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Summer Wardrobe Essentials

Building a Wardrobe
June 3, 2019

Happy Monday, gals! I hope you had a pleasant weekend. I don’t know where mine went. Ha! Yeah I do. I spent much of it welcoming many of you into the private Facebook group for the Dressed for My Day Challenge. I’m amazed at the turnout. What a treat! And it’s not too late to join either. More on that in a bit. But today I want to talk wardrobe essentials…summer style!

In our Dressed for My Day Challenge, today’s daily challenge is to repeat one of the pieces from the outfit you wore yesterday in a completely different ensemble. I thought that would be a great challenge because so many of my readers expressed a need to learn how to use their current wardrobe in more versatile ways. And nothing makes you learn how to swim like being thrown into the water, right?

But it’s much easier to mix and match the elements in your closet if you have the basic building blocks. So today I’m sharing my list of Summer Wardrobe Essentials. Keep in mind that, depending on the climate where you live, the amount of traveling you do, your lifestyle and your personal style essence, your list of wardrobe essentials may vary from mine. But the key is to make sure you have plenty of staples – pants, dresses/skirts, tops and outer layers – in either one of your two neutrals or your signature colors so that you can mix and match your clothing. (By the way, you can learn more about selecting the colors of your wardrobe and what I mean by neutrals and signature colors in this post.)

Let’s get started!

Denim Shorts or Alternative

Great Denim Shorts for a Song
a.n.a 5″ inseam denim shorts (TTS – These are almost sold out; in fact I can’t get the link to work.) // v-neck short sleeve t-shirt (available in additional designs, TTS) // leather Keds Courtys (TTS) // no-show socks // star necklace // gold bangle (similar) // star & moon earrings // beaded sphere earrings (only available in white now) // sun glasses // beach bag – See more of this look here.

I think every gal needs a pair of denim shorts at the ready for summer. Most of my readers probably appreciate a good pair of denim shorts, but if you’re not into jean shorts I suggest you go for a pair of shorts in chambray, the sweet feminine cousin to denim.

Denim Shorts for Spring and Summer
denim shorts (wearing an 8, TTS) // v-neck t-shirt in belle pink (TTS) // pink sandals // canvas sneakers // no-show socks // large leather tote // earrings // palm necklace // choker necklace – See more of this look here.

The length of your shorts is totally up to you. Most women will look good in shorts with an inseam between 4″ and 6″. Longer shorts will look better on women with longer legs. But if you’re not so tall and still desire to wear Bermuda length denim shorts, pair them with sandals or sneakers in a color close to the shade of your skin. That way your legs will look longer and the lengthier shorts will look more in proportion.

I’ve packed the shopping widget below with lots of choices, including some chambray shorts. The prices are shown in the widget, but some of these shorts are marked down as much as 60% and the sale price doesn’t always show up here. So if you see some you like, click through to see what kind of deal you can get on them. Actually that applies to all the shopping widgets in this post.

White Pants – Chinos, Cargos or Dress Pants

I love wearing white pants during the summer. Yes, white jeans are another staple, but here I’m referring to something a little dressier, more polished.

Looking Chic with Baby Blue Gingham
provincial blue gingham shirt (wearing Medium) // white pants (also in curvy fit, which I’m wearing) // white blazer (not pictured here) // leather & wicker shoulder bag // beaded sphere earrings // bangle (another option) // necklace // ankle strap patent leather sandals – See more of this look here.

White pants are amazingly versatile and often work for situations where you’d otherwise wear a skirt or dress. When traveling during the summer, these are the one pair of pants I take with me, whether that’s my flat front dressier slacks or my chinos.

Classic Navy + White Spring Look
 white chinos (wearing an 8, TTS) // perfect shirt in indigo geo print (wearing an 8, TTS) // Taylor penny-keeper driving moccasins in indigo blue (TTS) // small bucket bag (similar, larger size) // James Avery chain // James Avery heart pendant (similar option) // adorned hearts ring // geo twirl french wire earrings – See more of this look here.

I’ve gathered a variety of white pants for the shopping widget below from various price points. Sale prices may not show.

White Jeans

I wear my white jeans so much more than I do regular blue denim in the spring and summer months. These jeans look fresh and seasonally appropriate, plus they help you create beautiful summery looks. They’re so versatile.

Denim Jacket with White Jeans + Tee
denim jacket // white jeans // v-neck t-shirt // leather Keds // rose studded camera bag // hoop earrings // chloe mini strand necklace // chloe charm adjustable necklace // super star necklace

I’m wearing the same white jeans from Loft that I bought last season, and I love them. I’ve also tried the white jeans from Talbots and Ann Taylor, and like those. So I’ve gathered a number of white jeans in the shopping widget below, but I can only personally vouch for those three brands. Feel free to share your favorites in the comments below.

White t-shirt + others

Of course, I think a white t-shirt is essential all year long, but especially in the summer months. It’s easy to pair with most any pair of shorts, jeans or pants, plus you can wear it with a denim or print skirt for a fresh, casual vibe.

Stripe Midi Skirt for Spring
blue stripe midi skirt (wearing a small) \\ white v-neck pocket tee (wearing small) \\ pink denim jacket (wearing small) \\ pink patent leather sandals (TTS) \\ small rose studded leather camera bag \\ palm adjustable necklace \\ Chloe adjustable charm necklace \\ small gold hoop earrings (similar)

I own several white tees and usually wear a couple of them each week during the spring and summer. Above I’m wearing a v-neck pocket tee from Target, and I have several other colors of this shirt, too. I think this tee is a nice thickness, plus it doesn’t plunge too low. Plus I always prefer v-necks.

I also like my white tees from Loft and Madewell. However, I get a little frustrated with the neckline of the tee I have from Loft, and I think this one might be better. You’ll find lots to choose from in the shopping widget below. Each of these tops do come in white, even if the color is different in the photo.

But of course you’ll want more than white tees. I like to have several solid colored tees for wearing with print shorts and a few striped or otherwise printed tees to spiff up solid colored chinos.

While I prefer very simple, clean cut white tees, I like to mix it up a bit more with my colored printed t-shirts. You could have tie-front tees, cinched tees or t-shirts with detailing on the neck or sleeves. Just choose tees that fit your style essence.

tie front t-shirt
high waist cargo pants in ensign blue (TTS) // tie front tee (runs very large) // palm necklace // hoop earrings // star and moon earrings
white jeans // v-neck t-shirt // hoop earrings // chloe mini strand necklace // chloe charm adjustable necklace // super star necklace

Remember, we’re talking wardrobe essentials. So I’m not adding graphic tees to this list, but I do think it’s fun to add a new one each year. This year I bought this fun one and you’ll see it in an upcoming post.

Dressier Shorts

If you’re a gal who likes to wear shorts, I suggest having at least one pair that’s a little dressier. I just recently ordered this pair of white shorts, but I’m already enjoying my black shorts and my black gingham shorts. Seersucker shorts are also a good summery option.

Black and white gingham shorts are the star
black & white gingham shorts (wearing 8, TTS) // magenta sleeveless shirt (wearing 8, TTS) // white denim jacket (wearing small, TTS) // black belt (similar) // gold sandals (TTS) // wicker & leather shoulder bag // gold bangle (similar) // palm necklace // beaded sphere earrings (only available in white) // sunglasses – See more of this look here.
Black Shorts Versatile for Summer
See more of this look here.

Summer Dress

You may have a closet full of dresses, but I don’t have nearly as many as I did once upon a time. However, every woman needs to have at least one summer dress that is flattering, versatile and stylish. This is the dress you’ll reach for when attending a wedding or other ceremony. But you might also just wear it to church or a special dinner out.

Talbots Summer Try-On Session
I didn’t come home with this dress, but I think it is especially pretty and versatile.
Blue Floral Fit and Flare Dress
This dress is sold out, but this one is very similar and similarly priced.
Seersucker Fit & Flare Dress
seersucker fit & flare dress (wearing an 8, TTS) // ankle strap sandals // gold bangle (similar) // beaded sphere earrings // star necklace // wicker and leather shoulder bag // hat (similar) // sunglasses

I’ve collect a number of dresses to look through in the shopping widget, but there are obviously SO MANY out there. Mainly, look for a dress that suits you, that you can absolutely love wearing and that is versatile.

Summer Blazer

I’ve become convinced this year that every gal needs a summer blazer. Now maybe you’d still prefer a cardigan, and that’s fine. But even the prettiest cardigan can’t elevate an outfit the way a blazer can. And you can now find such beautiful, lightweight blazers in all price points.

white linen blazer (TTS) // paisley flutter sleeve shirt // jeans (similar) // palm necklace // gold bangle // gold wristlet handbag (similar) // gold sandals (more economical alternative) // beaded cuff bracelet // beaded sphere earrings (white only) // moon & star earrings – See more of this look here.

I’m enjoying both this white linen blazer and my pink linen blazer. These two jackets are at the opposite ends of the price spectrum and, honestly, the pricier one is better quality. But the pink one from Target is still a great find.

4 Ways to Style a Pink Linen Blazer
white tee w/grey stripes (wearing medium) // blush pink linen blazer (wearing 8, TTS) // black Wonderstretch Straight Leg Pants (wearing 8, TTS) // black pumps (TTS) // soft pink leather bucket bag // necklace no longer available (option) // sunglasses – See four ways to style a pink linen blazer here.

Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to pink or white. I’ve seen so many gorgeous lightweight blazers this spring, and I know we’ll continue to see them this summer. In fact, I’m styling another one later this week. Here are some to choose from at various price points.

Fashion Sneakers

This year fashion sneakers – or what most of us would just consider sneaker sneakers! – are definitely having a moment. So let’s enjoy it. Plus these shoes have become so versatile. You can wear them with shorts, jeans, crops, dresses, skirts and jumpers. I love having a pair of white sneakers, but you can certainly select a different color or even a print, depending on your style aesthetic.

Perfect Spring Weekend Get-Away Look
pink jeans // white leather Keds

Summer Sandals

Gold sandals

Of course every gal needs a pair of pretty sandals for the summer. I like having several pair, honestly. But if I could only have one, I’d choose a pair of metallic sandals. I wear my gold ones just about nonstop. But if you’re not into metallic sandals, I think a neutral colored pair might be the best one pair to have. For a second pair, select a pretty color or even a print.

You might want to check out my post on Summer Sandals for more ideas.

Summer Handbag

Finally, at least for this list, you’ll need a summer handbag. If you only want to invest in or even carry one bag this summer, I’d suggest a light colored neutral, maybe a beige, pale pink or warm caramel. Select one that will work nicely with your chosen neutrals and signature colors.

What I Wore to Saturday Brunch
leather tote // dress // sandals

Your summer bag doesn’t have to match your shoes. Remember, shoes and handbags and belts don’t have to match; they just have to “go.”

Blush Pink Blazer + White Pants
white pants // pale pink bucket bag // pink blazer
Halter Neck Gingham Jumpsuit
halter neck gingham jumpsuit in navy/ivory (runs TTS or a tad small) //  enamel bangle in magenta // pink sandals (similar) // wicker and leather shoulder bag // sunglasses

I’ve been surprised how often I reach for my wicker and white leather shoulder bag. So don’t discount a straw or wicker bag as a wardrobe essential either. I could easily carry it every day.

Here are some nice selections. Remember, most of the bags shown below are available in several shades. Also, I realize most of these are not inexpensive bags, but when it comes to selecting a handbag or shoulder bag that is going to operate as a wardrobe essential, I recommend buying quality. Go cheaper on trendy bags.

Other Essentials

Well, for the sake of not losing you altogether due to the length of this post, I’m going to simply name a few “honorable mentions.” These are items that may or may not be essential to you depending on your lifestyle and personal style essence.

  • Denim jacket – This is a wardrobe essential, period. But depending on where you live and travel this summer, you may or may not use it often.
  • Swim suit
  • Swim suit cover-up
  • casual pants such as chinos or cargos in your chosen neutrals.
  • casual skirt, such as a denim skirt

Remember, when it comes to shopping for most wardrobe essentials, I suggest investing enough to get quality products. These are either items you will wear for years (think blazer, denim jacket, hand bag, denim shorts) or they are pieces you will wear frequently (think white t-shirt, sandals, sneakers) so you want them to be durable, well-made and classic.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post. If you have questions, please let me know. Thanks so much for reading.

Dressed for My Day Challenge #3

Today’s challenge in the Dressed for My Day Challenge is simply to repeat an item you wore yesterday in a different way today. In fact, it’s National Repeat Day! So I’d love to see how you wore your one item two ways on either Instagram with hashtag #DressedforMyDayChallenge or in the private DFMDChallenge Facebook page. Or, if you’re not on either social media outlet, just tell me about your participation in the comments section here.

Don’t Miss a Post:

If you like what you’re seeing here at Dressed for My Day, I invite you to subscribe to my email list. You can receive an email each time I post (about 6 times weekly) or just on Saturdays. You choose! But you’ll also receive the password to open up all the subscriber freebies I offer.

Blessed for My Day

Do you know the secret? Have you been enlightened? Actually, while the world is telling us that we need to learn the secrets to life and become more enlightened, the Bible tells us that all the mysteries of life are wrapped up in knowing Christ.

Don’t be duped into thinking that the world has some higher knowledge or wisdom to offer you. There are so many popular authors, speakers and teachers beckoning for your attention, telling you that you need to tap into what they’ve discovered about life, happiness and fulfillment. But, sister, all we need is in Christ Jesus. Pull out your Bible and spend time there. Ask Him for wisdom and lean into Him. Yes, there are treasures to be discovered, but it’s all in the person of Jesus Christ.

…Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. ~ Colossians 2:2b-3

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xoxo, Kay
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11 thoughts on “Summer Wardrobe Essentials

  1. I bought the JC Penney denim shorts, and they came in the other day. Love them. Just a little stretch, and they fit well. And what a great price! Thanks for the link.

  2. I love the BFMD reminder! The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and God has proven this truth to me time and time again. Regarding the challenge, yesterday afternoon I wore a pale light blue (my signature color) tie front top with dark washed skinny jeans out for a casual dinner with my husband. Today I’m wearing the same light blue tie front top but with white skinnies and wedges to meet a friend for lunch. Changing up the accessories from yesterday’s outfit too.

  3. I think I’ll wear my denim shorts again with a different t shirt and different sandals or sneakers. I’m going to check out those Target vneck t shirts to see if they are small enough for a petite body.

  4. Where do I want to begin! White jeans: I have a pair from ON that I like, but I have to wear a belt with them and the thickness of them seems to heavy for the hot weather. Shorts: I have several pair of Kim Rogers (Belk) shorts that are nice and extremely comfortable, and very affordable. Blazers/Jackets: I have several, but this very hot natured female doesn’t wear them during the warm months. I have the same white leather KEDS that you have and love them.
    For the challenge: I did a repeat on Sat. and Sun., but didn’t jazz up either look with accessories. I won’t be on repeat today and tomorrow due to our schedule. We are going to a peach farm today. Tomorrow is our anniversary so I will be wearing better casual clothes for the day. More to come! Oh, I had challenges over the weekend finding where I could add pictures and comments on the challenge FB page. I’m not technically gifted. ? Have a blessed day!

  5. Thanks for this great list of summer essentials!! I purchased the beautiful white/wicker handbag from Talbots this weekend!! What a great purchase! I love this bag and it’s a little larger than I thought it would be, so that was great!!

    1. Super!! Yep, I use it so often. Thanks for reading and giving some feedback. Makes it a pleasure to serve you gals! ☺️