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 I’ll simply be sharing some of the highlights from that list in this must-read post.
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 several categories. And I do believe we all need clothing and accessories in these 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 2022 Wardrobe Essentials
Most of the photos I’m sharing in today’s post are from my archives. These are mostly from previous springs, 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. And occasionally the items in those looks are indeed available.
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.
White or Natural Wash Jeans
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.
In this video that I posted last spring, I shared How to Wear White Jeans Like a Boss. Many of the products featured and linked in that video are no longer available, but the style tips are definitely worth checking out.
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 what I wear. And in both of those fits, the denim jeggings come in petite, misses and plus sizes. I didn’t do much to style my white denim jeggings below because this was just a try-on session that I shared last week. But these are very comfortable jeans with a nice thick denim.
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.
If you want something a little more on trend and/or you already have the more classic silhouettes, I’d suggest purchasing a pair of white denim with a more straight, cropped leg or even a demi boot or cropped flare leg. These are definitely more modern. I’ve fallen in love with these Mother the Hustler High Waist Fray Hem Ankle Bootcut Jeans. Because they are such a modern cut and I think they’re actually quite flattering, I have a feeling these will be my white jeans of choice this spring and summer.
But this year natural colored jeans are really trending. While we’ll continue to see lots of white jeans and they’re perfectly stylish, we’ll also see a larger variety of natural or ivory or beige jeans. I recently tried the Modern Ankle Jeans in natural from Talbots. While I actually love this silhouette and the way these jeans fit, they do run a little snugger than the other Talbots styles I’ve shown above. I’m still wearing my usual size 8 below, but I’m going to need to get a few pounds off (which I’m working really hard at!) in order to wear these jeans comfortably.
I’ve collected several other white jeans at various price points and in different styles in the shopping widget below. In fact, the Talbots jeans mentioned above are not included in the shopping widget, but you can shop them through the links above. 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.
Also, always remember that many of the products featured in these widgets come in other colors. In fact, one of them showed up blue, but they do have that jean in white, too. And sale prices do not always reflect accurately. Bottom line? If you’re at all interested, click through for more information and options and the correct price.
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.”
This year, even more than last, straight cropped and ankle length jeans are trending hot, hot, hot. In fact, while I and every other influencer I know has been assuring you that you can still wear your skinny jeans if you wish, I do think we are nearing the day when those skinnies are going to start looking very dated. I’m just calling it like I see it. And let’s face it, straight leg jeans are not a fad. Straight legs are the roots of blue jeans. They’re the most authentic silhouette there is, besides the bootcut, which never really goes out of style either.
Now the ankle or crop lengths we’re enjoying right now may not be around forever. But this spring and summer you’re going to see a lot of these shorter lengths. And I think they’re so much fresher and seasonally appropriate for these warm months. They’re easy to wear, too, because you can wear a full range of footwear with them, from sandals to sneakers to wedges to loafers to mules to ballet flats, and on and on and on.
So if you haven’t taken the plunge and tried the straight leg ankle or crop length (really the same thing) jeans yet, I humbly suggest you do so this spring. And the straight leg ankle jeans above are such a great starter pair. They’re reasonably priced, the shipping and returns are free and easy, they feature the trending dark wash that is so versatile, they appear to be fully stocked and that raw hem makes the jeans easy to adjust to any height. I actually cut almost 1″ off mine. And I know several petite bloggers who consistently cut off their misses size jeans to make them work for them. You want your ankle length jeans to hit just at or above the ankle bone.
Of course, if you really want to go modern, you might want to try the even trendier demi boot or cropped flare leg jeans. I don’t own any of these except the white ones I shared in the section above. But I will definitely be sharing lots of tips for styling straight leg and demi boot ankle length jeans this spring and summer. So stick with me and you will be wearing these modern silhouettes with confidence and great style.
Finally, I think spring and summer are also a nice time to wear grey or light black jeans, especially if either of those colors works well with your chosen neutrals or signature colors. Below I styled my grey jeans for winter, but I’ll soon be sharing them in spring styles, too. Notice these grey jeans are “slim ankle jeans,” which are a great option if you don’t want to go too wide in the leg, but you’re willing to break away from skinny jeans.
I’ve filled the shopping widget below with blue and grey jeans in a variety of silhouettes and price points. Keep in mind that when shopping for jeans you want to consider your preferable rise for your body proportions.
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’s why I want very lightweight, breathable fabrics in several versatile shades, but usually my preferred neutrals.
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.)
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, an ivory jacket or one in a new, springy shade.
As I looked back at last year’s Spring Wardrobe Essentials post I noticed that I remarked that I wasn’t wearing my blazers as much because of the stay-at-home situation with the pandemic. But as things have opened up this past year and we’ve gotten out more, I’ve returned to wearing blazers very frequently.
Blazers really have become my go-to jacket of choice, even over my denim jacket. Most blazers are even more comfortable than my denim jacket and they add something special to every outfit.
Because blazers have really become a signature piece in my wardrobe and I wear them very frequently, I pay more and invest in quality jackets that feel and look great. I have learned that there is a true difference in quality of blazers. But if you don’t think you’ll wear your blazer as much as I do, I’d suggest checking out some of the more economical options in the shopping widget below. I recently got this lovely grey blazer from LilySilk and it is amazing at this price. It’s also available in black and navy.
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).
I’m including macs in this category, too. A mac coat generically refers to a plain, button-down coat that protects from wind, chill and/or rain, while a trench coat features military-inspired details including a thick waist belt, shoulder and wrist straps, and large lapels.
When shopping for a trench or mac coat, keep in mind that not all of them are 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.
I do think it is smart to have a few other completer pieces in your wardrobe for spring, but I’ll be sharing those in a designated Spring Completer Pieces post soon.
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
Last spring 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. I recently picked up the light blue oversized shirt below.
Don’t forget, you can also choose between cotton or no-iron blends. And linen is another nice option. I tend to wear my linen more in summer, but it’s fine to start wearing it as soon as things warm up in your neck of the woods.
This year I’ve noticed that button up shirts made in soft gauze fabric are really trending. They may not be as classic as cotton poplin, but they’re definitely current and comfy. I’ve rounded up several great options for you below. I’m including a few 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. I prefer a classic button up chambray shirt for its versatility, but I’ve included other types of chambray shirts in the widget below because I know some of you have different style aesthetics from mine.
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.
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 feel like I’m always on the quest to find the perfect solid tees. And I know that what works for one woman doesn’t always appeal to another. For instance, I kind of like the little front pockets some tees have on them, but if you are bustier than me you may not like that feature at all. And while I prefer a v-neck, some of you like scoop or crew necks better. So I’ve filled the shopping widget below with a wide variety of tees in different prices, silhouettes (fitted and boxier), necklines and even sleeve lengths.
Last Spring I wrote a white T-Shirt review post in which I reviewed a dozen or so short sleeve white tees. Would that be helpful this year, too? And if so, do you have specific brands you would like for me to include for comparison? Please let me know in the comments below.
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 recently purchased this bold floral print dress (also in plus sizes) and this solid green wrap dress (available in other colors and prints, too), and I’ll be featuring them in an upcoming blog post. 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