Last summer I posted the list below of my summer essentials. I wanted to see if my ideas have changed since then; if there was something that I put down that didn’t get a lot of use (definitely it was the white blazer since there was no where to go last summer), and what I would add now going forward. I love lists because if you are on board with the buy better, buy less strategy, one way to do this is to be deliberative about what you bring into your wardrobe and to be sure that you first have your basics right first. (There should and can always be room for those amazing one-off pieces, but you need fewer of those, too many and they lose their specialness.) Finding the perfect “fill-in-the-blank” can be a quest, but when you do, it is so satisfying. Plus, now that travel is on the table again (amen), the best feeling is pulling together a tight edit of perfect pieces that make you feel chic as hell, but also work in multiple ways.
What would I add or subtract from the list below? There are really no subtractions. I added a longer skirt in day-to-evening fabrics (and bought one from Toteme and splurged on a Valentino), a khaki button down for color variation from A Shirt Story, a tank dress from Frances de Lourdes, and a caftan from Two New York. I also updated my sandals with a few black pairs–the AERA Raffealla’s, ankle-ties from The Row and Gabriela Hearst. Some seasons I hardly buy anything, others get more serious updates. But because I buy things that tend to be long-lasting, I wear them for years; today, for example, I’m wearing 10-year-old ankle lace-up Manolo Blahnik sandals. Good should be good, for a very long time.
Summer is my least favourite season for fashion! I appreciate this list very much and definitely think I can make it through the season with these basics.
Thanks for this, Jennifer! I really appreciate this series. I’ve admired your style since I discovered KIC when you were doing it with Preston, and I’m completely in sync with your taste. I already own many of the pieces you recommend, have cleared out most of the rest, and will be adding new pieces thoughtfully going forward. I’ve been on this path for awhile, but the times now seem to call for it even more. Thanks again.
Great list. Only things I’d add are a cotton cover-up and a packable hat. Thank you for keeping us honest. ?
Looking forward to your styling tips! and a straw hat… (and suntan lotion!)
Gilly Downes says
Fantastic list , could you do opposite seasons for those of us in Australia about to hit Winter? Paring back is a marvellous way to bring calm ,which helps us deal with the uncertainty . My thoughts are with all my northern hemisphere cousins.
I was introduced to you on I Want to be Her. When I saw your style I was was thrilled. I’m 60 and it’s rare to find someone’s who represents they way I like to dress. I guess you could say I’m drawn to a quiet style. The list you made is very helpful and adaptable to most climates. Now for the problem. I love button up shirts but find them difficult to buy. I have broad shoulders, a larger chest but am narrower through the hips. Any suggestions? I’m a teacher so my budget isn’t large, but I will make exceptions for some things. Thanks!
Thank you Robyn! One suggestion is a shirt from A Shirt Story (ashirtstory.com) which an old colleague/friend started. They are upcycled men’s button downs that she replaces buttons with Swarovski crystal ones. I love them and have two. Because they are upcycled, each fits differently but I am sure she can help you choose one that would work. Also have you thought about buying men’s shirts? Why not?! A recent post from Julia Leach mentioned that’s what she wears and gets hers from Save Khaki. You could always tie them at your waist if you want to accentuate it. Hope that helps! x J
Thank you for your ideas. I have looked at The Shirt Story and have been eyeing a couple of shirts. I will definitely reach out to her for recommendations. I love men’s wear. Once again thank you for being a wonderful inspiration.
I love this list and rings true to my summer basics dream list.
My issue is not finding the item I want. Or having a great staple but when it inevitably falls apart not being able to find one I like as much (I guess why some people buy in multiples).
So I end up with big gaps because I can’t find what I want. Then end up filling in with random pieces just so I’ll have something to wear. Maybe others relate?
I agree, I’ve held on to old basics for years past their “expiration dates” because I can’t find replacements. Like you, I then fill in with random pieces to make do.
Yes! This is exactly my issue. It doesn’t help that each year things seem worse and worse in terms of quality. I try to buy multiples when I can but it’s not always practical (or affordable) for me.
Love your style – I’m always looking for good classic essential items. However, it’s tricky when you are curvy and not tall. Any t shirt recommendations for those of us who are busty and curvy. I find most to be too straight, snug, or boxy. I’d love some t shirts with a higher v-neck and a flattering sleeve. Short sleeves are tricky, too -hitting at the widest part of the bust. Any suggestions?
Jennifer, awesome and helpful list! I will be using it to complete my summer wardrobe clean out. I will replace the shorts with skirts as my legs have too many scars, veins and brown spots to wear shorts now.
Lisa Mac says
As always I’ve learned as much from the comments of your thoughtful readers as I did from the original great post! I agree with Carey, LFR and Gilly….and Robin and Michelle, I feel your pain about finding flattering, modern shirts and t-shirts for a small frame and large bust! I’ve had good luck with the Adverb and Verb shirts from GrammarNYC.com (a female-owned business in keeping with Flair’s ethos). And Michael Stars’ Tara t-shirt (lightly ribbed, elbow length sleeves and a modified scoop neck) works well.
That Valentino skirt is fabulous and a four season, casual to black tie piece as well. Great choice!
Bevin Wallace says
I’d love some recommendations for white dresses. I find so many of them to be too frilly have to0 much going on (lace, eyelet, ruffles) and tend to overpower (and age) me. Thank you!