24 Summer Wardrobe Staples That Are Simple, Sustainable, and Editor-Approved

Bonus: You can layer these looks for fall.

By Brandy Joy Smith

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Good news: summer is here. The even better news? We still have months to go before the fall chill sets in. And while I’m excited for all things cozy come the colder months, there’s nothing better than curating my summer wardrobe. We’ve said goodbye to long sleeves and layers and welcomed skirts and shorts with open arms. Truly, changing up my summer wardrobe is one of the things I love most about the shift in season.

I’ve always been a firm believer that what you wear can play a big role in your mood and overall self-confidence, and every season is a new opportunity to showcase the best version of yourself. 

Featured image by Michelle Nash.

Ashleigh Amoroso-summer wardrobe
Image by Michelle Nash

How to Build a Sustainable Summer Wardrobe

I fondly recall my days in New York living in a small apartment. I would pack up my winter clothes to make space for new options that would fill my closet each summer. However, as I got older, had children, and started to pay closer attention to my carbon footprint, it became abundantly clear that this turnover rate was completely unsustainable and very unaffordable! 

In the past few years, I’ve been working on my summer wardrobe capsule collection. It’s made up of timeless pieces that work for me and my body year after year. Taking this approach keeps me from constantly purchasing new clothing to keep up with trends. Sure, I love to follow them here and there, but as a former stylist of 11 years, I have a pretty good idea of what staple items will never go out of style. Trust me: These are the pieces that will anchor your summer wardrobe. 

Image by Michelle Nash

24 Timeless Summer Wardrobe Staples

If you’ve been thinking about investing in some go-to summer essentials that will last you for years to come, you know I’ve got some tips for you, babe. Here are some of my all-time favorite pieces that you might want to consider when building your very own capsule summer wardrobe. 


Vince Satin Slip Dress

I think I own three of these Vince slip dresses in different colors! If you have curves like me, it hits in all the right places. 

Cuyana Silk Slip Dress

Sometimes, shiny silk fabric can feel a little too fancy if you’re going for a more casual look. This silk slip by Cyuana still feels special while managing to fit any occasion—dressed up or dressed down.

Karen Millen Hammered Satin Cowl Woven Slip Dress

I absolutely love this luxurious design, which skims curves in all the right places and features a slinky shape, slender straps, and draped cowl detailing to show off your summer skin.

L’Agence Serita Silk Charmeuse Maxi Slipdress

Effortlessly elegant and flattering, this maxi slip dress is bias-cut from lustrous silk charmeuse that fluidly skims curves.

Fleur du Mal Short Cowl Neck Slip 

A look that goes perfectly from the bar to the bedroom.

Camille-Styles-jumpsuit_summer wardrobe
Image by Hannah Zahner


Ozma of California Vanessa Romper 

This romper is perfect for a day at the beach over your swimsuit or on its own for a patio hang.

Norma Kamali x REVOLVE Low Back Slip Jumpsuit

Want to step up your wedding guest attire? This unexpected jumpsuit is the ideal dress alternative.

Everlane The Fatigue Short Sleeve Jumpsuit

The belted option for work or the weekend. 

& Other Stories Sleeveless Bustier Jumpsuit

The unicorn of jumpsuits? One that’s comfy and cozy while still giving you a shape—and that manages to hug you in all the right places.

Mate the Label Linen Short Sleeve Jumpsuit

An environmentally-friendly option with extended sizing and tons of color options! If you haven’t discovered Mate the Label yet, this is the perfect introduction to the brand.

Image by Michelle Nash


Levi’s Dad Jeans 

Dad jeans are on-trend but timeless, chic but cozy. This pick lets you dip your toe into the 90s trend without going overboard.

Madewell Wide Leg Crop Jean 

High-rise meets wide-leg. Flattering and fit for any occasion this summer (and beyond). While we’re building your summer wardrobe, you can always be prepared for the seasons to come.

Rag & Bone Liquid Miramar Pant

Jeans? More like pajamas. Seriously—I’ve never met a comfier, chicer pant. These are the 2022 answer to looking stylish while working from home. And if you’ve headed back to the office, take heart: these are 100 percent casual Friday-approved.

Mother High-Waisted Rider Ankle Fray 

When you want to add a little edge and ventilation to your denim. I love the way these hug my curves and the high-waisted fit is both super flattering and comfy. I’m tempted to call these the perfect pair of jeans.

J.Crew Wide Leg Trouser 

A wide-leg trouser will take you from work to the cocktail bar. We love a super-chic twofer.

Image by Michelle Nash


Parade High-Rise Bike Short 

Though the biker short trend might have had its run, I love the updated version of a ribbed biker short. They bridge the gap between activewear and being a casual, on-the-go piece (perfect for looking put-together while running errands). Pair them with a crop top and add an oversized button-up to complete the look.

Mate the Label Linen Shorts

Your beach days need these shorts. I even love them for lounging around the house—definitely recommend purchasing the matching top, too. An easy, nearly all-in-one outfit.

Joe’s Jeans 7″ Lara Bermuda Shorts 

As I get older, I’ve found myself experimenting with longer shorts. Styled right (with a fitted tank tucked in or a button-down layered on top), these still feel chic.

AGOLDE Parker High-Rise Denim Shorts

When it comes to denim shorts, you often have to try on a few before finding the winner. These AGOLDE ones hit the mark for a few reasons, being that they are mid-length, mid-rise, and super casual. 

Camille Styles sandals_summer wardrobe
Image by Michelle Nash


Freda Salvador Robin Padded Woven Mideheel

These are my go-to sandals for summer. They’re best paired with jeans, a jumpsuit, or dresses of any length. What I’m trying to say is, that their perfection is universal.

3.1 Phillip Lim Verona Sandals 

I like to keep my strappy sandals low and simple, but with a few special details thrown in.

Madewell Cady Lugsole Sandal 

Chunky and comfy is the name of the game here. Though I usually steer clear of anything that makes my feet look bigger, I like how sleek and narrow these are. They get bonus points for strap security, so I don’t bust my ankle. (Important given all the running around I’m—and we all are—doing in the summer!)

Birkenstock Arizona Big Buckle Slide Sandal

This might be controversial, but I think everyone needs a pair of Birkenstocks. Maybe it’s the Cali girl in me, but nothing says effortlessly cool quite like a pair of Birks. If they feel too utilitarian for you, the brand has endless options that’ll fit your fashion girl vibes.

Stuart Weitzman Strap Sandals

Though I’ve basically sworn off all high heel sandals, there’s always a time and a place when you need some height. So, if you have to splurge on a pair that’s going to treat your feet right and that you can pull off at a summer soirée or a brunch with baggy jeans—ladies, I give you this forever classic.

There you have it! My go-to selections to build your very own summer wardrobe. I hope that some of these pieces resonated with you and help you get on your way to a more sustainable wardrobe. As always, I’m so down to hear what your favorite pieces are, so feel free to link your summery staples in the comments below!