7 Key Pieces For Summer (& How To Wear Them)

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This post is sponsored by Saks Fifth Avenue.

I’ve started my deep dive into what I actually want to wear this summer, and this year it almost feels like I’m starting from scratch. While my basic summer uniform hasn’t changed (cutoff jean shorts, this white tee, some tan slides)…I am feeling the need for a revamp.

Happily, there are a ton of sales happening now — including Sak’s huge designer sale — so I sat down to try to figure out how to take advantage of these sales by narrowing things down to a few key pieces that would help make my summer wardrobe feel fresh.

Revamp Your Summer Style With 7 Key Pieces From Saks (+ Outfit Ideas)

After a bit of thought, I’ve come up with seven easy pieces — all on sale!! — that could help transform my summer vibe. The intention isn’t that anyone needs all seven, I just like options.

These seven pieces include a pair of really lightweight black pants to wear instead of jeans, an oversized blazer that’s actually a total hero in warmer months, trouser shorts (arguably the most versatile piece here), dark-wash jeans (a little unexpected in summer), and three perfect dresses.

And because I’m focusing on investment pieces, I styled them up two ways: dressed up & dressed down. Versatility is important.

OK. Let’s do it.

1. Summer Outfits With…A Statement Mini Dress

Mini dresses are the unsung heroes of my summer style. Because a shorter hemline inherently has a sporty vibe, these dresses look especially good with sneakers. To dress them up, flat sandals are an easy win, but if your mini dress has some volume up top (think: puff sleeves), then it’ll balance out nicely with a pair of heels. (Bonus points for a few cutouts too.)

My summer outfits need a revamp, so I found 7 key pieces (a mini dress & LBD, black pants, dark-wash flare jeans...) from Saks that would make my wardrobe feel fresh.

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NOTES: The dress is from Aje, the new cool kid in town. Aje dresses are almost like works of art — this one is actually pretty subdued for the brand. While I normally go for neutral accessories, this Cult Gia bag — in what I’m going to call “neon lemon yellow” — is shockingly versatile. It basically looked good with every outfit I threw it into.

P.S. Those silver Sam Edelman heels are on sale for under $100.


2. Summer Outfits With…Versatile Trouser Shorts

Trouser shorts are bananas versatile. Like a good mini dress, trouser shorts can be dressed down with sneakers, flats, flat sandals, and yet have enough tailoring to pair with heels too. These are a solid choice for traveling overseas, as well — they scream, “AMERICAN” much less than denim cutoffs. And I especially like trouser shorts peeking out of a long-ish raincoat.

My summer outfits need a revamp, so I found 7 key pieces (a mini dress & LBD, black pants, dark-wash flare jeans...) from Saks that would make my wardrobe feel fresh.

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NOTES: The trouser shorts are Alice + Olivia, which makes the best dressy shorts on the market. The raincoat is Barbour — one of my longtime favorites (sooo glad to see them in this sale), and I can’t stop thinking about those black Vince platform sandals. Also, can we take a moment to appreciate the cool texture play of the Vince crochet wedges with the woven clutch? GAH, I LOVE IT.


3. Summer Outfits With…A Little Black Dress

I love making an LBD summer-ready! Black shoes + a black dress can work in the summer, but the shoes should be strappy, and the bag should definitely not be black. Rich tan tones, a woven texture and/or ocean blues all bridge the gap between a black dress & shoes with the desired summer vibe.

My summer outfits need a revamp, so I found 7 key pieces (a mini dress & LBD, black pants, dark-wash flare jeans...) from Saks that would make my wardrobe feel fresh.

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NOTES: The LBD is STAUD, which always manages to do off-the-shoulder dresses really, really well. They’re always a perfect balance of “come hither” and “oh, this old thing?”. I also appreciate the slight ’80s vibe (but not too much!). Also, yes: The Saks sale does include a pretty extensive selection of Vince sandals. So glad you noticed.


4. Summer Outfits With…Lightweight Black Pants

There’s an anti-jeans movement that happens every summer, and I’m not mad about it. Lightweight black pants like these are both seriously cool and wildly practical, and the key to making them summer is to pair them with light, neutral pieces and easy, effortless shapes. Think: cropped, boxy cuts, woven accessories and earthy shades.

My summer outfits need a revamp, so I found 7 key pieces (a mini dress & LBD, black pants, dark-wash flare jeans...) from Saks that would make my wardrobe feel fresh.

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NOTES: Why are Coach’s white sandals so cute??? It’s confusing. Anyway, the black trousers are Vince, and they’re almost like refined cargo pants — 100% cotton and everything. (They also come in a neon lemon yellow if anyone else is as obsessed as I am with that color.)

5. Summer Outfits With…A Bright Midi Dress

If I had to point to ONE piece to be sure to have in your summer closet, it’s a gorgeous midi dress. Unlike maxi dresses, footwear is easy (everything works with a midi dress), and unlike mini dresses, the backs of your legs never stick to a chair. Midi dresses are *the* most practical option, so make the most out of your midi by getting something really freaking fabulous. That way you can wear it to everything from farmers markets to fancy events.

My summer outfits need a revamp, so I found 7 key pieces (a mini dress & LBD, black pants, dark-wash flare jeans...) from Saks that would make my wardrobe feel fresh.

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NOTES: The dress is another Aje creation, and if you click through, you can see how genius the sculpting lines of the bodice are. It’s a total stunner. The tote bag is from Black-owned business Brother Vellies, and while it’s *technically* a tennis-racket tote (yup — that shape on the front holds a racket), it’s cool enough to use allllllll the time. Those gladiator sandals, BTW, are on sale for under $100.


6. Summer Outfits With…Dark-Wash Flare Jeans

While I’ll never give up my light-wash, ripped, baggy jeans, I’m really intrigued by a darker, true-blue wash this summer. And when I’m looking for something a little sexy…flares. I like to take my flares in one of two directions: slinky and sexy and ’70s inspired…or something boxy and cropped and a little mod. And because it’s 2023: double denim.

My summer outfits need a revamp, so I found 7 key pieces (a mini dress & LBD, black pants, dark-wash flare jeans...) from Saks that would make my wardrobe feel fresh.

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NOTES: The flare jeans are Veronica Beard — a team favorite because she gets all of the details exactly right (see that twisted seam?). Rag & bone’s knit halter looks so freaking sexy on (click through to see), and I’ve been coveting that denim crop top for months. Such a cool double-denim look.


7. Summer Outfits With…An Oversized Blazer

I know the fashion set has been wearing oversized blazers as a part of a makeshift suit for months…but I always prefer them as nonchalant outerwear. Blazers like this are amazing over summer staples like little dresses or shorts.

My summer outfits need a revamp, so I found 7 key pieces (a mini dress & LBD, black pants, dark-wash flare jeans...) from Saks that would make my wardrobe feel fresh.

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NOTES: Reviewers say this Alice + Olivia blazer runs big, but I wouldn’t size down — it should look a little oversized. And while the mini dress doesn’t *have* to match the blazer, the fact that Susana Monaco’s sequin mini dress is on sale for $138 had to be noted. Also, I love how those denim shorts have slight trouser tailoring. So good.


I’m curious — are there any other key pieces you guys are thinking of adding to your closet?

And if you get a second, go and check out Saks’ sale. In addition to the summery stuff — if you really want to do a deep dive — there are some gems from winter marked down too (like FRAME’s delicious Breton-striped cashmere turtleneck, as an example).

xo,

S

A huge thank-you to Saks Fifth Avenue for sponsoring this post! It’s always a dream to work with you guys. As always, all thoughts, opinions and product choices are my own. And, readers, thank you for your continued support. It doesn’t go unnoticed and is so very much appreciated.

1 COMMENT

  1. I’m all about the tailored shorts! Cut offs just aren’t my thing, so I’m super excited to see tailored shorts on trend. Especially because shorts are suuuuch a hard item for me. I have so. many. specific. requirements for them. High waisted, 4-5” inseam, some stretch, no distressing, mostly natural fibers, pockets that don’t flare out, etc. I’m not high maintenance at all. 🙄😏

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