Spring is in the air! And today I’m sharing my Spring Wardrobe Essentials list. If you’re a subscriber, you also have access to my complete printable Spring/Summer Wardrobe Essentials checklist in the Freebies for Subscribers page. (Check your daily or weekly email for the subscriber access code! It’s always at the bottom.) But here I’ll simply be sharing some of the highlights from that list.
What are Wardrobe Essentials?
When we talk of wardrobe essentials we’re generally speaking of the most basic pieces that glue your outfits together. These are the items you have to have in your closet or dresser in order to wear the trendier or more individualistic pieces you love.
But while these pieces can be basic, they don’t have to be boring. In this post I talked about how to select the most stylish wardrobe essentials in order to create truly interesting and unique outfits from your closet.
Because we all have different lifestyles, personal styles and climate restrictions, you’ll have to determine which essentials are actually, well, essential to you. I’ve divided the spring essentials into 6 categories. And I do believe we all need clothing and accessories in these 6 categories in order to have the necessary building blocks for a functional wardrobe. But you get to decide which specific items in those categories best fit your lifestyle, body type, personality and season of life.
Spring 2021 Wardrobe Essentials
Most of the photos I’m sharing in today’s post are either from the retailers or from my archives. The retailer photos are of current offerings. The ones from my archives are from last spring, so often those items are no longer available. The photos are simply for inspiration, but I did provide links to click through to the original post if you’re interested.
Basic but “Lighter” Pants and Jeans
Spring calls for us to lighten up. It’s a great time to try jeans and pants in trending colors, lighter denims, lightweight fabrics, white and fresh prints. Depending on your style preference you might need to refresh your wardrobe with one or more of the following.
You absolutely can wear white jeans all year, but I especially enjoy pairing them with lighter weight fabrics and more cheerful colors during the spring. That’s why I chose to put mine away for the winter this year. And white jeans look lovely worn with a denim jacket, blazer, utility jacket, trench coat or lightweight cardigan. They’re so versatile.
I haven’t styled them on the blog yet, but I have the 10″ vintage white straight jeans from J.Crew on my shelf in my office. And I can’t wait to wear them. These jeans are constructed from such a nice thick white denim. And I think the button fly is very modern and sets these jeans apart. I usually size up in white jeans, so I purchased them in the 30″. They’re actually a little roomy, but I’d rather white jeans be that way than be tight.
Remember, jeans are definitely going straighter and looser these days. But if you still prefer to wear skinny jeans, I can highly recommend Talbots’ white denim jeggings. They also come in curvy fit, and that’s probably what I would purchase for myself. And in both of those fits, the denim jeggings come in petite, misses and plus sizes. Below I’m wearing the white denim jeggings from last year, and I assume they’re probably the same.
Below I’m showing the Talbots Slim Ankle jeans. They’re great, too, especially if you want a slim silhouette, but not skinny jeans. I’m also wearing an 8 in these jeans, true to size.
I’ve collected several other white jeans at various price points and in different styles in the shopping widget below. Remember, when you shop through my links I potentially earn a commission on your purchases, but at no additional cost to you. Thank you for shopping through my link and supporting the work I do here. I appreciate you.
Since I’ve moved north I find myself continuing to wear jeans into the spring and summer. Of course, maybe that’s also because I’m getting older. We 50+ gals absolutely can wear shorts and skirts, but I find myself wanting to keep my legs covered more than I used to. Anyone???
Anyhow, I do think it’s nice to reach for lighter weight jeans and perhaps some with a looser fit and maybe a cropped length. They’re just cooler and more “spring like.” I shared these Universal Thread Vintage High-Rise Straight Cropped Jeans in yesterday’s post. They’re an economical jean with a great fit.
But I’m also still crushing on the Everlane Way High jeans I shared in my February Favorites. And if you’re insistent on wearing skinny jeans, I am loving the way these Jamie High Rise skinnies from Vineyard Vines are feeling and wearing.
But I’d like to mention a few other jeans that I have and love wearing right now, too. I’m really enjoying my Madewell Balloon jeans. These have a trending cigar-shape leg and fit great, TTS. Oh, and those also come in white, and I’ve included them in the white jeans shopping widget above.
But I’m also finding myself wearing the Madewell Perfect Vintage Raw Hem jeans frequently, too. In fact, I wore them to church Sunday. I actually see myself wearing these more in the spring than I have in the winter simply because they are cropped. The raw hem is just enough to be interesting without looking ratty.
Finally, if you’re interested in more of a boyfriend or straight leg, loose fit jean, I can highly recommend the L.L. Bean Signature Denim boyfriend jeans. I have enjoyed wearing those this winter, but I think I’ll keep them in my closet for spring and summer, too.
Lightweight Cotton (or blend) Pants
Depending on your lifestyle and fashion aesthetic, you may also want to have a pair or two of lightweight cotton pants in your closet. I find myself wearing these more and more into the summer months, too, as I get older. They’re slowly but surely replacing my shorts as my go-to choice for hot weather. That why I want very lightweight, breathable fabrics in several versatile shades, but usually my preferred neutrals.
I’ve already been enjoying these Garment Dyed Stretch Chinos from J.Crew in honey brown. (For some reason I can only link to the tall and petite fits at J.Crew right now, but the regular fit pants and jeans are at the same destinations. Just be sure to switch to the right fit for you.) I’m wearing these in a size 30, per instructions I got on the website to size up. But they’re plenty roomy and I might could have worn the 29. I’m just too lazy to return them. Ha!
I think you’ll definitely want cotton pants in your selected neutral colors (one or more of black, navy, brown, grey, olive, or tan), but you may want a pair or two in your signature colors as well (red, pink, green, yellow, blue, etc.)
I also purchased a new pair of the Talbots relaxed fit chinos in sand castle, which I would consider a true khaki. I only had light khaki chinos and I think the darker color is definitely more slimming. But the Talbots relaxed fit chinos also come in eleven other colors. They fit true to size in the misses, and they’re also available in petite, petite plus and plus sizes. You’ll see me wear these in Wednesday’s video.
This year, lightweight cotton pants are trending in a straighter or full leg and a cropped length. You could also purchase your pants in a relaxed leg and full length and then roll the cuffs up a couple of times if you’d like.
Cool but Dressier Slacks
I also think it’s a good idea to have at least one pair of dressier pants for spring. They could be white, black, off-white, grey or navy, if you want a pair in a pretty neutral that will have versatility. But you could also select a pair of dressier but lightweight slacks in one of your signature colors, such as red or blue.
Again, you can still wear the slimmer cut pants, but wider legs are trending. And ankle length is fashionable and appropriate in these slightly dressier pants as well.
JACKETS FOR SPRING
You’re bound to need a jacket now and again in the spring. But it’s time to put away the winter coats and cardigans and grab a jacket or cardi of a lighter weight fabric. Depending on your personal style you may choose one or more of the following to keep in your closet, ready to pair with so many things.
I love my classic Levi’s Ex-Boyfriend Trucker Jacket, but there are definitely other options if you have a different style aesthetic. Just keep in mind that the more bells and whistles a garment has, the less timeless it will be.
A tailored blazer is a good idea anytime, especially if you prefer a classic or elegant style aesthetic. But spring is a good time to shift to either a pretty navy blazer or one in a new, springy shade.
I’ll admit, with the ongoing pandemic still keeping us home more, I’m not envisioning wearing my blazers as much this spring and summer. But then again, who knows. I certainly enjoy having them at the ready in my closet. If nothing else, they’re a nice option to wear over a dress to church. But they also work great over just jeans and a tee.
Trench Coat or Jacket
Having lived in the south where we generally went straight from cold to blazing hot in the spring, I had never owned a trench coat until a few years ago. But even in Arizona, I wore it more than I had expected. And here in Ohio I wear one quite frequently. In fact, I wore my full length trench to church this past Sunday.
I now have a full length pink trench (similar at Talbots now), a full length traditional khaki and three shorter trenches. Yeah, that’s a bit much. But that’s kind of how it goes as a style blogger. I think if I had to pick just one I’d go with the full length traditional. But a close second would be my black shorter trench (similar).
When shopping for a trench coat, keep in mind that all of them are not rain coats. So if you want one that is water repellant or waterproof, be sure to look for those features in the item description. The coats I’m sharing in the shopping widget below come in several different colors, so be sure to click through for more color options.
LIGHTWEIGHT TOPS & BLOUSES
Yay! It’s finally time to lighten up. Even if you layer up, you can lighten up the fabric, the prints and the colors of your tops. Depending on your style aesthetic you may need one or more of the following to round out the essentials in your wardrobe.
Crisp White Shirt
Just last week I produced a YouTube video about wearing button up shirts. While the trend this year is to wear the oversized versions of this classic closet staple, you absolutely will look stylish in the more tailored version, too. Below I’m wearing the Perfect Shirt from Talbots.
I’d say this is probably more indicative of the wardrobe essential we’re talking about here. But if your style aesthetic leans more toward the casual or bohemian, you may do quite well to keep an oversized shirt in your closet for several years. And while I say we need a “crisp white shirt,” you won’t go wrong with a shirt in a classic color or pattern such as the blue striped one below.
Don’t forget, you can also choose between cotton or no-iron blends. And linen is another nice option.
I’ve rounded up several great options for you below. I’m including shirts with short sleeves and various neck details, too.
I really enjoy having a chambray shirt in my closet year-round, but especially during the spring. It looks so classic and fresh with white jeans, khaki pants and other wardrobe essentials. While I’m wearing mine as a jacket below, I generally wear it as a shirt.
I have several chambray shirts at this point, but I especially like my chambray or denim shirt from Talbots. This one is similar.
Short Sleeve T-Shirts
I think one of the biggest mistakes I made for years was not having solid white and black tees on hand. A basic, solid t-shirt is definitely a must-have if you want to create outfits this spring and summer. They make all those layering pieces so much more versatile.
I suggest you have at least a couple of solid tees in colors and necklines that flatter you. Then if you want to add a print or two, that’s up to you. But for me, a white and black tee have become absolutely necessities.
It’s no secret around here that my very favorite white, grey and black t-shirts are these at SUPIMA® Cotton V-Neck T-Shirts at Banana Republic. And since they’re often marked down as much as 40%, they’re really a good buy for the quality. They keep their shape, feel nice on the skin and look polished.
PLEASE NOTE: I recently refreshed my wardrobe with a new SUPIMA® Cotton V-Neck T-Shirt from Banana Republic and noticed that the sizing has changed. I purchased a medium in the white t-shirt this time and it seems even smaller than my original small tee. In fact, I held them up to each other and the sizing has definitely changed. I’d wondered why the grey tee that I purchased in the fall seemed smaller than my original black and white ones. Now I know!
3/4 Length Sleeve Tees
Because spring is often a little chilly, I do suggest having some long or 3/4 length sleeve tees in your arsenal, too. It’s not that easy to find these, but my favorite is the cotton bateau neck tee at Talbots.
Three-quarter length sleeves are especially flattering because they expose the wrist bones, which creates a slenderizing look. Again, I think it’s a good idea to have at least a couple of these in your wardrobe, maybe one in a neutral and the other in a fun stripe or polka dot.
I think it’s so important to have a simple but pretty dress in your closet for spring and summer. If you can find an all-purpose dress – one with clean lines, an attractive silhouette and not too much fuss – you’ll be able to wear this one dress for weddings, funerals, showers and church.
What will make it a wardrobe essential? We need a dress that is functional, versatile and easy to wear. One that looks good with a jacket or trench coat over it, too, since the weather fluctuates. That’s why I say this needs to be a simple dress, one that is not fussy or restricted to certain types of events.
I think I purchased the dress below two or three years ago and I still have it in my closet because it truly fits the bill.
Here are a few to consider if you need a new spring dress.
In the past I’ve included spring accessory essentials in this post. But it’s already sooo long! Ha! So I’ll be publishing a separate Spring Accessory Essentials post later next week. It will include handbags, belts, shoes, scarves, etc. Plus, I have a Spring Completer Pieces post coming up with additional jackets and cardigans.
Which of these spring wardrobe essential pieces do you already own? Which will you need to refresh (maybe your white t-shirt)? And which can you pass on because it just doesn’t really fit into your personal wardrobe? I’d love to hear from you today.
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Blessed for My Day
Indeed God does comfort us when we are downcast or broken. But then we are to turn around and use that same comfort to help others through similar situations. There are hurts you have endured that I have never experienced. And I have undoubtedly gone through trials you have not yet endured. We have unique opportunities to minister to those around us because of our experiences.
Early in our marriage, my husband incurred some surprising health problems that landed him in the hospital multiple times. I had never sat beside someone I love in the hospital before. But because God walked us through that difficult season I am more equipped to empathize with other wives when their husbands are ill or hurting.
In what unique way could you offer comfort to someone today?
…who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:4