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3 Sneaky Ways I Elevate My Athletic Wear Pieces For Summer

How I keep cool as temps heat up.

Courtesy of Samantha Scott
Samantha Scott outfit
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When I try to figure out how to wear a new fashion item with my existing wardrobe pieces, I meticulously document my outfits. This is not only to send to my mom and share across Twitter and IG Stories, but also so that I have a point of reference for styling later on. Typing this all out, I do sound a bit navel-gazey, but who better to inspire me than myself? Scrolling through my favorites album on my iPhone this time around, it’s clear that as temperatures rise I lean on athletic wear for elevated spring and summer outfits.

Within that category, three pieces anchor my spring and summer wardrobe: high-waisted basketball shorts, a white tennis skirt, and black bike shorts. These items are built for sweat and movement after all, so they suit the impending hot days. In building outfits around these items, the goal is to avoid looking like I’m headed to a workout class. Instead, I want to come across as casual and comfortable, without being overdone. The ensemble should read cool enough for a co-working session with friends, but with an elevated edge where I can then go to happy hour or dine al fresco in it, once the work day is complete.

Ahead, take a peek into how I style these tried-and-true pieces for the upcoming season — perhaps then you’ll want to incorporate athletic wear into your own wardrobe, too.

Basketball Shorts + Ribbed Tank Top

Last summer, a friend showed up to a party wearing high-waisted basketball shorts and I had to have them immediately — as in, I bought them that same night. They ultimately became my favorite and most frequently worn purchase of the season. I even bought an additional pair, so moving forward I can dedicate one to chores, errands, and walking my dog and the other to see and be seen in.

I’ve never been one for ribbed tank tops but again, influenced by a friend, I discovered the much cooler high-neck silhouette. I dipped my toe in with this Target option and now that I know I’m into them, I invested in a few The Line By K tanks during their Black Friday sale. The front is classic and covered while from behind, the open back and asymmetric straps scream party. I like to style this look with a colorful bag and shoe to amp up the muted look.

Tennis Skirt + Oversize Button-Down

I was hesitant to jump back into miniskirts, but the added coverage of a skort helped me make the leap. As an added bonus, the extra material eliminates chafing. I usually go for a print or patterned top, but this summer I’d like to try an all-white ensemble on for size. The head-to-mid-thigh pleats in the skirt add some drama while stand-out accessories pull the look together. I’m typically a cow print girlie, but I’m in love with the slightly fuzzy zebra print heels from Senso, below. It’s rare that I wear anything other than gold hoops, too, but the bit of silver in Machete’s earrings is an easy way to experiment with mixed metals.

Bike Shorts + Going-Out Top

I’ve worn many a bike short and landed on this Old Navy pair as my go-to. They’re the perfect length and have the right amount of compression to hold everything in. The shorts also have deep pockets to hold my miscellaneous items and the bottoms can withstand wear due to my thighs rubbing together. I own these shorts in multiple colors, including bright orange and cobalt blue, but tend to reach for my black pair most often.

When I’m not wearing them casually, I love to throw on a flowy going-out top and a sock/loafer combo to create a sense of contrast. I have yet to jump on the tie-front top trend, but I’m into this sheer silk option from Christopher Esber resort. Finally, I’ll let my Nike socks — they’re incredibly comfortable and the swoosh will always draw the eyes to my feet — peek out from these chunky mismatched loafers from Camper. The color contrast makes them feel less preppy.