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10 Must-Have Pieces To Create Effortlessly Stylish Summer Looks

By Anna Hartman··  4 min read
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Whether you’re hosting a dreamy backyard dinner party under the stars, heading to St. Barts for a well-deserved holiday, or simply meeting your bestie for brunch, it’s important to have a wardrobe filled with tasteful, feminine, and timeless pieces that you can mix and match for any occasion.

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It’s easy to fall prey to ultra-trendy styles, thinking that these pieces will keep you looking fashionable all summer. Unfortunately, most of them are not only super temporary (as in completely discarded by next season), but they aren’t always a fit for every body type and age. Rather, give up on the one-hit-wonders, and choose to stock up on timeless duds that will make you feel comfortable and confident.

Use this guide to create an intentional capsule wardrobe where you can interchange pieces to create looks for all your summer outings. This way, you can RSVP “yes” to each event on your calendar knowing that you’ll arrive looking your best! 

1. Casual Midi Skirt

This versatile piece is a classic must-have that you’ll reach for all summer. Wear it on the boardwalk as a partial cover-up, or dress it up with a delicate cropped blouse and heels for dinner with your girlfriends. Look for a tiered rayon or linen skirt with an elastic waistband. A thigh-high slit will make it more comfortable for you to move. 

Lulus Caught in Cannes Beige High-Waisted Side Button Midi Skirt, $48
lulus caught in cannes midi skirt

2. High-Waisted Trousers

A pair of high-waisted trousers will not only elevate the most basic summer cami, but they also double as high-fashion businesswear when heading into the office. Look for a pair in white, tan, or other light neutral hue, and for a pop of color, add a bold pair of pumps or a patterned blazer. 

Revolve Amanda Uprichard Wallce Pants, $194
Revolve Amanda Uprichard Wallce Pants

3. Floral Maxi Dress

While capsule wardrobes are traditionally limited to solid neutrals, sometimes rules are meant to be broken. Besides, florals never go out of style! Look for a simple silhouette in a subtle floral pattern so you can wear it just as easily to a wedding as you can to go shopping. 

Saks Fifth Avenue Wayf Plaza Floral Cut-Out Tiered Maxi Dress, $148 
Saks Fifth Avenue Wayf Plaza Floral Cut-Out Tiered Maxi Dress

4. Simple Hoop Earrings

Gone are the days of chunky earrings and bubble necklaces. Rather, the puffy-shape hoops inspired by ‘80s “shrimp” earrings (now dubbed “croissant” earrings) are perfectly on-trend while remaining understated. Look for earrings made of gold-plated brass for an affordable and lightweight option.

Mejuri Bold Croissant Dome Earrings, $58
Mejuri Bold Croissant Dome Earrings

5. Feminine Slides

While there’s always a place for leg-lengthening heels, sometimes flats are a much more practical choice. Opt for a pair of slides that have a feminine feature (think: a bow or twist) to make a statement in summer-friendly fabrics like linen or raffia. 

Margaux The Mule, $238
Margaux The Mule

6. Convertible Shoulder Bag

A structured shoulder bag that can convert to crossbody in an off-white, bone, or other neutral hue will keep consistent with your seasonal wardrobe. Look for a lightweight version in a small to medium size so you can wear it comfortably. Gold chain detail is not only on-trend, but timeless.

Rebecca Minkoff Edie Flap Shoulder Bag, $298
Rebecca Minkoff Edie Flap Shoulder Bag

7. Open-Toe Heels

A heel with a simple silhouette can take any summer look from day to night. Look for ones without an ankle strap to elongate your legs. Keep in mind the heel shape and size when searching for a wardrobe staple; a chunky heel is going to be best for walking around comfortably on any terrain. 

Dolce Vita Noles Heels, $100  
Dolce Vita Noles Heels

8. Silk Blouse

Swap out your classic cotton button-down for a cooler satin or silk shirt to instantly create a stylish, flowing silhouette. This wardrobe essential is well suited for the office underneath a blazer, for a date night with a pair of trousers or jeans, or even casually paired with cut-off denim shorts. 

Zara Satin Effect Shirt, $50  
Zara Satin Effect Shirt

9. Ruffled Blouse

A short-sleeved, cotton ruffled blouse is a romantic and feminine alternative to your standard white T-shirt. Pair a pretty puff sleeve or ruffle trim top with jeans to elevate your daytime look, tucked into a midi skirt for dinner, or even over some sneaky leggings to chat with your boss via Zoom. 

ASTR the Label Anza Top, $88 
ASTR the Label Anza Top

10. Cropped White Jeans

While trousers are appropriate for an office or formal dinner setting, cropped white jeans are ideal for casual weekend wear while still remaining polished. Opt for a pair that sits high at your natural waist to create the most flattering shape, whether your top is tucked or untucked. Stay away from overly distressed or frayed hems to keep them versatile. 

Abercrombie & Fitch Ultra High-Rise Ankle Straight Jeans, $90
Abercrombie & Fitch Ultra High Rise Ankle Straight Jeans

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