We had a little taste of spring yesterday, and I’m getting excited for 23 Days of Spring Fashion, which starts on Monday! Meanwhile, I’ve updated my Spring Wardrobe Essentials. I republish this post every year around this time, and while it doesn’t change a lot from year to year, I like to update it with current links and fresh thoughts.
For this post, we are focusing on classic wardrobe pieces that provide a good foundation for a workable spring wardrobe. As always, you should take into account your personal style as well as your lifestyle and wardrobe needs when reading a list like this. My wardrobe essentials may not be the same as yours, but this should be a good starting point for most of us.
2021 Spring Wardrobe Essentials
1. Layering Tees
Layering tees provide the foundation for most of my spring outfits. They pair well with all types of pants, and skirts as well, although I rarely wear skirts these days. I like to layer my t-shirts under utility jackets or moto jackets when I wear jeans, and under denim jackets when I wear khakis or cargo pants. It’s nice to have a variety of prints and solids, and graphic tees are fun to have as well.
I don’t need work wear, so I don’t wear many blouses and button-downs in the fall and winter, but I do like to have some in my wardrobe for spring to pair with jeans and pants for church and going-out looks. These will take the place of all the sweaters I wear in fall and winter. They also layer nicely under lightweight jackets. Color is a big trend this spring, especially pink!
3. Lightweight Jackets
Lightweight jackets make the perfect topper for your t-shirts and blouses. Some jackets will act as part of your outfit, like a denim or utility jacket, and others are worn as outerwear, such as a trench or raincoat. Chances are, you will want a few of each.
I have a classic trench that I wear with church outfits and other “business casual” attire on chilly spring days, but I’m more likely to grab my rain jacket for daily wear since most of my outfits are very casual. If my outfit includes a denim jacket or a utility/moto/bomber jacket, then I don’t usually wear anything on top.
This year, the “chore jacket” is the new utility jacket, although I’m still seeing utility and military-inspired jackets out there too. The shirt jacket, or “shacket” is big right now as well. And denim jackets are still in style, but oversized styles are more if the moment. As always, wear what looks best on you and works best with your wardrobe.
4. Spring Sweaters & Cardigans
When March rolls around, even if it’s still cold, I start putting away my wool and cashmere sweaters and wearing more lightweight knits. I also find myself wearing more cardigans this time of year. They can often be a substitute for a lightweight jacket, and I don’t have the outerwear issue to deal with when the weather gets warmer.
This year, the cropped v-neck cardigan is a big trend. You can wear them buttoned up with pants or a skirt, much as you would a pullover, or unbuttoned over a tank or blouse. I’m also seeing a lot of “sweater tees” right now. (That’s just a fancy term for a short-sleeved sweater.)
5. Cropped Jeans & Pants
I love to wear jeans all year-round, but I wear more of the cropped styles in the spring and summer. They’re also very on-trend at the moment, although full-length pants and jeans are as well. The full-length styles tend to be more relaxed, and even skinny jeans are getting a slightly wider leg opening.
I also love to wear white jeans in the springtime, and I’ve got a few pairs of those in addition to my blue jeans and black jeans. It’s also nice to give the jeans a break sometimes, and utility pants in shades of army green and other neutrals are a great alternative.
6. Transition Shoes / Loafers, etc.
When it’s not warm enough for open sandals but you’re tired of wearing boots, mules and loafers are a great footwear option for spring. As pant styles evolve, so does footwear, and menswear-inspired styles are definitely trending right now. I’m not seeing many ballet flats, pointy-toe flats, or mocs at the moment.
I personally love a loafer mule, but I know a lot of ladies either can’t wear them or simply don’t like them. Clogs are also making a comeback, as are lug-sole loafers and oxfords.
7. Fashion Sneakers
Fashion sneakers are here to stay for a while, and I’m accumulating quite a collection! I really enjoy these for casual looks with cropped jeans and t-shirts or lightweight sweaters. They’re practical as well as stylish.
The clean white leather sneakers are trending, and the skate sneaker and court sneakers are still hot, but I’m also starting to see a lot of colorful, retro styles coming back on the scene. There are lots of choices, depending on your personal style and comfort level.
8. Spring Dresses
A lot of women say they live in dresses in the spring in summer. I don’t wear a lot of dresses, but I like to have a few options on hand for events that may crop up.
This spring, florals are having a moment, and I’m seeing lots of flowy styles with ruffles and embellishments. Midi-length styles and long, voluminous looks are in. Think 1960s house dress. Yeah, I don’t get it either. Personally, I will always go for a classic sheath. At the end of the day, you have to wear what works for you.
I’m also seeing some nice casual knit options, but these can be hard to pull off for certain body types because they don’t provide much structure. Evereve has a nice selection of those.
9. Everyday Handbag
Since I already did a big spring handbag roundup, I won’t go into a lot of detail here, but handbags this year are large and in charge. I’m seeing a lot of slouchy, soft leather and hobo style bags, but even the satchels and totes are softer and less structured.
I personally love a taupe color for spring and summer, but white is very popular right now, as is color. And I still carry my black bags in the summer months, when they complement my outfit.
I was tempted to add joggers to this list, but I just couldn’t. That said, I will definitely be wearing mine from time to time with casual t-shirts, my denim jacket, and fashion sneakers.
You can fill in with some trendier styles and statement pieces, but these wardrobe staples should provide a good foundation for your spring wardrobe. And don’t miss my Spring Trends Report for the styles and colors that are trending this season!
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