By Laura Morgan
The best styling tricks for tying together a great outfit shouldn’t be relegated to celebrity stylists or influencers with mega followings — and we say that as fashion insiders ourselves. Sure, for the lucky few, pulling together a genius look is second nature. For others, it’s a bit of a brain teaser. And you know what? That’s OK! Luckily, there’s a ton of inspiration out there and our editors are here to help. Plus, summer is the easiest time to experiment. There’s no need to chase tricky trends or get caught up in labored layering — the whole spirit of the season is about being free and effortless.
Whether you’re all about a sleek jumpsuit, can’t resist a modern preppy look (polo-inspired tunics are having a moment), or feel your prettiest in a breezy wrap skirt and rock-and-roll tee, your perfect summer outfit shouldn’t be expensive or stressful to style. Here, using budget-friendly pieces from Walmart, five TZR editors show off their go-to summer looks and share their tried-and-true outfit-building tips.
Angela has a talent for making basic pieces look ultra-luxe, and a hat is her pièce de resistance. “The resurgence of berets, buckets and wide-brim styles is very exciting for me,” she admits. “I love that, no matter how simple an outfit might be, a carefully chosen hat can transform it and make it feel special.”
While she’s not afraid of bold prints, she never overdoes it, maintaining an almost movie-star elegance. “I’m not gonna lie, I’m a huge rom-com fan and have been looking for ways to recreate my favorite looks,” she says. “So, when I came across this ruffled-cuffed midi version, I knew I was gonna have to take the look all the way.” That entailed pairing it with a wicker crossbody bag and rose gold sandals. Sticking to a neutral palate further elevates this easy ensemble. "I’m all about an outfit appearing to be more high-maintenance than it actually is,” says Angela. “The best part about this look is that it does all the work. Just add a swipe of red lipstick and a smile.”
Whatever your summer look may be, don’t let it be boring. A maxi dress in an all-over print paired with a macrame bag is off-the-charts chic — especially as modeled by Khalea, TZR’s beauty editor. “I'll definitely be wearing this look to the first brunch date I can book,” she says. While she’s bummed she had to reschedule her Greek summer vacation, this dress will take her through these warm weather days and last her all the way through fall.
For now, Khalea is making the most of her time at home, playing with pieces from her own closet and buying some new staples, like her Slide Sandals. Her smart self-styling of Scoop's Maxi Wrap Dress is statement-making but oh-so-easy to achieve. “If you want to wear it for a day of errands or brunch with the girls, a pair of mules would work well,” advises Khalea, who fell hard for the dress’s cute side tie and gold-tone foil accents. “For date night, a heeled sandal should do the trick,” she says. “Maxi dresses are so easy—just slip one on and go!”
“With everyone in quarantine, I’ve seen a lot of people finding ways to create outfits that look chic but are still comfortable, which I love,” says Anna, TZR’s Shopping News Editor. “I’ve been finding my own formulas, pairing classic pieces like button-down shirts with airy, wide-leg pants or shorts.” Anna’s self-styled looks are enviably unfussy (take a page from her book and try an updated tunic top with a laid-back cargo pant), but undeniably polished.
“My go-to trick for elevating affordable pieces is making sure the fit is right,” says Anna. Then, she turns her attention to the extras: “Well-chosen accessories can make anything look more expensive,” she says. “I’d wear this combination running errands, on an afternoon date, or just for coffee with friends,” says Anna. “But right now, my point-collared tunic and relaxed crewneck sweatshirt are as great for work Zoom meetings as they are for catching some sun on my patio.”
Elly is our permanent office style crush. Our Branded Fashion Editor is all about flirty prints, bright colors and poppy accessories. “Summer is my favorite season to lean into relaxed fits with romantic details, like this side-tying maxi skirt,” she says. No matter the occasion, Elly never neglects the details, be it a yellow wedge sandal or her favorite accessory. But before things get too cute, she adds a little edge — enter her beloved vintage-inspired Bowie tee. (If you thought you couldn’t wear a graphic rocker tee with a floral skirt, Elly is proof that you can.)
“I think it’s easiest to put your own stylish spin on items when they’re classic pieces,” says Elly. “An everyday band tee is elevated by a charming wrap skirt.” The extra cool thing about this look is that all three pieces are versatile summer staples — trust us, you cannot mess them up.
Alexandra’s vibe is decidedly downtown. “I can’t deny that I love throwing on a pair of biker shorts and a big, baggy vintage T-shirt.” she admits. ”I have like 15 Nascar T-shirts that I cycle through.” To achieve her cool-girl look, she relies on everything from billowy maxi-dresses and bandeau-cardigan sets to boxy sweatshirts and jean shorts. But her MVP is her dark wash denim jumpsuit.
These days, she’s wearing her Jordache Coveralls from the comfort of her couch, but she can’t wait to take the look out for a spin. “The longer I’m at home, the more I find myself wanting outfits that still make me feel good,” says Alexandra. “I had a feeling that a jumpsuit would not only look chic, but would be super-comfortable. And I was right! The moment I put this on, I felt like I cracked some sort of a quarantine fashion code.”
And post social distancing, she has no plans to retire it. “The stretch in this jumpsuit makes it so practical for running around New York City,” she says. “I’m daydreaming about the day where I wake up, throw on this jumpsuit and a touch of eyeliner and head out the door.”
All photos courtesy of our editors.