5 essential items of spring and summer fashion, according to the stylists

After months of heavy coats and awkward boots, we can’t wait to stash our winter wardrobe in a closet and slip into lighter, brighter styles. However, changing your wardrobe for warmer temperatures isn’t always easy, especially when mother nature likes to be unpredictable in spring.

To help you master your fashion game as the seasons change, Shop TODAY consulted with two style experts to get their insight into wardrobe must-haves to build your spring wardrobe and make it last all summer long. With their tips and our affordable product choices, you’ll be ready to rock the transition to a warmer climate in no time.

Styling professionals suggest starting with the basics

Trends come and go and we always save some budget to try new trendy styles. But building your spring and summer wardrobe with timeless pieces that will never go out of style is the first step. Here are some of the professional jurors:

  • Denim jacket: “Spring is sundress season and nothing looks better over a dainty sundress than a denim jacket. Going to a baby shower? Wear your favorite denim jacket over a flowing maxi dress. Running errands? A t-shirt dress, a denim jacket and sneakers will have you look elegant and, above all, comfortable, ”explained Stitch Fix stylist Julia Mjehovich.
  • Waterproof: “Take a leap forward to an oversized trench coat. The roomy design allows you to layer sweaters and blazers on top of each other. It’s an essential classic that will easily make you transition to warmer weather,” famous fashion designer Cindy Conroy told us.
  • Long cardigan: A long cardigan or duster is a surefire way to level up your wardrobe essential game. When worn over a knit dress or a combination of top and pants, the delightful ensemble elongates your frame while adding dimension to your look. Yes, please! ”Conroy said.
  • White jeans “This is probably the most classic of all spring pieces!” Mjehovich said. “Lean ones will never go out of style (in this millennial’s opinion!), But a straight or flared leg silhouette is also really cute.”
  • Sundeck: “When you buy garments that can be worn in both spring and summer, like a light dress, it’s just a good fashion calculation. Back it up with a soft ribbed turtleneck and you’re ready for spring. Ditch the layers and add a sabot with heel, and breezy summer nights await, all without breaking the bank, ”Conroy said.

Scroll down to see items loved by designers and shoppers for your spring and summer wardrobe.

Fashion must-haves for spring and summer

Tops and jackets

Short denim jacket

Denim jackets are the real workhorses of your wardrobe and can be worn all year round. But they are particularly suitable for spring and summer days where there is a little chill in the air. This affordable short version of Old Navy comes in two light shades and comes in regular, petite and tall sizes. We also like that it’s made with 5% recycled cotton, according to the brand.

ZIAI trench coat with belt and double button buckle

Mjehovich is a huge fan of trench coats for rainy spring days, and so are we! “A classic trench coat 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 lot of events like postponed weddings and graduations on their calendars this spring and a classic trench is the perfect finishing touch for a special occasion look, “she said.

We are currently squeezing on this budget option from Shein which is available in two shades (khaki and army green) and sizes up to XXXL. The knee-length style looks straight out of 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 pointed cardigan with ruffles

Moving the cardigan game to spring means adding some lighter colors to the sweaters rotation, and this flirty style from LC Lauren Conrad comes in four pretty pastel colors: blue, green, cream and orange. We’re digging in the cheeky flounces and crochet design, and we’re pretty excited about the affordable price too.

Need some styling advice? Mjehovich offered this advice: “If you jumped on the buttoned cardigan trend this year, wear one over a sundress for those cold spring nights.”

Nine West puff sleeve sweater cardigan

Do you prefer cardigans that tighten at the waist? Nine West has you covered! This roomy puff sleeve sweater has an open front and a tie at the waist which makes for a more relaxed fit. Spring-ready colors are another major selling point, and several bright shades are available, including a lovely purple, a bold blue, and a color block option.

Candace Cameron Bure Knitted top with fluttering sleeves with eyelets

Spring is all about enhancing your lofty foundations, like this knit top with delicate flutter sleeves with eyelets. The flattering style comes in four fantastic pastel shades – yellow, pink, purple and green – and comes in a huge range of sizes ranging from XXXS to 5X. Let’s get two, please!

Long puff sleeve eyelet blouse with universal thread

Some spring days are beautiful and sunny while others are a bit cold. And that’s why we always keep a long-sleeved top on hand at this time of year (and until summer). The key is to ditch the heavy materials and opt for something lighter like this cotton blouse with balloon sleeves and eyelet detailing. The airy style comes in three colors – white, purple and orange – and has a comfortable fit that makes it perfect to wear over jeans and capri pants.

Wraparound top with floral puff sleeves

Flowers are always our favorite spring motif, but finding a subtle print that doesn’t overpower the whole outfit isn’t always easy. This one makes a big impact with its light blue color and light yellow flowers, and it also has flirty accents like puffed sleeves and a gathered side. The stretchy style would look equally great worn over jeans or work pants, or tucked into a skirt or shorts.

Polka dot layered bell sleeve top

Soft yellow? Hardly. This cheerful top makes us smile from ear to ear with its polka dot print and cheeky bell sleeves. The lightweight fabric is ideal for transitional weather and won’t make you sweat on hot days. Plus, the price is pretty easy to manage!

Pants and skirts

Mid-rise color skinny jeans

You will have legs for days in this lengthening style that can be worn with ease. They come in sizes 2 to 24 in short, regular and long styles and have plenty of built-in stretch for extra comfort, the brand claims.

Not sure how to style them? Mjehovich had an excellent suggestion. “Spring is all about bright and striking colors and exuberant prints. Beat the winter blues with a trendy top in a gorgeous color and a pair of classic, fresh white jeans,” he suggested.

WDNY polka dot pleated skirt

Maxi skirts are one of the most versatile wardrobe essentials out there and we personally love them because they’re so easy to stack. You can flaunt this pleated polka dot style with a cute top, tights and booties on a cool spring night or wear it with a T-shirt and canvas sneakers for a day of errands in the summer.

Fabyan UPF 50+ long skirt

Spring is the perfect time to ditch the dull, 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 until fall. The maxi skirt is made of UPF50 + fabric, which makes it a practical solution when sunbathing, and has a flirty slit on the side. It is also available in black, navy blue and a print and in sizes XXS-3X.

Skirt with garden stitching

Have fun with flowers! In recent years we have seen the rise in popularity of darker floral prints and we are all about them, especially since the pattern can be worn over multiple seasons. This bold skirt comes just above the knee, has a comfortable fit and elasticated waist, and is available in a wide range of sizes (XXS-XXL). In other words, it is worth every penny.


Floral braided apron dress

The color is spring and this playful dress comes in four eye-catching shades: red, yellow, pink and blue. We can’t get enough of the fun floral print and ruffled sleeves, and Mjehovich told us her customers are also clinging to garments that ignite the joy for spring.

“We’ve all been influenced in some way by the craziness of the past couple of years – now is the time to indulge in a treat and lean on fashion that improves your mood! If it makes you feel good, it will look great,” she said.

Draper James RSVP Dress with smocked sleeves with V-neck

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

Knox Rose Flutter short sleeve dress

Our closet is full of ready-to-wear summer clothes that we also carry in spring and fall, and we’re quite tempted to add this one from Target’s Knox Rose collection to our wardrobe. There’s a lot to love, including fluttering sleeves and embroidered detailing, and it’s also available in red, white, pink, and mint green.

Layered mini dress

If you’re looking for an elevated way to flaunt something cute and cozy, this crew neck dress is a great option. It’s kind of like a shirt you dress up with heels and jewels, and it’s available in many spring-ready shades (pink and yellow are our favorites).

Balloon dress with 3/4 sleeves

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

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