I don’t know if I necessarily subscribe to the concept of a capsule wardrobe, but I do like to keep a tight collection of essentials that are seasonally foundational – the pillars of my spring/summer wardrobe if you will. Over the years I’ve definitely taken a more minimal, less-is-more approach to my closet and have focused on timeless, quality pieces that I can style multiple ways, or simply re-wear year after year.
Unlike fall and winter during which I typically live in cozy knits, boots and coats in various shades of earth tones and neutrals, in the warmer months I love to mix in a bit more color, more white, linen and silk. There are a few categories from the fall winter guide like relaxed tailoring and gilded accessories that I will also lean on in addition to this list, but the below form more or less the pillars of my wardrobe when the temps rise.
Even though everything on this list falls under the “staple” category for me, effortless warm weather dress are a key component of my Spring/Summer wardrobe, especially Summer. The right dress can take you from day-to-night and make you look like a million bucks all while keeping you cool and comfortable. I typically go for a midi (hitting at the calf) because I can wear it with sandals without looking dumpy and 3-4” heels without looking too risk-ay, but I also like to have a few dresses that hit just above the knee.
Over the years I’ve found a few brands, and some retailers like ShopBop, FWRD, Intermix and Net-a-Porter, that always have a winning assortment. Faithful the Brand, Reformation, Posse, SIR the label are a few of my go-to favorites. Dôen, Mara Hoffman, Matteua, Realisation Par (where my favorite slip skirt is from), Cult Gaia, and Staud are also great resources. I’ve also been lusting over everything that Jonathan Simkhai and Christopher Esber have been putting out lately albeit a bit more pricey.
If I’m not wearing dresses or linen, I’m probably wearing some form of denim. In the spring it’s denim in usually medium and light wash and in the summer it’s white denim, light washed denim and denim shorts. I generally prefer styles that are high-waisted and for jeans either straight, semi-relaxed, or slim (a more tapered straight) cut that hits at or just above the ankle (helps elongate the leg!) and for shorts something with a 2-4” inseam. Some of my favorites are AGOLDE (I love the cropped Riley, both for jeans and shorts, 90’s pinch waist, and the Parker shorts), Levi’s (the 501 fit, both skinny and regular, is quickly becoming my favorite style) and as of late, Anine Bing’s Sonya jean. I also just got my first pair of Toteme jeans and have a feeling they will become a new favorite brand!
I also love a good denim dress if it’s the right one. One of my favorite “throw on and go” dresses is an old Rachel Antenoff denim dress that I scored during a summer sale. With denim dresses, I like to focus on square necklines and/or something that buttons down the front for a more utilitarian look.
An essential regardless of the season, the older I’ve gotten the more I’ve relied on my collection of trusty t-shirts, tanks, and more recently, bodysuits. I view these like a good pair of underwear, easy to find cheap, but better if invested in. For good basics at a competitive price point I often look to Everlane and For Days. I absolutely love For Days Vintage Tee and as well as Everlane’s Box which has sadly been discontinued. I love Toteme’s Espera tank (Reformation has a solid dupe for half the price) – it’s a bit speedy, but the quality is insane. It really holds up even after several washes. I also love AGOLDE’s tanks. A few other brands that have caught my eye, but haven’t personally. yet tried – The Foundationals, LNA, and Stateside.
When it comes to bodysuits, I am still feeling this one out. I have a long torso (coupled large boobs) which I’ve realized not every bodysuit is made for so I’m still in a bit of trial-and-error phase. So far the only brands that I’ve had consistently good luck with have been Good American and SKIMS.
One of my favorite parts of warm weather dressing – linen! When the temp gets above 80, it’s all I want to wear. I love a good linen dress, but as I’ve started playing around with more separates in the Summer I’ve really enjoyed linen trousers (both cropped and wide leg), shorts and shirts. Linen is so versatile and can easily take you from the office, to the beach, right into cocktail hour. It also makes for great loungewear and wfh attire. One of my favorite linen pieces is an oversized ASCENO shirt that can be worn as a swim cover up and pair with denim, trousers, or shorts.
POSSE has been one of my go-to’s for linen, their entire collection is linen, and even though it’s a bit pricey, if I’m looking to invest in a piece, I love ASCENO’s linen; it has such a soft and luxury hand-feel right off the bat. I’ve also had great luck with Reformation and Closed Official for linen pieces as well! I also have Maurie and Eve on my radar.
This is one area that I’m currently working on in my closet, but something I realized that I’m always reaching for – short sleeve and sleeveless tops that aren’t your basic t-shirt, tank top or button down. These are tops that you can pair with denim shorts for a casual BBQ or with linen trousers and heels for a date night out. This Tove blouse is my main inspiration for this category along with tops by Faithful the Brand, Reformation and Posse that I’ve come across!
I’m always a good 10 degrees cooler than everyone else so if it’s below 75 degrees, it’s essential that I something light that I can throw on if I get cold. In the spring and on those cooler summer days, that is usually a linen blazer (this ASCENO one is top notch), denim jacket, trench coat (), or cotton cardigan. I tend to prefer a slightly oversized in the shoulders for a more casual look and so that I can layer if I need to in cooler weather.
For denim jackets I love my Anine Bing Rory Jacket (albeit almost too oversized for my petite frame – it’s grown on me though) as well as AGOLDE and Levi’s jackets. For trench coats, I invested in this one last year and have gotten great use out of it. Sezane also has a solid option in cotton. For cardigans, I usually live in my Jenni Kayne’s cotton cocoon cardigan, but I’ve have been keeping an eye out for some less oversized options. I typically look for something that is either 100% or a blend of linen, cotton, silk and/or merino wool to maximize breathability.
I’m a sucker for silky pieces (even though my propensity to spill does not justify the amount that I have in my closet…). They are some of my favorites pieces to slip into in the spring and summer, especially for date nights and happy hours. These usually come in the form of a slip skirt, dress, or cami. Since I have a fuller chest, I usually opt for something with a draped neckline or size up and have the waist tailored so nothing pulls in the chest. A few of my favorites are from Vince, Joseph, Cami NYC (their cami’s fit big boobs so well!), and Réalisation Par (all time favorite printed slip skirt – can shop second hand here). I’ve also been curious about a few silk pieces from ASCENO, Shona Joy, Silk Laundry and Refine, but have yet to try them.
A quick note on slip dresses if you have a fuller bust. I’ve seen a few styles like this one that have straps that come around and tie in the back making it not only adjustable but super boob-friendly. I have yet to try one, but I’m 99.9% confident that it will solve some of my slip dress struggles.
My favorite accessory when the sun is out – obvi. I will always reach for an aviator or oversized style. My Hexagonal Legend Ray Bans and prescription Warby Parker sunglasses have been my go-to for a few years now. I have a long face so I find that taller frames work best on me and gravitate towards black, tortoise and gold frames. I’m still on the hunt for a good cat-eye frame or just something other than aviator styles, but haven’t found anything that I absolutely love just yet.
If there’s ever a time to wear natural textures it’s in the summer and in the form of a handbag, espadrille shoe or hat. I’m guilty of prioritizing apparel over accessories so I’m forever searching for earth tones, various shades of beige and tan, wood details and woven hand bags, shoes and hats. Janessa Leone has been a long time go to for chic hats all year round. A few brands that I’ve come across over the years and dog-eared for a future purchase are: Sensi Studios, Bambien, Sezane, Hat Attack, KAYU, and Muun (often available at MatchesFashion).
It’s not summer if sandals aren’t involved When it comes to sandals I tend to invest in timeless pairs that I can wear for many seasons to come and in a variety of ways. This often means shades of white, tan, beige and brown, metallics and the occasional black. I also gravitate towards minimal designs that don’t over power what I’m wearing or put too much visual weight on my feet. I’m on the shorter side (5’4” on a good day) and I prefer to draw the eye up towards my face than down towards my feet. I love a good strappy flat or a heel under 2” for everyday. I’ve even been meaning to dable in wedges again with this Castanar espidrell – a spring summer classic.
One of my favorite brands for flat sandals is AMANU. They have a mix of custom (only available at their LA location) and ready-to-wear styles. I personally have this style in black and gold – no customization needed. I’ve also had great luck with Loeffler Randall (I’ll forever love the Eveline – you can still find them floating around on Poshmark) and Ancient Greek. Studio Amelia and Staud have also been on my radar.
Honorable Mention – A Matching Set
A newer addition to my rotation, the matching set is quickly becoming a spring summer favorite. Ever since I bought this Faithful The Brand set my eyes have been opened to the endless opportunities of a good set. Currently I’m hunting for a good short and button down set that I can pair with a bathing suit or tank top on vacation or wear together with a low heel for lunch or drinks.