I've been thinking about this post for weeks, but the weather in Vancouver continues to remind me of late winter, so I keep putting it aside.  But as yesterday was the first day of summer I feel I need to dig into this topic.

What are your summer essentials?  I'm not talking about what is trendy this summer.  But what are the items that you HAVE to have in your wardrobe every summer?

I'm finding it a bit trickier this year since my wardrobe was cleansed in the spring and I'm paying more attention to what works best for my figure.   And I'm finding it more challenging to work out my casual wardrobe vs my professional one.  So today I'll tackle just the casual stuff. 

The Challenges

I live in Vancouver, which has milder winters and summers. So we don't usually get the same type of heat as the dry Prairies or humid Central Canada.  And it cools down very quickly at night, so you always need to carry a light sweater.   This also means I don't wear shorts nearly as often as I did when I lived further east.  So I own a lot of capri pants instead.

The second issue this summer is my feet.  Without going into too much detail I'll just say a new pair of shoes worn to a gala and then being on my feet throughout the Olympics has made my toenails unfriendly. So I have yet to break out my sandals.  Fingers crossed I'll be able to get a pedicure in  a few weeks and let my toes be free.

Finally, I'm realizing a lot of the stuff I was wearing to the play gym or to hang with my family on the weekends isn't very exciting - to me.   In the end I came up with a list,  although I have to admit much of it is still on my shopping list. 

The Casual Summer Essentials List

  1. T-shirts - I already loaded up on some fun colourful t-shirts and tank tops at SuperStore.  These are great to layer under each other, with a light sweater or denim jacket. 
  2. Shorts - I have to be very careful with shorts.  I have a pair of shorts for camping and the beach.  But I am still looking for the perfect pair of long city shorts for those hots days doing stuff around town with the family or friends.
  3. Cropped Jeans - I have a pair of cropped jeans with a large folded cuff.  Very retro.  Very cute.
  4. Skirt - So far this year my favourite casual skirt is my Reitman's Comfort Fit denim skirt. But I also still enjoy wearing an older safari green cotton skirt.   Of course skirts have their challenges too - be sure to wear good underwear. And be careful of chafe on those really hot days.
  5. Summer dress - This year seems to be all about the mini, maxi or spaghetti strap dress.  I can't work any of them. So I'm still looking for that really comfortable and pretty summer dress. 
  6. Jean jacket - I love my jean jacket for those cool nights. But I still can't bring myself (no matter how much all the fashion mags tell me otherwise this season) to wear it with denim.  So then comes the next item.
  7. Sweater -  I have one great short sleeve black cardigan. But in Vancouver you also need a long sleeve sweater for those cool nights.   I've come to realize that my hoodies are really too worn to really look good outside of the house (except for hiking or camping).  So I'm on the hunt for a new casual sweater or light jacket.  I saw a cute knit navy blue hoodie at Eddie Bauer which I think could have been nice. But it has a grey stripe in it that I didn't love.  I need something  I can wear running after a toddler and that doesn't look like it belongs at the gym.
  8. Khakis - The cooler (temperature) option to jeans for the summer. 
  9. Hat - I'm pale and pasty.  I always need a hat.
  10. Converse Sneakers - I have a great pair of green ones.  I prefer them to wearing regular sneakers. They look especially cute with the cropped jeans.
  11. Sandals - Once my feet are ready I'll be wearing my orange fluevogs almost daily.
  12. Capri pants - This is the most questionable item on my list - thus they are #11.  My understanding is if they stop at the widest part of your calf they are a no.  Or if you are shorter than 5' 6" they are a no.  If you listen to Tim Gunn they are a no.   But how do you get through a Pacific Northwest summer without them? 

I'd really love to hear from you what are the top 3 essential items in your summer casual wardrobe.  And what are your thoughts on capri pants - yes, no, maybe??