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Wardrobe Oxygen: Summer Fashion 2011 - Trends to Help You Update Your Closet

By (view all posts by AlisonGary)
at 10:59AM Monday June 27, 2011
under Shop Smarter

Some seasons, I adore the current trends. Colors that look great with my skin, silhouettes that flatter my figure, shoe styles that are adorable and wearable. Some seasons I hardly spend a penny because the trends are so unwearable and unrealistic for my life. Summer 2011 has been a banner season for me--great hues, great style, and great little touches to update what I already own in my closet.

This is the year of accessories. It's amazing how one little addition can completely transform your ensemble, and how it can do it for just pennies. Here are some of my favorite ways to update your existing wardrobe for this season without spending and arm and a leg:
A tank in a neon hue. Nudes with neons is a very hot trend right now (see my post about Gwyneth Paltrow's GOOP style for less article for an example), and it's a great way to give your wardrobe basics a modern spin. A hint of hot pink out of the collar or armhole of your beige tank dress, neon orange with a gauzy white maxi dress, electric blue with putty or slate gray trousers… it's fun, it's bold, and it's very budget-friendly. My favorite is acid yellow, which is so bold it can hardly be considered a color; it pairs with everything from denim to gray to olive, brown and navy, or basic black and white. A micro-rib or smooth cotton tank with be the most versatile, pairing with everything from denim cutoffs to a corporate suit. I have always had luck finding great tanks at Old Navy and Target.

A skinny belt. Slip over your simple tank and sheath dresses, cinch up a peasant top, change the silhouette to your favorite blazer, switch out the self belt on your dress…you will be amazed at how many ways you can wear a skinny belt this summer. last week I wore a loose cotton shell tucked into a simple pencil skirt; I slipped a brightly-colored skinny belt over the skirt (just below the natural waist) and it added interest and a whole new look to the basic ensemble. The belt I wore was an orange snakeskin number found for less than $20 at Target; I have also seen wallet-friendly styles at Forever 21 and Kohl's.

A chambray shirt. Denim is back in a big way, and it's little sister chambray is along for the ride. Chambray is lighter-weight which makes it a perfect choice for the hot months of summer. A chambray shirt is an on-trend alternative to the cardigan.  Wear open with sleeves rolled over a tank and shorts, button up and tuck into a cheery-colored skirt, tie in front and wear over your favorite sundress. My chambray shirt is from Target; my dear friend just picked up an adorable one at Walmart and I have seen quite a few at department stores like Macy's for less than $20.

A pair of espadrilles. Whether they are the ever-popular TOMS shoes, or a slingback wedge style, espadrilles are back and better than ever. They are a hot trend, and a great alternative to this winter's ballet flats and ankle booties. Flat espadrilles look amazing with this season's midi-length skirts as well as cropped pants; a pair with some height elongate your legs and look great with skirts and shorts. Get out of the box and choose a color that makes you happy--orange and yellow are great bold hues that go with almost any color in the crayon box.

A wrist full of bracelets. I adore bracelets--they offer maximum style for the minimum price and this season's styles are especially budget-friendly. Thread bracelets can be found at most any price point and look great stacked on your arm or mixed with metal bracelets, resin and wood bangles look phenomenal with Ikat prints and maxi dresses, and even friendship bracelets are back on trend. Visit your local H&M or Forever 21 for great prices on trendy bracelets, or head to Michael's or JoAnn's for embroidery floss for some DIY projects. I especially like these tutorials from the blogs Honestly WTF, PS I Made This, and Just B.

What are your favorite accessory trends for this summer?

Alison Gary has over ten years experience as a personal shopper, stylist, and visual merchandiser. Her blog Wardrobe Oxygen provides fashion advice to all women, regardless of age, size, budget, or lifestyle. She is a full-time working mother, blogger, wife, and frugal fashionista located in the Washington D.C. area.