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  • Writer's pictureNatalie

10 Summer Items You Will Want to Wear all Year!

Last summer may have been a bust for buying clothes. Many of us were unsure what the next month or even week would bring, so investing in our wardrobe seemed like an unwise thing to do. I mean who wants to spend money just to look stylish for their family while stuck at home? Thankfully, this summer is going to be different. Regardless of your specific plans or schedule, you will be out more and will want to look your best!

If you have the goal of buying items you can use again and again, but find it a challenge to know what those items are, I am here to help! After a year break from shopping now is the perfect time to start thinking differently and buying differently when it comes to your clothes. Here are 10 items you will love all summer long and want to wear all year. Unlike other “Top 10” lists that are tough to personalize, I have included a way to make this one your own. If there is an item that just isn’t you, check out the “swap it for” section to learn why the item was selected and my suggestion on what to replace it with. This way you can make the list personalized to your specific style but not miss out on versatility. Here we go…

Ribbed Tank

If you do not mind showing off your arms, a ribbed tank top in a neutral color goes with almost any bottom. Pair with high-waisted, wide-leg jeans and heels for date night or with cut-offs and flips flops for a backyard BBQ. Although a plain cotton tank works great too, I feel it is important to bring texture into your wardrobe. When you use a tank for layering under cardigans and blazers you do not have to worry about sleeves showing through or bunching up. I have tested a lot this year and my favorites have been from Vince and Rag and Bone. Each have excellent options for an elevated ribbed tank that is sure to be a “go-to” all year. (Photo: Rag and Bone The Essential Rib Tank in Grey Dawn)

Swap it for… If you absolutely must cover your arms try to pick a sleeved shirt that can

work well under layers, meaning no puffed

sleeves or padded shoulders.

Button Down

A classic button down is just that, classic! Always elevated, never outdated. It can be worn as a single layer untucked, tucked in, or knotted. Layer it over a tank top, under a sweater, around your waist, or even as a swimsuit cover up. If you have already invested in a white button down, then now is the time to invest in a solid color or muted print. Rails is known for their relaxed style and modern prints. Pair this lavender color with white pants and wedges in the summer or dark denim and chocolate brown boots in the winter. (Photo: Rails Ellis in Lavender)

Swap it for… Once I had a client who refused to wear button downs because when she was breastfeeding that is ALL she wore. The key is to pick something classic with a bit of visual interest, ideally a V-neck. Try a Henley tee or peasant blouse.

T-Shirt Dress

Depending on where you live summer can be the best 3 months of the year, or the worst. In Austin, the months of July, August and September are brutally hot, so you need a few items in your closet that you can throw on when all you really want to do is sit in a refreshing swimming pool. A t-shirt dress is perfect - it is cool and loose. I love this Rag and Bone boxy style with an extended shoulder - super flattering on any shape or height. Pair now with sandals and later with boots and a chunky scarf. (Photo: Rag and Bone Ryder Muscle Mini Dress in Black)

Swap it for… Dresses are great because they are a one-and-done. But if you say no to wearing dresses select something that is just as easy. A matching loungewear set would be a great alterative, just be sure to keep it elevated and flattering.

Midi Dress

A midi dress in the right style and color can be worn for a variety of occasions, from a wedding to a casual afternoon running errands. The key is how you style it. Pair with heels and a clutch to dress it up or with sneakers and a denim to dress it down. Another favorite from Rag and Bone is this sleeveless number in a beautiful cappuccino color. The color and fabric make it easy transition into fall. I see it with cowboy boots and a leather jacket. (Photo: Rag and Bone Dancer Tank Dress in Warm Taupe)

Swap it for… Again, if you say no for dresses try a romper or jumpsuit in a neutral color or muted pattern instead. Just be sure it is in a fabric that can be dressy or casual like silk, viscose, or rayon.

Cut Offs

Depending on where you live this item may not be weather appropriate for more than a month or two. But when it gets to be too hot for jeans you will be thankful you have at least one pair. I think they look so chic when paired with an off the shoulder chucky cotton sweater and leather slides. My absolute favorite style is by Citizens of Humanity; I own four pair (Come on, I live in Texas, I have to have more than one). You will not only love the fit, but the soft denim makes it worth the higher price point. (Top Photo: Citizens of Humanity Marlow Shorts in Seaward)

Swap it for… This gives you a cooler option to your jeans, which go with anything. So if you do not care for shorts try a breathable bottom that is just as versatile like chinos in a navy or army green.

White Jeans

There is something so chic about a classic pair of white jeans. Wear them for several summer occasions, baby showers, graduations or dinner parties. Pair them with one of your “go-to” tees or blouses to give these items completely different look. In the winter pair your white jeans with a grey or beige sweater and boots. If you worry about spills go for an off-white denim like these from Frame. So pretty! (Photo: Frame Le Bardot Crop Flare in Ercu)

Swap it for… If you already have white jeans try a linen pant. The fabric is not as transitional as denim but is a great item to incorporate into your summer wardrobe. Bring them on your next trip and instantly get into vacation mode.


I have talked a lot about items that will keep you cool in the summer but having a few for layering is still important. Cotton cardigans are appropriate for the because they are breathable but also give you the option of adding a little more coverage. Even when it is 100 degrees outside you may want a cardigan for dinner out or when going to see a movie. Check out this beauty from Veronica Beard. The depth of colors in the yarn and large tortoise buttons will have you reaching for this item again and again! (Photo: Veronica Beard Gio Cotton Cardigan)

Swap it for… A blazer works well for layering too. Look for ones that have an oversized relaxed fit so you can wear it for several occasions.

Denim Jacket

My second pick for a summer layer. Like a cotton cardigan this item gives the option for warmth when out and about. Pair it with a sun dress and wedges or with flowy pants and a tank top. This one from Frame has a slight feminine vibe with the puff sleeve. (Photo: Frame Rosette Sleeve Jacket)

Swap it for… A denim jacket gives an outfit shape because of the thick material. Other options with similar styling effects are an army jacket with a drawstring waist or a bomber jacket.

Leather Slides

If you only invest in one item this season, make it a pair of shoes. First of two on this list are a pair of leather slides. These are a repeat from my spring wardrobe essentials post (see related posts below), so if you already purchased a pair you are all set for summer too! These from Vince have been a best seller and the brand keeps releasing new color ways. For casual looks wear them with cut offs and a tee, or summer dress and denim jacket. This sandal is a great transitional item because you can wear them when the calendar says fall but the weather says summer. (Photo: Vince Glyn Slide in Biscotti)

Swap it for… If a slide feels too clunky for you choose another style sandal, like a thong or sling back. The key is to pick a pair that can be worn throughout the year, so steer clear of metallic leathers.


The past year has taught many of us the value of comfort. Although I do not approve of wearing slippers out of the house, I do feel keeping your feet happy is important. Thankfully most brands continue to make sneakers a prominent item in each new collection. If you have not tried Isabel Marant shoes the Beth Sneaker is the perfect item to start with. They are stylish and versatile. Pair them with anything from leggings to a silk dress. (Photo: Isabel Marant Beth Sneakers Multi)

Swap it for… Mules are another comfortable option. Look for a pair in a color that can be worn throughout the year like a cognac or dark navy.

Thank you for reading my top ten picks for summer, I really hope you enjoyed it! And even if you are not ready to invest in all ten new items right now, that is ok! Start with two or three and keep adding a few more items every couple of months. Before you know it you will have an elevated, versatile wardrobe with items you can wear again and again. Happy Shopping!

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