How to Build a Stylish & Affordable Modest Summer Wardrobe + $50 Ann Taylor Loft Gift Card Giveaway
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.
- 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:
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.
- 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.
(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.
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!