Dustin Maxwell

San Diego native Dustin Maxwell grew up all over America's Finest City. After graduating from Ramona High School, attending Palomar College, and a two-year apprenticeship, "Dusty" became a certified hair stylist.

For the last ten years, he has also performed his way around town in companies such as San Diego Gay Men's Chorus, the Starlight Theatre and a plethora of other local community theaters. He is also co-founder of an all male burlesque troupe, The Boylesque Tomcats.

In his free time, Dusty works closely with local fashion designers putting together extravagant runway shows and large social events. He currently manages a popular local eatery in the heart of downtown, as well as two specialty boutiques in the area. With his flare for performing and fashion, you are sure to see him out and about making San Diego a little more vibrant and exciting. He can be reached at MAXWELLSBILLETDOUX@aol.com.