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At first, summer clothes don’t imprint an effortlessly chic aesthetic. Truth be told, when the thermometers get close to 90 degrees we are more focused on not melting than anything else. Fortunately, there are some inspiring influencers that keep a natural elegance under Paris and New York heat. And we have so much to learn from them, from the neutral palette with elegant touches of color, after all, it is summer, to the right choice of fabrics. Also, as much as we wish we could boat in Saint Tropez until the Fall hits, some of us are working in the city. So, in this post, you’ll find 3 pillars to learn how to create chic summer outfits for different occasions, from the beach to the office, even if you don’t own a single white shirt in your closet.
- Chic summer outfits inspiration from the most talented and famous minimal-chic influencers on Instagram;
- Breakdown of what they have in common to create *that* iconic chic aesthetic that grants them thousands and millions of followers;
- Where to find pieces in the same mood and aesthetic so you can create your own outfits.
I spent around 50 hours (without counting years of previous research) writing this post so it can be a comprehensive guide for chic summer outfits. And because deep research is my job in order to create rich content, I’ve been learning a lot about the different aesthetics over the years. When it comes to naturally chic style, it’s not exclusively about price and even less about displaying as many designer logos as you can. So, yes, this post has designer AND affordable references as well.
Once you get the grip on how to make things work, you’re free to go within your budget. Of course, rich and sophisticated women wear design, but their focus is on the material and the quality. I observed that they are conscientious about not showing off logos in every piece they wear. Can you do it? Yes, it’s a free country. But if you wanna portray a chic aesthetic you don’t have to go broke to dress in labels from head to toe. The chicest women on Instagram balance it out really well, as you’ll see in this post.
Chic Summer Outfits With Button-Up Shirts
Shirts are a chic summer staple. You can wear them as a beach dress on top of your swimsuit, with shorts, pants, heels, or flats and you’re halfway there. The rest is about the fitting, the color, and the fabric.
First, chic summer shirts have a relaxed fit. Not sloppy, relaxed fit. What makes the difference between one and the other? The right size according to how the piece was designed. If you want an oversized shirt, look for pieces that were designed to be oversized, instead of buying a tight fit 2 sizes bigger. Some people are talented enough to do that and look stunning, but I wouldn’t dare. Good clothes are designed with intentions and respect for body shapes. So a fitted shirt was designed with that intent, to highlight boobs and waistline. A loose or oversized shirt was designed to not do that, so the shoulders seams, the length, and the fitting will be right for it.
About the color, sticking to the neutrals is hardly a miss. Do like @__joannagrace and go with an all-white outfit, pairing the button-up shirt with relaxed shorts. There’s no better canvas for your designer beach bag! If you feel the need for some color or patterns, try to mix neutral colors, light white and cold blues, black and tan. As for the patterns, stripes in neutral color combinations are the safe way. If you can’t live without yellow or orange, make sure the fitting and the fabric are impeccable.
And finally, I can’t stress enough how the right fabric is as important for your summer outfit as it is for winter gear. The more natural the fabric, the better because it will keep you fresh and clean and will hold the shape after being cleaned often. Because sweat stains and odors are not chic, no matter how expensive is the outfit. In this case, linen is always the first choice. But 100% cotton, cotton + linen blend, rayon, and bamboo are just as good.
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Light Blue Linen Shirt
A quality light blue linen shirt is the summer fashion investment of a lifetime.
Oversized Cotton Button-Up Shirt
This blue shirt will take you from the office to the beach and all you have to do is change the trousers for shorts.
Oversized Soft Cotton Chambray Shirt, Isabel Marant
If you prefer a more structured fit, but not too stiffy, this shirt hits the spot. It’s a great example of fitting as I mentioned above. See how the shoulder seams are in the right place, the collar is proportional, and it falls naturally relaxed around the chest, waist, and hips.
Outfits Ideas With White Shirts
The possibilities of elegant summer outfits with a white shirt are close to endless. It depends on your mood and the occasion. If it’s too hot, do like @zozoewitherspoon and pair it with white shirts and flats for a cool monochromatic look. If it’s a work day, loose-fit cream trousers are the best match if you wanna stay in the same color pallet.
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If black can’t stay out of your wardrobe no matter what, you have the perfect pair for your white shirt. Look at what @alexandrapereira and @gabrielagriffith did. Completely different vibes, but both chic and sophisticated. And what do they all have in common? Loose-fit white shirts in natural fabrics.
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Chic Summer Outfits With Shorts
Loose fit and mom jeans shorts are the choices for the minimal chic Instagrammers this year. If you’re in a modern mood, do it like the cool @estherjunelife. Pair your trendy 90s mom jeans shorts with a white t-shirt and make it extra chic with a large raffia beach bag and hat. For the days you’re sending some chill vibes, go monochromatic in beige or white with linen or cotton shorts paired with button-up shirts, like @__joannagrace. The accessories can be the same for both looks: a raffia beach bag and neutral flats.
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Paper Bag Denim Shorts
Budget-friendly option: H&M paper-bag shorts at $24.99
Chic Summer Outfits With Maxi & Long Dresses
Dresses are the first piece that comes to mind when we think of summer clothes. However, very often they lean towards a very girly, sexy, or coastal grandma aesthetic. Of course, it’s possible to look elegant wearing a mini dress, but it’s tricker. Undoubtedly when it comes to modern and chic summer dresses, Instagram influencers prefer long and maxi dresses.
The extra length opens room to diversify on the fitting, the cleavage, and most times, because it’s hot outside, go sleeveless without crossing the classy line. Neutral maxi dresses with a clean design are an instant elegant canvas that gives you room to play with the accessories according to your mood. Add extra sophistication points if you can go for high-quality fabrics such as organic cotton, linen, or silk.
I picked the most varied inspirations of chic summer outfits with long and maxi dresses in beige, white, black, and colorful. Yes, as much as the main pallete for the minimal chic aesthetic is neutral, summer is a colorful season and it’s the best moment to add some color.
Outfits Ideas With Tan & Beige Maxi Dresses
Whether you’re creating a minimalist capsule chic summer wardrobe or updating it, the influencers teach us that having at least one neutral maxi summer dress is key. And the best part is that you can pick a loose fit or fitted, depending on your personal preferences, that you’ll look chic, like in the outfits above!
Get the look!
Chic Washable-Silk Maxi Summer Dress
@sagenferns is a queen wearing this Lunya silk dress in a very chic monochromatic summer outfit.
This minimalist summer dress has a deep v-back and pockets and it is as chic as it’s practical, creating an elegant blank canvas for different occasions and outfits. The washable Mulberry silk is a thermoregulated fabric, sophisticated and comfortable for high temperatures.
Available in black, navy, tan, and grey.
Cutout paneled knitted maxi dress, Caes
@gabrielagriffith embraced a Greek goddess aesthetic wearing a knitted maxi dress that flatters her curves.
Fitted maxi dresses are a wise option to balance elegance and sensuality. It’s a perfect and easy chic summer outfit.
And here is a dress for many summers to come. The eco-friendly piece is a fabric blend of 70% rayon and 30% organic cotton. The result? A summer dress soft to the touch, luxurious to the eyes, with an impeccable fit, and odor resistant.
Outfits Ideas With Black Long Dresses
Black is not the obvious choice of color for summer. However, most minimal-chic Instagrammers include the dark shade in their essential wardrobe. In this case, more than any other colors, the best
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pleated linen-blend midi dress, Matteau
Here’s a timeless chic black dress for summer. This cami dress is made locally in Australia using low-impact linen blended with stretch and Lyocell. This smart fabric combination results in a comfortable dress with great fitting. The pockets add an extra charm and are practical, of course. It’s an essential piece so classic that will last for many summers to come and will always look good.
♡ I love this 100% cotton option at H&M for $69.99.
corded halterneck crepe dress, Zeus+Dione
There are tons of maxi black dresses, so finding your favorite shouldn’t be hard.
What I love about this goddess-inspired crepe dress is the perfect balance between sensual and chic. It shows off the cleavage and waistline beautifully while it sits loosely on the hips and legs. Extra beach points for the metal-tipped golden rope strap.
Outfits Ideas With White & Cream Maxi Dresses
As neutral as white can be, there are so many options for white summer dresses that it might be challenging to come up with a sophisticated outfit. What I learned from the Influencers about chic summer outfits wearing white maxi dresses is that they pick bolder designs. I saw a lot of pleated, asymmetrical, and slits, always with minimal accessories like rope gladiator flats and Rafia handbags.
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Cross-front silk and Linen blend halter dress
This dress is so sophisticated yet so simple that it is hard to put into words. Of course, it checks all the boxes for quality fabric with a luxurious, but comfortable linen and silk-blend plus a unique design.
It’s made in the UK and available in black and rosé.
Outfits Ideas With Colorful and Printed Maxi Dresses
When it comes to chic colorful or printed dresses the golden rule is less is more. So go for neutral prints, clean design, and little to no accessories. @debora.carminati can pull a colorful maxi dress like few women can and we have so much to learn to form her effortlessly chic Italian style.
Get the look!
Minimalist Palma-print cotton maxi dress, Agua by Agua Bendita
Here is a modern take on flashy and vibrant summer prints! These minimalist palm trees make a fun summer dress while keeping things classy and elegant. Like I said in the introduction of this post, here is an elegant example of how to show some skin and your tan without crossing the sexy line. Sholders off plus maxi skirt is a winning chic combo.
The Best Fabrics For Summer
Chic is a wide concept but we can all agree that sweat stains, odor, unwanted wrinkles, and worn out (I’m sorry Balenciaga, your tennis is a fashionista and conceptual, but it’s not chic) is not it.
For environmental and personal reasons, I’m a big advocate of high-quality long-lasting fabrics year-round. During higher temperatures season, we wear the bare minimum, so if you want to keep things classy, it’s fundamental that the pieces have a great fitting. Good fabrics won’t lose shape and they respond better to the design.
So, whenever you can, go for linen, rayon, organic cotton, and silk to create chic summer outfits. They will last longer and you’ll be more comfortable under the heat.