Over the last decade or so that I've spent working in fashion, I've often been asked for style advice. Whether it's what to wear to a wedding, how to build a capsule work wardrobe, or how to breathe new life into a wardrobe that feels a little "samey," I know how to translate a trend into something wearable. What's the most common topic I get asked about? Seasonal styling advice. Autumn and winter might call for functional dressing that's as comfy as it is chic, but spring and summer are the perfect time to peel off the layers and focus on the outfits that make you look and feel your best. In the interest of building a timeless and versatile wardrobe, I always look for pieces that will stand the test of time. So how do you find the right summer styles for your wardrobe? Well, I've managed to narrow it down to a handful of key buys that work for every style, shape and temperature, and some of them just might surprise you.
After trying on everything from luxury designer pieces to premium high-street styles, I found one brand that manages to cover everything on my summer shopping list, and that's Calvin Klein. We already associate Calvin Klein with elegant '90s minimalism and flattering, elongating silhouettes, but it also specialises in elevated essentials, standout eveningwear and cool classics. When I had the opportunity to pop into the newly opened Calvin Klein store in Battersea Power Station, I jumped at the chance. Everything from the shop floor to the changing room echoes the clean lines and sculptural design of the Calvin Klein aesthetic, and the latest drop of summer essentials is my dream wish list all in itself.
It didn't take long to spot new summer trends alongside warm-weather classics (e.g. tailored shirts, long skirts, and light dresses), and in just half an hour, I managed to assemble the ultimate summer capsule around seven easy pieces. There's something for everyone from the devoted to minimalist to the accessories fanatic, so if you're looking for chic pieces in a refined palette that you can easily mix and match to curate several different but equally impactful looks, keep scrolling. These are the seven pieces I styled up from Calvin Klein's latest collection, and Who What Wear readers get 20% off full price products, just click here for more details. Bring on summer.
Definitive proof that tailoring makes just as much sense in summer as it does in autumn, this wear-with-everything shirt is a layering wonder. It has just enough cover to wear on its own tucked into jeans, but it's light enough to wear over dresses and tops when a jacket is too much. An oversized, white linen shirt is the kind of anti-trend piece that you'll wear for years to come. It will simply never go out of style.
It goes without saying that linen is a summer staple for its cooling properties alone, but relying on the same pair of linen trousers can get repetitive. There is, however, a seamless way to work tailoring into your summer wardrobe without having to sweat your way through wool. Enter the linen blazer. At Who What Wear, we're blazer devotees, not least because of their propensity to make just about every outfit look polished, but the linen blazer will also keep you cool during a heatwave. Wide-leg trousers? Turn them into a sharp suit. Shorts? A linen blazer will add a cargo twist. Slip skirt? A blazer will turn it into workwear perfection. Plus, I'll always advocate for a piece you can wear in any season.
Now, let's talk about swimwear. All too often relegated to the beach, the right swimsuit can actually be repurposed as a bodysuit, and whether you're pulling on a cover-up to go from the beach to the bar or dressing for summer in the city, a one-piece is the chic foundation to build the rest of your look around. Long skirts are having a moment, but these wide-leg crepe trousers are the perfect fit for an easy, tonal look that you can depend on when the temperatures rise.
Sorry, miniskirts. Micro hemlines just aren't my style. Although 2022 might have been the year of the teeny-tiny skirt, for those of us looking for something with a little more longevity, the midi skirt reigns supreme. Slinky midis were the style we didn't see coming, but now we can't live without them. This crepe slip skirt goes with everything from monochrome minimalism to pops of colour, and once again, repurposed swimwear steals the show when worn under a boxy shirt. Who says you need to be on holiday to wear a bikini?
And now, the silhouette that Calvin Klein has mastered to perfection: the elegant slip dress. The last year might have given us flatforms, maxi skirts and cargo trousers, but my favourite thing about the '90s renaissance has to be the return of the slip: an easy, understated piece that has the best cost-per-wear of anything in your wardrobe. Dress it up with heels and a clutch, or keep it casual with trainers and a jacket. This black slip dress is so chic, so I automatically gravitated towards an evening spin. Chunky sandals are the easiest way to keep the look comfortable without having to compromise on style.
Every collection has a showstopper, and for me, it's this twisted-front slip dress. From the colour to the keyhole detail, everything about this delicate dress says "summer," and it's the ideal buy for someone with a busy holiday season ahead. Wear it for dinner dates, poolside drinks, wedding season, city breaks—just about anything. The flattering fit and burnt-orange colour are guaranteed to invite compliments.
Thanks to Katie Holmes, the cardigan co-ord has become one of the most sought after pieces on the market, particularly for warmer weather. When it's too cold for a tank top and too mild for a jumper, what could be easier than a matching set whose layers you can shed in the sun? The ribbed-knit tank is already a firm favourite of mine, and the cardigan takes the look to new levels of sophistication. Thanks, CK.