Top 10 Must Haves for Every Summer Wardrobe

The days are getting longer, the sun is getting hotter and all around, there's a humming in the air as everyone and everything anticipates the coming season. Summer is just around the corner, and you know what that means— sensational summer styles and fresh fashion all through the warm months. The blush and brightness of summer come with pool parties, picnics, vacations and road trips, beach days and plenty of opportunities to be out and about— and you'll need to dress right for all of them.

When it comes to looking your best for every occasion this season, the right styles, outfits and wardrobe picks are essential to enjoying the summer to its fullest. Is your wardrobe in shape for summer fun? Summer essentials for every wardrobe give you the versatility you need to nail the summer look. These pieces reflect the brightness of summer with a side of functionality that keeps you cool and on-trend. Fill your closet with these summer fashion must-haves this coming summer.

1. Pastel Bottoms

What could be more of a summer must-have than fresh, fashionable colors and light tones to cool down the heat of the season? We wear tasteful jeans and slacks in dark and neutral tones all year long, but with the sun coming out of the clouds, it's time to break out the brighter shades in your pants picks.

Trade in the standard denim or black bottoms for bright, summery pastels like freesia moto jeggings . Pastel bottoms fit in your summer wardrobe because they inject it with a playful burst of color. Pastels reflect the season in clothing form.

Bright colors are more versatile than you might think:

  • Pair your pastel jeggings, skirts or shorts with patterns or solids.
  • Opt for a solid white top if you want to balance out the bold look of the pastel bottoms.
  • When you prefer a bold look, take a color-blocking approach by pairing your pastel bottoms with a different pastel color top.
  • Wear a pretty floral top or another summery pattern.

One of the best aspects of pastel bottoms is the versatility in style. You can pull off the pastel look for a casual get together with friends. Those same pastel pants give you a bright, festive look at a baby shower or graduation party. Changing the top and your accessories makes it easy to dress up or dress down the look of the colorful bottoms.

If bright pastel pants are outside your comfort zone, start with white cropped jeans. The white still gives you crisp brightness that screams summer, but it’s more neutral than pastel colors and can help you easy into new color territory. White is also very versatile for pairing with brighter summer tops, and the light color keeps you cool in the summer heat.

Another way to tone down the brightness of pastel is with neutral accessories. Carry a black, white or cream handbag with your pastel pants.

2. Florals

Hoping to look especially feminine with your summer fashion must-haves this year? Bringing your girly side out doesn't have to mean wearing all lace and dresses this summer. For those who like bright boldness and subtle sweetness alike, think fashion-forward florals this summer!

If floral prints make you think of your grandma’s closet, it’s time to revisit the print. Floral prints, like the one on our double bell sleeve top , lend an updated, feminine, romantic look that’s ideal for your summer plans. Tops aren’t the only option for integrating flowery prints into your wardrobe. You can find the print on:

  • Dresses
  • Pants
  • Shorts
  • Skirts
  • Even shoes

That versatility means you can always find a floral look that matches your mood, whether you’re heading to the gym or a formal summer wedding.

Floral prints in summer clothing often feature bright colors or pastels. Balance out the brightness with neutral shoes, handbags and other accessories. If you prefer a bolder look, pull one of the colors from the floral print as the color for your accessories. Another option is to mix in other patterns for a fun look. Stripes and polka dots both go well with floral prints. Adding a belt or scarf is an easy way to break up a large chunk of floral patterning to make it more flattering.

3. Maxi Dress

Take your summer must-have styles to the max with free-flowing fabric that both covers you with comfortable class and keeps you cool — all while making you look cooler than ever. Maxi dresses come in all kinds of styles, shapes, patterns and colors to make you stand out this summer.

The maxi dress is the perfect combination of versatility and comfort. Flowing, draping fabric swishes as you walk, and the longer length covers your legs for a flattering yet modest look. Maxi dresses come in a variety of fabrics and patterns to fit your style preferences.

Think you can’t pull off a maxi dress because you’re short? Don’t let your height keep you from enjoying this summer staple. Women who are on the shorter side can still look stunning in maxi dresses for both casual and dressy summer events.

Use these tips to nail the look:

  • Alter the length: If you find a maxi dress you really love, go for the alterations to make it the perfect length.
  • Add height with shoes: Instead of shortening the dress, increase your height with a pair of trendy wedge sandals. The extra height may be enough to keep the dress from dragging awkwardly on the floor.
  • Look for shorter cuts: Not all maxi dresses are the same length. It may take some searching, but if you can find a shorter maxi dress, you may find it’s the perfect length without alterations.
  • Choose solids: A solid-colored maxi dress creates a continuous, elongating look that makes you appear taller. A small pattern can also have the same effect. Dresses with large patterns or different blocks of color tend to break up the look and emphasize your short height.
  • Pair it with a belt: A simple way you raise the hemline of the dress by a few inches is adding a wide fashion belt. Use the belt to hike the dress up a little higher than normal, so it billows out slightly above the belt.
  • Hold the bottom: Fabric pooling around your feet can have a romantic effect on your look. Raise the skirt slightly when you walk to avoid tripping, but otherwise, you can let it flow.

You can expand your summer wardrobe options with some pieces like the maxi dress. Instead of a full dress, opt for a maxi skirt. You can pair it with any number of tops to change the look of the skirt. You can also position the waistband higher on your body to shorten the length of the skirt.

A midi dress is another option that’s slightly shorter than a maxi. This style typically hits somewhere between the knee and the ankle, so it still gives you the modesty of a maxi dress without the dragging fabric.

4. Something in Blush

Pretty in pink is a staple for spring and summer, but when you don't like too bright or bold, clothing articles and accessories in blush are a beautiful summer must-have.

Blush is a color that works for everyone, which makes it a perfect summer staple. Pieces like our banded neck top in blush give you just a hint of color without being blindingly bright. It’s the perfect balance of color and subtly, falling somewhere between the starkness of white and bold, bright colors.

If you’re not sure how to wear blush, keep in mind it works well with many other colors. Incorporate a subtle blush piece into your look with the colors you feel your best wearing to balance out the pinkness. Almost any color works with blush, including navy blue, charcoal, black, teal, emerald, olive and chocolate. For less contrast, combine a blush piece with a light neutral, such as cream or white. A blush top also pairs well with denim bottoms.

5. Versatile Sandals

The summer is hot and hazy, so you want to spend it wearing clothing and accessories that are breathable and comfortable while also bringing out your sense of style. When it comes to crucial summer fashion must-haves, every girl needs a pair of versatile sandals in her summer wardrobe. From a day at the beach to a summer wedding, the right sandal stays with you every step of the way. Sandals look great with shorts, leggings, cropped pants, skirts and dresses.

Here are some things to look for in your pair of staple sandals this summer:

Neutral color: A neutral color, such as taupe, gray or cream, increases the versatility of the sandals by letting them pair well with almost any color outfit. Of course, you can incorporate bright, colorful sandals into your summer footwear collection, but have at least one neutral pair for versatility.

Support: When looking for your go-to sandals for the summer, a good, supportive fit is key. Sure, you want your sandals to look cute, but your feet won’t look so hot if the sandals rub, pinch or otherwise hurt. Look for sandals that feel supportive throughout the foot, particularly in the arch area.

Comfortable straps: Summer sandals feature a variety of strap styles, from a single strap across the toes to multiple straps crisscrossing the feet. Test out the shoes to make sure those straps lay across your feet comfortably. Straps that dig, pinch, gap or squeeze your foot will quickly feel uncomfortable and may even cause blisters and sores on your feet. Look for comfortable, flattering strap placement.

Easy wear: Ideal summer sandals are easy to get on and off your feet. Complicated straps and buckles are annoying to deal with when you’re ready to head out the door.

Limited detailing: While some detailing is fine, too many accents on your sandals can limit their use. When you’re looking for a neutral, versatile sandal, simple detailing is best. It creates a more versatile style you can adapt to both casual and dressier situations.

Heel height: The height of the sandal is another consideration. Wedge sandals are flattering and give you height, but they can feel uncomfortable and difficult to wear if you’re not used to height in the heel. A flatter sandal may be a better option for you in that situation. Test out the heel height to ensure you can walk comfortably in the sandals.

Quality materials: No matter how the sandals look, you want a pair made from quality materials if you plan to wear them throughout the summer. You’ll likely spend a lot more time on your feet in the summer, so you need sandals constructed to keep up with all that activity.

Another versatile summer footwear option is the peep-toe bootie. The open toe gives the booties a summery feel, and they offer a slightly dressier look when you need to show up in style this summer. The booties also bridge the gap between spring, summer and fall, with enough coverage to last into the cooler seasons.

Most women have more than one pair of sandals, so don’t be afraid to have a little fun with your footwear. Let your personality show through fun detailing and styles of sandals. Always look for comfort when adding to your summer sandal collection.

6. Layering Tees

When it comes to simple, comfortable, versatile summer must-have clothing items that are easy to pair and pull off with almost anything, a  solid layering tee is a staple in your wardrobe year round. It’s the perfect example of a versatile piece that takes on many different looks based on how you wear it.

First, start with a tee that has flattering lines and styling. Many layering tees have just a bit of spandex integrated into the fabric to give the top a flattering and comfortable stretch. A fitted style that follows your curves is the best way to highlight your shape while eliminating the bulky, baggy look.

The little details also make a basic tee the perfect layering piece for your summer wardrobe. A scoop or V-neck design adds interest and a feminine touch to the shirt.

Once you find the perfect layering tee, have fun with how you wear it:

  • Wearing the shirt on its own is a simple way to get dressed for running errands or hanging out around home.
  • If you’re meeting up with friends, add some shimmery jewelry to dress up the look.
  • You can also pair the shirt with a lightweight blazer, cardigan or chambray shirt to nail the layered look.

Solid-colored layering tees are also great for pairing with patterned bottoms. Choose a color from the pattern when picking the perfect tee. The solid color complements the pattern and can help tone it down if the pattern feels a little too bold.

The versatility of the layering tee can’t be beaten. You can wear a tee with almost any summer bottom. White is a classic layering tee option. It gives you a crisp, neutral look that goes well with everything. White is great, but that doesn’t mean you have to ignore color. Layering tees are the perfect way to brighten up your casual summer wardrobe. Grab layering tees in all of your favorite colors for even more matching possibilities. 

7. A Light Shell

When we think of summer, we usually focus on the bright sun and burning heat of the days — but it's not always blazing outside. On those rainy days, evening oceanside strolls and other times when the sun hides for a bit, you might wish you had something to cover your shoulders. For this reason, a cute cardigan or shaw is still a summer must-have. 

The mercury may be rising, but a lightweight shell is still a solid piece in your summer wardrobe. Even though the daytime temperatures are high, you may find yourself feeling a bit chilly on summer evenings, especially if you’re at the beach. The lightweight shell is easy to throw on over your top for a bit of warmth and style. A lightweight cardigan, blazer or chambray top creates a flattering layered look that can dress up a plain tee. You can even pair your shell with your favorite graphic tee for a modern look.

If you like the idea of a blazer, linen is a lightweight, breathable fabric that works well for summer. For the cardigan look, check the weight of the knit. A thin, lightweight knit gives you the look of the cardigan without causing you to overheat.

Color is a matter of personal preference. White, cream and other light neutrals pair well with a variety of summer tops, from solid bright colors to playful patterns. Neutral is a safe choice if you only add one light shell to your summer wardrobe because it has so much versatility. If you want to brighten up your look, add in a few pastel shells to pair with your patterns or a white tee.

8. Lace Details

When it comes to freshness and femininity in the warmest season, there's nothing to bring out your natural beauty and add some class like the most delicate summer must-have: lace. Just like floral, lace is a classic design element that always has a place in fashion. Lace detailing adds a flirty, feminine touch to your wardrobe. Our double ruffle hem top is the perfect example of a balanced look that incorporates lace. A simple lace ruffle or lace overlay elevates a plain top to something elegant and stylish. A lace-detailed top looks just as great with denim as it does with an elegant skirt, which makes your lacy summer top a versatile addition to your wardrobe.

If the mention of lace causes flashbacks to dresses your mom made you wear in elementary school, you’ll be happy to hear modern lace detailing is feminine without being overly frilly. Here are some tips for making lace work with your summer style:

  • Start with just a little: If the idea of lace scares you, pick a top with just a touch of lace. It’s an easy way to try out the trend without feeling overdone. Common places for lace detailing include along the neckline, at the waist and on sleeves.
  • Accessorize with lace: You can also add a feminine lacy look with your accessories. A handbag, socks or other accessories with lace make pretty accents for your summer wardrobe.
  • Try color: Lace doesn’t always have to be white. You’ll find lace pieces in a wide range of colors, from dramatic black to lighter pastels.
  • Don’t go overboard: Pairing a lace-covered dress with lace tights and lace-detailed shoes is a recipe for lace overload. Choose one lacy element for your outfit, and balance it out with simple elements.
  • Show a little skin: Sheer lace sleeves or a sheer lace neckline give a dress or top an edgy touch while still maintaining femininity.

9. Slip-On Sneakers

You'll be active all summer long — not just at the gym or exercising outside, but when you're jumping from activities to social gatherings to errands. Whenever you're casually on the go, slip-on sneakers are a summer must-have.

Regular tennis shoes are great for workouts, but what about those times when you’re running errands or socializing in a casual environment? The slip-on sneaker is a good middle ground for a cute, casual shoe that is easy and comfortable to wear. They’re not just suitable for casual shorts and tees. Slip-on sneakers look great with:

  • Dressy shorts
  • Skirts
  • Leggings
  • Casual summer dresses

The slip-on version gives you all the comfort of a traditional sneaker without the bulk. The soles are often thinner and lighter, so you can easily keep up with all of your summer activities. Plus, the slip-on styles make the shoes easy to put on as you head out the door. Slip them on, and you’re ready for summer adventures.

Slip-on sneakers come in a variety of colors and styles. Choose a patterned pair for a fun little touch of style on your feet. Cutout patterns or textured detailing also add a decorative element. A neutral solid gives you the versatility to wear the slip-on sneakers with almost any summer outfit. The neutral option is great if you only add one pair of slip-on sneakers to your collection. Don’t forget your no-show socks to keep your slip-on sneakers from becoming stinky.

10. Fun Leggings

Whether it's winter or summer, people tend to have strong feelings about leggings. Not everyone might think leggings are a summer must-have, but we say why wouldn’t you wear the most comfortable possible option for bottoms? Leggings come in many fun color and patterns, which injects your wardrobe with a little personality. They’re the perfect way to pull in the hot pastel colors of the season and the always-classic floral prints, but don’t limit your pattern choices. Rock a pattern and color that make you feel beautiful.

Go for a cropped length to keep you cool and to show off your ankles. If you feel comfortable mixing patterns, pick out a print legging with a different print top. Florals, stripes and dots all work well together, but you can experiment with your own pattern combinations to create your signature style. Another option is to balance out patterned leggings with a solid top. Pull a color from the pattern, or stick with a light neutral, such as white, cream or gray.

If you’re not comfortable with patterning on the bottom, opt for a fun solid color for your leggings. A single color makes the leggings a staple to pair with your patterned tops. You can even pair the leggings with a short patterned dress.

If you’re a little nervous about wearing leggings, choose a longer top to provide coverage. A tunic top is the perfect match for your summer leggings because of the length.

Fill Out Your Summer Wardrobe at My Sister’s Closet Boutique

It's time to dive into the season fashion-first! How does your wardrobe stack up when it comes to summer’s must-have pieces? Now is the perfect time to fill in those missing summer wardrobe essentials. Check out our selection of florals, maxi dresses, layering tees and all of the other summer staples, so you’re ready for summer fun.