Our Effortless Summer Wardrobe Relies On These 4 Modern Basics

I won’t let modesty get in the way of telling you that I actually excel at finding the most stylish basics every single season. After learning a very expensive lesson about overinvesting in too-trendy items circa 2015 (the culprit: a pair of chunky platform boots I wore a total of, let’s see, maybe three times), I know that filling my wardrobe with modern, quality basics is where it’s at.

As well as keeping an eye on which trends are compatible with my more classic style (hello, new-season tops with puffy sleeves and exaggerated shoulders), I’m also a hawk for checking out the materials my clothing is made from before I buy, particularly during the summer. I live in L.A., where it gets Hot with a capital H, so when I shop, I make sure there’s a high percentage of cotton in whatever I’m buying. The same goes for my colleague, Anna LaPlaca, who recently made the move from Los Angeles to New York and is shopping for new clothes that will work for those sticky summer days in the city. Check out our staple cotton items for this summer below, aka our secret to a super-stylish wardrobe.

Button-Down Shirt

Anytime I wear a classic button-down shirt, I instantly feel like I went from a one to a 10 on the chic Richter scale, which, now that I think of it, is probably why I own so many. As a working mom, I am hoarding pieces that make me feel like the best version of myself, especially after long sleepless nights.

This summer, put me in a button-down shirt with puff sleeves and call it a day. I stan a large sleeve, so when I spotted this Totême shirt a few months back, I knew it had to be mine. I’m going to wear this particular style with a cotton denim miniskirt, a gold chain necklace, and a pair of of-the-moment square-toe flats for everything from Monday morning meetings to wine nights with my two best friends.

Muscle Tank

Another staple I refuse to live without? A muscle tank. Truly this piece is an absolute essential in my wardrobe, which is why I always opt for quality in both the fabric and construction. I tend to avoid muscle tanks that have any synthetic fabric because I need the fabric to breathe and move with me through my day, which tends to be pretty hectic since I’m working from home with a one-year-old!

This classic top deserves to be worn with pieces other than my sweat shorts. For the rare date-night alfresco in our backyard, I’ll style the tank with a pair of ivory denim pants and (gasp!) strappy sandals.

Cotton Dress

This summer, New York City is going to look a little different than it has before, but that doesn’t stop LaPlaca from dressing the part. Like myself, LaPlaca also agrees that the bigger the sleeve is, the better, which is why she’s opting for this midi cotton dress from Staud.

Worn with a stylish toe-strap sandal and '90s-inspired shoulder bag, this effortless look is the definition of a classic-meets-trendy outfit that can take you anywhere. (Well, you know, when we start going places again.) The best part? The dress is 100% cotton which means it will keep you cooler on those balmy nights.

Tailored Blazer

LaPlaca’s structured ivory blazer basically has a no-season rule, meaning she can wear it this summer with a ribbed-knit tank, strappy sandals, and Bermuda shorts or this winter with a turtleneck and her favorite jeans.

If you’re in the market to invest in a new blazer, remember that 100% cotton blazers are durable and often look more put together and structured than those made with synthetic fabric. Keep it nearby this summer to combat too-aggressive air conditioning or throw on during your Zoom meetings.

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