Things I’ll wear 100x this summer

Now that we’re slowly emerging from our house more often to see friends or attend the occasional bookstore event, it’s all the more important for me to have a few go-to outfits that make me feel put together and comfortable. (This feels so different from this time last year, when I lived in cutoffs and tshirts and the occasional zoom shirt.)

I’ve long adopted the idea of a daily uniform. For many years now, I’ve consciously repeated similar outfits day after day because it makes getting dressed easy—and when it comes to this part of my life, I value easy.

For this to work, I need dependable pieces that I love, that fit well, and that I actually want to wear every day. I also want these clothes to last, because I’ll be wearing them so often.

My specific favorites vary from year to year; these are the pieces I’ll have on repeat all summer long.

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My 8 warm weather essentials:

1. Easy-wearing, good-looking tees.

My American Giant Premium Slub V-Neck Tees have been wardrobe workhorses since I first discovered them when the brand sponsored What Should I Read Next. (I often find great stuff that way, just like our listeners do!)

These tees function beautifully as a work-from-home staple, and transitioned perfectly to my warm weather wardrobe. The material is both substantial and soft—almost linen-like, I think—and not-at-all see through (hallelujah), and the cut is incredibly flattering.

They gave me a special discount to share with you today: take 15% off your first order with the code DARCY at checkout.

2. Statement necklace or accessory.

An eye-catching necklace is an easy way to fulfill the rule of three, which says that when you add a third piece to a top and bottom—like a scarf, cardigan, tote bag, or necklace—you’ve made an outfit. That third piece completes the look.

These days I reach for a handful of old pendants I’ve had for years now over and over (and can’t find currently for sale), but if I wanted to pick up one today I love the looks of these floral pendants and this locket pendant necklace.

If you don’t wear jewelry but want to accessorize with a pop of color, bandanas are a cute and versatile option for summer; I appreciate how this look reads as stylish but not overly trendy. The Bookshelf in Thomasville sells the prettiest “Jo March” bandanas, and I like the variety of pattern available here as well. Loosely tie around your neck or on the handle of your summer tote to effortlessly complete an outfit.

3. Brown sandals.

A brown or nude shoe goes with almost everything, and for many of us, we’re not sad that the right shade of shoe makes our legs look longer, too. My current favorite style is cool for hot days, but doesn’t look out of place indoors. They’re also comfortable enough I can walk for miles in them.

I’ve also found myself wearing my slate grey Tieks a ton so far this spring and summer, when I want something a touch dressier than a flat sandal.

4. White jeans.

On hot summer days these look and feel crisper than dark denim, and a favorite relaxed fit feels reasonably cool in my humid climate. To go the skinny (and also inexpensive) route, pair these popular white jeans with a simple tee and a necklace and you can head off to a meeting or a ballgame and be perfectly dressed either way.

5. Straw tote.

This crocheted straw tote is large enough to hold everything for a trip to the beach, but polished enough to carry to the office. (Bonus: it’s big enough to hold a few beach towels OR my laptop.) And this cheerful bag lends any outfit a fresh and summery vibe.

6. Linen or chambray shorts.

I’ll be living in these American Giant linen shorts all summer. They’re easy to wear and look good. I typically pair them with a trim tshirt or blouse, French-tucked, to balance the proportions. (Take 15% off of your purchase with the code DARCY at checkout.)

I also love 5″ slim shorts for easy summer style. This 5″ chambray pair is typical enough to feel classic, but unexpected enough to be interesting. These shorts are easy to wear, easy to wash, and look especially great with black, navy, or white. (Or stripes!)

7. Classic shades.

Sunglasses with a classic frame will never go out of style, and they look good with everything. You’ll find these everywhere—from gas station racks to designer boutiques. I love a good pair of cheap sunglasses that I won’t worry about destroying with sand and sunscreen (and if you read our Expanded Edition of the 2021 Summer Reading Guide, you know I’m not the only one in our family who feels this way!)

But a few years ago I finally invested in sunglasses that cost more than $12 and they are wonderful. Mine are from Warby Parker; they’re no longer available but are similar to this style.

We recently gifted my oldest some classic Ray Ban aviators for his birthday, by request. A quality pair of shades would make an excellent graduation gift, too!

8. Sunscreen.

We can’t talk about summer style without mentioning sunscreen. I have sensitive skin, which makes finding cosmetics a crapshoot, but now I have two favorites I can’t stop recommending to friends. I keep Elta MD’s UV Clear and Supergoop Unseen Suncreen on hand, and I keep them everywhere—in my purse, in the car, and of course right by the sink in my bathroom for easy access. I love how these feel when applied and how well they protect my skin.

9. Straw hat.

In addition to getting serious about sunscreen application, a few years ago I resolved to wear more hats. The point is to hide from the sun, but they look pretty good, too. This packable style from Madewell is similar to my go-to hat, and this hat is in my closet (in black).

10. Casual button-downs.

A recent Instagram post reminded me just how often I reach for cotton and chambray shirts in the summertime! I like having my shoulders covered for extra sun protection, but these materials still feel light and breezy.

This chambray shirt from Target is just about perfect, and this short-sleeved linen option from J Crew is similar to a favorite I picked up there several summers ago.

What are YOUR go-to pieces in the summertime? We’d love to hear about your summer staples in the comments section!


Leave A Comment
  1. Cassie says:

    I keep my clothing pretty similar too. I love target’s universal thread tshirts. I’m almost always in jeans of some sort with a cardigan for inside. And I love my aviator sunglasses too!

  2. Annette B Silveira says:

    I’ve discovered the brand Kuhl this year. My favorite thing about their pants is that they have adjustable waists. Now I don’t have a gap at the back and I don’t need a belt. I have two pairs of shorts and two pairs of pants. They are lightweight and cool so far this summer.

  3. ashley says:

    I love these classic summer pieces! Linen and chambray shorts are my absolute favorites; unfortunately, I didn’t get on this early this year and now my size seems to be sold out everywhere. But yes to everything that’s comfy, yet not sloppy, and easy.

  4. Susan says:

    In the summer I live in capri pants from Marks (Canada). Nice fabrics in neutral colours. Their Denver Hayes fitted tshirts are my goto tee. Flattering fit, longish length. For sleeveless shirts I favour Cable and Gauge from Winners/Marshalls. Same design available each year in new fabric, so I pick up a new one each summer to add to my inventory.

  5. Alison says:

    My staples this season are casual summer dresses from Gap or J Crew and Birkenstocks. So easy and comfy and keeps me cool as I cart the kids around to their activities or read on my porch swing.

  6. Katie says:

    I’m looking for a straw tote with a zip closure like the one in your pic featuring brown sandals! Do you know where that one is from?

    • DC says:

      Me too, Katie! I want a straw tote for summer, but looking for one that won’t spill the contents every time I set it down. 🙂 Hopefully Anne will get back to us with a source for the tote in the pictures!

  7. Colleen Bonilla says:

    So many fun items here! Hard to choose which one to order first! However, I’m in desperate need for some comfortable summer sandals, so I think I’ll start there. Thanks for this fun post, Anne!

  8. Ruthie says:

    GREAT post, so helpful. It has been so long since I bought clothes, and the retail landscape had changed so much, I didn’t know where to look. Thanks for the style guide and source book!

  9. Ellen says:

    I live in rip skirts !!!!(
    Great for anytime/anywhere… the beach, market and soon to wear at our daughter’s post wedding Sunday brunch. (casual to dressy)
    Fabulous “roll in a ball wrinkle free fabric” and the colors and patterns are super pretty.
    Check out specifics on their website.

  10. Beverly J Wrigglesworth says:

    I wear mostly capris–I have 3 capri length jeans: white, indigo blue, and cranberry. I have lots of t-shirts, but only a few are good enough to wear outside the house. I have capri sets with matching tops and pants. I also have separates of capris and complementary tops that I wear. I never wear brown–hate that color as a wardrobe color. I wear mostly open-toe sandals in the summer. I have purple, red, blue, gold, black, and white pairs. The only sunglasses I wear are the type that fit over my prescription glasses.
    Most of the wardrobe suggestions Ann described are wa-a-a-y to young for me!

  11. Jojo says:

    I definitely live in T-shirts. I used to only wear mainly black/grey colors, but now I’m trying to add in more colors and patterns. I recently bought a pair of Levi’s drawstring canvas/cotton shorts and they have become my favorite to wear. Light weight material is the way to go when you live in an area that typically has high humidity! I have the same exact sunglasses as you do Anne! My boys tease me that they are my cop glasses 🙂

  12. Carrie says:

    Can’t beat a casual sun dress. Throw it on, go anywhere. Cover a swim suit. Go out to dinner. No legs, super cool and breezy.

  13. Cassandra says:

    I love American Giant. They have a linen pant i picked up 1.5 months ago. I don’t wear shorts so this was a happy find. I love their merino shirts both long and short sleeves. Easy to travel, dress up out keep casual. I also like that i don’t have to wash after each wear.

  14. Liza says:

    I’ve been pretty much living in dresses this summer. Ive never worn dresses much – I pretty much always have worn shorts and a solid colored top in summer, jeans and a solid color top in winter, usually a shade of blue or green. But this year, I’ve been wanting all the color and all the patterns. I’ve bought so much new stuff this year my hubby is getting annoyed! It’s all been bright colors and patterns. What’s interesting is that I’m wearing almost zero jewelry this year when last year I wore it all the time. I’ve not even worn earrings in a while, which for me, is shocking.

  15. Kelsey A. says:

    I read this post a few weeks ago and followed your recommendation on the American Giant shirts. THANK YOU!! I have been on the prowl for the perfect v-neck for months and it has been impossible to find one that is a rectangle and not a square and/or doesn’t shrink into a square in the laundry. I’ve lost count of all the shirts I’ve had to return. I bought three of the American Giant shirts and am so, so happy with them- thanks again for the wonderful recommendation!

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