Women’s Clothing Buying Guide for Spring and Summer
When spring and summer women’s clothing arrives, it’s as welcome as tree blossoms and green grass. Racks of gray sweaters and black coats are swept away by saturated colors, vibrant prints, and flouncy, playful silhouettes. While it’s tempting to scoop up every pretty piece you lay hands on, you might end up with a lot of color and nothing to wear to work.
A bit of strategic planning can go a long way to creating the ultimate warm weather wardrobe. With a foundation of wardrobe essentials, it’s easy to incorporate seasonal trends so you can look stylish and feel comfortable.
Step One: Do You Have Enough Basics?
The word “basic” may sound boring, but when it comes to your wardrobe, they’re nothing to scoff at. After all, basics are the foundation of any outfit, and your closet is probably stocked with at least a few of them—think of the jeans that seem to go with every top, or a cardigan that’s with you on the daily.
Ideally, your closet should include a few basic pieces in each of the following categories:
For inspiration, take a look at this example collection of basics. You’re the best judge of what styles look good on you and which you actually like to wear, so feel free to tweak your collection to suit your own personal look.
For the most part, it’s best to choose pieces with relatively neutral colors, such as brown, black, white, gray, and navy, for maximum mixing and matching potential. But just because you’re trying to pick pieces that go with everything doesn’t mean that you need to pick basics that are boring. Look for luxurious fabrics such as cashmere, elegant stitching flourishes, or other details to make even even these everyday pieces feel special.
Step Two: Browse This Season’s Trends
Spotted on runways, celebrities, and style bloggers, these pieces are super timely.
Trend #1: Kimono Tops
Kimono tops evoke classical Japanese styling, as well as more contemporary influences, such as Stevie Nicks and the boho trend. Kimonos may tie at the waist or have open fronts, and sport mod accents such as fringe, embroidery, or bright patterns.
Trend #2: Jogger Pants
They may be ultra-soft and loose-fitting all the way down to their gathered ankles, but don’t go calling joggers “sweatpants.” This chic loungewear is often crafted with luxe fabrics, rich colors, and glam accents.
Trend #3: Cold-Shoulder Tops
As their names suggest, cold-shoulder tops leave their namesake body parts conspicuously bare as they peek through artful cutouts. This lets wearers show a little skin without looking risque, and makes the tops a comfortable warm-weather option for wearers who would rather not expose their arms.
Trend #4: Distressed Jeans
Distressed denim gives you the look of a beloved pair of jeans you’ve had for years without actually making you wait that long to get the pants you want. Choose the combination of frayed patches, bleach or paint splatters, and open holes that make you feel the most cool and comfortable.
Trend #5: Boyfriend Tees
A boyfriend tee’s loose, boxy proportions can make you feel like you’re getting away with leaving the house in pajamas, or, if you’re a romantic, like you’re still in your partner’s embrace. To the outside world, a boyfriend tee can add an air of relaxed, effortless cool to an outfit.
Step Three: Build Your Outfit with Basics + Trends
Wardrobe basics are all-star pinch-hitters who can unite seemingly disparate pieces of clothing, turning a collection of garments into a well-curated outfit. With the right foundation of basics to build upon, it’s easy to incorporate the spring trends of your choice.
Wondering how to wear a kimono top? Try balancing the diaphanous shape with pieces that show off the contours of your body, such as a color-coordinated tank top, a slim-fitting pair of jeans, and strappy sandals.
When you’re figuring out how to wear jogger pants, consider their cousin, the sweatpant—and how similar they are to pajamas. To flaunt this trend without looking like you’ve just rolled out of bed, pair your joggers with structured, slightly-formal pieces, such as a crisp chambray or other button-down shirt, no-nonsense leather or faux leather shoes, and a moto jacket.
If you’re stumped on what to wear with a cold-shoulder top, stop and consider what makes these tops unique: your distinctively bare shoulders. Let them be the star of your outfit, and complement a looser-fitting version of this top with simple, slim-fitting pants, or pair a body-con model with a looser pair of bootcuts.
Styling distressed denim is a delicate dance, as it can be easy to look like your recently scaled a fence or narrowly outswam a pack of piranhas. Temper the decidedly informal rips, whiskering, or bleach spots with prim-and-proper pieces, such as as a flowery or lacy top and a slim-fitting cardigan. Up the rock-and-roll ante with a killer pair of shoes, such as spiked heels, or tone it down with clogs or mules.
As with kimono tops, styling a boyfriend tee is a matter of playing with proportion. Offset the curve-hiding cut with a pair of skinny jeans or high-waisted shorts, and layer on pretty touches, such as long necklaces and lightweight cardigans, to play with traditionally masculine and feminine looks at the same time.
Once you get comfortable mixing and matching your collections of basics and new clothes, don’t be afraid to try out every combination you can dream up. With a wardrobe packed with staples and a little imagination, you’ll be able to create fashionable outfits that make you look and feel good, no matter the season.
Learn how to layer clothes for fall with this step-by-step guide starting at your base and working up through sweaters, jackets, scarves, and accessories.
If you know how to dress for winter, you'll be able to rock an outfit that doesn't sacrifice style for warmth. It all starts with the right coat.