Bang For Your Buck

Summer's Must-Have Blouse: 1 Shirt, 5 Outfits

Houston-based wardrobe stylist Ashley Kahn breaks down five ways to wear an easy, breezy button-down all summer long.

By Ashley Kahn May 24, 2019

This summer's must-have blouse is easy, breezy, and versatile.

When I shop for new clothes, I ask myself one question: How many ways can I wear this? The last thing I want to do is spend my hard-earned money on clothing that ends up being a “one-outfit-wonder” or a “one-and-done” look. Maybe you can relate.

To avoid wasting cash and closet space, I always consider whether a piece has staying power before buying in on a current trend. My rule of thumb: If it can’t be styled at least five ways and won’t be fashionable for at least the next two seasons, it stays on the rack—no matter how tempting the price, color, or cuteness may be. As a self-employed wardrobe stylist here in Houston for the past five years, I know first-hand that longevity and versatility are key. 

With scorching Houston heat, summer vacations, and fun social events all around the corner, prepping your wardrobe now is crucial to avoid any last-minute shopping emergencies. You know the kind—a hurried, anxiety-stricken, mad dash to Target the night before Becky and Rob’s 26th Annual Pool Party.

Well, crisis averted. Below, I’m rocking my favorite trending blouse of the season in five fabulously different ways guaranteed to impress and offer near-endless outfit options all summer long. Find all the products I used to style each look here in one place.

The “it" top of the season is the slightly over-sized, linen blend, short-sleeved button-down. You’ll be seeing it in all kinds of colors and prints this year, but crisp, clean white is easy to pair with any other hues in your wardrobe. This fabric is perfect for the H-Town humidity, and button-downs are classic, meaning this top will have a longer life-span than most.

I love wearing shorts in the summer, and this pair with a paper bag waist is equal parts breezy and cool. Trending for the past two years (and still going strong), high-rise bottoms are having more than a moment. As for animal print? Let’s face it: Leopard, a fashion favorite, never goes out of style. Pair with block-heeled, barely-there sandals and a top-handle straw bag to complete a look that can easily be worn day or night.

Did someone say "vacay?" Capture those weekend getaway vibes with a playful straw hat this season. Leave the button-down untucked with a pair of relaxed, colorful chinos to give a comfortable, casual, and almost exotic feel. Buy into the slip-on sandal trend (they’re not going anywhere anytime soon) and layer over a classic denim jacket. Whether it’s a chill weekend with family and friends at home or a sight-seeing tour in the Dominican, this look has got you covered.

Make a giant splash at your summer get-together in this vivid combo. Energetic hues—like this vivacious yellow—are the ideal way to update your wardrobe this season. I wore a black bikini top underneath my button-down, which I tied before tucking under. Knotted blouses and tees are super on-trend, but pieces that come "pre-tied" without the luxury of coming undone limit you to just one wearable option. This button-down does it all, letting you sport multiple looks with one garment.

The romper is a fast, easy, and cute go-to with day-to-night versatility depending on your shoe choice. The only problem? Once everyone has seen you in the romper, it can be hard to make it look different for the next wear. Unless, of course, you add this top to make your romper (mine is another great Zara find) look like shorts. Statement earrings are a fantastic summer accessory (you might notice I wear a pair with every outfit) that are a must-have in 2019. Don’t be afraid to play with colors and prints, either.

The longer-length blazer is my new best friend. Sassy, chic, sophisticated—I adored pairing this petite option (I proudly stand at a staggering 5'3) from Loft with my linen button-down and light-wash cropped jeans. A tried-and-true staple, the blazer will bring longevity to your wardrobe. Rock it with killer heels for the ultimate “dressy casual” look. I feel confident and bold when in this outfit with clients, but it’s also comfy enough to work from a coffee shop on my laptop. This ensemble is guaranteed to impress your boss on the next casual Friday. 

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