Finding yourself in a style rut this summer? You’re not the only one. Especially on days when it’s wildly hot and humid, it can feel like a chore to have to think about pulling together a cute outfit, even if all you have planned is a trip to the grocery store. But we have a handy trick up our sleeve to break your sartorial slump. Or eight tricks, really. Here are the seven rules you need to know for styling your wardrobe this summer, plus one look to retire ASAP. And don’t worry, they’re all incredibly easy to follow, no matter your personal style.
The 7 Rules of Dressing for Summer ‘23 (Plus One Look to Officially Retire)
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1. Swap Loafers for Ballet Flats
We’ve been leaning hard into preppy loafers the past year or so, but it looks like ballet flats are primed and ready to take the throne as the most-wanted shoe for summer 2023. Luckily, they are incredible easy to swap in and will likely work with all the same outfits you built around your loafers last summer. When in doubt, remember to opt for hemlines that will allow you shoes to shine (no puddle pants, please) and keep things classic and simple (easy tees, midi skirts, tailored shorts).
2. Embrace Daytime Metallics
No need to save your sparkliest pieces for a special occasion, as we’ve been seeing daytime metallics popping up left and right on the streets of NYC. The key to making them feel a little more casual and more appropriate for day is to pair them with the most classically casual pieces you own. We’re talking plain white T-shirts, button-up blouses, denim jackets, simple sneakers and comfy cardigans.
3. Brown Is the Neutral Du Jour
Rather than reach for black accessories, try incorporating more brown instead. We’ve been seeing all different shades of brown lately, with some folks going all in with head-to-toe monochrome looks and others opting to simply swap their black leather belt for handbag or a brown one. And don’t feel too stressed about trying to match hues exactly—you’ll still look trendy and chic working multiple shades into your ‘fit.
4. Supersize Your Florals
OK, so you don’t need to rock these bold blooms from head-to-toe to be on trend. But if you’re going to sport a floral print this summer, make it as attention-grabbing as possible. Opt for super-bright hues over pastels and blown-out imagery over dainty daisies. You can even amplify the effect by carrying a handbag in one of the bold colors pulled from your vibrant floral-print dress or top.
5. Keep Sporting Those Vintage Minimalist Kicks
Last summer we advised you retire your chunky dad sneakers in favor of more streamlined, vintage-inspired silhouettes, and this remains true for 2023. Think the Adidas Samba, New Balance 574 and Onitsuka Tiger or any other shoes that were popular in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. Plain white versions are the most versatile, but styles that incorporate a pop of color or even elaborate color-blocking are just as trendy, so feel free to have fun with a stand-out pair rather than sticking with the basics.
6. Midi Hemlines Are Where It’s At
Go for the Goldilocks length—not too short, not too long—for dresses and skirts. They’re much easier to style than minis (because they work with just about every style of shoe and won’t leave you feeling over-exposed), and won’t swallow your figure whole like a maxi (especially if you’re petite).
7. Give Your Jeans a Break
Denim is one of summer’s biggest trends, so you may find yourself wondering why we’re advising you step away from your beloved skinnies. But swapping jeans, the obvious choice, for something a bit less expected, like flowy trousers or cargo pants, can help shake up your look in an elevated way. Plus, it’s often the case that the very same top, shoes and accessories you planned to wear with your blue-wash denim will work just as well with beige cargo pants.
8. It’s Time to Separate Your Blazers and Your Bike Shorts
This combination was everywhere just a few summers ago, but it unfortunately already feels pretty dated. But don’t worry, you can still get lots of use out of both of these pieces, just styled in a more modern way. For your blazers, lean into the posh vibes and layer them over other tailored separates and neat, straight-leg jeans. And for bike shorts we recommend playing up their sporty vibes with a sweatshirt or rugby shirt and some comfy sneakers.
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Abby Hepworth is an RRCA-certified running coach who has worked in fashion for over 10 years. Want to know what shoes are in this season? She's got you. Need recommendations on the best running apps? She's your gal. From trend explanations to designer gossip, Abby has your back.