Freeing up Your Summer Look with Wardrobe Staples

There is always something freeing about summer. Like most of you, I longed for summer breaks in my youth. Back then the only scheduled occurrence was the white truck that slowly crept down my street emitting a melody that, although expected, still induced a panic that sent me rummaging for loose change. The angst of possibly missing out on icy goodness that left my lips a strange shade of blue was a real and regular occurrence for me. But aside from that level of fomo, there were fewer “must-do’s”, and fewer rules (self-imposed or otherwise) about summer and as a child, I loved the idea of having so many of the restrictions put in place during the school year lifted.

This summer, those nostalgic feelings are more intense than ever. The pandemic changed our rules of behavior in ways that I never imagined and hadn’t experienced in my adult life. Kids are used to people telling them what they can or can’t do. Adults not so much. And whether you embraced the rules like I believe I did, or struggled a bit (which I also did), slowly as the restrictions are lifted, we are making our way back out just in time to embrace that freedom feeling we associate with summer. 

And speaking of feeling free, one thing I’ve always loved about summer is how light everything feels, including fashion. That leads me to the crux of this post. For me summer fashion- just like every other season, is based on having signature staples. It always surprises people when I say this, but I honestly don’t like to think about clothes very much. I’m just someone who always likes to be well dressed and well-groomed, so making sure I have items that make that process as easy as possible for me has always been a philosophy of mine. Essentially it frees me from having to think too much about what I’m wearing. Having a closet stocked with a few well-fitting, high-quality staples is the key to experiencing that kind of wardrobe freedom. 

Here are some of my favorites for summer:

The LBD– the color white obviously screams summer, but a little black summer dress is also very chic. I love this Pima Cotton Maxi Dress by Vince. It’s a slightly dressier take on the t-shirt dress and this mini by Everlane has a fun 90’s vibe. I like that black looks just a little unexpected in the summer, yet effortlessly chic.

The white blazer– this one is a leftover from spring but it’s just as relevant for summer. I love it over dresses, shorts, tank tops and jeans. It is perfect for indoor dining (yes, we are doing that again) or really any event that takes you indoors as a way to beat the heat.

The tank or camisole– this is a no-brainer but I love having a few of these in rotation. A silk camisole can be paired with a dressier pant, or skirt or worn with a pair of jeans or jean shorts. I recommend at least three. A black, a white, and your favorite print- I typically choose an animal print that acts as another neutral.

The linen top I love this roll sleeve, relaxed fit linen top and I have it in black and white. But if you’re more of a tee-shirt girl (I think everyone should have a good white tee) these linen tees are insanely good.

Denim– I’d say you need at least three good denim styles in your summer wardrobe. White denim, a light wash, and I’m loving the fitted denim Bermuda style shorts. If you’ve been following along for a while you already know I’m denim obsessed. It’s probably the only clothing item where I have more than I actually need. Here is my favorite denim brand. But I also love and wear (quite a lot) from Chico’s. They’re more moderately priced, come in several great cuts and styles, and hold up very well. And these Bermuda shorts are my current fave.

The Printed Maxi nothing says summer like a flirty maxi. I love this one if you’re looking for a standout pick that still seamlessly fits into your wardrobe. That white blazer mentioned above would look great with it. I also have it in the tiered version in Ikat Blue (pictured above and linked below).

So those are my picks for summer staples. I’ll always be a less is more kind of girl. And I believe that you can always add accessories to change up your looks. I’ll do a Summer Accessories post soon, but I’d love to hear about what you’re loving for summer too!

As usual you can shop my looks here.

Until next post!

Xo Tonya Parker

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Tonya Parker is a counselor, author and certified life coach who believes in helping women look and feel their best! Ambassador for O, The Oprah Magazine and author of Single Mom Chic

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