THE EASY SUMMER OUTFIT YOU CAN WEAR THIS WEEKEND (Because You Probably Already Have It In Your Closet!)

Looking stylish in the summer is actually simple if you use this fashion equation: simple+classic+colorful=easy, breezy, CUTE! I guarantee you probably already own the items to make this look work. Stand in front of your closet while you read.

Jul 27, 2012 at 4:00pm | Leave a comment

Super obvious observation of the week: It’s unforgivingly hot out. My family lives in Texas and when I called my mom yesterday, she answered the phone by saying “It’s too hot to even wear earrings.” This is a woman who never leaves the house with less than 4 color-coordinated pieces of jewelry. I am consistently amazed by her ability to look put together even in triple digit heat, but it appears that now even she has given up.

It’s actually pretty simple to get dressed for the scorching summer heat when you boil it down to a formula that works and just keep plugging in different versions of the same appropriate pieces. Plus, you probably have some or all of the pieces for the look I’m about to suggest in your closet already.

I like the easy combination of a little white dress, some romantic cameo jewelry and a pair of attitudinal flat sandals to look cute, fresh, and put together on the very hot, hotter, and hottest of days. It's unfussy and unstudied, but still put together. Looking like you spent too much time sweating your ensemble in 100 degree weather is the opposite of cool.

White is a clear choice because it obviously doesn’t absorb any additional heat, and a dress is a no-brainer, since you can take advantage of any breeze that happens to blow your way. There isn’t much else to say, and that’s the point -- pure simplicity.

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Left: White shirtdress, $59.95. Right: White gauze tunic dress, $116.00. 

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Left: White striped overlay dress, $198.00.  Right: Poncho style white minidress, $55.00.

If the white dress you already have in your closet happens to be too dingy to wear, you can easily re-animate it with an inexpensive packet of RIT dye from your local grocery or drug store. (The RIT website has a lot of good tips for dying clothes successfully.)

Use a pastel shade for a soft, fuss-free summery feeling. Just be sure to run a load of bleach water through your washer after dying something. LEARN from my lifetime of heartbreaking mistakes, pretties.

Cameos are one of my favorite types of jewelry, because they add an unmistakably feminine touch to anything you wear. I always feel like a sweaty clod when it's broiling out, so I'll take my femininity where I can get it.

Cleopatra and Queen Victoria were cameo wearers, and you probably have one hanging around that belonged to your mom or grandma that you thought was too old-fashioned to wear. A simple white dress is the perfect backdrop for a piece of sweet cameo jewelry. A classic, proper heirloom piece can also help tone down the look of a very short or slightly too bare dress that might otherwise seem risque. 

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Clockwise from top left: Gold & pink cameo ring, $47.00. Carnelian cameo earrings, $16.00. Hematite and pearl cameo set, $14.00. Cameo locket, $19.99.

The beautiful (and pricey) new Miu Miu cameo collection is proof positive that you can pull your heirloom cameo jewelry out and be right on trend for late summer.

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Left: Earrings, $695.00.  Right: Necklace, $750.00.  Both, MiuMiu.com.

If you feel like your grandma’s cameo necklace is too stuffy, try wearing it with other necklaces for a jumbled, layered look. There really is an art to layering necklaces, and it’s achieved through a lot of trial and error.

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Here’s the fun part of this simple outfit: You can be as wild as you wanna with your sandals. You can even take a boring, beat up pair you already have and bring them back to life with a coat of spray paint. Take ‘em outside, cover up with tape what you don’t want to be painted, and spray away.  I usually use the glossy kind.  (Here’s a tutorial, by the way.) You could also cover them with glitter.

It doesn’t last forever, but the point is to squeeze some new life into something you maybe were going to toss out anyway. If you are feeling fancy, most any shoe repair shop can professionally dye them for you for more permanence. 

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Clockwise from top left: Glitter gladiators, $39.99. Snake print ankle high sandals, $69.95. Red ankle tie sandal, $47.99. Teal and yellow T-strap sandal, $26.00.

You can mix and match any of these pieces to dress your outfit up or down as your mood or the event strikes you. Make sure to carry the costumer’s 2 best friends in your bag when wearing white -- a small pack of Wet Ones and a Tide To Go stick.

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These will save you lots of heartache when you run into an overly zealous dog or a plate full of BBQ that drizzles itself onto your white dress.

Do you have a go-to ensemble that you fall back on when it's too hot to think? Or do you give up on being stylish altogether? I am somewhere in between, so when I hit upon something simple that works, I stick with it.

XO, Alison (@IveyAlison)