I’m less drawn to strict capsules as my style evolves, but I’ll always be a proponent of great seasonal basics you can wear on repeat! When it comes to summer essentials, I recommend focusing on high quality items that will be in your closet for years to come.
Whether you need a refresh or a simple audit, I put together a list of 10 summer essentials to get you through the season feeling great about your style. Many of my women’s summer basic recommendations are classic in nature, so you might already have them in your wardrobe!
1. Casual Tops
A tank top that’s substantial enough to be worn alone, tucked into bottoms, or layered under a blazer, denim jacket, or cardigan sweater is a must. I ordered this Vince tank in black and white (they look simple from afar but have ribbing up close). If tanks aren’t your thing, linen button ups, sleeveless button downs, and white t-shirts are three alternatives to try.
2. Dressy Tops
Full disclosure: I am very partial to the statement blouse. A cute blouse and shorts or jeans is my summer uniform, and I collect them in every color, print, and cut imaginable! You can see my summer blouse picks here. However, when budget is limited, a neutral top will go with the widest variety of separates.
3. Day to Evening Dress
If there’s one summer style essential you buy a few of, let it be a dress. The sweet spot is dresses that easily transition from day (brunch, WFH, etc.) to night. If you’re not sure where to start, a white dress, a black dress, an a blue dress is the perfect trio. See my picks for maxis and midis that fit the bill below! If you want more options, I shared my romantic maxi, block print, and under $200 summer dresses earlier this season.
4. Casual and Dressy Shorts
For day, I love lightweight linen shorts or denim shorts. The Parker Long style by AGOLDE is excellent if you don’t want ultra short cutoffs, and I’ve also fallen in love with this pair by Rebecca Taylor. They are so flattering! And if you love shorts as much as me, consider a dressy short—they can be fitted or drapey, just look for a neutral that will mix and match with your tops.
5. Summer Jeans
White jeans and light denim in a crop length are the most approachable pairs of denim for a variety of shoe styles in warm weather. I prefer slim straight and have had so much luck with PAIGE jeans recently. I absolutely love the Cindy crop and have them in white (seen here), light (styled here), and mid (styled here) washes.
6. Casual Sandals
I’ll be sharing all my shoe picks later this week, but a casual sandal is a must have! I have this sandal in several colors and wear these woven sandals often too. I have my eye on these strappy sandals which are pricey but look a little more elevated. For the beach and pool, TKEES flip flops are my go to.
7. Dressy Sandals
The shoe for summer events! It could be anything from a comfortable block heel sandal to an espadrille wedge to an ankle strap style. I find myself reaching for block heels for comfort, but take a look at your summer plans (Weddings? Showers? Date nights? Office?) and choose a dressy heeled sandal accordingly.
8. Woven Tote
Straw bags aren’t just for vacation! A timeless, not basic beach bag that gets use beyond the beach is ideal. You can see the woven tote I purchased for summer in this post, but below are more roomy summer bags that can be worn for day, travel, and on vacation.
9. Clutch or Crossbody
A nice evening out might be the only scenario where a woven tote won’t make the cut. If you have semi-formal events on your summer calendar, a woven or beaded clutch is the perfect option. I like these styles because they’re not glam, so you can carry them on casual summer nights out too (drinks, dinner, etc.).
I’m currently on the prowl for summer sunglasses and will keep you posted on what I purchase, but these under $10 Celine dupes have been getting me through. I rounded up a few sunglasses that seem to be crowd favorites regardless of face shape below.
Keep in mind that this isn’t a complete summertime style list—just the essentials!