7 Summer Wardrobe Essentials

7 Summer Wardrobe Essentials

Wardrobe essentials are the grounding pieces we build our wardrobe around. They’re the workhorses we reach for again and again to anchor our outfits. Each woman has unique essentials and they will change over time.

My style is ever evolving so my wardrobe changes with it. Today I’m sharing the seven pieces that have stood the test of time and are my summer wardrobe essentials.

Great Fitting White Jeans

A great pair of white jeans might seem like an oxymoron but they do exist for every woman’s shape and size. Here are some tips to help you find yours. White pants or chinos may be more your style and are just as fresh for summer.

Lightweight Cardigan

Cardigans are a wardrobe staple for me year round. During the summer the knit gets lighter weight, and there are often no buttons. They’re perfect to pop over a summer dress or sleeveless tank on cool evenings or when air conditioners are cranked up. They cover your upper arms without all the bulk and weight of a jacket. I’m fond linen duster length cardigans which cover a summer dress or tank top and jeans.

Linen Cardigans


A good pair of sunglasses is important all year, but essential during the summer. We spend more time outdoors and the sun is stronger this time of year so it’s essential to protect your eyes.UV rays can lead to macular degeneration which is a leading cause of vision loss for older women. Here’s a guide to help you choose a flattering shape for your face. Look for polarized and/or dark lenses which offer more relief from squinting.

Denim Jacket

I love to toss a denim jacket over just about anything and summer is no exception. White denim looks crisp over everything. Colored ones are a fresh addition to your neutral basics. Picture a yellow denim jacket topping a striped cotton dress and flat sandals for a casual day around town.

Crisp White Shirt

A crisp white shirt is indispensable in many women’s wardrobe and summertime is no different. Try it worn open over a tank top and shorts. Roll the sleeves and wear it over a pair of chinos or cotton pants. Tie at the waist over your favorite maxi dress. Tunic length white shirts even double as a bathing suit coverup. I love to pop the collar on my white shirts, here’s how.  I don’t detest ironing but prefer no-iron white shirts because they stay crisper looking throughout the day. Some of my favorites are here, here and here.

Summer Sandals

When the weather heats up there’s nothing cooler than sandals. A well-rounded summer wardrobe should include comfy flats with varying levels of formality which take you from the pool to a summer wedding. A nude or metallic summer sandal is the most versatile no matter it’s style. Espadrille sandals are a fun option as are the new sport sandal. Here’s how to wear them without looking bulky.

Summer Dress

Wearing dresses means there's no need to coordinate your top and bottom, bypasses that trouble spot, your middle, and adds instant polish.

A casual summer dress makes getting dressed fast and easy. They’re a one and done option that bypasses the troublesome tummy section and feel cool on hot summer days. Many are sleeveless and if this bothers you, add a cardigan. I prefer short sleeved dresses but when it’s blistering hot, I don’t care who sees my upper arms, I just want to be comfy.

What are some of your summer essentials?

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  1. June 3, 2019 / 4:57 am

    Great outfits; all of them! Like your hairstyle too!

  2. Holly
    June 3, 2019 / 5:24 am

    Love your hair……also I like all the clothes in this post! The white jeans in first pic look amazingly on you.
    How’s your house coming along….looking forward to seeing pics!!

    All the best

    • Jennifer
      June 4, 2019 / 4:43 am

      Thanks! Nothing happening with the house until we get home next week from our riverboat cruise.

  3. Connie
    June 3, 2019 / 5:35 am

    Dear Jennifer, Love your dressing style.Thanks a lot for your help.Much Love from Athens,Greece.Connie

  4. Mary
    June 3, 2019 / 5:47 am

    Very nice outfits Jennifer. I especially like the colorful dress in the last photo. Is the fabric cotton or scuba? Can you share the brand, please.

    • Jennifer
      June 4, 2019 / 4:41 am

      The fabric is cotton. It’s many years old from Trina Turk.

  5. Rose Brock
    June 3, 2019 / 7:03 am

    Love all your outfits. All your essentials are perfect for summer!

  6. June 3, 2019 / 10:07 am

    Yes to all of the above, I agree with everything you said and the choices you’ve shown. I like the colorful summer dress, but I rarely wear dresses. White jeans are so versatile and I wear then year round. Although I love the look of a crisp white blouse, I don’t wear many pure white tops. I need more color near my face, so there’s usually a colorful tank or necklace involved. Any time I wear pure white and there is food nearby, I feel like a stain magnet. Summer sandals are a must, especially when I live in SoCal and wear sandals almost year round. Multiple pairs and a variety of styles and colors keep me and my feet happy.

    • Jennifer
      June 4, 2019 / 4:40 am

      Lol, white is a stain magnet for me too Norma. I love maxi dresses and have my eye out for some new ones this year.

  7. Terry
    June 3, 2019 / 10:23 am

    I live in Southern California and find that I can’t wear jeans, cardigans, jackets or even snug tee shirts in the 6 months of summer/fall heat. My summer essentials are loose maxi dresses and skirts, kimono toppers, loose cotton voile blouses and wide leg linen pants. It’s pretty and comfortable.

    • Jennifer
      June 4, 2019 / 4:39 am

      Those all sound perfect. When our temps are through the roof I reach for loose line too.

    • Kay
      June 4, 2019 / 8:10 pm

      You and me both, Terry, although I’m wondering when it will get hot again here.

  8. Maggie Morris
    June 3, 2019 / 11:05 am

    Great post! I love your style and everything looks terrific on you! Love the colorful dress.

  9. Cindy
    June 3, 2019 / 3:42 pm

    You look fabulous in all of these outfits! I love the cardigan over the summer dress. What brand is the cardigan?

    • Jennifer
      June 4, 2019 / 4:38 am

      The brand is “Jennifer”. I knit this cardigan several years ago.

  10. Juliet
    June 4, 2019 / 6:51 am

    I’m loving these long, light weight cardigans, too! And you’re right, as the days warm up, sleeveless please! 😉

  11. Susan Dana
    June 7, 2019 / 7:13 am

    Good that you showed sandals with back straps, instead of slides or mules which can be lethal to wearers. Falls are something we all need to work to avoid, and wearing shoes that provide support, coverage and stay on the feet are crucial for safety and stability. From an aesthetic point of view, my heels are not the most attractive part of my feet, so I’d just as soon cover them up as well as be safe.

  12. Ellie
    June 16, 2019 / 3:45 pm

    Love your hair. What is the cut? I would like to know what to tell my hairdresser. Do you use a curling iron. How do you style it? Thanks

    • Jennifer
      June 16, 2019 / 9:26 pm

      I have a disconnected cut Ellie. Remember the days when mullets were popular? That’s sort of what I have. Layers on top than do not connect to the bob at the bottom. My hair is very thin so I need all the volume I can get.

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