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May 12, 2014 at 6:47 PM

Summer basics provide chic and easy fun in the sun


By Megan Arpin / Special to Sunday Market

The summer uniform: three little words, a season’s bounty of possibility. With warmer days upon us, it’s time to stock up on foundational pieces that make it easy to get out the door and enjoy that glorious (and fleeting) Seattle sun in style.

Whether it’s a grab-and-go dress, slip-on sandals or statement-making sunglasses, classics lay the groundwork for a summer ensemble that’s cool in more ways than one.

Easy dresses

For strolling the farmers market or dining alfresco, pick comfy pieces that are easy to dress up or down. H&M’s Sweatshirt Dress ($30) or a T-shirt dress, such as Madewell’s Zipline Minidress in Smokestripe ($98), are casual yet flirty.

Go from the office to happy hour in a shirtdress, such as Gap’s Chambray Shirtdress ($60). A casual maxi also goes from work to play. Try the Velvet by Graham and Spencer Bridget Maxi Dress ($128 at, which has a demure neckline and sexy side slit.

A simple but chic sundress is perfect for summer’s dressed-up occasions. Check out the Plenty by Tracy Reese Ivoire Dress ($188 at Anthropologie) or Madewell’s Silk Daybreak Sundress ($138), which features summer’s hot floral trend.

Summer denim

There’s no need to stow your denim in Seattle’s climate (thank goodness!). When evening temps dip, throw on the classic Gap 1969 Denim Jacket ($70) or a comfy-chic pair of Loft Boyfriend Jeans ($79.50).

For men, the Banana Republic Slim-Fit Light Wash Jean (on sale for $80) and J.Crew’s Short-Sleeve Shirt in Japanese Chambray ($88) are versatile picks that feature on-trend light washes.

Shorts and tees

Spring’s flowy pants translate into looser short styles for summer. Try Loft’s Slouchy Linen Shorts ($49.50) to get the look. Or go with Gap’s Sunkissed Eyelet Shorts (on sale for $27), paired with a knotted button-down or comfy tee, such as Madewell’s Linen Half-Court Tee in Stripe ($45).

For men, pick tees in hues that are easy to mix and match with denim and chinos alike. H&M’s V-Neck T-Shirt ($6) comes in a range of colors and is made from organic cotton.


Have a patterned scarf on hand for breezy nights or tying an outfit together. The Veracruz Scarf ($48 at Anthropologie) includes two shades of blue, as well as red and white, making it easy to mix with many colors.

Look chic in shades with vintage-inspired silhouettes, such as Rivet & Sway’s Garden Party in Grapefruit ($129) or Barracuda in Gold Digger ($129, both at Rivet & Sway, Pioneer Square). Men can go for geek-cute with Banana Republic’s Xavier Sunglasses ($98).

Top off your ensemble with a Classic Straw Fedora ($11 at Forever 21) and a catch-all bag, such as the Mark and Graham Everyday Leather Tote ($199 at Both are perfect for spur-of-the-moment picnics in the park or evening walks to dinner.


Warm-weather strolls call for a practical walking sandal. Pick a neutral hue that you can pair with any outfit, such as DV by Dolce Vita’s Viera Ankle Strap Sandal ($69 at Nordstrom), which has two woven bands and an on-trend ankle strap.

Take full advantage of this season’s comfy shoe trend with a new pair of sneakers, such as the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Shoreline Sneaker ($60 at Nordstrom).

Summer screams for espadrilles. Go casual with Soludos’ Barca Stripe Espadrille ($43–$48 at Nordstrom), or dress it up a bit with Merona’s Penelope Espadrille Wedge Pump (on sale for $25 at Target), which comes in a cheeky navy stripe or bold red, along with beige and black.

For men, the classic H&M Leather Flip-Flops ($30) pair well with shorts, denim or colorful pants, and are comfortable to boot.


One-piece swimsuits are back en vogue (hooray!), and several updated classics are on the market. The J.Crew Grid Dot Underwire Tank ($115) features slimming side ruching and a bold polka-dot print.

Mara Hoffman’s Divine One Piece Tank ($246 at Everything But Water, Bellevue) sports two big trends: an Aztec motif and a strategically placed cutout, just under the bustline.

For men, H&M’s Patterned Swim Shorts ($30), in classic summer hues of red, aqua and navy, are so stylish they could be paired with a T-shirt for a post-swim lunch.

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