Summer Wardrobe Essentials: 10 Looks to Try This Season!

Summer Wardrobe Essentials! 8 looks to Wear This Season

The first day of summer is around the corner! It’s literally so close I can taste it, and I couldn’t be more excited. Summer was made for me. Long sunny days, warm breezy nights, windows down, hair blowing, music blasting, no jackets needed, flip flops, watermelon, guacamole, beach days, and backyard BBQs are just a few of my favorite things. If I could, I would live in an eternal summer — and living in California, I am not far off. We do endure a short spell of “June gloom” which can give me the blues … but when those warm rays come blasting through I am literally walking on sunshine.

Depending on where you live, however, you’re not completely in the clear. It might still get cold at night, or you might be sweating your brains out (I’m talking to you, Arizona) and so you avoid being outside altogether. When it comes to building your summer wardrobe, the key is to check that weather app on your phone and be prepared with the necessary fashion pieces to add or take away depending on the temperature that day. I have put together 10 super simple looks built on the essentials to keep you cool all summer long. It’s all about bright whites, mixing neutrals with pops of color, tunics, boyfriend shorts, flowy skirts and dresses, beachy pants and prints, perhaps a light layer for a cool night or a cold restaurant, and a lot of plain white tees. (Can a girl have too many? I think not.)

Take a looksies, and feel free to make these looks your own!


The Boyfriend Short and Graphic Tee 1 of 10
This is my go-to summer uniform! Let's start with the boyfriend short: this loose, distressed fit is the style of the season. Also notice the length! Not all of us want our rear ends hanging out of our shorts. This cut offers a super comfy, flattering, and classy length for day to day. You can find them just about anywhere, or bust out a pair of scissors and old worn-out jeans and make them yourself, cutting them to any length you like! Also the graphic tee is casual-cool and offers a million options that can be found anywhere from J.Crew to Forever 21 to Indie online companies. Graphic tees are fresh and fun.

Purchase high five t-shirt from Salt and Pepper Tees, $32

Purchase boyfriend shorts from Old Navy, $24.94

Purchase similar sunglasses from Urban Outfitters, $45

Purchase watch from Feral Watches, $88
The Sundress and Kimono 2 of 10
A long, white cotton sundress is a summer wardrobe staple! This is a piece that is guaranteed to get a lot of wear this season because it is so versatile: it can be worn on its own, over a swimsuit, or to church with a cardigan or kimono. Speaking of kimonos, this is one of summer's biggest trends. Since it is so airy and lightweight, it is perfect for layering without being fussy or too warm. I absolutely love the look of this kimono over the dress. Also note that when wearing two flowy or oversized pieces together, it's a good idea to belt the dress to keep your shape!

Purchase sundress from Billabong, $69.50

Purchase similar kimono from Nordstrom, $38

Purchase flip flops from Gap, $24.95
The Tunic and White Jean 3 of 10
The light linen-y tunic is both elegant and easy. It can be dressed up or dressed down from day to night. Flattering and fashionable, Tory Burch has turned the tunic trend into an evergreen classic; now everyone is making them for affordable prices. I love to pair it with my white boyfriend jeans, another summer essential happening in 2014!

Purchase tunic from Old Navy, $29.94

Purchase similar jeans from the Gap, $69.95

Purchase similar earrings from J.Crew, $85

Purchase similar sunglasses from Urban Outfitters, $45

The Maxi Skirt and Plain White Tee 4 of 10
Do you see a trend here? All of these pieces share the "easy breezy" common denominator. Summer is not the season to be wearing tight clothes; when it's hot and humid, the last thing you want are your clothes to cling and hug. The maxi is an ideal piece for the warm months, and also works for everyone! And have you seen enough white yet? The plain white tee does a lot of heavy-lifting during the summer, and yet makes it look so easy. Again, keep the fit loose! You can't go wrong!

Purchase white t-shirt from Top Shop, $20

Purchase skirt from O'Neill, $59.50

Purchase similar necklace from 31 Bits, $28
The Lounge Pant and T-shirt 5 of 10
Don't you love how we've managed to make wearing PJs all day fashionable? Well at least these pieces feel like you could easily wear them to bed. The lounge pant is a relative to the harem pant, just much more flattering in my opinion. They are making them in such beautiful prints and fabrics, in the most comfy lightweight textures. With this look, I'm bringing back the graphic tee in a monochromatic white-on-white style. Give it an easy half- tuck for the effortless, just-threw-something-on-and-left-the-house look. If you want to dress it up, add a long necklace and where some wedges for height and style!

Purchase T-shirt from Old Navy, $7.95

Purchase lounge pant from Volcom, $39.50

Tassel necklace tutorial here

Purchase similar shoes from Urban Outfitters, $139
The Cropped Pant and Denim Vest 6 of 10
There is a fine line between the capri pant of yore and the cropped pant of today. Sure, capris are subtly making their way back, but they aren't easy to wear. The cropped pant still elongates the leg while allowing the ankle to be seen. I love this super-soft stretchy pair in this on-trend shade of peachy pastel pink. Grab a short-sleeved blouse-y henley top, and throw a denim vest over the top! Yep the Denim vest is back — just in time for summer! Keeping the layers light is the key to staying cool, literally and figuratively.

Purchase henley T-shirt from Old Navy, $15

Purchase crop pant from Old Navy, $19

Purchase similar denim vest from Gap, $59.95

Purchase bracelet from 31 Bits, $28

Purchase sandals from Urban Outfitters, $39
The Tank and Jean Jacket 7 of 10
We are in the season of tanks, and just like graphic tees, they are easy and add some rock to any look. They can be worn to the beach, to the gym, or used for layering. Notice how I added my jean jacket to this look — great for nights when there's just a bit of chill in the air or when going to a freezing restaurant! The jean jacket can do no wrong. Also, note the tank tucked into another lounge pant, this time in a neutral khaki green.

Purchase tank from Sports Chalet, $32

Purchase lounge pant from Old Navy, $29.94

Purchase similar denim jacket from Gap, $69.95

Purchase bracelet from 31 Bits, $28
The Perfect Kimono and Cover-Up 8 of 10
Did I mention kimonos were perfect for summer? Allow me to say it again: Kimonos are perfect for summer. Not only is it the ideal piece for day-to-day layering, but it's also brilliant as a swimsuit cover-up. It's so elegant and effortless, not to mention a confidence booster: It's long enough to cover our buns when we're hanging in our suits.

Purchase kimono from Billabong, $59.50

Purchase similar swimsuit from Albion Fit, $122
The Chambray and Bright Boyfriend Roll-Up 9 of 10
The chambray shirt is the summer replacement for the denim shirt. It is much lighter in weight, but offers the same earthy neutral-blue tones, maybe a touch brighter in color. The chambray can go from the office to the playground, especially when tucked into a bright pink pair of cotton shorts. How happy is this combination?! Don't be afraid to wear a pop of color on the bottom! There's a rainbow of colored shorts out there on the market waiting to be worn! Again, notice the longer length in the boyfriend short. (You can roll them shorter if you like.) Add a tan skinny belt and a pair of flip-flops and you are good to go!

Purchase similar shirt from Old Navy, $49.95

Purchase similar shorts from Gap, $44.95

Purchase belt from Gap, $20.99
The 3/4-Sleeve Blazer and Patterned Pant 10 of 10
Lastly, let's talk about the blazer. The summer blazer is different than your fall blazer. If you are gonna wear a jacket, consider a 3/4-length sleeve in a lighter shade or pattern. I have been wearing this striped blazer for five years, and I get compliments every time I wear it out. Its nautical look is so perfect for summer and layers well with other patterns without getting to crazy. I adore it with my pineapple button down (also a huge trend, read my post about pineapple style here). You need to make room in your wardrobe for fun! A pair of brightly colored patterned cropped trousers is a way to add that fun. Be daring with your patterns, and mix them up!

Purchase similar jacket from Gap, $69.95

Purchase button-down from Target, $22.99

Purchase similar pants from Boden, $66

Purchase similar sunglasses from Quay, $45


Photos by Priscilla Chang


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