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5 spring and summer fashion essentials, according to stylists

5 spring and summer fashion essentials, according to stylists

After months of heavy coats and clunky boots, we can’t wait to put our winter wardrobe back into storage and slip into some lighter and brighter styles. Still, transitioning your wardrobe for warmer temps isn’t always easy, especially when mother nature likes to be unpredictable in the spring.

To help you master your fashion game as the seasons change, Shop TODAY consulted two style pros to get their insight on the closet must-haves to build your spring wardrobe and make it last through summer. With their tips and our affordable product picks, you’ll be ready to rock the transition to warmer weather in no time.

Style pros suggest starting with the basics

Trends come and go, and we always save a bit of budget for trying out trendy new styles. But building your spring and summer wardrobe with some timeless garments that will never go out of fashion is the first step. Here are a few the pros swear by:

  • Denim jacket: “Spring is sundress season and nothing looks better over a delicate sundress than a denim jacket. Going to a baby shower? Wear your favorite denim jacket over a floaty maxi dress. Running errands? A T-shirt dress, denim jacket and sneakers will have you looking stylish and more importantly, comfortable,” Stitch Fix stylist Julia Mjehovich explained.
  • Trench coat: “Make a beeline to an oversized trench. The roomy design allows you to layer sweaters and blazers. It’s a classic essential that will have you transitioning into the warmer weather easy peasy,” celebrity fashion stylist Cindy Conroy told us.
  • Long cardigan: A longline cardigan or duster is a sure way to level up your closet essential game. When worn over a knitted dress or top and pant combo, the yummy ensemble elongates your frame while adding dimension to your look. Yes please!” Conroy said.
  • White jeans “This is probably the most classic of all the spring staples!” Mjehovich said. “Skinnies will never go out of style (in the opinion of this millennial!) but a straight-leg silhouette or flare are oh-so-cute too.”
  • Sundresses: “When you buy pieces that can be worn in both the spring and summer, like a lightweight dress, that’s just good fashion math. Underpin it with a soft ribbed turtleneck and you’re spring ready. Nix the layering and add a heeled mule, and breezy summer nights await, all without spending any extra money,” Conroy said.

Scroll down to see stylist and shopper-loved items for your spring and summer wardrobe.

Fashion must-haves for spring and summer

Tops and jackets

Cropped Jean Jacket

Denim jackets are the true workhorses of your wardrobe, and they can be worn all year long. But they’re particularly well-suited for spring and summer days where there’s a little chill in the air. This affordable cropped version from Old Navy comes in two light shades and is available in regular, petite and tall sizes. We also love that it’s made with 5 percent recycled cotton, according to the brand.

ZIAI Double Button Buckle Belted Trench Coat

Mjehovich is a major fan of trench coats for rainy spring days, and we are too! “A classic trench never goes out of style and is the perfect weight for most climates. I’ve heard from so many of my clients that they have a ton of events like postponed weddings and graduations on their calendars this spring, and a classic trench is the perfect finishing touch to a special occasion look,” she said.

We’re currently crushing on this budget-friendly option from Shein that’s available in two shades (khaki and army green) and sizes up to XXXL. The knee-length style looks like it came right off a runway, and we could picture ourselves rocking it with jeans and canvas shoes or a flirty spring dress and ballet flats.

LC Lauren Conrad Ruffle Pointelle Cardigan

Shifting your cardigan game to spring means adding a few lighter colors into your sweater rotation, and this flirty style from LC Lauren Conrad comes in four pretty pastels: blue, green, cream and orange. We’re digging the sassy ruffles and crochet design, and are also pretty excited about the affordable price tag.

Need some styling advice? Mjehovich offered up this tip: “If you hopped on the button-up cardigan trend this year, layer one over a sundress for those chilly spring nights.”

Nine West Balloon Sleeve Sweater Cardigan

Prefer cardigans that cinch at the waist? Nine West has you covered! This roomy balloon sleeve sweater has an open front and waist tie that make for a more relaxed fit. The spring-ready colors are another major selling point, and there are several bright hues available, including a pretty purple, a bold blue and a color block option.

Candace Cameron Bure Eyelet Flutter-Sleeve Knit Top

Spring is all about breaking out your elevated basics, like this knit top with delicate eyelet flutter sleeves. The flattering style comes in four dreamy pastel hues – yellow, pink, purple and green – and is available in a vast array of sizes ranging from XXXS-5X. We’ll take two, please!

Universal Thread Balloon Long Sleeve Eyelet Blouse

Some spring days are gorgeous and sunny while others are a bit chilly. And that’s why we always keep a long sleeve top on hand this time of year (and well into the summer). The key is ditching heavy materials and opting for something more lightweight like this cotton blouse with balloon sleeves and eyelet detailing. The airy style comes in three colors – white, purple and orange – and has a relaxed fit that makes it perfect for wearing over jeans and capris.

Floral Puff Sleeve Wrap Top

Florals are always our go-to pattern for spring, but finding a subtle print that doesn’t overpower your whole ensemble isn’t always easy. This one makes a powerful impact with its baby blue color and light yellow flowers, and also has flirty accents like puff sleeves and a shirred side. The stretchy style would look equally gorgeous worn over jeans or work pants, or tucked into a skirt or shorts.

Polka Dot Tiered Bell Sleeve Top

Mellow yellow? Hardly. This cheerful top has us smiling from ear to ear with its polka dot print and sassy bell sleeves. The lightweight fabric is ideal for the transitional weather and won’t leave you sweating on warmer days. Plus, the price is pretty easy to handle!

Pants and skirts

Mid Rise Color Skinny Jeans

You’ll have legs for days in this lengthening style that can be dressed up or down with ease. They’re available in sizes 2 through 24 in short, regular and long styles, and have plenty of built-in stretch for extra comfort, the brand says.

Not sure how to style them? Mjehovich had a great suggestion. “Spring is all about brilliant, striking colors and exuberant prints. Beat the winter blues with a statement top in a gorgeous color and a pair of classic, crisp white jeans,” she suggested.

WDNY Dot Pleated Skirt

Maxi skirts are one of the most versatile wardrobe staples around, and we personally love them because they’re so easy to layer. You could rock this pleated polka dot style with a cute top, tights and booties on a cool spring night or rock it with a T-shirt and canvas sneakers for a day of running errands in the summer.

Fabyan Maxi Skirt UPF 50+

Spring is the perfect time to ditch the drab, basic colors you’ve been wearing for months and make a bold statement with a pop of color. We don’t know about you, but we could easily wear this mint green dream right through fall. The maxi skirt is made of a UPF50+ fabric, making it a practical solution when you’re soaking up the sun, and it has a flirty slit at the side. It’s also available in black, navy and one print, and comes in sizes XXS-3X.

Garden Seamed Skirt

Fun with florals! We’ve been watching darker floral prints rise in popularity in recent years and we’re all about them, particularly since the pattern can be worn throughout multiple seasons. This spunky skirt hits just above the knee, has a relaxed fit and elasticized waist, and comes in a wide array of sizes (XXS-XXL). In other words, it’s worth every penny.


Woven Ditsy Floral Smock Dress

Color is in for spring and this playful frock comes in four eye-catching hues: red, yellow, pink and blue. We can’t get enough of the fun floral print and ruffled sleeves, and Mjehovich told us that her clients are also latching on to pieces that spark joy for spring.

“We’ve all been affected in some way by the craziness of the past two years – now’s the time to treat yourself and lean into fashion that boosts your mood! If it makes you feel great, it will look great on you,” she said.

Draper James RSVP V-Neck Smocked Sleeve Dress

Reese Witherspoon’s clothing line, Draper James, has a brand new capsule collection at Kohl’s this spring and this is one of the standout pieces we can’t stop staring at. The smocked style has a stunning floral print and comes in three colors – green, red and blue.

Knox Rose Flutter Short Sleeve Dress

Our closet is filled with summer-ready dresses that we also rock in spring and fall, and we’re pretty tempted to add this one from Target’s Knox Rose collection to our wardrobe. There’s a whole lot to love, including the flutter sleeves and embroidery detail, and it also comes in red, white, pink and mint green.

Tiered Mini Dress

If you’re looking for an elevated way to rock something cute and cozy, this crewneck dress is a great option. It’s kind of like a T-shirt you dress up with heels and jewelry, and comes in plenty of spring-ready hues (the pink and yellow ones are our faves).

Balloon 3/4 Sleeve Eyelet Dress

For a dress with a little more coverage, this balloon-sleeve option has a midi-length hem and 3/4 sleeve. It has a flirty eyelet overlay, and is fully lined so you can stay warm as the weather transitions into the sunnier days.

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