Michael Kors sunglasses

Michael Kors sunglasses with gold pyramid stud detail, white plastic. ‘Jemma’ aviator, $116. ‘Camila’ cat’s eye, $99. In Fashion Accessories at Nordstrom and nordstrom.com. (Nordstrom / May 15, 2013)

Summer always makes me want things that seem incredibly impractical.

With Memorial Day upon us, I've been thinking about what I'll need for all the fun in the sun I plan to have, though each item might seem like a frivolous purchase.

But whenever you're standing in front of an entire shelf of something and you think to yourself, "That's so much money to spend on an item I'll only wear a few times," remember the tale I'm about to tell. In the spring of 2011, I took a trip to Miami. The trip just didn't seem complete without a fancy hat, but I stopped and asked myself the question above and decided to go without one, despite the fact that I have thin hair, especially at the temples, and needed the coverage.

Fast forward two years, and another trip to Miami. And I was, yet again, dying for a hat and talking myself out of purchasing one. How soon I had forgotten that all the sport mist sunscreen in the world couldn't prevent a horrible sunburn on my head.

Thirty-five dollars seems like a lot for a hat, especially when there are tons of other things you want to buy for your vacation, but if you have bald spots, having one may just be a necessity. (One, not five -- volume is where most of us get into trouble.)

If you're planning a trip someplace warm and sunny this year, here are a few summer staples that you shouldn't feel bad about purchasing.

SUNGLASSES

Sure, sunglasses are a fashion item, and to some extent you're paying for a label. However, the nicer the sunglasses, the more likely they are to actually protect your eyes from sunlight. I recently learned that light eyes let in the most sun. So if your eyes are, say, light blue and you tend to get headaches after a day in the sun that might be solved with some heavy-duty lenses.

The one problem people most often cite about expensive sunglasses is that they get lost. I've been wearing regular glasses since first grade, and I promise you can take care of them if you're careful enough.

For people looking for fashionable sunglasses, the Michael Kors pairs are chic and don't totally break the bank compared to other designer shades. Otherwise, just read the label on the lens sticker. Hint: If there's no sticker, there's probably also not much sun-repelling technology.

SELF-TANNING

I'll admit, I'm not always diligent about protecting my skin in the sun. Every once in a while I'm out playing a little too much volleyball with not quite enough sunscreen. But if you're in the sun to get a tan, throw down a little extra cash and go for either a spray tan or bottle tan.

I have no yellow undertones in my skin, only pink, so I always go for a gradual bronzer with minimal coverage to let my natural skin tone come through. However, if you have olive skin or yellow undertones, you should be able to get away with a spray tan, as long as you don't go too strong. If it's your first time getting a spray tan, I'd go to a place where someone actually sprays you instead of using an automated spraying booth. You don't want to end up like Ross on that "Friends" episode. But if you do, take that shower they've told you not to take for up to 24 hours after your tan.

CANVAS OR NYLON TOTE

I'm sure you have a ton of purses and totes, and I'm also sure they'd all get ruined at the beach. A tote doesn't have to be expensive, but it does have to protect your stuff if it gets wet or sandy. You can find good selections at stores like Target or Gap.

CANVAS SLIP-ON SHOES

Whether they're Toms or something similar, these are so much better to walk in than flip-flops. I know I'm not the only one who gets those diagonal wounds on the insides of my toes from walking too much in flip-flops. Sneakers work too, but slip-ons can more adequately play the role of a sandal.

(E-mail Kristyn Schiavone at Kristyn@simplestyleguide.com, follow her on Twitter at @KKSchiavone or write to her c/o Tribune Media Services, 435 N. Michigan Ave, Ste. 1400, Chicago, IL 60611.)