Seven Essential Summer Pieces

Guest Blog by Emily Wall, Pure Romance Professionista StylistPattyBlogEmilyWall_0413






When it comes to dressing for the season, we all have our favorite times of the year. Many of my friends and clients love their sweaters, signature winter coats, and sassy boots. But I have to admit that all of that layering wears me out. The dark colors tend to put me to sleep and the wooly fabrics literally drive me nuts. I live for summer style. I jumped at the opportunity to share my love of summer fashion on Patty’s blog.

I identify with summer’s laid back glamour; in fact, before I lived in the “real world,” I envisioned myself in all white, with big sunglasses and fabulous gold jewelry on some beautiful beach year-round. Needless to say, back here on earth things are a little different. Instead of beachside, my summer days are spent at work, maybe checking out a weekend festival, grilling out with friends and family on Sundays, having dinner out with my boyfriend and attending a few networking social functions where I attempt to look fabulous as my face melts off in the humidity. Sound familiar?!

Rather than writing one post summing up all of my strong feelings and emotions about summer fashion, I’m going to write two additional guest blogs this summer. You have enough on your plate with kids, work, school, spouses, the house and everything else. Let’s see if I can help you navigate your summer style so you can walk out the door feeling confident and put together all season!

Let’s talk about essentials. Think about your lifestyle, what kinds of things do you face day-to-day and what pieces will help you feel good about yourself and your style during each of those events. Sure, everyone’s list will be a little different, but I want you to think about defining your seven essential summer pieces and make sure you’re ready for whatever summer may bring. I’ve come up with a list of my own personal favorites and made a case for why each should end up on your essential list this summer!


1. This is the only item I am listing in order of importance: THE PERFECT TEE. If you have not found your perfect tee yet, I demand you put it on the list. The perfect tee isn’t just a T-shirt. The perfect tee is flattering, comfortable, and classy and fits you just so that its simplicity borders on sexy. It’s the tee that makes all of your other T-shirts jealous. This is not your dirty lounge around the house tee. This tee is white or black and you love it so much you wish you had two. You wear it with your favorite jeans, your shorts, maybe a maxi skirt. You accessorize it with bold jewelry or a scarf and know just how to dress it up when needed. Bottom line – Invest in a really good quality tee that you love and makes you feel confident.

2. Next up: MAXI DRESS. I can’t let them go. Not now, not ever. As every summer approaches I beg the fashion gods to continue to make them acceptable once again. I will be completely honest here; through my work I have learned that most husbands and boyfriends actually hate them…what do they know? Here’s why I love the maxi-dress so much: VERSATILITY. They are like wonders sent from above! There is a flattering style for every body type and they can easily be dressed up with wedges and statement jewelry on date night and played down with flat sandals and a lightweight scarf for running errands. This is what you grab when you want to feel like you are in your pajamas but might run in to Brad Pitt… Okay, maybe you’ll run into a client, co-worker, or another parent from your kid’s school. Want to feel chic at a networking event in the afternoon? Maxi-dress. Invited to a rustic-themed wedding? Maxi-dress.

3. CARDIGAN or LIGHTWEIGHT JACKET. Say what?! Blame the air conditioning. Do not get stuck feeling awkward and incredibly uncomfortable in a work meeting because the air conditioning is blaring down on you. For this reason it is vital to have your defensive cardigan or other lightweight layer readily available. Tap into your own style and find out what works best. Some of you are not sweet enough for cardigans; I know I am not. Try an unstructured jacket in a breathable material instead. Keep the season’s bright colors in mind. Push yourself to try something other than black. Maybe even something in a print?!

4. SOMETHING FLORAL. Okay, or how about something printed? I am not talking about the Sunday school dress that irks the 6-year-old girl inside of you. I’m talking about something grown-up because no matter what your age every woman should have one feminine or unique piece that makes them stand out in a crowd. Often florals and other prints do just that. Even a printed or floral jacket can take your basic black dress to another level for that big summer event. That same jacket will look AMAZING with your perfect tee and jeans. Maybe it’s a floral dress that stands strong in your closet as your go-to dress for summer weddings, baby showers or a special night out with your spouse. Don’t rule out printed pants either! A fun pant in a bright floral pattern makes for such an easy summer look! Pair the pant with your perfect tee and some great shoes: tres chic! A printed pant can be the perfect floral or patterned touch. Click here for some examples.

5. I used to say I was not responsible enough for SOMETHING WHITE, but I have come to realize just how essential it can be to building a versatile summer wardrobe. Let’s make a deal. If you do not want something white, you will try something very light, possibly in a pastel? Take it into consideration because it makes things quite easy, I promise! Invited to dinner with your trendiest of girlfriends? Pull out your white dress and slide right in with their summer style. Tired of dressing up your blue jeans for date night? Swap them for a white pair and pair them with a dressy top and wedges or nude heels for a great new look. Professional clothes make you feel like you are trapped in the fall? Try a white blazer!

6. FLAT LEATHER SANDAL. When I say flat leather sandal I do not mean a flip-flop. I am talking something with some structure, design and maybe even an embellishment or five. Something on the dressier side. I think most of us tend to be moving around a bit more in summer, walking outdoors or attending parties outside. Sometimes heels just aren’t necessary! Stock a great looking flat leather sandal you can pair with your maxi-dress or white jeans for nice clean and put-together look. Just don’t forget to keep up your pedicure!

7. BOLD SUNGLASSES. When in doubt, complete your summer look with a signature pair of sunglasses – a la Audrey Hepburn. Don’t be fooled into thinking you have to blow your budget on a designer pair any old pair from Target or a thrift shop will do! I used to collect them in various styles and colors until I realized all I needed was one really great pair that made me feel like I could end up on the cover of US Weekly magazine at any moment. I may have went a little too far. Regardless, everyone needs a pair of killer “sunnies” that make people turn their heads and think “Who’s that girl”?!?! Oh, and of course they protect your eyes from that beautiful sunshine!

HONORABLE MENTIONS (I had a really hard time picking just seven):

T-shirt dress – Such a great piece to throw on when you need to run errands, watch the kids soccer game or wear with wedges for a neighborhood picnic!

Hat – Protect your skin, hide a bad hair day AND look fashionable doing it?! Yes, please!

Convertible strapless bra – For those strapless and one shoulder style top and dresses that just scream summer.

Tote bag – Mostly because I am a sucker for handbags and love the easy summer style and versatility of a great tote.

Need some Pinspiration? Check out our Pinterest board for examples of these hot summer tips.



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