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8 Staple Items You Need in Your Summer Wardrobe After 60, Stylists Say

Build your seasonal capsule wardrobe with these key pieces.

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Ah, summer. It's a time for sunshine, beach days, and barbecues. You want to look your best for these warmer weather events, but as we get older, it can be a little more intimidating to know how to strike a balance between comfort and showing just the right amount of skin. That's why it's so crucial to have staples in your summer wardrobe after 60, helping you maximize your outfit combinations and ensuring you feel confident at any outing.

"Wardrobe staples are essential for every season and every age but, like us, they must evolve as we do," Elizabeth Kosich, certified image stylist and founder of Elizabeth Kosich Styling, tells Best Life. "After 60 it's especially important to anchor seasonal wardrobes with a few select, serviceable pieces that are appropriate, stylish, versatile, and—above all—comfy. Of all the seasons, summer is perhaps the most demanding of our wardrobes with its dinners, cocktail parties, travel, and activities, so now is the time to refresh your closet."

If you're looking for the key items you need in your closet this summer, we've got you covered. Read on for eight staple pieces stylists say you need in your summer wardrobe.

READ THIS NEXT: 5 Tips for Wearing Jeans If You're Over 60, According to Style Experts.

White jeans

women's white jeans

White jeans are a must for summer at any age. With a wide range of different styles and cuts, you can find a flattering pair that goes well with pretty much anything.

"The ultimate summer staple, white jeans are chic, practical, and versatile," Kosich says. "Dress up with a smart blazer and summer sandals, or dress down with sneakers and a denim jacket."

If you want to keep it simple, grab "an untucked, crisp oxford in a bright, happy stripe, solid pop of color, or classic chambray," she says. "Add a classic Tank watch, simple studs, and statement sneakers and the look is complete—and chic."


summer espadrilles
Christina Vartanova / iStock

When it comes to summer footwear, you're probably excited to break out your beloved flip-flops or Birkenstocks. But for more formal occasions, petite style coach Angela Foster recommends leveling up with a pair of espadrilles.

"Espadrilles are the perfect comfy, flexible footwear for backyard parties and BBQs to strolling on the beach without sinking," Foster explains. "Plus, they look amazing with everything from shorts to maxi dresses to summer pants."

READ THIS NEXT: 5 Tips for Wearing Leggings Over 65, According to Style Experts.

A maxi dress

older woman in maxi dress
Roman Samborskyi / Shutterstock

Speaking of maxi dresses, you should certainly invest in one ahead of the summer season.

"Maxi dresses are the quintessential summer dress length, are flattering on all heights, and one of the easiest items to dress up or tone down," Foster says.

Elevate your look with some sparkly earrings for a night on the town, or grab those flip-flops if you're entertaining by the pool. Even better, if you're vacationing, a maxi can double as a daytime swimsuit coverup, making it a "must-pack item," according to Foster.

"Prints are plentiful when it comes to maxi dresses, which is a cheerful warm weather choice," she adds. "But a word of caution: Keep the print proportionate to your body."

If you're on the shorter side, smaller prints are likely to be more flattering, Foster notes.

A Panama hat

older woman panama hat
PierreDesrosiers / iStock

If you're planning to spend some time in the sun, you'll want to keep your skin protected. Sunscreen is a must, of course, but you can also take Kosich's advice and level up your beachside look with a Panama hat. If it's travel friendly, you'll be that much happier when you hit the beach on vacation.

"Both sun protection and a style statement, a summer hat is a non-negotiable wardrobe essential after 60," Kosich says. "Instead of an overpriced panic purchase at the airport, plan ahead and shop quality Panama hats before your vacation to get the best quality and value. Look for travel-friendly straws that can be rolled up or folded without losing shape, and make sure the bill isn't too wide for maximum versatility."

Andréa Bernholtz, conscious lifestyle and sustainable fashion expert and founder of Swiminista, also has a hat on her list of summer staples, recommending a fedora as another option.

"These go-to hats immediately elevate an outfit and complete the look," Bernholtz says. "It's both fashionable and functional to keep your face and eyes out of the sun."

READ THIS NEXT: The Best Colors to Wear If You Have Gray Hair, According to Stylists.

Linen pants

older woman wearing linen pants
Grigorev_Vladimir / iStock

Linen pants are another summer staple, and if you opt for a neutral shade, they're that much more versatile.

"Choose a lightweight material like linen or chambray in white or pale blue," Foster suggests.

Much like white jeans, these are a must no matter what's on your summer calendar.

"When paired with a tank or tee, they stay relaxed and casual," Foster explains, adding that you can also "toss on a summer sweater to dress it up for dinner out."

A quality one-piece swimsuit

older women in one-piece bathing suits
jacoblund / iStock

Swimsuit shopping is a dreaded event for many of us, but it doesn't have to be. If you invest in a quality suit that fits well, you'll feel like your best self all summer long.

Bernholtz recommends going for a one-piece, which is both flattering and versatile.

"One-piece swimsuits can also be a great summer staple for women over 60," she says. "Swimsuits can be styled as a bodysuit by pairing them with a flowy skirt or denim shorts. They provide great coverage while still letting you feel comfortable and stylish on the beach or by the pool."

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A pashmina and/or a lightweight jacket

older woman wearing pashmina
mapodile / iStock

Of course, the weather is warmer during summer, but there are those chilly evenings to think about. That's where a pashmina or light jacket comes in clutch.

"A smart pashmina is never a bad idea. In fact, every wardrobe should have a rainbow of all-season, travel-friendly wraps in a variety of weights," Kosich says. "Ultra lightweight pashminas are a great grab-and-go wrap for evening, plus compact enough to store in a day bag to protect against freezing air conditioning temps. Heavier weight knit wool wraps deliver more warmth and coziness and conveniently double as a travel pillow, so it pays to stock up on multiples."

Foster also suggests investing in a wrap or jacket, which you'll be happy to have when the air conditioning is cranked up.

"A lightweight denim jacket is the perfect solution, it's versatile enough to work with summer pants, maxi dresses, and will take you into the fall," she says. "As far as color goes, white denim is a versatile choice, or pick ocean blue or red for a bit of color."

If you want an option aside from denim, take Kosich's suggestion and grab a summer trench coat.

"Add variety to a summer capsule with a lighter weight version that's cropped, compact, and easy to travel with," she says. "Try one in your best and lightest neutral or make it a statement piece in a fun color—either way, you'll get a ton of wear out of it from Memorial Day to Labor Day."

A go-to jumpsuit

woman in jumpsuit
Victoria Chudinova / Shutterstock

If you choose the right one, a classic jumpsuit never goes out of style. In fact, you might find yourself reaching for it over and over this summer.

"Jumpsuits have come a long way," Bernholtz says. "Now there are jumpsuits for every shape and size and for every occasion. Once you find the perfect fit, they are beyond flattering, and for women who are looking for style and comfort, dreams do come true."

Bernholtz stresses that a jumpsuit is a great option for travel, and if you're not adept at putting an outfit together, a jumpsuit solves that problem as well.

"The best part about a jumpsuit is you only have one clothing piece to style!" Berholtz explains. "It is so easy and creates an effortless look and feel to your style—also, weather-wise you can layer them with jackets and sweaters, or even a light shawl for a summer night."

Abby Reinhard
Abby Reinhard is a Senior Editor at Best Life, covering daily news and keeping readers up to date on the latest style advice, travel destinations, and Hollywood happenings. Read more
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