Summer Wardrobe Do's & Don'ts

Fashion Stylist, Elizabeth Teater, joined us in the studio today to give us her take on what to wear and what NOT to wear for summer. 

For more information, go to her website.

In her own words, here are Elizabeth's Summer Style Do’s and Don’ts:

I don’t let my clients buy spaghetti-strap camisoles or “good girl” ruffled shirts -- there are more flattering ways to be stylish and summery. Read on for the trends and tricks.

  • Do: Show some shoulder. Try a drapey Grecian shirt with slits at the upper arms. Also: a basic tank top with wide straps in a soft fabric, that is long enough not to accidentally bare your midriff. Or, a one-shoulder dress.
  • Don’t: Wear a tube top, especially not on a trendy (but difficult to pull off) romper or jumpsuit. The tube top does not look good on you (or me). Also, resist the urge to buy camisoles and tank tops with super-thin straps. Stores keep offering them, and the colors are pretty, but you will just end up with an ugly bra strap problem. (You could solve this with a strapless bra, but do you really want to fight with a strapless bra on a warm summer day?)
  • Do: A straw hat. Something really big, or a quirky crushed boater like the ones Marc Jacobs has been showing. Think Mary Poppins.
  • Don’t: Wear a sporty baseball cap or visor with non-sporty clothes. You threw it on to protect your face from the sun, but you threw off your outfit. 
  • Do: A sheer, loose dress over a good-condition vintage slip. Elegant and sultry.
  • Don’t: Wear a sheer, tight shirt over a baggy camisole and worn-out bra. The sheer trend these days has a more modest, ladylike feel. It is about appreciating delicate fabric, not about showing as much skin as possible.
  • Do: Ruffles. Either sideways or “upward facing” ruffles are flattering in the torso and chest area. Ruffles on a skirt hem or shirt/jacket cuff look good too.
  • Don’t: Wear ruffles that hang downward across the chest area. They give most of us a clown or maternity look, and are especially bad for women with apple-shaped figures and large busts. You will look frumpy and excessively well-behaved. Designers need to do less of this style.
  • Do: A white dress or white trousers. What’s more summery?
  • Don’t: Wear white underwear with your white dress or trousers. It will show through most fabrics. Choose underwear that matches your skin. 
  • Do: A ponytail, with recently trimmed, well-conditioned ends.
  • Don’t: A low ponytail with lots of volume pushed up at the back of the head, creating a somewhat flat angle. Women have realized that an updo with volume can be slimming to the face and hips. But the severe “pushed up quickly” angle is generally unflattering and is looking passé.
  • Do: Carry ballet flats in your bag when you go out in high heels. If the parking is bad or you are inspired to take an after-dinner walk, you can be fancy free.
  • Don’t: Wear flats with everything. Yes, you want to be comfortable in the summer, but some dresses and skirts really need a heel to come alive and flatter the legs. For comfort, try a wedge heel.
  • Do: Round sunglasses. Medium-sized looks chic now.
  • Don’t: Wear John Lennon glasses. There are round styles out now that are more flattering and have less baggage.
  • Do: Try the butterfly motif. This might appear in jewelry or as a big print on a dress. The rendering should be elegant, exotic, or realistic.
  • Don’t: Choose butterflies that are glittery or remind you of an ankle tattoo from 1999.


More Do’s

  • Do wear light-colored coats and jackets at night, not dark winter coats.
  • Do wear feather barrettes.
  • Do explore exotic looks, from a chunky tribal necklace to a safari vest.
  • Do buy asymmetrical pieces. This feels fresh now and will be great for fall too.
  • Do wear interesting shades of yellow: lemon grass, mimosa, saffron, mustard, buttercream. Yellow is the color of the year.
  • Do wear shirts and dresses with fabric rosettes.

More Don’ts

  • Don’t get a silly manicure. The flower painted onto the big toe costs a few dollars extra, yet it cheapens your look.
  • Don’t start wearing t-shirts to the office just because it’s warm out. Most workplaces require a more structured, polished look yearound.


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