Summer Essentials Guide

Posted by Sally McLaren on

Back in March I shared our Spring Essentials Guide, and as we transition into the new season, I wanted to share the same with you for Summer.

Whether you are looking to create a summer holiday capsule wardrobe or simply wanting to supplement your summer clothing options with a few versatile key pieces that go with everything and see you through the summer months of 2023, this list is worth a read before you shop.  

  1. The Comfy Summer Dress 

A loose-fitting t-shirt dress like our Betsy is one of the most versatile pieces in your summer wardrobe. You can use it as a simple cover up on holiday, when moving from poolside to bar, but you can also make it the starting point for a whole host of summer outfits at home too. Team it with a lightweight jacket and statement sandals for an afternoon in the park, or dress it up with a floaty summer scarf, statement jewellery and a pair of wedges for a night out. With the help of a leather jacket and your favourite biker boots, a good t-shirt dress can transition happily into autumn too. 

  1. The Non-See-Through White T-Shirt 

A simple white t-shirt should be a foundational summer staple in a women's wardrobe, but many people are scared to embrace it because they haven't found one that suits them. Horror stories of clingy, tight fitting white tees that leave nothing to the imagination make many of us gravitate towards safer, darker neutrals, but they just don't have the same box fresh, summery vibe that a plain white tee brings. 

When I was developing the white t-shirts for our Ivy range, I was keen to create the white t-shirts of our dreams. Not only should they fit well, offer great coverage and not be at all see-through (whilst simultaneously not being too heavy for your summer closet), they also had to be durable and ready to be washed over and over again. 

If you've been stung by poor quality white t-shirts in the past, put your faith in Mabel (crew neck), Dotty (v-neck) or Maggie Organic Cotton White T-Shirt this sunny season and let them renew your enthusiasm for the crisp simplicity of a great white tee. Worn simply with a denim skirt or cut-off jeans or under a pair of summer dungarees, Ivy white tees are a summer fashion staple you need in your life. 

  1. The Denim and Tailored Shorts 

Shorts are another summer season basic that many of us are afraid to embrace, even as the mercury climbs the thermometer and we know we'd probably be more comfortable with our legs out. Here are our tips for finding your perfect pair of shorts this summer:

  • Ditch the low rise - mid to high rise waistlines are more flattering for the majority of body shapes. 
  • Consider the in seam - between 3" and 6" is usually best - anything longer might look a bit frumpy and anything shorter is probably a security risk! 
  • Give your thighs room to breathe - a slightly relaxed fit around the thighs is more comfortable and flattering (and wider leg holes can make legs appear thinner). 
  • Try on a range of colours, fits and styles, especially if it has been a while since you bought a pair of shorts. The ones you feel happiest in should be the ones you take to the till. 

  1. The Birkenstocks and Statement Sandals 

Hands up who is guilty of having summer shoes that come out of the attic every year, rub a blister on your toe and then go back up to the attic again to repeat the process the following year? Make 2023 the year you get rid of uncomfortable summer footwear and invest in some sandals that make you feel good. Whether you go for neutral sandals that go with every piece of clothing in your summer wardrobe, strappy sandals that go perfectly with that maxi dress you love or gladiator-style leather sandals to help you channel your inner boho queen, your feet should not be neglected when it comes to summer clothing essentials this year. 

  1. The Lightweight Jacket 

Be prepared for topsy turvy summer weather by making sure you have at least one lightweight summer jacket that goes with the majority of your favourite summer styles. The perfect choice for keeping you warm when the clouds roll in or the sun goes down, a multi-tasking summer jacket is key to a successful capsule wardrobe in the warmer months. I talk a lot about my Khaki utility jacket on Instagram that I bought in the Whistles sale over 3 years ago. It featured in our Spring Essentials Guide too, and it remains to be a key part of my summer wardrobe as well, and will also see through into Autumn. Cost per wear on this is at an all time low!

Top Tip - On days when it's too warm for a jacket, but you don't want to leave the house without an extra layer, grab a loose tailored shirt for coverage instead. It will protect you from the sun and keep you warm if the breeze picks up. 


  1. The Perfect Vest Top 

We all know how strongly I feel about our t-shirts covering and flattering the tops of our arms, but when the weather really does heat up then needs must and Peggy comes into her own. Summer heat is the perfect excuse to revive your vest top collection. Our Peggy vest has been created as a tonic for all the usual bugbears we have with fast fashion vest tops. She's made from super comfortable organic cotton jersey, has a flattering longline cut and generous scoop neckline and the straps are wide enough to cover even the sturdiest of bra straps. Wear Peggy under a shirt and with some wide-leg tailored trousers for a pulled together summer work look, or throw her over your swimwear for beside the beach holiday lunches. And, because she's an Ivy vest top, you can have faith that she'll wash well and be around for more than just one summer.

  1. The Summer Tote 

Make being prepared for all eventualities look effortlessly stylish this summer by bagging the perfect tote. My gingham one is from @46stitch, and my straw one is from @therusticshack and I alternate between the 2. It will need to have space for sun cream, that spare pair of sunglasses, a light jacket or heavy weight jersey top like our Arabella, for chilly evenings, along with all the other bits and pieces that we all carry around on the off-chance that they may be required. 

Top Tip - Go for a neutral-coloured tote that will go with the majority of outfits and don't be tempted to go for the biggest bag you can locate, as it's no fun carrying around something that is the weight of a small child and seems to eat everything you put inside, so you can never find what you are looking for. 

  1. The Eco-Friendly Statement Sunglasses 

A nice pair of sunglasses can make you feel a million dollars. I am loving my bold, bright and eco-friendly shades from Zoe de Pass. Not only do they come in a great range of fun colours and flattering styles, they are also made from eco-acetate, which means they are better for the environment than most other sunnies on the market. 

  1. The Wide Leg Trousers and Jeans 

During the warmer months of the year, our skinny jeans can be a bit too tight fitting for comfort, which is why we're ditching restrictive clothing in favour of breezy wide-leg trousers or jeans this summer. They are not only more comfortable than leggings or skinnies when its warm, they are also a stylish choice for a range of summer looks. Style them casually with a basic t-shirt or simple tank, or dress them up with a silk cami and a lightweight blazer, we guarantee you'll love a great pair of wide-legged trousers season after season.


  1. The French Summer Style Staple (Breton long and short sleeved t-shirts) 

Will the effortless appeal of the Breton top ever fall out of favour? We really hope not, because we are very fond of this versatile wardrobe staple at all times of year. In the summer you'll find us teaming our Breton vests with denim or linen shorts or white jeans. On cooler days we'll be layering it up with a linen shirt or swapping it for a longer-sleeve Breton style (such as Erin or Nora). The British weather may be changeable, but our loyalty to this summer wardrobe staple is unshakeable! 

  1. The Dungarees 

We are rounding off our list of summer essentials with a bit of a wild card. In our opinion, dungarees are a hugely under-rated bit of summer kit, so read on and let us try to convert you to our theory that they could be as useful as a pair of comfy sandals or classic pair of sunglasses this summer.

Firstly, wearing dungarees on a warm day means you can deal with heat in style, as you don't have to contend with the discomfort of a hot, sweaty waistband. Furthermore, this amazing garment facilitates airflow, provides flattering coverage and is a top and a bottom in one (so minimises agonising wardrobe choices, as you basically just need to decide on which t-shirt to wear underneath and which a pair of sandals to slip on as you head out of the door).

If you are tempted to get a pair of dungarees this summer, we can recommend Milldred. Like Ivy, they use only organic cotton for their range and their styles are flattering, well-made and long lasting. 

I am sure you will agree, with the right, great fitting and best made basics in your wardrobe, then the summer style opportunities are endless.

I'd love you to show us how you style your favourite summer essentials by tagging @Ivy_thebrand in your Instagram pics. 

 P.S. I haven't included links to the other brands products in here, but if there is anything you'd like to know, then please don't hesitate to get in touch. Love, Sally x



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