Summer Wardrobe Staples
Do you struggle picking out chic and stylish summer outfits? If you spend more time than you should choosing clothes, I’ll bet it’s because you don’t have some key summer wardrobe staples in your closet. In this post, I’m breaking down the only FIVE summer staples you need to make getting dressed every day SO much easier. BTW, if you feel like you need more help with your basics, make sure you check out our epic Summer Capsule Wardrobe which has tons of ideas for summer styling. Okay, let’s dive in…
#1) Lightweight White Button-Down Shirt
This first piece is like the best thing you’ll ever buy for yourself for summer. No exaggeration. If you’ve followed me for a while, you will remember this gauzy white button down by Rails that I’ve had for years. I have it in two sizes, a small when I want a more tailored fit, and a medium to wear as a swim coverup or when I want a billowier fit. The fabric is lightweight, breathable, and comfortable…especially during warm summer days. It’s also very easy to care for. Simply wash with other whites in cold and hang dry.
For this look, I styled it with a pair of shorts (more on those below 😉 ). But a white button is so versatile that you can style it in a ton of different ways and dress it up or down. I’ve worn this Rails button-down with all different jean silhouettes, leather, cotton, and denim shorts, cotton pants, as a 3rd layer, and as a coverup…the possibilities are endless!
#2) Casual Shorts
The second summer staple every woman needs in her closet is a pair of casual shorts. That can be cotton shorts, denim shorts, leather shorts, or whatever style you prefer. But I highly recommend you find a pair of shorts with a little bit of structure, so you feel secure and confident. Shorts with a high-rise and wider leg silhouettes tend to be most flattering.
This pair of DL1961 shorts have structure, a high-rise (11”), and an A-Line leg shape so they’re SO flattering. I took these on a recent trip to Africa and they were perfect, but I know I’ll wear them all summer too! They’re a cotton and linen blend so they’re super lightweight and breathable. I styled them with the rails button-down in this look but I’ve also worn them with white tees, blouses, and tanks. You can dress them up or down with a few shoe and accessories swaps.
If you missed my post on how to feel confident in shorts over 40, make sure you check that out next! Plus, how to find the perfect denim shorts here.
#3) White Jeans
Another staple that I’ve had for years, these white Mother jeans. They have also been a BUSBEE best seller for the last three months so I know you’re loving these jeans too! I love them so much I have them in white, black, and a few other blue denim washes. This white pair is SO good…the fit is great, they have an almost 11” rise so you feel secure and comfortable, and the inseam length (26”) is perfect on me for wearing with sneakers, sandals, heels, booties or pretty much any shoe. The denim is super high-quality and not see-through at all. They run true to size. I’m wearing a size 26.
The great thing about white jeans is their versatility…you can dress them up or down for summer and pair them with so many things. In this look, I styled them a little more casually with a bright blue puff sleeve top by Frame and a pair of metallic sandals. If I wanted to take this look up a notch, I’d swap the sandals for some heels or wedges, and voila…you’re ready for dinner! Please don’t fear wearing white. It’s such a functional (reflecting light) and fashionable color for summer.
#4) Neutral-Colored Sandals
And, in this look above, you can see what the white jeans and blue top look like with a slightly dressier pair of sandals. I swapped the Sam Edelman slide on sandals for a pair of neutral-colored Veronica Beard espadrille wedges to dress it up a bit. A pair of neutral-colored sandals are a must-have for summer! I always recommend considering your lifestyle and what kind of neutral shoes you really need to fill this wardrobe basic.
For example, you may be chasing after kiddos for what feels like 24/7…in which case, the metallic flats might be the best option for you. But if your kids are a little older and you tend to gravitate toward more elevated, dressy outfits, these Veronica Beard wedges are better for you! Make sure you choose a sandal color that easily blends with your skin tone for maximum versatility. You can’t go wrong with metallics.
By the way, I’ve been wearing these VB wedges nonstop. I love the criss-cross top, luxe suede fabric mixed with the traditional espadrille texture, and manageable 3.5” heel. The thick wedge makes them super easy to walk in and I love that they’re a simple slip-on mule…a must-have for quick summer dressing when you need to be ready and out the door in minutes! The neutral color will literally go with everything too!
If you’re looking for more stylish summer shoes, I shared 9 of my new favorites in this post!
#5) One-and-Done Jumpsuit
Have you’ve ever had a morning where you look up at the time and realize we need to be out the door in ten minutes? This happens to me more times that I would care to admit. Well, on mornings like that, you need to have easy one-and-done pieces that you can pull out of your closet in a pinch…like a jumpsuit! I’m wearing this super cute Paige jumpsuit that’s a lightweight cotton blend, super comfortable, and so chic for summer. I love that it has short sleeves, a flattering tie waist to create definition, and it’s more cropped length, making it perfect for my 5’4” frame. It’s so comfortable I wore it to a lacrosse tournament with some sneakers (above).
This exact jumpsuit keeps going in and out of stock so if you don’t see your size, you can grab the blue denim version (still lightweight cotton) of the jumpsuit here. For those of you who are taller or have longer torsos and struggle with the fit of jumpsuits, or maybe they just are not your thing, don’t worry. Your one-and-done piece for summer could easily be a dress in mini, midi, or maxi length. Just make sure it’s something you love wearing.
Do you have all five of these summer staples covered? Let us know in the comments below if we can help you find something specific! We’re always happy to help!
Huge thank you to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to receive some incredible style resources. If you’re struggling with style or just need a style refresh, don’t forget about our Style Made Simple course!
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