Happy Monday, friends! Last week was Spring Trends Week here on the the blog, and we discussed the biggest and most wearable trends for spring 2023. Today I’m updating 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.
First, let’s define our terms. Trends are basically new interpretations of styles we’ve seen before. They develop slowly over a period of years and fade away as new trends come on the scene. They usually come back around again, but not for 5–10 years, and usually in a somewhat altered version.
Fads, on the other hand, pop up suddenly and disappear just as quickly. They are usually embraced by the younger generation and tend to be exaggerated and impractical.
I think it’s helpful to differentiate between trends and fads because women often get them confused. As I get older, I keep an eye on the trends in order to keep my style current, but I tread lightly when it comes to fads.
Essentials are different. These are the pieces that provide a foundation for your wardrobe, and that’s what we are talking about today!
Wardrobe essentials vary from person to person, so I like to discuss them in terms of categories, rather than specific pieces. The items and styles you chose may change a bit from year to year, as they’re influenced by the current trends, your personal style preferences, body type, and lifestyle; but the wardrobe categories remain the same.
2023 Spring Wardrobe Essentials
OUTFIT DETAILS: Click each picture for full outfit details!
1. White Jeans or Pants
You can wear white jeans year-round these days, but I find myself reaching for mine most during the spring and summer months. They’re crisp and clean, and they pair perfectly with bright colors as well as other neutrals. This spring, ecru and other shades of off-white are trending as well.
If you don’t wear jeans, white pants work just as well. And I realize some ladies don’t like white pants or jeans at all, and that’s fine. You can skip this wardrobe category if it doesn’t work for you, but many women rely on white bottoms as an integral part of their spring/summer wardrobes. I am one of those women, and this is my list, so here we are!
Shop My Favorite White Denim:
2. Cropped Jeans & Pants
Spanx Stretch Twill Cropped Wide Leg Pants
I wear jeans all year-round, but I prefer cropped or ankle length styles in the spring and summer because they’re cooler and they just look more seasonal. They’re also very on-trend at the moment, although full-length pants and jeans are making a comeback, so pretty much anything goes right now.
Speaking of anything goes, all styles are available as well, so wear what you like best. The wide leg crop is having a moment, so this is a great time to lean into this style, if it appeals to you. Cropped straight leg jeans and crop flares (a.k.a. kick crops or kick flares) are also big right now, and if you prefer skinnies, you can find them too. I like to have some of each.
And if you’re confused about pant styles, you may like this post: Women’s Pant Styles and Hem Lengths Demystified.
Shop Crop Jeans & Pants:
3. Layering Tees & Tanks
ATM Slub Jersey Schoolboy V-Neck T-Shirt
Layering tees provide the foundation for most of my spring outfits. They pair well with all types of pants, and skirts. 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.
Shop Tees & Tanks:
4. Lightweight Tops & Blouses
Lightweight tops and blouses are the perfect replacement for your cozy sweaters when the weather starts to warm up. They can stand alone with your favorite denim, pants, and skirts; and many can be layered under blazers and denim jackets.
I like to have some sleeveless shells for that purpose, whereas the gorgeous magenta eyelet top I’m wearing above stands alone beautifully for work, church, or dinners out in the spring and summer.
Shop Spring Tops & Blouses:
5. Cotton Sweaters
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.
Shop Spring Sweaters:
6. Denim Jacket + Other Lightweight Jackets
KUT from the Kloth Jacqueline Denim Jacket
Denim jackets, blazers, and utility jackets make the perfect lightweight toppers for your t-shirts and blouses in the springtime. Having a variety of jackets in your closet is key to having complete outfits at the ready when you’re getting dressed for your day.
A structured denim jacket has long been a staple in my spring/summer wardrobe, but I’m seeing more varieties of denim jackets this year than I have in along time. Oversized styles and fray hems are trending, but I’m also seeing a lot of crop styles, which work well with wide leg pant silhouettes to highlight your waist. And the traditional cuts are still fine to wear.
Shop Denim & Spring Jackets:
7. Transition Shoes: Loafers, Mules, Ballet Flats
When it’s not warm enough for open sandals but you’re tired of wearing boots, loafers and ballet flats are a great footwear option for spring. As pant styles evolve, so does footwear, and this year we are seeing platform loafers still going strong, as well as the return of ballet flats and Mary Janes.
If you live in a warmer climate, and you’re ready to start breaking out your sandals, wedges, slides, platform heels, kitten heels, and strappy sandals are all on trend right now. See more Spring Shoe Trends for 2023!
8. Fashion Sneakers
Sneakers continue to be a huge trend in footwear this season, and you can wear them with everything from dresses to jeans. Popular styles run the gamut from retro runners and trainers to court sneakers, and skate sneakers to the clean white kicks.
High tops are also having a moment this season. Believe it or not, even athletic styles are on trend right now, as well as chunky tube socks. It’s all about making it look intentional and not like you injured your foot and have to wear orthopedic shoes for 6 weeks, haha!
9. Spring Dresses
Splendid Joella Sleeveless Dress
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, as are the body-con knit styles. Personally, I love a classic sheath. At the end of the day, you have to wear what works for you.
Shop Spring Dresses:
10. Rain Jacket or Trench
Having proper outerwear for the various events in your life is an important part of having a workable wardrobe and looking polished and put together, so even while I don’t find these purchases as fun as shoes and clothes, they are necessary.
My go-to piece of outerwear in the springtime is a trench coat like the one above, and I also like to have a few more casual rain-resistant jackets. Neutrals are always a safe choice, but I’m also loving all the bright colors out there this spring.
Shop Spring Outerwear:
11. Everyday Handbag
NAGHEDI St. Barths Medium Woven Tote
Straw totes and woven bags are so summery and fun, and they’re still going strong this season, but I’m seeing a shift away from the slouchy styles. More structured totes are where handbag trends are headed right now. If you add one bag to your spring/summer wardrobe, make it a structured straw or woven style.
Style Tip: Make sure you have a good shoe pairing or two to go with any new new handbag purchase!
From here, you can fill in with some trendier styles and statement pieces, but these wardrobe staples should provide a good foundation for your spring wardrobe.
For more spring 2023 fashion inspiration, check out these posts:
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32 thoughts on “2023 Spring Wardrobe Essentials”
Your posts are very helpful and informative. LOVE the new blog!
I wondered where you were this morning. I start to worry somethings happened if you don’t post by a certain time. I have and agree on all these essentials. I do need to get a longer trench. Mine works for jeans and pants but feels too short for dresses.
Have you seen an ecru linen blend shirt, or in denim jacket? I’m a pear shape so don’t really wear white pants but prefer to bring the lighter color “up”.
That’s a great little style hack. How about one of these?
Always a great and informative post! I love the outfit you’re wearing in the first picture… I just ordered a pair of olive green cargo pants from Old Navy that looked comfortable and at a great price point. I figured I’d give them a go to see if I like that trend .
Have a great day🌸
Oooh, which ones?
I have all the essentials, except a long trench is too much for me. I love ones that are hip-lenth or so but they’re hard to find. Not a fan of mules, loafers or flats, except the Rothy’s Point. It makes my footwear pretty limiting so I end up wearing booties or sneakers until it’s warm enough to show my toes. I finally found the right size in the Paige Jolie cargo pants you’re wearing in the first picture. I sized down one to a 26, but it was too big, so I returned for a 25 and they actually fit well. And they’re not too tight. So advise two sizes down unless you prefer a looser fit. I like my pants close fitting in case they “grow” over the course of the day. Do you still wear or plan to wear this Spring the Spanx wide leg pants you bought last year? I like them, thinking of getting them. Would love to see more crop wide leg pants, and for me, cropped is no longer than 26″. 🙂
I just wanted to let you know that I have been reluctant to try wide leg jeans, but since you were brave, I wanted to try them too. The problem is I am only 5’1”, so I was sure they wouldn’t work. I am admitting right here I was wrong! I tried the Loft wide leg in petite. I tried them on today and oh my goodness! They are the most flattering jeans I have tried on in a long time! Ladies, let’s not get set in our ways! We have to try things on! I am 64, and I am so happy!
Patt, I bought the Loft wide leg jeans too. I like them a lot. I like the fact I didn’t have to have them hemmed too. Perfect length for me at 5’2. I bought the Loft black wide leg trousers and black flare leg slacks. I’m so pleased with the fit and quality. I think I am more stylish at 68 than at 58. Lol. Jo-Lynn’s blog as been a part of it.
Love that magenta eyelet blouse. Reviews weren’t that great. Someone mentioned gaping even though it was a boxy cut. It was hard to see the exact fit on you since you were seated. Did you keep the blouse and if so, any problem with the blouse gaping at the breast area and how was the sizing?
I don’t have a problem with it gaping, but it is kind of stiff so it doesn’t really drape.
Here’s a better picture: https://jolynneshane.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/magnenta-top-1.jpg
Can you recommend some nice zip hoodies to mix up with layering jackets?
This one is cute https://shopstyle.it/l/bSYw1
I like this one too https://shopstyle.it/l/bSYw4
I’m not seeing a lot of non-athletic ones, which is weird. I have a really cute Sundry one from last year.
This one is cute but low inventory https://shopstyle.it/l/bSYy4
Ooooh this looks nice https://shopstyle.it/l/bSYyL
Thank you! The black splendid hoodie might just be the one – yay! I appreciate your help. 🙂
If you were only going to buy one pair of fashion sneakers, Jo-Lynne, which of the pairs you own would be the ones you buy? I’ve been looking at them for weeks and can’t decide. Great post. I’m sorry it was so tough to post it.
My VEJAs for sure. https://shopstyle.it/l/bSYAB
As much as I love my P448s, I feel like the VEJAs look more elegant and sometimes I don’t want the grungy look of the P448.
I love this post. Very informative! Where are the shoes from that you are wearing with the Spanx wide leg pants? I love that!
I think they’re sold out, but there are those outfit details: https://www.shopstyle.com/shop/Jo-Lynne/43535967?id=43535967&pid=uid7761-1591431-39&utm_content=textlink:shopstyle.it/v:68j
I have been one of those that did not not like the rear view when I tried on white jeans. Fast forward to this year and I now have a pair that I like. They are wide legged white jeans by Banana Republic. I find that the wide legged pants balance out my full backside. We are going to have 80’s on Wed. and Thurs., so sandals will be perfect.
Clogs were so popular last fall-do they still work for this spring/summer?
yes, I think so. they are a nice way to add height to wide leg and bootcut jeans.
I’m thinking the slip on sneakers like Vans style that were everywhere aren’t so much any more. True? I thought it interesting the shoes that are often shown with the wide leg pants are often strappy.
Yeah, I’m not seeing much of those right now. Wide leg pants look better with more structured shoes, they sort of punctuate the outfit.
You look great in the purple eyelet blouse. It’s definitely a good color on you. I ordered utility pants from Gap that look like the ones you’re wearing in the first photo. I’ve been stocking up on tshirts for summer. I also bought button down shirts. Maybe you could do a post on how to style them. One is crop so I don’t have a problem styling it. The other one is long. It’s a boyfriend shirt and the back is longer. I love the green color and it’s linen. Great for summer but will be hard to style. So far only tucking it in is the only way it looks good. If I front tuck it, the long part in back looks weird. Any ideas
I agree, I don’t love how the longer ones look front tucked, I feel like I have a tail, haha!
Leather has been so popular, do you think a light weight leather blazer is still a trend for Spring?
Spring is literally my favorite time of year to dress myself. I love light outerwear layers and spring shoes. I find there are so many outfit options. It’s interesting you don’t find Spring outerwear purchasing as fun! I keep everything fairly neutral so it all goes together. Great post!
Yeah, you know, I think that line about not enjoying outerwear is from a few years ago… I update and republish this post every year, and by the time I got to the end, I was hurrying to finish and get it published b/c it was so late in the morning, and I didn’t take time to change that sentence.
I used to feel that way about outerwear, but these days, I don’t know if it’s that we have more choices or what, but I’m enjoying expanding my outerwear wardrobe. I used to be the girl who only had 3 coats – a dress coat, a casual coat, and a spring rain jacket. Now I have a whole coat closet to myself, lol!! My how times have changed…
I love the look of the NAGHEDI tote but I like to wear my tote on my shoulder as a shoulder bag. Are the straps long enough for that? Based on what I read about the NAGHEDI or the one on Amazon, I do not believe they are.
I really enjoy your blog btw!!!
That is the only downside. It definitely does not fit on the shoulder.