5 Summer Outfit Formulas That Are Simple, Chic, & Keep You Cool

I love an outfit formula for a number of reasons; the first is that it allows you to get more wear out of your current wardrobe without getting bored and the second is that it really allows you to figure out what you like and what your style vibe is.

I have some summer outfit formulas to share with you and I’ve tried to keep them as general as possible so that you can personalize them depending on which elements of style appeal to you most.

Easy outfit formulas for the summer

1. Dress + functional shoe

The base of this outfit formula is a dress and a functional pair of shoes. The accessories, style, and type of dress is up to you.

Choose shoes with a heftier profile to ground the movement and flow of a more romantic dress. For a tight-fitting dress, keep the footwear more minimal.

Pairing a flowy dress with a functional shoe

Oftentimes, what makes a dress really interesting is the neckline, the silhouette, or the print. If you have a dress with two or three interesting elements already, I suggest keeping everything else simple and understated.

On the flip side, if your dress is basic, then you can go heavier on the accessories and footwear.

Head-to-toe linen outfit for summer

2. Head-to-toe linen

This next outfit formula is less about the individual garments and more about the texture of a fabric. This outfit formula keeps you so cool and it also really allows you to personalize.

If you're someone who prefers dresses and skirts, then wear them. In this look, I’m wearing a pair of jogger silhouette pants. When I'm wearing these, I tend to dress up the rest of the linen outfit with my linen button-up shirt.

What I really like to do is give it a little bit of a tie or wear it differently than just lose over the pants. Often, linen garments don't have too much tailoring and shape, so I think it's important to manipulate this outfit formula a lot in terms of styling. 

Chic summer clothing aesthetic

Tweak something as simple as cuffing a shirt, tying it, or giving your pants a little cuff. Linen is a beautiful fabric that looks really rich, especially if you wear it in similar tones. For day-to-night styling, simply switch out the accessories. 

Summer essentials for women

3. Skirt + simple top + functional shoes

Because the skirt is nice and flowy in this look, I enjoy wearing it with sandals as my functional shoes.

Something you can do to make this outfit feel less basic is to play around with the textures. Many of us have slip skirts in our closet and the nice silky satiny texture is really pretty when you have a little bit of tension with a knit top.

Rather than going for something like a regular cotton top, I suggest adding texture with ribbing, or even a very light knit, which can create tension and interest without feeling too fussy. 

Wearing wide-leg trousers with a blouse

4. Wide leg trousers + blouse (or a crop top)

This is a really great outfit formula because the base is so versatile. With a swap of shoes and a change of styling of the shirt, you can take it to any occasion.

Because these trousers are so wide, voluminous and high-waisted, they're covering a lot. I balance out the top by showing a little bit of skin.

The first way I would wear this is by tying a knot in the midriff, perhaps a little bit more risque than normal. I wouldn't just tie a knot at the bottom, I would raise it a little bit, pull it through my bra or my bathing suit so that I've got a deeper-v and a higher crop.

Because I'm showing so much skin there, I would actually leave the sleeves long. That way, I'm covering more skin on my arms; it's all about the balance. 

How to style a shirt as a beach cover-up

The other way I would style this is like it's a really good beach club look, especially if you've got an easy flat sandal to go with them. I would just wear the shirt open over my bikini top or if you've got a one-piece swimsuit, wearing a shirt open over it can look really flattering as it creates beautiful long columns down the sides.

Also, a blouse or a button-up in a light linen or cotton fabric will create airflow and keep you nice and cool.

How to put together summer outfit formulas

5. Fancy + casual or edgy

This last outfit formula again is more about elements of style coming together versus actual garments and that is something very fancy and romantic with something very casual and maybe a little bit edgy.

It's okay if you don't have these style personalities in your closet, the point of this outfit formula is to really take the opposite ends of your closet and put them together.

Here, I’ve paired a romantic and feminine vintage blouse with my denim cutoffs. The shoe is what sways the outfit one way or the other.

Just remember that because there is so much of a clash already in those two elements of style, keep the rest of the look neutral and basic. I’ve gone for nude sandals, a simple pair of sunnies, and minimal accessories.

Summer outfit formulas

I hope you’ve enjoyed these five summer outfit formulas. Outfit formulas can be really helpful when getting dressed as they give you a framework to work with. They are also general enough that you can incorporate your personal style and preferences.

Let me know your favorite in the comments below.

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