Summer Wardrobe Building Blocks

Summer Wardrobe Essential Pieces

As we head into summer, let’s talk through some summer building blocks to help you build a great summer wardrobe. Summer is often a prime time to mail it in when it comes to style—it’s hot, and it’s too easy to thoughtlessly put on the same shapeless tee and shorts—and when that happens to me, it’s usually because I just don’t have the RIGHT clothes. I often say that great style starts with having the right pieces, and when I’m in a style rut, it’s usually because my wardrobe isn’t well-rounded and isn’t actually serving my current needs or tastes. So, if you want some summer style help, let’s talk through a few building blocks so that you can have a wardrobe that helps you get dressed easily AND makes you feel good.

I’ll share some categories below for you to consider including in your wardrobe. You don’t need to have items from every category, rather, they are just suggestions to help you think through to help you have a well-rounded wardrobe.

SIZING: I’m 5’6” and usually S/M or 6 in clothes and 8.5 to 9 in shoes. 


Summer Outfit Elevated Casual: black tee + black floral kimono + cuffed denim shorts + tan braided strap sandals + tan leather earrings + gold pendant necklace + tan leather crossbody purse

Denim Shorts
The same way jeans are a wardrobe staple the rest of the year, denim shorts are a summer staple. I love how many comfortable, STRETCHY, soft denim shorts there are nowadays, and in the widget below, I’ll share a few of them that I’ve tried lately:


Summer Outfit Casual: black tank + olive green linen pull on shorts + tan leather flat sandals + leather white earrings + gold pendant necklace + cognac tote

Soft, Pull-On Shorts
While I like fuss-free, easygoing clothes year round, my need for them is at an all-time high in the summer when it’s hot and I don’t want to feel constricted by clothes. 😆 Lightweight pull-on shorts are a must! I love the comfy elastic waistbands and flowy material. There are lots of great ones out there, and you can shop through the widget below to check some of them out:


Casual Summer Outfit: black graphic tee + olive lightweight linen pants + neutral strappy sandals + white earrings

Lightweight Pants
These are basically the pants versions of pull-on shorts, and they’re helpful to have for days you need to wear pants but it’s too hot to wear jeans. My current favorite is the Gap TENCEL pants that I’ve talked about several times, along with the Old Navy StretchTech Joggers. Both are very lightweight and comfy! I like having the joggers when I need to dress in a sportier outfit. I wear the Gap TENCEL pants in size 6, and they come in 4 colors, HERE. I wear the Old Navy StretchTech Joggers in size M, and they come in 10 colors and regular, petite, and tall lengths and sizes XS to 4X, HERE.

There are more lightweight pants in the widget below:

Casual Summer Outfit: brown linen tank + black bermuda jean shorts + white and black spotted earrings + black strappy sandals

Basic Tees and Tanks
Basic tanks and tees go with all of those bottoms that we just talked about to create simple, easygoing outfits. But, basic tanks and tees are also important to have as go-with-anything options to pair with your workwear bottoms: printed and colored skirts, shorts, and pants.

Shop Basic Tees and Tanks:


Nice Casual Summer Outfit: blue bandana tank + white cutoff shorts + brown strappy leather sandals + white earrings + white crossbody purse

Tops With Details
To keep your wardrobe interesting, include some tops that have special details. Whether the details are subtle or whether they make a huge statement is up to you and your style. But no matter what, if you want your style to go beyond basics, focus on adding tops with SOME sort of details. Those details can be anything from prints to interesting silhouettes to ruffles or tiers, etc. They provide visual interest, which adds style to your outfits.

There are LOTS out there, and you can scroll through the widget below to find some!

Summer Tops with Details


Nice Casual Summer Outfit: white tank + yellow and white striped a-line skirt + tan leather sandals + blue earrings + light denim jacket + straw tote bag

While I don’t personally wear skirts that often during the rest of the year, I wear them quite a bit in the summer. Again, I want my outfits to be even more easygoing in the summer, and I like how skirts are often less constricting than shorts. Here are a few to try this summer:


Nicer Casual Summer Outfit: green t-shirt dress + leopard print crocs sandals + white earrings

Similar to skirts, I don’t personally wear dresses that often during the rest of the year, but I wear them quite a bit in the summer. A dress allows you to look really put together while being comfortable and not feeling constricted at all!

Summer Dresses:


Casual Summer Outfit: black romper with buttons + brown leather sandals + leopard print earrings

I know sometimes skirts and dresses can pose issues depending on what activities you’re doing in them, so rompers and jumpsuits are a nice alternative. I don’t wear these that often as I would rather wear other things, plus it’s not as easy for me to find rompers that fit compared to all the other building blocks, but I do want to mention them as an option! They can give you the same ease of looking put together while wearing something that feels easygoing and non-constricting, but the bottom half has shorts or pants which is sometimes necessary.

Shop Rompers for Summer:

These are my building blocks for a summer wardrobe! You can apply this list to both casual and business casual wardrobes, except for the shorts if you can’t wear those at work. Besides those, you can add work-appropriate items from each of these categories!

Grab your copy of the brand new 2nd Edition Summer Starter Kit Wardrobe Guide for a quick and easy way to look good this summer!

You’ll get a customizable list, a plan, and a wardrobe strategy to create a super versatile mix-and-match starter kit work wardrobe and an outfit catalog with 35 freshly updated outfits that you can create from it! Get your copy, HERE!

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