Tip # 1: Style a silky button-down with a below-the-knee skirt.
When temperatures skyrocket, we tend to reach for relaxed, easygoing outfits--but that doesn't mean they can't still be chic and elegant! Comfortable certainly doesn't have to equal frumpy, as Vogue's Senior Market Editor, Meredith Melling Burke showed us at a preview of Banana Republic's 2011 Holiday Collection in New York last month. For the event she opted for a chiffon Preen button-down blouse from the S/S 11 collection, paired with a flowy midi skirt by The Row and standout Thakoon heels. We love how she styled two fluid pieces together for a breezy-yet-polished ensemble that's suitable for so many occasions! Furthermore, we love how her midi skirt highlights her stellar sandals--with shoes like that, who wouldn't want to show them off? To get MMB's look for yourself, we suggest investing in a perfectly slouchy button-down top, such as J. Crew's Silk Blythe Blouse ($98) or Equipment's Signature Sea Gull Lagoon Blouse ($198). Then, pick up a mid-calf skirt, like Warehouse's Full Midi Skirt ($35), which allows a fabulous strappy shoe, like Sam Edelman's Lucia Sandals ($112), to take center stage.
Tip # 2: Temper a wild print with a denim jacket.
Summer is the perfect time to break out your most colorful, vivid prints, but styling these eye-catching pieces isn't always easy. In order to temper loud patterns, we suggest taking a cue from Hailee Steinfeld and adding a classic denim jacket into the mix. Snapped at the Los Angeles premiere of Cars 2 last month, the stylish-beyond-her-years actress--and new face of Miu Miu!--donned a Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti S/S 11 dress, Rugby Ralph Lauren jean jacket, H&M clutch, and Jimmy Choo Youth Leather Biker Boots ($895). This flawless look is a study in balance: the denim topper tones down the striking dress, while the print simultaneously spices up the simplistic jacket, creating one proportionally perfect ensemble! If you don't already have a denim jacket, we wholeheartedly recommend Topshop's Denim Western Style Jacket ($85), which will surely get a ton of wear. Next, all you need is a vibrant frock; try Amanda Uprichard's Mayfair Burst Dress ($194) or Lilly Pulitzer's Marisa Dress Pique ($198) to liven up your summer wardrobe and emulate Steinfeld's winning outfit!
Tip # 3: Try a bare-midriff top with a floor-grazing skirt.
If you're dying to try an abbreviated shirt but worried about showing too much skin, we've found the perfect solution for you: pair it with a maxi skirt! Ashlee Simpson had the right idea at a party celebrating I Heart Ronson--Charlotte Ronson's exclusive collection for J.C. Penney--in Hollywood late last month. She opted for a cropped tank and Charlotte Ronson's Imperial Plaid Paneled Maxi Skirt ($350, available August 15th), which gave her a long and lean silhouette--never a bad thing! We especially appreciate Simpson's decision to go for a more covered-up skirt, which kept her look elegant and party-ready. If you love her outfit, we suggest starting with a short top, like American Apparel's Silky Loose Crop Tank ($32) or ASOS' Oh My Love Tank with Fringed Hem ($52), and then simply add a long, dark skirt, such as Tolani's Paisley Maxi Skirt ($174), to get a Simpson-inspired look!
Tip # 4: Pair a fall loafer with a bright jacket.
While we usually find ourselves in strappy sandals for summer, we don't want to wait until fall to try high-heeled loafers! That said, we were beyond ecstatic when we cam across Katia Elizarova sporting a pair of this preppy footwear to the ShelterBox charity pop-up shop in London last month. The Russian model styled her Vivienne Westwood for Melissa shoes with a creme River Island dress and a bright Cos jacket. In addition to her lovely loafers, we appreciate how she finished her look with a fantastic chartreuse jacket, which adds a burst of energy to her otherwise pared-down ensemble. Craving a similarly savvy look? Either ALDO's Deperro Heels ($23) or Topshop's Graze Black Suede Tassel Crepe Heels ($128) would look perfect paired with a bold jacket, like The Limited's Elastic Sleeve Knit Jacket ($80) or Neon Buddha's Urban Knit Blazer ($75). Whichever pieces you choose, you're sure to turn heads at your next soiree!
Tip # 5: Contrast a prim white lace dress with leather boots.
Here at Who What Wear, we love an interesting sartorial juxtaposition, whether it's a floaty dress worn with a rough-and-tumble biker jacket or a feminine top teamed with a menswear-inspired blazer. Another intriguing combination that's piqued our interest lately is Sienna Miller's smart pairing of a prim-and-proper, Victorian-esque frock with contemporary black leather boots at the Ralph Lauren Wimbledon party late last month! While her Ralph Lauren Collection Lace Dress ($2499) in Antique Cream boasts turn-of-the-century charm, her Burberry boots add just the right amount of modern, tough-girl chic. As with all of Miller's ensembles, the resulting look is truly unique and certainly worth emulating! To assemble a similar ensemble, contrast a lacey LWD, like Topshop's White Lace Flippy Dress ($96) or See by Chloe's Cap Sleeve Lace Tiered Dress ($495), with utilitarian boots, such as Bandolino's Tisdale Booties ($70) or Tory Burch's Belinda Buckle Ankle Booties ($395), for one to-die-for outfit!
Tip # 6: Transition your summer basics with an army jacket
Much like cardigans and blazers, a classic army jacket should be a year-round staple in your wardrobe! Even in the summer, it can get a bit chilly when the sun goes down, so a lightweight jacket is the perfect transitional option. At a preview party for the restaurant festival Taste of London last month, Caroline Sieber showed us a stellar example of how to style this outerwear essential. She started with an Equipment button-up blouse, 3.1 Phillip Lim shorts, Prada shoes, and a Proenza Schouler bag, and finished her look with a men's J. Crew Fatigue Jacket ($168). We appreciate how her jacket gave her summery ensemble a ruggedly-cool look, which we're dying to recreate! To do so, we recommend snagging either Patterson J. Kincaid's Marlon Army Jacket ($119) or Marrakech's Sacha Military Jacket ($148); both options will give you a similar look. We also suggest buying a pair of tailored shorts, such as Moto's Black Denim Wide Stripe Shorts ($70), and a classic button-up blouse, like Cooperative's Loose Button-Up Shirt ($30), to get you through the season in style!
Tip # 7: Make a colorblock sheath a wardrobe staple.
When we first spotted Liv Tyler at the Stella McCartney Resort 12 presentation in New York last month wearing the designer's frock and sandals, it reminded us that a color-block dress is also a wardrobe essential this season! Why, you might ask? It's a great way to incorporate this season's ultra-bright trend, plus it's super easy to wear because the sleek look calls for minimal accessories. Simply throw on a streamlined sheath and add nude sandals for a lovely summer look a la Tyler! We suggest pairing either Milly's Color-Block Textured-Cotton Dress ($395) or Diane von Furstenberg's Komotini Embellished Dress ($243) with Levity's Capril Sandals ($50) for any warm-weather fete!
Tip # 8: Combine a pendant + midi skirt for a subtly '70s-chic look.
We're always on the lookout for stylish and work-appropriate ensembles, which is why we couldn't resist including the outfit Scottish actress Karen Gillan wore to the Glamour Women of the Year awards in London last month. For the event she chose a slew of office-ready basics, including a vintage top and skirt, Vivienne Westwood shoes, and a Tiffany & Co. necklace. We especially appreciate how her mid-calf skirt and long pendant give off a slight '70s vibe, yet maintain a refined look. If you're in need of a foolproof nine-to-five outfit, we definitely suggest recreating Gillan's ensemble! We think either Swarovski's Noon Long Pendant ($70) or Rachel Leigh's Primrose Ivory Pendant Necklace ($86) would look fantastic teamed with a retro midi skirt, like ASOS' Button Through Midi Skirt ($61), for a sophisticated look a la Gillan!--Erin Fitzpatrick
Photos of Ashlee Simpson, Caroline Sieber, Katia Elizarova, and Sienna Miller, courtesy of Getty; Photo of Karen Gillan, courtesy of Splash; Photo of Liv Tyler, courtesy of INF; Photo of Meredith Melling Burke, courtesy of Billy Farrell Agency