Sarah Zengo
Tuesday, 18 July 2017

5 Easy Ways to Freshen Your Summer Wardrobe Without Breaking the Bank

By Dressing Well Stylist Sarah Zengo

In this month's blog, we share 5 easy ways to freshen your summer style without breaking the bank. Enjoy!

#1 Slide into New Summer Sandals
While it’s always good to have some traditional flip-flops on hand to get you through the summer months, overwearing them outside of coffee and beach runs can get you in a summer style rut. Hit your favorite discounter (TJ Maxx, Marshalls and DSW are a few of our faves) and check out what they have in the casual shoe department beyond flip-flops. The “help yourself” simplicity of these stores makes it easy to target your size (they stack boxes of each shoe style under the display shoes.) Slides with and without ankle straps are very popular right now and work for many different sizes and shapes of feet.  Both flats and those with block heels are most on trend. Your flip-flops will forgive you for cheating on them – promise!

#2 Add a New Dress that Reflects How You Live
We call dresses “onesies” for adults – there is simply no easier way for women to dress in the summer for work or play. Have a corporate job? A sheath dress in a fun summer color will brighten your mood and professional style persona. Bone and beige footwear is a good choice to gently ground colorful dresses while at work. With kids most days in warm weather? A simple sundress can be your best summer closet friend. Fabrics should be wrinkle resistant and machine washable. Could your social style use a boost? A sultry maxi (or mini!) dress that makes you feel your personal best can add boatloads to your after-5 style. Best part, you’ll be hard-pressed to pay full price on any summer dress right now.

#3  Swap Out Cardigans with Jean Jackets 
Having layering pieces on hand to chase the chill of inconsistent summer temperatures (never mind air conditioning!) is always a smart summer dressing strategy. For years, we have made sure all clients had a multitude of summer cardigans in a variety of colors, cuts and fabrics on hand for this purpose. Lately, we are reaching for jean jackets to complete casual summer dress, short, pant and skirt outfits. Traditional blue denim and white denim styles are our top go-to colors. Every designer and brand makes a jean jacket these days, making them a staple for all ages.

#4 Contrasting Colors
Shopping in your closet for new summer outfits becomes less complicated when you think in terms of contrasting colors. Have a fun pair of hot pink summer shoes that you never know how to wear? Consider pairing them with royal blue, yellow or green clothing. If you have a lot of color in your wardrobe and struggle with what type of footwear to pair with it, silver, pewter and gold shoes and sandals are an easy choice. Get your color contrast fix by then adding a clutch, tote or other pocketbook with a color that is in the outfit. You’ll avoid that “matchy-match” look while adding just enough of a good thing!

#5 Key Accessories

Our friends at Stella & Dot make it easy to use accessories to enhance summer style. From sunglasses (yup, they are important to getting your summer style on!), statement earrings (and necklaces!), scarfs and bags, adding a few new accessories might be all you need to make everything you already have look brand new.

antonia necklace
taj clutch
cora scarf
amala earrings
tulum necklace

Editor’s Note: Our team is back from their summer vacations and available to help you mix and match what you already have for summer style or help you take advantage of summer clearance (and early fall) sales that are raging right now. Contact us at to learn more about how our private client services work. We welcome the opportunity to work with you.

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Sarah Zengo

Sarah Zengo joined the Dressing Well team as a stylist in 2011.  Her diverse clientele includes a mix of professionals, stay-at-home parents, retirees and young people just starting their careers. An excellent sense of fashion combined with a strong work ethic and genuine interest in the people she serves, allows Sarah to transform the style of our clients rapidly and with excellent results.  Clients love Sarah and consistently book appointments with her each season, a true indicator that her advice is highly valued and very much appreciated.

Learn more about Sarah » 

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Laurie Schloff 2017-07-19 17:07

Hi there Mary Lou and Sarah,
I was wondering. What are your thoughts about wearing a nice sleeveless dress in a conservative corporate environment ?
And the age-old question-- when are pantyhose required ?

Sarah Z 2017-07-19 22:33

Hi Laurie, thanks for your comment. First, we always say "common sense rules" at Dressing Well! Not all (business) dresses are created equal! Sleeveless business dresses with conservative necklines, hemlines, and proper fit are certainly appropriate. With that said, yes, you can wear a sleeveless dress in a conservative corporate environment.

A few tips; I always advise my clients to leave an extra layer in the office -- such as a black blazer or sleek cardigan. While sleeveless looks are appropriate for many business settings, in a more conservative environment, it's great to have the option to layer for those unexpected meetings or visits when you feel the need. Personally, I'm always cold so for temperature control, it's nice to have another layer handy too!

Hosiery -- ahhh the hosiery question! My rule of thumb is October 1 - May 1, wear hosiery. For the warmer months, it's not necessary. However, common sense rules here too. For a deep dive into this hot topic, please read Mary Lou's blog "Is Hosiery History."
A wonderful read that helps demystify the debate and you can decide how it applies to you!

Lucille 2017-07-19 19:23

A nice sleeveless dress is acceptable and you will feel and look confidence in a very shear stocking in a corporate environment, Today they can be almost like a second skin and of course a natural colour. No bare legs in the boardroom.,

Sarah Z 2017-07-19 22:34

Thanks for your comments Lucille -- I agree!

Christina 2017-07-24 15:10

Hi Sarah,

A great blog - I'm living proof:

This spring I bought 2 pairs of fabric ballet flats - one black and one a heathered black-white with a twist detail on the toe.

These turned out to be a great inexpensive investment (Payless or Fabco - I forget the store) for pairing with jeans or black pants to elevate the casual looks at my non-corporate job.

You are so right: we can cheaply refresh our wardrobe with summer accents. I think I paid $25 for each pair of shoes.


Sarah Z 2017-07-24 16:09

Hi Chris!

I am a true believer in changing your look by updating your shoe wardrobe! Nice job-- it's so satisfying to use what you already have and shop in your closet but update mindfully with just a few things. True to our system at Dressing Well!

Thanks for your comments!


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