Summer Clothing (What to Wear)
May 6, 2009
I set the ball in motion, writing about what NOT to wear during summertime, now I need to give my readers some ideas of WHAT to wear during summertime, and what items from my closet I keep constantly employed during hot summer days. It doesn’t take much to have a functioning wardrobe, but it does take the right kind of items. I’m not saying that you should own everything on this list– a lot of what you should own depends also on where you live and what sort of circles you frequent. Do you live in the country? Then an easy going, jersey summer dress might be more practical for you than a tailored, formal dress that might be appropriate for the city. Or a light-weight cardigan might be better suited to breezy summer nights than a dressy jacket.
During the summertime I love to wear bright colors, but only when paired with another neutral item. I wouldn’t, for instance, pair a kelly green t-shirt with a kelly green cotton skirt, but I would pair a kelly green t-shirt with a denim skirt, or combine a kelly green skirt with a cream colored top. Too much color can make you look like you just stepped out of a time machine from the 80s. In the summertime, I stick to buying 3-4 different neutral bottoms, like denim clamdiggers, a denim skirt, or chino pants, and buy more vibrant tops to pair with them. You could also do the opposite, and buy a lot of vibrant skirts in various patterns and just stick with a handful of white/brown/cream colored tees and blouses, too.
- I would not make it through the summer if I did not own any high neck camisoles, which are an absolute MUST if you are going to wear any sort of sleeveless top or dress, because most styles today are simply cut too low. If you are playing peek-a-boo every time you bend over then you need to layer a camisole under that top or dress. These camisoles from Shade Clothing are thin enough to not add extra bulk, and the stretchy camisole acts as a sort of shaper underneath your top, which also keeps others from seeing the outline of your bra.
- Knit sleeveless tops. I have no problem with wearing sleeveless tops, just as long as bra straps remain hidden, and the straps on the sleeveless top are not really skinny– if it’s impossible to hide your bra straps without wearing a strapless bra, then it isn’t the right top for you.
- Looser fitted tank tops, like this one, that have a higher neckline and are made out of knit material. There is a difference, between wearing a looser tank top, and wearing a super tight, low cut, thin one that reveals every lump, bump, and outline of your bra.
- Sleeveless cotton blouses to pair with straight clamdiggers, walk shorts, or a denim pencil skirt.
- 2-3 high quality (thicker material) t-shirts, one in a neutral color, and one or two in a bright color.
- Short-sleeve 100% cotton blouses. Instead of wearing a tight, spaghetti strap top that gets hot, and sweaty, and sticks close to your body, try wearing a looser, woven cotton top, whether it be a trapeze, empire line, or tailored baby doll style.
Yes, I know this J. Crew t-shirt is expensive, but the reward is for those who are patient. I bought a few t-shirts from J. Crew, not that long ago, marked down to $6.99 which is just as cheap as any price at Target, or Old Navy.
- Dark denim clamdiggers/pedal pushers/cropped jeans, what have you. The important details are: they are a flattering knee-length, they are a darker wash which makes them instantly dressier and more appropriate for wearing out, or to events, and they are straight cut, which accommodates loose fitting tops and blouses. A lighter wash looks great, too, when you are dressing casual. Or you could try white clamdiggers, too.
- Lightweight denim trousers, or cotton chinos. Shy away from anything that has very much stretchy content in the material of the fabric, such as elastane, polyester, or spandex– Lightweight cotton is a heck of a lot more comfortable in 110 degree weather.
- A denim pencil skirt or an a-line denim/cotton canvas skirt to pair with those breezy cotton tops.
- A full, printed cotton skirt. One of my favorite outfits is a full, vibrant cotton skirt paired with a neutral, short-sleeved tee, and heels. What a fantastic 1950s look!
- Short sleeved or sleeveless Jersey dress.
- Short sleeve or sleeveless, tailored, summer day dress. A crisp cotton dress is an indispensable outfit for spring and summer weddings– paired with a jacket, heels, and small clutch.
A jersey dress is one of the most comfortable pieces of clothing to wear on a hot summer afternoon. The simple beauty of wearing an easy, one piece garment is unparalleled. In this day and age of grungy jeans, and short shorts, it takes some courage to step out of the house in a dress. You might even be labeled as fussy! But slip on a dress, throw on a light-weight, short sleeved cardigan, and step into some flat, casual sandals and you’ll never go back.
- A short sleeved cardigan for breezy summer nights when a coat is too heavy but that sleeveless top is leaving you freezing. Or the air-conditioned building that you have to sit in for a several hours every day is absolutely frigid.
- Denim/linen jacket. A white denim jacket can add instant pizzaz to jeans, a blouse, and heels for a smart, going out outfit on a summer evening. Add it to a jersey dress and flat sandals for a Sunday outfit. A plain denim jacket can work well, too, as an extra layer to a summer outfit, but it’s more laid back than a white jacket.
- Flat sandals. And I don’t mean rubber flip-flops, those are so casual they should be limited to the beach. I mean these sort of flat sandals. Flat sandals are a necessity if you are on your feet all day, and you can wear them with everything. A slip on style is a good choice if you’re the sort of person who is always hurrying out the door. But if you have 2 minutes to spare, an inexpensive pair of gladiator sandals is a stylish and comfy choice, too. Just don’t spend more than $40 on a pair because it is a trend.
- Mid-heeled pair of sandals for wearing with skirts and dresses– shoes with some sort of heel, even if it is only one inch, really aid in creating an unbroken line which keeps a girl from looking stumpy. I personally prefer wedges for their stability.
- Okay, I do make a concession for flip-flops, when wearing them to the store, or casual outings– I wear them frequently for that purpose. If it’s possible, find a leather pair which will last and look better for longer than cheap rubber flip-flops.
Here I fling the door wide open for my readers to choose and wear every and any type of accessory, be it an orange linen scarf, a white watch, a lemon yellow belt, a cherry red bangle, a metallic headband, a canvas printed purse, a floppy straw hat, black, retro, oversized sunglasses, or a long pendant necklace. The list goes on an on. Accessories are cheap, and the easiest way to add extra personal style to your outfits.