Cool, Calm, and Collected: Summer Fashion Checklist

June 16, 2013 Updated: June 24, 2015

Remember the checklist you got before you headed off to summer camp? Consider this your checklist of essentials for cool, comfortable summer style at work and play. 

Printed Crops 

Playful and fresh, printed crops are the new black. 

Imagine them with crisp white shirts, black tops, and layered looks and sweaters as we move into fall. Almost every store is carrying them right now. 

Check out the printed crops at GAP, Joe Fresh, and J. Crew, but H&M probably has the best price. 

Crisp White Oxford
Sometimes it takes rummaging through someone else’s hand-me-downs to realize what has gone out of style. I recently exchanged castoffs with a friend, and as I tried on her upscale handoffs, I quickly realized what made them outdated. 

The shirts had big collars and French cuffs. Ahh—French cuffs—how lovely were they? I vividly remember Sharon Stone in a white shirt with French cuffs and a long skirt for the Academy Awards in 1998. But that was then; this is now.

Today we’re wearing our collars small, like they did in the ’60s—a petite and refined look. Also consider buttoning your collar to the top button and adding a statement necklace. 

Zand Skirt
Nothing says summer like the playful mix of fabrics in a Zand skirt—each one is unique! 

These fun skirts come in three lengths; some include a matching “pouch bag,” and most are reversible, allowing for up to four different looks! 

One size fits whatever size you’re feeling that day—you snap the skirt to fit high or low on your waist; the snaps accommodate sizes 2 to 18—great for pregnant women too. 

Wear the skirt as a beach cover-up, or add a dressy shirt and wear it to work, to a party, or for an evening out. No matter where you go, this skirt will make your outfit. 

Clothing With Rash Guard

Looking forward to hanging out at the pool all day this summer? Then you’ll want a rash guard to throw over your suit in the afternoon. 

In years past, you could only find sun-protective rash guards for kids. But as we’ve become more aware of the damage that the sun can do to our skin, stores are now offering SPF 50 swim tops, tunics, and cover-ups for adults. 

Check out J. Crew’s and Athleta’s rash guards. Lands’ End offers paisleys, batiks, stripes, and solids at the most affordable prices.

Long and Light Cardigan

As the heat of the day turns into a cooler evening, reach for this lightweight Jersey Flyaway Cardigan from Love Culture. The material (95 percent rayon, 5 percent spandex) feels almost athletic. Long enough to drape over a tunic, it comes in four colors for only $8.90!

My No. 1 summer rule is never to wear something that will elicit the question, “Aren’t you hot?” 

Above all, we want to look and feel cool. These five items will hopefully take the worry out of what to wear, so you can run around making memories to last throughout the year. 

Josie Mills’s blog Open Mind Fashion (OMF) offers daily fashion talk for people who love clothes but may not have a closet full of money. OMF offers deals, tips, and reflections on fashion for real people. Connect with Josie Mills via,, Twitter: @OpenMindFashion