9 Beat-the-Heat Wardrobe Staples

Summer would be pretty bland without its share of good times, from backyard barbecues and beach volleyball games to family bonding and impromptu weekend getaways. And let's face it – it would be even worse if we didn't have an enormous selection of chic clothing to keep us as cool and stylish as humanly possible. Stock up on a few summer wardrobe staples to help you glamorously beat the heat, no matter how scorching it may get out there.

Start with color. If there's one you must have in your wardrobe, it's white. Clean, pristine, crisp, elegant, timeless…the list goes on. White keeps you cool and looks phenomenal all season long, and it's instantly dressed up with the addition of some glam jewelry and metallic sandals. You can also work light pastels into the mix; they're just as cooling to the body and look soft and elegant during summer.

Choosing the right types of fabrics is key, too. Look for materials that are natural and breathable, like cotton, seersucker, and linen. A gauzy piece is especially comfortable on an OTT hot day. Equally important is the fit. Avoid form-fitting and otherwise body-conscious cuts, opting instead for loose, airy fits that aren't big, per se, but allow your skin to breathe.

Once you've worked on color and fabric, it's time to get those summer staples together. These are the pieces that build the foundation for a pulled together wardrobe that will see you through the season in immaculate, comfortable and seriously cool style.

1. Maxi dresses and skirts

Any woman can pull off a Grecian-inspired maxi dress or skirt, no matter her height. And summer is the perfect time to do so! This long, forgiving piece flatters any figure and still keeps the body cool despite offering greater coverage than a mini or midi. 

2. Tunics

A tunic is one of those no-fail, always-reliable pieces that you can count on when you're in a rush or just want an alternative to a plain tee. From vibrant pieces that beg to be worn at the beach to more reserved looks that work in any environment, there's a tunic for every warm weather occasion.

3. Lightweight cardigan

"Summer sweater" reads like something of an oxymoron, but take a peek at the styles crowding the racks and you'll see why you need this versatile topper. Usually short sleeved, often sheer and perfect in anything from a pale, solid color to a pretty pattern, the lightweight cardigan is perfect for stashing in a tote or throwing on over a sleeveless dress or a tank.

4. Shorts

This summer finds racks filled with an amazing selection of playful patterned shorts. Not only do they look phenomenal with a simple white tank and sandals, they make an otherwise casual summer basic look rather dressed up.

5. White denim

Nothing says "summer" quite like a pair of snappy white jeans. With anything from a blazer and tank to a jewel-embellished tunic, white jeans always look polished.

6. Tote bag

A bag that takes you from A to B will eliminate the need to change bags every time you go out. Look for a style that's roomy without being too oversized; you don't want to add unnecessary bulk to your ensemble on overwhelmingly hot days.

7. Flat sandals

Opt for a neutral flat sandal to pair with everything from your weekend basics to your casual evening attire. Don't be afraid to go slightly glamorous, either – a hint of gold hardware or a light jewel embellishment is dressy without overwhelming the rest of your look.

8. Wedges

Summer is the best time of year to "live on the wedge." If you prefer, look for low-profile heels that won't have you stumbling every few steps. Otherwise, check out the multitude of sexy (and shockingly comfy) styles that will add a few inches to your day and evening ensembles.

9. Sunglasses

Easily one of the most fashionable and functional accessories you'll ever own, a great pair of sunglasses blocks harmful UVA and UVB rays and adds a little touch of class to your everyday look. Bonus: they work in a pinch if you need to fake a well-rested look but don't have time to do a full face of makeup.