5 spring-summer fashion essentials, according to stylists

After months of heavy coats and clunky boots, we can’t wait to tidy up our winter wardrobe and slip into lighter, brighter styles. Still, transitioning your wardrobe for warmer temperatures isn’t always easy, especially when mother nature likes to be unpredictable in the spring.

To help you master your fashion game through the seasons, Shop TODAY consulted two style pros for their thoughts on closet must-haves to build your spring wardrobe and make it last all summer long. With their tips and our affordable product selections, you’ll be ready to rock the transition to warmer weather in no time.

Style pros suggest starting with the basics

Trends come and go, and we always save a little budget to try new trendy styles. But building your spring and summer wardrobe with timeless clothes that will never go out of style is the first step. Here are some of the pros who swear by:

  • Jean jacket: “Spring is sundress season and nothing looks better on a delicate sundress than a denim jacket. Going to a baby shower? Wear your favorite denim jacket over a flowy maxi dress “Running errands? A t-shirt dress, denim jacket and sneakers will have you looking stylish and, most importantly, comfy.” stitch correction explained stylist Julia Mjehovich.
  • Trench coat: “Take a straight line to an oversized trench coat. The roomy design allows you to layer sweaters and blazers. It’s a classic essential that’ll take you through the warm weather with ease,” the famed fashion designer says. Cindy Conroy tell us.
  • Long vest: A long cardigan or duster is a sure way to upgrade your wardrobe essential game. When worn over a knit dress or top and pants combo, this delightful set elongates your figure while adding dimension to your look. Yes, please!” Conroy said.
  • white jeans “This is probably the most classic of all spring basics!” said Mjehovich. “Skinnies will never go out of fashion (in this millennial’s opinion!), but a straight or flared silhouette is also very cute.”
  • Summer dresses: “When you buy pieces that can be worn in spring and summer, like a lightweight dress, it’s just good fashion math. Underpin it with a soft ribbed turtleneck and you’re ready for spring. Nix the layering and add a heeled mule, and breezy summer nights await, all without spending the extra cash,” Conroy said.

Scroll down to see stylists’ and shoppers’ favorites for your spring and summer wardrobe.

Fashion essentials for spring and summer

Tops and jackets

Short denim jacket

Denim jackets are the real workhorses of your wardrobe and can be worn all year round. But they are particularly well suited for spring and summer days when there is a little chill in the air. This affordable cropped version from Old Navy comes in two light shades and comes in regular, petite, and large sizes. We also love that it’s made with 5% recycled cotton, according to the brand.

ZIAI Double Button Belted Trench Coat

Mjehovich is a big fan of trench coats for rainy spring days, and so are we! “A classic trench coat never goes out of style and is the perfect weight for most climates. I’ve heard so many of my clients say they have a ton of events like weddings and graduations on their calendars this spring, and a classic trench coat is the perfect finishing touch to a special occasion look,” she said.

We’re currently cracking up on this budget option from Shein which comes in two shades (khaki and army green) and sizes up to XXXL. The knee-length style looks straight off a runway, and we could imagine ourselves rocking it with jeans and canvas shoes or an alluring spring dress and ballet flats.

LC Lauren Conrad Ruffle Pointelle Cardigan

Moving your cardigan game to spring means adding a few lighter colors to your sweater rotation, and this flirty style from LC Lauren Conrad comes in four pretty pastels: blue, green, cream and orange. We dig the sassy ruffles and crochet design, and we’re also very excited about the affordable price.

Need styling advice? Mjehovich offered this advice: “If you jumped on the button-up cardigan trend this year, layer one over a summer dress for those chilly spring nights.”

Nine West Balloon Sleeve Sweater Cardigan

Do you prefer cardigans fitted at the waist? Nine West has what you need! This roomy balloon sleeve sweater features an open front and tie waist for a more relaxed fit. Spring-ready colors are another major selling point, and several bright hues are available, including a pretty purple, a bold blue, and a color block option.

Candace Cameron Bure Float Sleeve Eyelet Knit Top

Spring is all about breaking out your polished basics, like this flutter-sleeve knit top with delicate eyelets. The flattering style comes in four dreamy pastel shades – yellow, pink, purple and green – and is available in a huge range of sizes from XXXS to 5X. We’ll take two, please!

Universal Thread Balloon Eyelet Long Sleeve Blouse

Some spring days are beautiful and sunny while others are a bit chilly. And that’s why we always keep a long sleeve top on hand this time of year (and well into the summer). The key is to ditch the heavy materials and opt for something lighter like this cotton blouse with balloon sleeves and eyelets. The airy style comes in three colors – white, purple and orange – and has a relaxed fit that makes it perfect for layering over jeans and capris.

Floral Puff Sleeve Wrap Top

Florals are always our go-to pattern for spring, but finding a subtle print that doesn’t overpower your entire ensemble isn’t always easy. This one makes a powerful impact with its baby blue color and light yellow florals, and also has flirty accents like puff sleeves and a ruched side. The stretchy style would look equally stunning worn over jeans or work pants, or tucked into a skirt or shorts.

Tiered Polka Dot Bell Sleeve Top

Soft yellow? Barely. This cheery top has us grinning from ear to ear with its polka dot print and sassy bell sleeves. The lightweight fabric is ideal for transition weather and won’t leave you sweating on the hottest days. Plus, the price is quite manageable!

Pants and skirts

Mid-rise color skinny jeans

You’ll have legs for days in this lengthening style that can be dressed up or down easily. They’re available in sizes 2 through 24 in cropped, regular, and long styles, and have plenty of built-in stretch for added comfort, the brand says.

Don’t know how to style them? Mjehovich had a great suggestion. “Spring is all about bright, striking colors and exuberant prints. Beat the winter blues with an on-trend top in a gorgeous color and a crisp, classic pair of white jeans,” she suggested.

WDNY Polka Dot Pleated Skirt

Maxi skirts are one of the most versatile wardrobe essentials, and we personally love them because they’re so easy to layer. You can wear this pleated polka dot style with a cute top, tights and slippers on a chilly spring night or wear it with a tee and canvas sneakers for a day of running errands in the summer.

Fabyan long skirt UPF 50+

Spring is the perfect time to ditch the dull, basic colors you’ve been wearing for months and make a bold statement with a pop of color. We don’t know about you, but we could easily wear this mint green dream all the way through fall. The maxi skirt is made from UPF50+ fabric, making it a practical solution when you’re soaking up the sun, and it has an alluring side slit. It’s also available in black, navy, and a print, and comes in sizes XXS-3X.

Garden seam skirt

Have fun with flowers! We’ve seen darker floral prints gain popularity in recent years and we’re all about them, especially since the design can be worn throughout multiple seasons. This spunky skirt hits just above the knee, has a relaxed fit and elasticated waist, and comes in a wide range of sizes (XXS-XXL). In other words, it’s worth every penny.


Ditsy Floral Woven Smocked Dress

Color is on point for spring and this playful dress comes in four eye-catching hues: red, yellow, pink and blue. We can’t get enough of the fun floral print and ruffled sleeves, and Mjehovich tells us that her customers also cling to the pieces that spark joy for spring.

“We’ve all been touched in one way or another by the craziness of the past two years. Now is the time to treat yourself and lean into mood-boosting fashion! If that makes you feel good, it will look great on you,” she added. noted.

Draper James RSVP V-Neck Smocked Sleeve Dress

Reese Witherspoon’s clothing line, Draper James, has a brand new capsule collection at Kohl’s this spring and it’s one of the standout pieces we can’t stop staring at. The smocked style has a stunning floral print and comes in three colors – green, red and blue.

Knox Rose Flutter Short Sleeve Dress

Our closet is full of summer dresses that we also rock in spring and fall, and we’re quite tempted to add this one from Target’s Knox Rose collection to our wardrobe. There’s a lot to love, including the flutter sleeves and embroidery detailing, and it’s also available in red, white, pink and mint green.

Ruffled mini dress

If you’re looking for an elevated way to wear something cute and comfy, this scoop neck dress is a great option. It’s kind of like a t-shirt you dress up with heels and jewelry, and comes in many springtime hues (pinks and yellows are our favorites).

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