Summer is probably my LEAST favourite season to dress for.
Autumn is when my inspiration beams are truly lit up, and I can glimpse a certain colour or brush my hand against a texture and form a multitude of outfit ideas in my head. But, summer? Not so much. I think it’s the lack of layers and the absolute need for comfort (I hate being overheated!). To look chic in summer, one must master simplicity. Of course, my mantra has always been “more is more”, and that is where my conundrum lies.
Luckily, minimalism and clean lines are in vogue right now, so it’s never been easier to dress well despite the heat. I’ve come up with a list of my summer staples to keep your wardrobe looking fresh 🙂 Keep reading to see them all:
A little white dress
Besides attending a wedding, this should be your main summer staple. Easy to throw on for work with some statement jewellery and a blazer, to enjoy dining al fresco, or a walk along the boardwalk.
Banana Republic Polo Dress – I think the cut of this dress is so interesting! I love that the polo neckline is casual, but the gorgeous embellishment makes this dress appropriate for nicer occasions too.
J.Crew Fringe Sheath Dress – I actually have this dress in the black version, so I know the shape is uber-flattering. It skims the body without being too tight, and the fringe gives it a flapper vibe. This dress is especially easy to layer under a blazer for work, since it’s sleeveless, but would look beautiful after 5pm, sitting on a bar seat with a nice view 🙂
BCBG Shirt Dress – A shirt dress is probably the most universal fit – almost anyone looks gorgeous in this easy-to-wear piece. I have a similar style from Banana Republic, and I can already tell it will be one of my most worn pieces this summer!
Denim or Chambray Shirt
Denim and chambray shirts are a wardrobe-must for me all year round, but especially in the summer! They just look so fresh tucked into white jeans (as you can see in the images above). Chambray is a lighter material than denim, but denim tends to be more structured. Either way, these shirts look great with denim, tucked into pencil skirts, or paired with shorts.
J.Crew Chambray Shirt – This thin material guarantees you’ll stay cool, and the slightly looser fit means you can wear it all day long!
Levi’s Western Denim Shirt – This style is a little more fitted, but is a great alternative to a classic white button-up (which can easily show sweat stains or melted makeup).
Gap Western Denim Shirt – This is a little bit of a looser take on the Levi’s version. I find that I fit between an XS and a S in this particular style, so if you want a more fitted look opt for a size down but if you’re going for a menswear fit, size up.
Any Occasion Sleeveless TankWhen I say “any occasion” I mean it! This is the shirt you pack for vacation, or that you reach for when you have nothing to wear. Copies of it are in your bf’s closet for those nights you unexpectedly stay over, and in your office just in case you spill on what you’re already wearing. It layers easily but looks good enough on its own to complete an outfit. It requires minimal fuss.
Banana Republic Embellished Collared Shirt – Put this on, add any bottom, add any jacket, BAM cute outfit.
Artizia “Lionel” Blouse – This comes in black too, but I think the millennial pink is sublime for summer. It works almost like a neutral because you can pair it with white, black, grey, navy, and a multitude of patterns. Can you imagine leopard print? Purrrrrrrrrrrr 🙂
Zara Frilled Blouse with Lace – This is probably the easiest of the bunch to throw on – it’s cropped and swingy so there’s no need to worry about tucking it in and making sure it stays put. It’s posh enough for work but flirty enough for play!
Admittedly, not the easiest to wear, but when you get’ em right – GORGEOUS. I’ve learned over the years to stick to a straight cut or even “boyfriend” style. I do have a pair of white skinny jeans, but I can feel like a sausage after a couple of hours. White is not forgiving.
Levi’s 501s – An absolute classic. I bought my white 501s from the Levi’s outlet at Halton Hills for $20 and practically lived in them last year!
H&M Frayed Hem – A YouTuber I love, named Lizzy Hadfield, wears these like a CHAMP. They’re a super cool way of trying out the distressed-hem trend.
Gap Distressed Straight Cut – Surprisingly comfy. The Gap has really upped their denim game recently!
Is there anything more classic, or harder to find, than a perfect white tee? I haven’t found my ideal one yet, but I’ve picked out a few good versions.
Gap “Breathe” Tee – This is actually part of Gap’s workout line, but I can say with confidence that these tees are unbelievably soft and comfortable. Unfortunately, they’re a little hard to dress up, so I wouldn’t categorize them as the “perfect” white tee. For those days when you’re just running errands, or heading to the beach, this is your go-to!
Banana Republic Feathered Tee – This one is a little better-suited for casual Fridays, or just looking like you put a bit more effort into your simple jeans-and-tee ensemble.
Everlane White V-Neck Tee – This is supposedly the BEST white tee out there. I haven’t tried it, or anything from Everlane, but I love their brand ethic and simple, classic pieces.
Midi skirts are so elegant, and also work as good transitional pieces. Bonus – you don’t have to wax/shave above the knee 🙂 muahaha.
Topshop Striped Midi – This skirt is so fashion-forward! I love it styled simply for summer…but can you imagine it with a black turtleneck, black opaque tights, caramel-coloured over the knee leather boots, a floppy hat and gold jewellery?? Made for autumn too!!
J.Crew Pineapple Print Midi – This skirt is so cute, the rest of your outfit doesn’t have to be. Throw on the white tee (see above) and some espadrilles (see below) and you’re pretty much set.
Asos Postcard Print Skirt – Pleated midis are by far my favourite. I own FOUR! I originally bought a navy and a white one to wear on vacation with Azim’s family, and they have become staples. The downside – they require dry cleaning, but I think they’re worth it.
Shorts (Jean and Dressy)
I love wearing shorts, but I always find the proportions a bit difficult to style. I have a pair of striped ones that I styled here, and some scalloped ones styled here. I also love jean shorts, but can only wear them very casually, so you probably won’t see them on the blog 🙂
Club Monaco Amber Scalloped Shorts – I have these in a pink swiss-dot material (linked above), but this perforated pastel blue is perfection!
Levi’s Denim Shorts – Levi’s shorts are iconic. I have a pair, but they were actually an old pair of 501’s that I cut myself! If you don’t fancy DIY, you can buy them at Aritzia. I like the clean, tailored look of these ones – definitely more grown up than the shredded versions that are in vogue now.
Jackets are impossible to wear on humid 30 degree days, but I still think they’re a summer staple. Often an outfit for me isn’t “done” without a good topper. Also, I work in
an air-conditioned office a refrigerator during the summer, and often a breezy blouse just won’t cut it. If I don’t want to freeze at work, a good jacket is key!
Ann Taylor Moto Jacket – Moto jackets look cool on anyone and everyone! I like the sleek lines and neutral colour on this version from Ann Taylor. It would be especially easy to transition into autumn and spring too.
Club Monaco Tie-Back Blazer – I own this in black, and it’s one of my most reached for blazers! It’s buttonless, and can be adjusted for a looser or tighter fit with the tie-back feature. The material is beautiful, and it hangs just right. It’s a little pricier, but so worth the investment.
Aritzia Loose Trench – Loose trenches and duster coats have been making a comeback recently, and for good reason. They’re easy to wear and give off that “effortless chic” vibe. This lightweight version is perfect to throw on over shorts-and-a-tee or short summer dresses.
Espadrilles are the perfect vacation shoe! I’ve never wanted to invest in a very expensive pair because these are shoes that you can truly only wear in warmer weather. But, besides sandals, they’re the ultimate summer footwear. They’re easier to style than you think, especially if you buy a wedge or loafer-style like I’ve pictured above.
H by Halston Wedge Espadrilles – These are more of a wedge-sandal than an espadrille, but they still have some of that beautiful rope lining to give a more dressed-down vibe. This pair would be so beautiful with a little white dress!
Aldo Espadrilles- The pink suede material is a perfect pairing with the rope material, and the loafer cut makes these easier to dress up. How about with a pleated midi skirt and any-occasion top? Orangey-red lipstick and you’re good to go.
Soludos Leather Espadrilles – I love leather espadrilles! They are more elegant than canvas, and way easier to work with! For any outfit that you’d wear a black ballet flat with, sub this in for the summer and it’ll probably work.
I didn’t mean to pick out three pairs of slides, but they are definitely THE shoe of summer 2017.
Loeffler Randall Slide – Ahhhh the COLOUR COMBO on these!! That touch of aqua is everything. Perfect.
BR x Eugenia Kim Slide – Blush suede with a black pompom? These belong on display! Again, perfect with a little white dress, or a pair of shorts + blazer ensemble.
Mango Slide – The little wooden heels on these are almost too much. Almost.
I recently re-watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s and immediately decided I needed a new pair of sunglasses. The ones Audrey Hepburn wears in the movie, originally designed by Oliver Goldsmith, are simply iconic. I love love love the tortoiseshell paired with the green lenses. I bought the first pair pictured on the left here, from J.Crew. They have a subtle twist – a mirrored lens.
Karen Walker Sunnies – I’ve been coveting these for months. I can’t justify the hefty price tag, but I will always, always admire from afar 🙂
Dita Sunnies – Every lady needs a pair of cat-eye sunglasses. Pair with a silk scarf and a convertible.
A bathing suit you can put on with confidence
It was only recently that I decided wearing a swimsuit didn’t have to be an experience I dreaded. I ditched the bikinis that only made me self-conscious, and switched to one-pieces. There are two brands that specialize in one-pieces, which I’ve featured here. Gottex, and Shan. Shan especially knows how to get it right! You can find a great selection at Inside Story Lingerie 🙂
Gottex “Cocktail Party” One-piece – I love the sexy high-cut on the legs and v-neckline on this swimsuit.
Shan “Bright Like a Diamond” One-piece – I didn’t think the one-shoulder fit would work for me, but it was actually incredibly flattering! Wait til you see the back of it (click here)
Shan “Do You Think I’m Sexy” One-piece – This is the perfect swimsuit for those of you who want to look sleek on the beach, and maybe also do some swimming! The high-neckline guarantees there will be no wardrobe malfunction, and it has built in underwire and molded cups for support. I should point out that Shan is designed and made in Canada!
Any of these swimsuits could easily be worn with jeans/skirt and perhaps even paired with a jacket or blazer on top!
Thanks so much for reading 🙂 I hope this helped! Please share your favourite summer wardrobe staples with me! xoxo