15 summer basics I always stock up on — and never regret

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As far as seasonal wardrobes go, summer isn’t my favorite one to shop for. I have nothing against warm weather — in fact, I favor summer nights over almost anything — but there’s no shame in saying that shopping for tank tops or sweat-wicking bike shorts is far less exciting than finding the absolute perfect leather jacket or knee-high boots. 

Still, until a couple of years ago, I was doing summer shopping all wrong: Instead of looking specifically for items that I’d be excited to wear, I relied on the garments that I usually wore underneath sweaters or jackets the rest of the year. Once I started treating summer shopping as a proper excuse to spend money on items that make me look forward to getting dressed, I was able to build a warm-weather wardrobe full of must-have basics that I’ve not once regretted buying. The satisfaction of finding the perfect cropped tank to wear with my favorite low-waisted jeans — or the cardigan that I’ve somehow worn for four days straight — is surprisingly high. 

That’s all to say: Never underestimate the power of a truly fantastic high-cut bodysuit or a poplin button-down that doesn’t make you feel like you’re picking through spring’s rejects. Ahead are 15 summer basics that I always stock up on for summer.

TOPS

Everlane Oversized Poplin Shirt, $85

Credit: Everlane

A white button-down is a summer savior: It not only makes any outfit look significantly more put together, but it also acts as a great swim cover-up or jacket for summer beach days that turn into summer beach nights. 

Babaton Finley Sweater, $110

Credit: Aritzia

I used to think cardigans were the antithesis of style, but modern, tight-knit ribbed styles look fresh when buttoned at the top and worn with trousers. 

LNA Ribbed Skinny Racer Tank, $66

Credit: Revolve

I tend to reach for a cropped tank nine times out of 10, but this full-length racerback style pairs perfectly with low-waisted trousers and skirts. 

Los Angeles Apparel 2×1 Cotton Rib Tank, $18

Credit: Los Angeles Apparel

(This is the tank I reach for nine times out of 10.) It washes well, won’t stretch out and is form-fitting enough to wear without a bra. 

Medina Tropic Top, $196

Credit: Medina

I love to sub in a bathing suit top as an actual top when it’s appropriate — which, for me, is just about anywhere but work.

DRESSES + BOTTOMS

 DL1961 Emilie Short, $129

Credit: DL1961

I’ve outgrown most distressed short styles, but this white pair from DL1961 veers sophisticated when worn with a white button-down. 

Mango Wide-Leg Pleated Trousers, $79.99

Credit: Mango

A summer suit should be light, airy and ideally worn with just a bathing suit top if you ask me. 

Reformation Lilou Knit Dress, $178

Credit: Reformation

A simple cut-out dress like this knit style is a summer 2022 must-have. 

 Mango Lyocell Fitted Dress, $69.99

Credit: Mango

Is there anything that signals the start of summer more than a white dress?

ACCESSORIES

OAK + FORT Strappy Heel Sandal, $88

Credit: OAK + FORT

There’s nothing chicer than a simple, strappy sandal. A neutral one like this style from OAK + FORT will instantly elevate any outfit.

Banana Republic Modern Straw Tote, $39.99 (Orig. $79.99) 

Credit: Banana Republic

I’m not a huge proponent of straw bags, but this black iteration feels unexpected enough for the beach — but simple enough for everyday wear, too. 

Marge Sherwood Black Leather Triple Strap Platform Sandals, $315

Credit: SSENSE

These platform sandals offer a great alternative to slides, which can often seem too casual. 

SKIMS Cotton Jersey T-String Thong, $16

Credit: SKIMS

I’m not sure why we don’t talk about underwear as a summer essential: Breathable cotton underwear tops my list for summer must-haves, and this SKIMS style is majorly comfortable.

Alo Thrill-Seeker Bodysuit, $69 (Orig. $98)

Credit: Alo

A high-cut, square-neck bodysuit feels modern in a way that not many summer pieces do. I wear mine with everything from sweats to jeans. 

Vehla Felix Sunglasses, $160

Credit: Vehla

Sunglasses are the one accessory I don’t mind going trend-first with. This chic pair from Vehla feels distinctly modern.

If you enjoyed this story, check out these spring/summer 2022 shoe trends that Lauren Caruso can’t wait to try ASAP!

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