Memorial Day is almost here, which means that summer is well and truly on its way, so today I’m updating my list of summer wardrobe essentials.
While the spring-to-summer transition is much more subtle than winter-to-spring or summer-to-fall, I still like to reassess and freshen up my wardrobe for the summer season.
Summer Wardrobe Essentials
Every woman is different so these “essentials” are really more like suggestions. As always, take your job, lifestyle, and budget into consideration when making your list.
I have a very casual lifestyle so that will be reflected in this list. If you need work wear for a professional environment, your list may look a little different, but this should still be a good starting point.
#1. White Jeans
White jeans are one of the mainstays of my summer wardrobe. They make a crisp statement and pair well with everything from neutrals to pastels to brights. I have several pairs in different silhouettes, and I rotate through depending on my mood and the overall look I’m going for.
As a stay-at-home mom, I practically live in denim shorts in the summertime, but there are lots of good non-denim options out this year as well. I like to have a few different lengths, depending on where I’m going. I wear the shorter styles for casual wear and around the house, and I’ll dress up the longer styles to wear out to dinner or to casual summer events.
#3. White Tee
A good white tee is something I never want to be without. You can wear it with anything and dress it up with accessories. Choose a tee that fits well and a neckline that flatters you. A v-neck is pretty much universally flattering, but you can always do a scoop neck or a crewneck if that works for you.
#4. Cropped Pants & Jeans
Cropped jeans and pants are a good alternative to shorts, if you aren’t too hot natured. I wear my crop jeans all summer long. Just be careful with the length; you want your crop pants to end below the widest part of your calf.
#5. Skirts & Skorts
Casual skirts are another nice alternative to shorts, and these days anything goes — from maxi skirts to pencil skirts, from denim to woven styles. I don’t wear a ton of skirts, but they’re a great way to level up a casual t-shirt. I also included a couple of skorts in my recommendations below.
#6. Dresses & Jumpsuits
A lot of women like dresses in the summer months because they’re “one and done,” and the same is true for a jumpsuit. I don’t wear a lot of casual dresses, but I make sure to have a couple of “occasion” dresses in my closet for weddings, graduations, or other special events that might crop up.
I recommend neutral sandals for your basic wardrobe essentials because they’re so versatile, but once you get your basics situated, you can branch out with some fun colors.
As far as trending styles, slides are having a moment, as are wedges. Comfort sandals with a molded footbed are also trending, which is awesome because you can have your cake and eat it too! Comfort sandals that aren’t frumpy is my love language.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Spring 2022 Sandal Trends
#8. Denim Jacket
Even though it’s generally hot in the summertime, I always get cold in air conditioning, so I like to bring a denim jacket along as a layering piece. I wear mine with dresses as well as with pants and jeans.
A white denim jacket is particularly sharp for summer, but if you wear white jeans and pants often, you may prefer a blue jean jacket. I have one of each, and I wear them both a lot. Colors are also trending this year, and I recently added a pink, green, and yellow to my closet!
#9. Summer Handbag
Handbag trends right now are all about the light neutrals — white, ivory, taupe, and blush are popular; and it’s also nice to have a straw tote option. Of course every woman has her personal preferences, but I like to have a crossbody for going out and events as well as then a few totes and hobo style bags in various colors for my daily use.
If you like to carry just one bag pretty much everywhere, make it something in a light neutral that goes with most everything in your closet. See my post on Handbag Trends for Spring 2022.
Everyone needs a chic pair of sunglasses. Not only do they protect your eyes from the sun, they also make a fashion statement, and you can find a great pair at any price point.
#11. Bathing Suit + Coverup
Oh, yes, the dreaded bathing suit. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be spending a lot of time at the pool this summer, and having a well-fitting bathing suit is a must. Check out my 2022 Swimsuit Guide for lots of options, and I also rounded up swim cover-ups under $100.
To Sum It Up!
This list of summer wardrobe essentials isn’t exhaustive, but it should get you started.
You’ll definitely want a variety of cute tops to wear with your shorts and white jeans, and adding a pair of printed shorts is a fun way to add some interest to your wardrobe. I like to have a few basic tank tops to wear on the hottest days or to layer under a jacket or blazer with pants or skirts, and I always keep a few pairs of blue jeans in my closet for cooler days or evenings.
It’s a good idea to keep a list, and when you notice “holes” in your wardrobe — pieces you need to complete an outfit — add them to the list. Then you can be more intentional when you go shopping because you’ll know what you need.
I’d love to hear what pieces you consider to be essentials, and I hope this post helps as you form a foundation for your summer wardrobe.
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