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10 Ways to Elevate Simple Summer Outfits

June 29, 2021

It’s summertime. And the key word when it comes to fashion is easy. But just because we’re leaning into easy breezy styles with no muss, no fuss, doesn’t mean we can’t pull together outfits that are sharp and sophisticated. Today I’m teaming up with my favorite watch brand, Nordgreen, to share with you ten ways to elevate simple summer outfits from ho hum to oh honey!

10 Ways to Elevate Simple Summer Outfits

This post contains affiliate links. When you shop through my links I potentially earn a commission on your purchases, but at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for supporting my work here by shopping my links.

I’m so pleased to work with Nordgreen on this style tips post because this Danish watch brand truly resonates with my personal modern classic style aesthetic. And I know many of my readers also prefer to wear classic clothing with a modern vibe. In a day when some people are opting to refer to their cell phones for the time, Nordgreen embraces the classic appeal of a wrist watch and creates styles that look both timeless and current. I love this.

Not only does Nordgreen produce elegant, modern watches that are functional and precise, but they also promote and live by their Nordic sensibilities of caring for the environment and improving life for others. For instance, when you purchase a Nordgreen watch you have the opportunity to select one of three impressive global charitable organizations to gift a portion of the proceeds from your purchase…at no additional cost to you. And Nordgreen also works hard to minimize waste, recycle used products and leave a neutral carbon imprint.

I’ll share more about Nordgreen along the way, but let’s get started on those ten tips to help you elevate your simple summer outfits.

Style Tip #1 – Keep it simple.

Resist the urge to complicate your summer style and lean into the simplicity of the season instead. Remember, simple separates (worn simply!) are trending. In fact, I talked about that in this recent video (also sponsored by Nordgreen).

Simple Separates Create great style
Wearing the Women’s Unika 5-link in silver

You’ll notice that in most of these photos I’ve kept my jewelry simply to earrings and a Nordgreen watch. And yes, I mean really keep your outfits simple. There’s just something elegant and classy about accessorizing just enough to indicate that you thought about it, but not so much as to imply that you overthought it. Remember, thoughtfulness translates as chic, when it comes to style.

Style Tip #2 – Do a solid.

I love patterns and prints, especially florals and plaids. But if you’re trying to create a more elevated look, opt for solids. And the fewer colors you introduce into your simple summer outfit, the more chic your look will be.

How to Elevate Simple Summer OUtfits
wearing the Native watch with a brown genuine leather band

You’ll notice I’m wearing these same green wide leg crops in all of the photos. But I’ve switched up my footwear, tops and accessories. Above I’m wearing the simplest summery version of this outfit formula with just a baby blue tee and slide sandals. But by choosing simple, summery solids I’ve created a fresh and sophisticated look all the same.

Style Tip #3 – It’s at your fingertips!

Maintaining a well polished manicure becomes a little more difficult in the summer. If you’re in and out of the water, working in the garden or building sandcastles on the beach with grandchildren, your nails can take a beating.

Keep your hands manicured.
wearing the Native watch with a brown genuine leather band

But I’ve discovered that while we like to think we’re hiding our own hands, most of us would agree that we notice other people’s quickly. Guess what! They’re noticing our hands, too. And our hands say a lot about us. We can’t necessarily eradicate all the age spots and wrinkles. But we can put in a little extra effort to keep our hands soft and manicured. The biggest game changer I’m trying to practice is wearing gloves when I’m doing the dishes or gardening.

If keeping your nails polished is just impossible with summer activities, ditch the color and simply try to keep your nails shaped and clean. That’s definitely better than chipped polish.

Style Tip #4 – Step it up!

The fourth way to elevate simple summer outfits is to choose elevated footwear.

Choose Elevated Footwear
wearing the Native watch with a 5-link gold band

Sure, I’m all for adding classy pumps to an outfit to really raise the style level. But you don’t have to wear heels to elevate your simple summer outfits. You can even wear sneakers or flip flops. But still choose those casual shoes in upgraded iterations. Leather sneakers, for instance, will elevate your look a little more than canvas ones.

Leather Sneakers
Wearing the Infinity with a gold mesh band

And if you do choose to wear fashion sneakers, wear some no-show socks for the classiest look. The key is simply to remember that your footwear can make or break an outfit. Make sure your shoes are clean, in good repair, functional for the occasion and easy to walk in. There’s nothing elevated about blisters or hobbling about due to uncomfortable shoes.

Style Tip #5 – Stay with the times. Wear an updated classic watch.

There’s just something about wearing a classic timepiece on your wrist that makes you look important, knowledgeable, organized and wise. Now you may be none of those things in reality. Hahaha! But wearing a modern, classic watch in a day when so many people are opting to refer to their cell phones for the time, definitely communicates that you are extraordinary.

Wear a Watch
Wearing the Infinity with a gold mesh band

I love that Nordgreen’s watches are made so that you can easily swap out the bands, no tools required. That one little feature has compelled me to wear my watches almost daily. I love swapping out classic metal bands for fun, casual leather bands and vice versa. You can use my code KAYHRMS to get 15% off your purchase at Nordgreen. But you could also use my code KYHMF instead to receive a free strap of your choice with the purchase of a watch. The offers are not combinable.

Elevate Simple Summer Outfits
Wearing the Unika with a 5-link silver strap

Adding a modern classic watch is such a fun…and practical…way to elevate your simple summer outfits.

Style Tip #6 – Add some structure.

Adding just a touch (or two or three…) of structure can elevate any look. Consider topping those casual pants and t-shirt with a summery linen blazer. It’s no more difficult to wear a sharp blazer than it is a zip-up hoodie, cardigan or denim jacket. And it adds so much more polish…with very little effort.

Add some structure
wearing the Native watch with a 5-link gold band

But you can also add structure to your simple summer outfits with classic pumps, a pair of tailored slacks, a button up collared shirt, a satchel handbag, nice glasses or, yes, a classic watch.

Style Tip #7 – Put your money in the bag.

Speaking of your handbag, let’s not forget that the bag you grab on your way out the door will either elevate your outfit or cancel out all the effort you’ve put into it. That’s not to say that your handbag or shoulder bag has to be a designer bag. But I do find that this is one accessory worth investing in. Think about it. You could feasibly carry – or wear – this one accessory almost every single day. And it really does say something about you in the first few minutes someone meets you.

Put your money in the bag.
wearing the Native watch with a 5-link gold band

By the way, I love shoulder bags and crossbody bags. But if you really want to look a little more sophisticated, carry a satchel. Also known as lady bags, these purses just exude femininity and class.

Style Tip #8 – Belt it!

I mentioned adding structure, and strapping on a belt is one more way to do that. When pants started featuring lower rises about 20 years ago or so, many of us ditched our belts and untucked our tops, opting instead for tunics and long sweaters. And having worn our jeans and pants that way for so long now, some of us are hesitant to tuck and belt again. But ladies, a defined waist is structure at its core…literally. And structure = elevated style.

Belt It!
Wearing the Native with a white genuine leather band

Now I know some women have unique proportions or protruding tummies that trump this style hack. You are excused from this exercise. But the rest of us need to practice wearing our shirts tucked and our pants belted at home so that we can tuck and belt with confidence when it matters. Give it a try. If nothing else, tucking and belting causes me to stand up a little straighter, hold my tummy in a little and carry myself with more poise. And poise = elevated style. That’s why tucking and belting is a great way to elevate your simple summer styles.

Style #9 – Give’m lip!

Don’t forget to add some lipstick before you step out the door. And if you’re game, go bold.

Give'm Lip!
Wearing the Native with a white genuine leather band

My lipstick was not as bold as I imagined it was in the photo above. Ha! Or maybe I’d just lost it in all the changing clothes. Hehehe! But you get the idea. I love a bold pink or red lip for a truly elevated look. A great lipstick can really add some sizzle to your simple summer outfits.

Style Tip #10 – Add some black. The more the better!

Now I love me some black on black on black. But not all of my readers share my affinity. Still, it’s worth noting that even a little touch of black can really elevate your simple summer styles.

Add some black
Wearing the Native with a white genuine leather band

You could add a black belt, t-shirt, jacket, sandals or handbag. Shoot, you could even add a black baseball cap to a very casual look and that simple touch of noir would elevate that summer outfit. Black just has that effect.

Thanks so much for joining me for a little style inspiration today. I’d love to hear from you in the comments. What’s your favorite tip for elevating your simple summer outfits? And if you have any questions about my Nordgreen watches, I’d love to field those, too. I’m loving all three of my watches and multiple straps.

Remember, you can use my code KAYHRMS to receive 15% off your entire purchase at Nordgreen. And then you get to choose one of their three global charitable organizations to “give back” a portion of the proceeds of your purchase. You can check out Nordgreen’s full selection of men’s and women’s watches HERE. But you could also use my code KYHMF instead to receive a free strap of your choice with the purchase of a watch. The offers are not combinable.

This post was sponsored by Nordgreen. That means I was paid to include considerations of the brand in my post and I was gifted merchandise. However, your trust is important to me. All the opinions I have shared about Nordgreen and their watches are honest and genuine. I am thankful to be able to work with brands I believe in heartily such as Nordgreen.

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Blessed for My Day

This morning my Bible reading took me to 1 Chronicles 11 and 12, where we read about King David’s mighty men. As I read through the unfamiliar names and took note of their exploits, I was struck by the fact that no one does great things on their own. Even this man after God’s own heart was surrounded by men who fought for him, counseled him, encouraged him and celebrated with him.

Just like David needed his mighty men to accomplish great things for the Lord and for Israel, you and I need the mighty people in our lives who fortify our efforts. We are wise to surround ourselves with women who speak truth with love, seek a godly perspective, take the higher ground and encourage us toward excellence and virtue. Let’s nurture those relationships today so that we can grow in wisdom in the future.

Listen to advice and accept instruction,
    that you may gain wisdom in the future. ~ Proverbs 19:20

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xoxo, Kay
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34 thoughts on “10 Ways to Elevate Simple Summer Outfits

  1. Great post, Kay! I love seeing the many outfits you created with the same pair of pants. That’s something that I need to work on doing. The hydrangeas behind you in the second photo are beautiful. That plant was one of my mom’s favorites. I wish you a very productive and awesome day!

    1. Thanks Ginger. I loved those hydrangeas too. My mom has so many beautiful ones in her yard. At the end of summer I’m going to get a cutting and plant some on my yard.

  2. What is your favorite, most comfortable brand of no-show socks that you wear with tennis shoes, please? Thank you!

  3. Hi Kay, this is another great post! I love these ideas. Every day I look forward to your BFMD and style tips. Other things I appreciate about your blog are your writing skills, humor, and use of a style, weight and size of font that is easy to read on my phone! Have a blessed day!

    1. Thanks for sharing all of that with me, Jan. That’s all great feedback and very helpful. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog. ?

  4. Hi Kay,
    I appreciated the way you broke down the simple additions by giving us one basic outfit that we could see how the changes affected it. I have very few printed tops or bottoms in my wardrobe because I’ve always reached for solids also. Yesterday I wore black linen pants and a strawberry colored tee (front-tucked) with nude colored shoes and two light pieces of jewelry. The colors actually go with a brand name multicolored bag that I carried. I felt very “put together” and I like to know that while shopping. I’ve always heard that if you want to receive better service and notice from sales people it gives you that little edge. Plus, of course, adding a smile.
    Thanks for the great advice you give that I can put into use.
    It means a lot to me.

  5. I love posts like this. I have those green pants but hadn’t realized I could wear black with them. I always wonder what was the trigger for an outfit. Was it the giraffe tee or the bag for that look. There’s alway a starting point for me and then I build around it. Do you build around a key piece?

    1. Yes I do usually build around one piece. In this case I was building around the green pants. But I’d tried this combination on at the store and knew I liked it.

  6. I have found in these hot days I have reached more for skirts, sundresses, or shorts when I get ready for the day. Don’t do a lot of pants but these pants, I have a simpler pair, They look cooler and In light of the ideas you had styling this pair of pants. I really like the elevated look of the heels, or the heels and blazer. I bought one of these watches in the Rosegold and mesh band and love it where it all the time this way, I always forget to change out to my brown band that I also bought. Will have to do that. One of the ladies mentioned the multi colored purse, I bought one from Coach that was a multicolored crossover. Really like it. You could look into that.
    Of course loved the BFMD. Look forward
    to. reading it every day

    1. Hi Sherry. All your comments came through. For some reason the first one was held for me to moderate. Not sure why, since you’re a frequent commenter. Anyhow the zebra top seems to be sold out. But here’s the link to another zebra top they have. I love this one too.

  7. I love all your tips and tricks but most of all I love reading Blessed for my day. You have so much Godly wisdom and your an inspiration to me and I’m sure to others. Thank you!

  8. I really like how you changed up your look with the pants. What a difference switching out a top and adding belt can make when getting ready for the day.
    I always wear a watch and find it’s faster to check the time. Your watch is appealing because of the different straps…I really like that! Will look into the watch for sure.
    Thanks for the posts. You are very helpful in your suggestions and examples.

  9. Hi Kay!

    I bought the infinity watch through your link. Just letting you know so you can see if they gave you credit. It looks beautiful! I hope it fits me as I have small wrists. I’ll give it to my daughter if it doesn’t.

  10. Can I have the link for the white shirt you are wearing? I know I’ve seen it before, but really loving it today!

      1. Great tips! The Loft cinched white T is back in stock. I’ve been admiring yours for quite a while!

  11. You are absolutely wonderful, I’ve been following you for about six months and always enjoy your fun comments and learn something new from each of your posts! You Godly messages are inspiring as well! So excited you’re including your daughter!

    1. Thanks so much Betty. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog and Abigail’s devotional post on Instagram. Thanks for letting me know. That is so encouraging. ?