Summer Styling: 9 New Ways To Style Shorts and a Simple Tee / Tank


Shorts, especially denim shorts (which we talked about styling last summer), look best with something other than a t-shirt or simple tank.  A silk blouse, an embroidered tunic, a button-down, even a structured jacket or blazer – these are the pieces that pair best with shorts – denim or not.   All You Need Is Style nailed it. Voila…

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Fabulous, no?  But not necessarily the first thing I reach for when I'm facing a day of hauling/chasing two small boys around in summer heat and humidity.  

My uniform, these days, is almost always shorts and a tee.  Or a tank.  But this uniform can get B-O-R-I-N-G fast, especially towards the end of summer.  And sure…throwing on some jewelry can help…but I wanted something different.

Soooo….here are a few ideas (and a bit of style inspiration) of easy, mom-friendly tweaks to a simple shorts-and-a-tee momiform.  Try one.  Try two.  Try 'em all.  If, however, you manage to get all of these ideas into One Glorious Outfit, you must send us a pic.   


(wearing: J. Crew printed shorts and linen v-neck tee, Target fedora, insanely comfortable woven Sperry Top-Siders)

1. Oversize The Tee

A slim fitting tee and pair of flat-front shorts is a snoozefest.  Grab a slightly oversized tee and perfect the half-tuck.  The half-tuck you say?  Yes – just tuck in a handful of shirt in the front, slightly off-center.  (Mom, I know you are confused.  I will demonstrate for you.)  Or….

2.  Knot It Like It's Hot  

Remember when we used to tie our oversized t-shirts in a knot?  Yes?  'Bout the same time we were rocking the banana clip?  [grimace]  Yeah, I had blocked it out too.  Anyway, don't hate the knot just 'cause it got all tied up with the whole banana clip thing.

Get it??  "all tied up…"

Anyway, Kendi Everyday does it perfectly.    

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3. Mix Patterns

Patterned shorts will always look great with a simple tank, but mixing prints is huge right now. When in doubt mix with stripes (again, see Kendi above).  For more discussion on pattern mixing, see last year's post on how to mix patterns. 

4. Add a Belt

Somehow a belt always make an outfit look intentional, yet cool.  Voila…(from the very fabulous Eat, Sleep, Denim blog.  Add 'em to your reader, they're one of my must-reads.)

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5. Monochrome

Wearing all one color always looks sophisticated.  This look works best if you vary the textures (like the pic above).

6. Put A Hat On

Like a belt: intentional, yet cool.  And Halle does it — while walking around with the kiddo.  Love this pic.  I heart little girls in ripped overalls and sneaks.  Bet she can tear it up at the playground.

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(photo credit: denim blog)

7.  Throw on  a Vest

This is the trick I'm constantly using this summer.  Instant style.  Even when baby-wrangling.  And wearing flip-flops.


(wearing on S: J.Crew tank and Twill Utility Vest, Gap Maternity jeans that I cut-off, Reef flops…on little P:  Charlie Rocket's hawaiian polo, Childish shorts)

8. Wear Cool Shoes

Not flip-flops…uh…like I am in the pic above.  Sigh.  But seriously, if you do nothing else, wearing cooler shoes (or sandals) can make the whole outfit.  

Wait!  I have another pic!  Of basically the same outfit, but with cooler shoes:


(wearing: Gap maternity cut-off shorts, J.Crew Twill Utility Vest, random tank, same insanely comfortable Sperrys mentioned at the beginning)

Mike, after taking this pic said: "Baby, I would TOTALLY pick you up on the side of the road!" 

See?  It's all about the shoes.  

9. Try Boots!  

Personally, I like short boots with shorts (as opposed to tall boots).  Even if the weather is starting to cool, it is still summer.  Look at how cool Rachel Bilson looks in her shorts, t-shirt, and flat bootie combo….

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(photo credit: denim blog)

Um, yeah.  That Chanel bag doesn't hurt either.  Although I'm not sure why it's up by her ear.  I almost made "Carry Chanel Bag Like a Boombox" my 10th tip…but that just seemed like cheating.

If anyone has any additional styling tips, let me know.  We still have several more weeks of summer…enjoy!!!







  1. How about with a blazer? I know most of us mamas are looking for casual shorts looks, but the blazer/shorts/heels combo is EVERYWHERE in DC this summer. Tres chic. Scary, but chic.

  2. Love shorts and a blazer!  Will be my go-to for fall…but now?  Too hot for me.  I may still be adjusting to the humidity, but the thought of long sleeve anything is about as appealing as a snowsuit, lol!!  
    Sent from my iPhone

  3. BiblioMOMia, I have seen the SAME THING – like, down at the waterfront, happy hour? Do you think people are getting away with shorts in the actual office in conservative DC, or do they presto-changeo before they go?
    Shana, the photo of you on your bike belongs on a JCrew catalog cover! ADORBS.

  4. Oooooo….I don’t know….shorts at work? I worked in a business casual environment for years, but shorts – even with a blazer – were a definite no. I’m pretty sure the dress code specified no shorts. While I personally love shorts and a blazer and think they can look…polished…I wouldn’t give them the nod in a professional environment.
    OMG – am I just old?
    Thanks for the love, Amanda!

  5. Amanda and S – I know for a fact that many of them are getting away with shorts at the office, at least with a blazer! Those firls at the waterfront are exactly the girls I was talking about. It looks totally fab, and if your office is okay with it, it’s a LOT better than a pencil skirt or trousers and a blazer in this heat. A lot of my friends who work in non-profit do it.
    Note: These are dressy shorts. Tailored, often pleated or paperbag waist, in a crisp fabric. I wish my Provost wouldn’t look at me funny in the halls if I tried it!

  6. GASP – shorts at work. A sign of the end of days, for sure. The horror! Yep, I am definitely getting old – or maybe I am just jealous. Never was allowed “in my day,” i.e. before I started my full-time Mommying gig. LOL!

  7. Legally speaking, PublishAmerica might not have broken any laws yet. So, they’re still in business. They can even advertise right here on my page (I’ve seen them but I haven’t figured out how to stop them and now that I wrote a story about them, they’ll probably show up more. I’m sorry.) Please don’t use them.

  8. Ask each teacher and staff member who has a copy of the IEP and behavior management plan if they understand it and if they have all the resources they need to implement it. If they need something – explanations, materials, or training – ask if you can help them with that in any way.

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