Tips on how to build stylish and affordable modest summer wardrobe l Downtown Demure

How to Build a Stylish & Affordable Modest Summer Wardrobe + $50 Ann Taylor Loft Gift Card Giveaway

Tips on how to build stylish and affordable modest summer wardrobe l Downtown Demure

To literally everyone’s delight, summer is finally upon us, bringing plenty of sun-filled, beach-appropriate days for our enjoyment. To help you prepare for summer, I’m sharing several items I consider staples for building your modest warm-weather wardrobe, as well as a few tips on how to rock them. The best part: all of the items in this post will be stylish for years to come and ALL of them are under $100. Enjoy!

Tops & Dresses

  • Little White Dress

Nothing says “summer, summer, summertime!” like a crisp, clean little white dress, or LWD as I like to call it. Now is the perfect time to swap your LBD (little black dress) for this summer staple. Just make sure it isn’t too little.

How to wear it: Just like white button-downs, the LWD is a blank canvas and can be styled a multitude of ways. For a casual, beachy look, wear a LWD with a denim jack, flat sandals, and a straw tote (like the ones linked below). For a dressier look, wear printed block sandals (like the ones linked below) and a front-looped belt. For an ultra-feminine look, wear a white shirt dress with pastel-colored heels. The possibilities are endless, and the LWD will never, ever go out of style.

 
  • Breezy Maxi Dress

Maxi dresses are the lazy girl’s answer to getting dressed quickly while still looking put together (with little to no ironing involved if you hang them in your closet). Get a maxi dress in a rich jewel tone or in a fun summery print (think: tribal, gingham, or psychedelic florals), and you’ll have a versatile item that can make you look good in 30 seconds flat. Just be sure to get a dress in a breathable fabric– like lightweight cotton, cotton-blend jersey or chiffon– so you don’t overheat in your stylish maxi.

How to wear it: With a cropped denim jacket and lacey flat sandals. Welcome to your summer uniform.

 
  • Striped Tops

Stripes are an absolute must for any season. Aside from florals this is the most versatile pattern you can include in your wardrobe, and striped tops are the easiest way to incorporate this pattern. For summer months, you can never go wrong with the classic Breton stripes.

How to wear them: Striped tops can be worn with literally anything (even other patterns like florals or gingham), but the easiest way to wear them in the summer is to pair them with like-colored pants or jeans and add neutral accessories. If you’re really daring, you can throw in a necklace with a bright color, like turquoise to help your outfit pop.

 
  • Shirt Dress

Another lazy girl solution to stylish summer dressing: the shirt dress. It’s polished and timeless. It can be dressed down or up. You can find several options that at least hit knee length. You can even find them in fun colors like tangerine. What’s not to love?

How to wear it: For a beachy look, wear your shirt dress with espadrilles and rope jewelry. For a casual look, wear it with a floppy straw hat (a few options are linked below). For a classic look, belt your shirt dress and wear it with a polished clutch and block heels.

 

Bottoms

  • White + Flared Jeans

White jeans are permanent staples for warmer months, so you likely already own at least one pair (if not, you should). Why not kick your style up a notch by wearing white flared jeans? Like it or not, flared jeans are super popular this season. And you know what? I can dig it. Flared Jeans, particularly ones with subtle flare that don’t require heels, are more comfortable than your precious skinny jeans and allow for some polished diversity in your jean rotation.

How to wear them: White flared jeans are just as versatile as white straight leg or skinny jeans. Thrown on a chambray shirt or a crisp white shirt, some lacey flat sandals, and a summer tote, and you’re set. If you’re petite like me, you’ll have to get your jeans tailored to your height or wear heels with your flares so you don’t look like you’re drowning in them. If you need a visual aide, here’s a pic from a recent post showing how I styled my white flares:

How to wear white flares l Downtown Demure

For your browsing pleasure, I’ve included some regular white jeans as well flared jeans in these picks:

 
  • Gingham Skirts

Gingham ANYTHING is popular right now and will likely continue to be for a long time. However my favorite way to wear the gingham print trend is with a skirt because it offers more versatility.

How to wear them: For a classic look, wear a gingham skirt with a white button-down and straw wide-brimmed hat. For a quirky-chic look, wear a gingham skirt with another print (like thin stripes) from the same color family.

 

Accessories

  • Straw Hats

Meet your new style staple for the summer. There are so many different styles of straw hats, there’s something for every kind of personality.

How to wear them: For an ultra-feminine look, wear a wide-brimmed straw hat with a white button-down and white midi skirt (See below for an example from my Instagram account). For a vintage-inspired look, wear a straw boater hat with a white sundress. For a ‘downtown’ cool look, wear a straw fedora with a printed slouchy shirt and skinny jeans or white wide legged pants. For your summer trip, wear a classic Panama hat with a printed maxi. Quick tip: Straw hats ALWAYS look good with white. You really can’t go wrong with this combo, no matter the style or silhouette.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

(Because flowers + straw hats were MADE for warm weather loving)

 
  • Straw Totes

The only straw accessory more adorable than straw hats are straw totes. Fortunately, there are plenty of styles of this popular tote, and all of them appropriate for summer.

How to wear them: With anything! Jeans, Sundresses, you name it. Just make sure you’re wearing lightweight fabrics in summery colors (whites + brights) to perfectly complement this casual bag.

 
  • Lace-up Gladiator Sandals

This is a sandal trend that repeatedly comes around in spring and summer, and it always looks chic. This season, flat gladiator sandals with laces instead of thick straps are in, and they are my favorite iteration of the gladiator trend thus far. If you’re looking for an alternative to basic flip-flops or thong sandals, this is a very stylish option that can be worn with anything.

How to wear them: For a subtle, casual look, wear them under anything from flared jeans to flow maxi dresses. For an ultra-stylish and 70s-inspired look, wear them with a gauzy white midi dress or midi skirt.

 
  • Block Heel Sandals

Dressier than flat sandals and more comfortable than stiletto sandals, midi block heeled sandals are the perfect summer sandals for environments (like work) or occasions (like weddings) that require more formal dress.

How to wear them: For a business casual look, wear a pencil skirt and linen blouse with a sleek pair of black block heel sandals. For a summery casual look, pair printed block heel sandals with a white sundress and straw tote.  

 
  • Oversized Sunglasses

I’d be remiss not to include oversized sunnies in this list. Popularized by the Olsens (*eye roll), this is a style that has yet to fade. IT’s probably because they are chic and the ultimate hater blockers. Oversized sunnies are the ultimate outfit finishers.

How to wear it: With anything! Best worn on makeup-free days when you just can’t be bothered to care.

 

And now for a special treat for my readers. To help you build your summer wardrobe, I’m a giving away a $50 gift card to Loft, which has most of these staples and plenty of cute + affordable clothes to choose from.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

That’s what’s in my closet! What clothes and accessories do you consider staples for the summertime?

If you want additional tips on how to wear the clothes featured in this post, let me know in the comments below!

Linking up with these lovelies: Style to Inspire // Modest Mondays // Creative Mondays // Titus 2 Tuesday 

Pleated Poppy // Shopping My Closet // Cappucino & Fashion // WIWW // Pumps and Pushups

The Mummy Chronicles // Shanna Said So

Share Your Thoughts

The Comments

  • Avatar
    Ashley Bree Perez
    06/06

    I love the Breezy maxi dresses :0

  • Avatar
    Alecz
    06/06

    Oh these are all so perfect! I especially love the gingham maxi skirt with the tied up white blouse. Such a crisp look!

    https://forsevenseasons.wordpress.com

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth
      > Alecz
      06/06

      Thanks, Alecz! I’m a sucker for crisp, clean looks 🙂

  • Avatar
    Linda
    06/06

    A lightweight long skirt. Thanks for the giveaway. I love shopping at the Loft!!

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth
      > Linda
      06/06

      You’re so welcome, Linda! I’m a big fan of Loft too. They’ve been offering well-designed, quality clothes lately, and those 60% off sales are the BEST.

  • Avatar
    Kimberly
    06/06

    I live in breezy maxi dresses all summer long!

  • Avatar
    Ashley L
    06/06

    I actually bought my very first romper in the mall last weekend and I’m so hooked on them now! It’s a cute navy/white patterned romper and I’m thinking of picking up at least one more for my summer wardrobe. I also live in dresses b/c they are perfect for work during the hot weather.

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth
      > Ashley L
      06/06

      You know, I tried rompers years ago, but they just didn’t do me any justice. I haven’t tried em since! Dresses are another story. I live in them too! Thanks for entering the giveaway, Ashley!

  • Avatar
    Elena
    06/06

    I love maxi dresses

  • Avatar
    courtney b
    06/06

    I love the little white dress idea 🙂

    thank you! xoxoxoxo

  • Avatar
    Susan
    06/07

    You have some great choices here! I need to add a pair of gladiator sandals to my closet, as well as a gingham skirt! I love the midi length. I am obsessed with t shirt dresses this summer! I have four and rotate them weekly! Thanks for the give away – one of my favorite shops! Susan

  • Avatar
    Margaret
    06/07

    Love all those options. I am really loving white this year! 🙂
    -Margaret
    http://happyinheels.blogspot.com/

  • Avatar
    Courtney Kincaid
    06/07

    Seriously, I’m mentioning closet sharing again.

    I’ve been looking for a great straw hat… I looked in Target yesterday, but I swear they make their hats for babies! Or I just have a large head. I hope it’s the former. I love the scalloped block sandals you’ve chosen from Gilt and am sad they’re sold out! I also managed to thrift an old JCrew gingham dress last summer and can’t wait to bust it out this summer! Great post friend!

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth
      > Courtney Kincaid
      06/07

      Haha! Crucial follow-up Q: Where are you located? If you’re even remotely close to CA, I’m very much down for this swap. 🙂 I think I’ve liked all do your ootd shots lately. When you wear that gingham dress, please tag me!

      Oh, and I too have a large head that’s difficult to find hats for! J.Crew hasn’t let me down yet (that’s where the hat in the pic came from). Thanks for stopping by and entering, friend!

  • Avatar
    Kim Pincombe Cole
    06/07

    I love Breton stripe tops for summer (wearing one now)! And you can never go wrong with a maxi dress…

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth
      > Kim Pincombe Cole
      06/07

      Couldn’t agree more, Kim!

  • Avatar
    Laura
    06/07

    I adore maxi dresses – and actually just made one for myself! Wore it today with a wide leather belt and loved it in this 90 degrees! Now I just need to make 6 more and i’m set =)

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth
      > Laura
      06/07

      Even better! I’m a terrible seamstress, so I have great respect for your abilities to make your own maxis!

  • Avatar
    DESIREE H
    06/07

    I LOVE the breezy maxi dress! I LOVE the modesty! 🙂
    It is super cute!
    Thanks for the chance

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth
      > DESIREE H
      06/09

      Thank you so much for the support, Desiree!

  • Avatar
    Gina
    06/07

    Great advice! What a fun and helpful post! 🙂

  • Avatar
    Alina
    06/08

    My summer staple this year is my white boho dress. Loving everything boho lately.

  • Avatar
    Jenna @ A Savory Feast
    06/08

    Love love love your ideas! A few of these pieces are missing from my wardrobe right now. I’ve been wanting a white dress. That’s definitely a piece I’m looking for right now!

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth
      > Jenna @ A Savory Feast
      06/09

      Thank you, Jenna! I hope you find the perfect white dress! You’ll be able to wear it every summer. 🙂

  • Avatar
    Sean
    06/08

    This time around it would have to be my Panama Hat. I take it everywhere I go.

  • Avatar
    Elizabeth
    06/08

    I love maxi skirts and dresses way too much! And I have a fedora hat that I’ve had for a few years, but I didn’t think they were still in style. Awesome! This would be a great giveaway to win 🙂

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth
      > Elizabeth
      06/09

      Fedoras are always in style, in my humble opinion. Haha! I love them as well and wear mine all. the. time.

  • Avatar
    Maleca
    06/08

    As always, I love the post.

  • Avatar
    Hayley
    06/08

    I love those hats and sunglasses! I have been dying to try a small straw hat (with maybe a side braid or something), but haven’t been brave enough yet haha.

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth
      > Hayley
      06/08

      You could totally rock that with a cute sundress and look beautiful, especially with your lovely, long hair! I say go for it!

  • Avatar
    Vanessa K @ Tapestry Chronicles
    06/08

    These are beautiful ideas! I’m fashion challenged, but I think I can actually take your advice and put some cute outfits together 😉 Thanks so much for sharing!
    #PeonyProjectLove

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth
      > Vanessa K @ Tapestry Chronicles
      06/08

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Vanessa! You’re probably no more “fashion challenged” than I used to be. 🙂 If you have any Qs or want additional help putting outfits together, just shoot me a line. 🙂

  • Avatar
    Oh to Be a Muse
    06/08

    I have that striped top from J. Crew and it’s one of my favorites! These are all lovely picks for summer.

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth
      > Oh to Be a Muse
      06/08

      It’s a lovely top for sure. Thanks for stopping by, Cheryl!

  • Avatar
    Danielle
    06/08

    I’m crazy pale so a floppy hat is always a summer staple!

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth
      > Danielle
      06/09

      Haha! It’s a great way to stylishly protect your, um, delicate skin. 🙂

  • Avatar
    Samantha S.
    06/08

    I live for gingham, but I also love a good Breton top, because it’s so classic and reminds me of ladies like Audrey Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot. Stripes in general make me feel very Parisian and I think we all need a bit of Paris in our lives! 🙂

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth
      > Samantha S.
      06/09

      Agreed! We call use a little of the casual Parisian swag in our lives! Haha

  • Avatar
    lana
    06/08

    great ideas! Love JCrew and Anthropologie. And Gap. And Old Navy. And Boden. cheers from Kidcandoodle.com

  • Avatar
    Sybil Brun
    06/09

    Love the white jeans and LWD! ; ) Soooo excited for summer!

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth
      > Sybil Brun
      06/09

      Thanks, girl! I’m SO excited for summer and summer whites too. But I gotta be honest… I was wearing white before Labor Day. 🙂

  • Avatar
    Toyin Alli
    06/09

    Loving this post! You can never go wrong with a breezy maxi, a cute summer hat, and over-sized sunnies!!!

  • Avatar
    Natalie
    06/09

    I love summer dresses with sandals!

  • Avatar
    Rosie
    06/09

    Striped tops and white jeans – say summer to me!!

  • Avatar
    Teresa
    06/10

    I want to wear something gingham this summer 🙂

  • Avatar
    Elle P.
    06/10

    I love summer dresses.

  • Avatar
    Natasha Atkerson
    06/11

    Great tips! I agree. The only things would add, would be a white shirt with black stripes. I wear mine alllll the time.
    Natasha
    A modest fashion blog: http://www.natashaatkerson.blogspot.com

  • Avatar
    Emily Smith
    06/12

    I love basic tanks and jersey knit skirts.

  • Avatar
    Amanda Sakovitz
    06/13

    I love oversized sunglasses!

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth
      > Amanda Sakovitz
      06/13

      Oversized sunnies are classics!

  • Avatar
    steve weber
    06/13

    My summer staple is some stylish shorts.

  • Avatar
    Rachel
    06/13

    My summer staple would have to be maxi dresses.

  • Avatar
    Leticia Justus
    06/14

    I bought a hat this year very similar to the one you are wearing . I LOVE it ! This whole style board is fabulous and very inspirational . Thank you for proving that you can be modern and modest at the same time !
    Thank you for linking up to Wearing with Wisdom !!!!
    -leticia

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth
      > Leticia Justus
      06/14

      Thank you so much for the love, Leticia! I so appreciate your mission to share the beauty of modesty, and I’m looking forward to linking up with you again soon. 🙂