Effortless and Elevated Are the Goal—These COS, Aritzia, and J.Crew Finds Are It

@alainaimperio wears a drop-waist dress from COS in NYC.

(Image credit: @alainaimperio)

If I had to choose one word to describe my summer aesthetic, it would be "elevated." This is the season I really lean into refined looks and keep my outfits relatively simple and low effort but put-together. Maybe it's the scorching temperatures, but I find myself wanting to put less energy into styling trends and instead rotate through a series of straightforward and classic looks. That's why I'm making it a point to arm myself with a collection of quality staples to build my seasonal wardrobe around so that these pieces can do all the heavy lifting for me. Right now, that assortment involves pieces like airy poplin skirts, pretty drop-waist dresses, bateau-neck tops, and statement accessories to accent all my looks.

It's officially the dead of summer, which means that I've reached my limit with trying to put in maximum effort when getting dressed. It's all about looking chic while doing the least because my days are quickly filling up with travel plans and because NYC's nonstop heat waves require fuss-free looks. I'm shopping with this in mind and have found so many pieces at retailers like COS, Aritzia, and J.Crew that feel both effortless and ultra-elevated at the same time. Below, I've curated a list of the top 31 staples I'm currently eyeing—from cotton maxi skirts to tailored vests to airy dresses—in case you're in the market as well.

Senior Editor

Anna is an editor on the fashion team at Who What Wear and has been at the company for over five years, having begun her career in the Los Angeles office before relocating to New York, where she's currently based. Having always been passionate about pursuing a career in fashion, she built up her experience interning at the likes of Michael Kors, A.L.C., and College Fashionista before joining the team as a post-graduate assistant editor. Anna has penned a number of interviews with Who What Wear's cover stars over the years, including A-listers Megan Fox, Issa Rae, and Emma Chamberlain. She's earned a reputation for scouting new and emerging brands from across the globe and championing them to our audience of millions. While fashion is her main wheelhouse, Anna led the launch of WWW Travels last year, a new lifestyle vertical that highlights all things travel through a fashion-person lens. She is passionate about shopping vintage, whether it be at a favorite local outpost or an on-the-road discovery, and has amassed a wardrobe full of unique finds. When she's not writing, you can find her shooting street imagery on her film camera, attempting to learn a fourth or fifth language, or planning her next trip across the globe.