Summer Style Must Have List
Confused or overwhelmed by all the fashion & style options available this summer? Here are the top seven Summer 2023 Fashion Must Haves.
Fashion trends are always changing, but for spring and summer 2023 the styles are focused on wearability and comfort with a touch of tailoring and feminine details. But it can be tough to navigate through the flurry of trends and know which ones are wearable and functional for the everyday woman.
That being said, there are many options available and most seem to be geared to the 20-somethings. So as a woman that's about to turn 40, and the majority of my clients being within the 30-50 age range, the question is - how do women in their 30's, 40's and 50's wear the current styles while still being "age appropriate" and what are the season's Must Have's to look modern and fresh?
First and foremost, dressing to be "age appropriate" can sound dowdy or boring, but it shouldn't be! Dress so that you feel confident, beautiful, and comfortable in your own skin. If you love showing off your legs and feel good in short-shorts, wear them! Love a spaghetti strap? Wear it! The only thing that isn't age appropriate is hiding and dressing to accommodate others' expectations.
Spring Summer Fashion Must Haves
Oh the colour!! You'd be amiss to recognize all the colours available right now and introducing colour into your wardrobe is a fun Summer Fashion Must Have (or Must Do). From light & airy pastels to bold brights and everything in between, there is an array of colours to choose from and it's a guarantee that you can find a few that you can easily incorporate into your existing wardrobe, wear year round, and that compliments your skin tone. Many of us say we love colour, but shy away when it comes to our wardrobe. You may love a good black, white, grey, neutral colour palette, but don't allow yourself to be a prisoner to these colours.
Here's how to wear colour this summer :
Keeping in mind that there's a whole science behind colour and the way it influences our mood, we all respond to specific tones and palletts. Some have sentimental memories attached (perhaps you had a favorite yellow dress as a kid, or your mom's favorite colour was bright blue), and some we're just naturally drawn to.
Think of two or three colours that you love, we'll call these your "joy-colours". These are the hues that when you see it your automatic response is "Oh I love that!!"
Next step is to make a note to find something in that colour range. Be intentional about finding an item of clothing or an accessory in your joy-colour and then wear it the very next day!
If you're unsure of being "too bold", look for a top that uses your joy-colour integrated in a pattern. Better yet, try pants, shorts or a skirt in that colour. It's much easier to wear colour on the bottom because when it's not next to your face it's not the first thing you see. If these options still make you feel a little unsteady, start small - shoes (who doesn't love fun shoes?!), a handbag, or item of jewelry can give you that ease-in that you need.
Everyone loves a classic stripe! This fashion detail never goes out of style and when you find the right stripe, you can't help but love it! A great stripe is definitely a must-have fashion item for spring and summer (and for year round)!
How to wear summertime stripes :
Thin/narrow stripes can be the toughest to wear because if they don't lay straight, they tend to amplify the area where the stripe starts to "move". For example, if you have a t-shirt with a narrow black stripe and it is tight across the chest or midsection, the lines will start to "wave" and this draws attention and makes that area look larger.
To wear a narrow stripe (either horizontal or vertical) ensure that the lines fall straight everywhere. This may mean you size up, or look for a looser fitting style.
Note that a thin vertical stripe is very chic and classic and creates a flattering & elongating line.
Wide stripes have a reputation for making us look wider than we are. Sure, a bold horizontal stripe draws the eye across the body, but that doesn't mean you can't wear it! Again, the big thing to look for is if the stripes are straight, or if they're pulling and waving anywhere. If you're a bit self-conscious about wearing a thick, bold stripe, opt for a stripe that is in complimentary colours and not as contrasting as black and white. Think orange and pink, or red and pink, blue and green, tan and white...etc.
Note that a wide vertical stripe can be overwhelming on almost any body but that doesn't mean it's a no-no. Rather it's a "proceed with caution". To help this not look like an old circus tent, look for well-fitting, tailored styles, rather than loose, voluminous styles.
Feminine Details for Summer
If you love a dainty detail, then you are in all of your summertime style glory! Bring on all the eyelet, the florals, pin tucks, crochet accents, ruching, gorgeous materials like silk, linen, and touches of sheer...just to name a few. These fashion features add a touch of softness and interest to any outfit, and when you take into account all the different colours available right now, there really is an option for everyone!
How to wear these pretty details this summer :
My advice is to not go overboard. Too much of anything is simply too much, even if it's a good thing! Instead opt for one feminine'ly styled item and pair it with other pieces that are more basic, or plain. For example, if you wear a really pretty top with delicate details, wear it with a bottom (skirt, pants, shorts) with simple or minimal details. As another example, if you have a beautiful eyelet dress, keep your footwear and accessories a bit more basic.
In this type of scenario, the feminine fashion item is your Leading Lady and everything else is there to support her. If you add another item with a lot of detail, you'll end up with the two fighting and vying for center stage, and then we'll end up with another Taylor Swift/Kanye West situation...and no matter how many times you've seen it, it's just tough to watch!
Another tip is if you like a more balanced look, keep all the colours and materials cohesive. For example, a light, airy floral blouse paired with a linen pant and lightweight sandal in a neutral colour is a beautiful and always fashionable choice!
On the flip side, if you like these pretty pieces but the whole dainty vibe isn't for you, contrast is your friend! Select your one piece and then keep the rest of the items on the "heavier" side. For example, we can take that same airy floral blouse, but we'll pair it with a black wide leg pant, a great sandal with a bit more substance behind it, a cool bag, and maybe even a leather jacket.
All The Summertime Relaxed Vibes
Thank goodness the whole leisure-suit fashion is done with (PTL!), but that doesn't mean we're squeezing into body-con dresses either. With the rise in popularity of wide leg pants, tops have followed suit and we're now seeing oversized or loose-fitting styles that lets the breeze flow through! However, when you add volume (a wide leg pant) on volume (a wide-fitting top), what do you get? Volume! So while these looser shapes are more comfortable and forgiving, we need to make sure that the clothes are working for us and not against us.
How to wear the relaxed, oversized styles this summer :
When it comes to looser, oversized clothing styles, look at the materials. A soft, lightweight material will drape nicely on the body and is flattering- it's especially great for petite frames because you won't look overwhelmed by so much material and bulk. Heavier, thicker materials will hold their shape and may "tent out"...which requires more awareness of what you wear with it so that you aren't looking too boxy.
My first tip has been a favorite of mine for years - tuck it in! The best way to wear a wide, shapeless top without taking away from the relaxed vibe of the clothes or your body, is to give it just a little tuck! The style and material of the top will determine if a little mid-tuck or side tuck works best, but both work perfectly! With a tuck you're still allowing the style of the top to shine, but you're also ensuring that it's working for your body. You see, the magic of the tuck is that it defines your waist and elongates your legs - even for those of us that don't have much shape or natural waist definition, it creates the appearance of it! 99% of the time I tell clients to tuck it in, and this is the perfect way to wear wide, relaxed tops with either a slimmer-fitting or wide leg pant.
Bottoms and Dresses:
When it comes to loose pants and dresses, I recommend your footwear and accessories stays minimal and light. If you don't want a heavy look (ie. wide leg pants with a lug-sole shoe), go for a shoe or sandal that is slim on the foot and without a heavy sole. If you need a jacket or sweater, go for one that hits at or above the hip.
My favorite outfit combo is a wide leg crop pant (the best length is just above the ankle bone), with a little flat sandal, slim-fitting top tucked in all the way, and a denim jacket. This type of outfit is easy, comfortable, keeps the proportions in check (thanks to the jacket that hits at the hip), doesn't overwhelm me with too much loose material (thanks to the top that's tucked in all around), and the sandal ensures that outfit in balanced and no too bottom heavy.
If you've noticed the oversized t-shirt trend this summer but aren't sure how to wear it without looking like a slouch, there are some easy styling tips and tricks to make this comfortable, summertime relaxed vibe work for you! Check out this video that shows you how!
Dress It Up (But Keep It Comfortable) This Summer
An easy, yet polished, dress is a summer Must Have! When you have a quality dress in a classic style with minimal details, you know this is an item that will always be on trend, always feel great, and will last for years! I also love how a classic t-shirt or tank dress can be worn with sneakers and a denim jacket, or put on a nice leather sandal (see below) and a cute earring, or dress it up with an espadrille or heeled sandal and a more polished bomber-style jacket or blazer. Lots of versatility and lots of comfort- can't go wrong!
How to wear summer dresses :
Simple is better (and will give you years of wear)! Solid colours and minimal details (although, a good stripe t-shirt dress is always classic and preppy!). Look for quality materials that wash well, hangs or drapes nicely on the body, and is thick enough to not show undergarments.
Some simple details to look for could be a pocket either one placed on the chest or some nicely placed on the hip (make sure it doesn't add bulk though!). A collar and notched neckline gives a chic, Polo'esque vibe, and details like a faux tie or ruching at the waist is always a nice flattering (and forgiving) feature.
There is always a time and a place for a Birkenstock, but trying to dress up a Birk is like trying to put a sleeping bag in a formal dining room. Random analogy, but you get the point- it just doesn't fit. But you can still have high comfort in a polished, refined style and you can go for a flat or a heel.
What to look for :
Real leather. When it comes to footwear, leather is not only worth it in the long run (it lasts!!) but it looks and feels great too! Footwear is one thing that I suggest spending more because our feet are important and the way our shoes fit & feel impacts not just how we feel, but also how we stand, walk and move. So real leather uppers (the straps or "body" of the shoe) and lowers (the foot bed) is key!
A comfortable foot bed is also very important. 98% of my clients have "foot issues" - high arch, toes that bend up, wide feet, very narrow, bunions...need I go on? A comfortable foot bed is something that is important for everyone, foot "issues" or not, comfort and a quality made shoe is what you want.
Here's a couple of my top recommendations for great summer sandals.
I'm from the era of tanning beds and tanning oil - "gimme all the sun" and "the darker the better"...but we're smarter now (thank goodness for that)! Sun protection is not just a seasonal trend or something that's popular right now- it's essential every day of the year! I have tried so many different sunscreens, and I know what I want - non-scented, easy to blend, won't clog my pores or cause breakouts or make me shiny, safe for my kids and my sensitive skin, not sticky, doesn't run into my eyes or mouth, sweat and water resistant is also very important for those summer days playing sports or in the water. Sounds like a tough check list, but after much searching I found one that I've been using and love!
Now, I'm not one to gatekeep, so let me introduce you to Brush On Block! First, it is a mineral powder sunscreen with SPF 30 and it blocks all the harmful rays. It has a soft brush applicator that makes it easy to put on over my makeup, or on my kids, including the part in our hair (a burnt hair part does not feel good!), and my kids can apply it without any issues. I also love that because it's not a cream, when the kids do put it on I don't need to police them to not touch anything until it dries - they can put it on and go play soccer, head to the water, off to school...anything! I also really love that I can purchase refills so I don't need to waste money or add to the landfill by purchasing full brushes.
It's really a product that I've used and I love, and when I was shopping around and trying other similar products, none measured up and checked all the boxes quite like this one! If you're as picky about what you put on your skin (or your kids' skin) and I am, check out Brush On Block!
Your summer style should be easy without sacrificing your figure, comfort or personal style. I have clients that don't love summer fashion, so I teach them how to dress for the season in a way that is truly reflective of their style. You can easily incorporate any of these Summer Must Have Outfit Items into your daily wear and utilize them year round when you pair them with chunky knits or warmer pants. There's no room for one-wear-wonders, and when you find items that you love, you'll find that you want to wear them over and over again!
*As always, I've added photos to some great items and suggestions that fall under each category. For ease of shopping, I've linked the images to direct you right to those pages.