Last Summer when we moved from The Netherlands to the US, we promised the kids we would return in a year so no one had to say goodbye. It was a total pro move! I had canvassed friends who had moved away previous years and this was the consensus — and I’m so glad I took the suggestion!
Along the way, we’re going to take a week family holiday in Tuscany to explore the beautiful cities of Florence and Siena and the amazing countryside. The kids are finally old enough to appreciate this gem of the Renaissance.
How lucky are we? So lucky!
Packing for two such different locations is not necessarily easy, but I’m good. We took an amazing trip to Rome three years ago, so I have a head start on my planning. Since The Netherlands has such a cool climate, all of the pieces I bought for that Rome trip are still an integral part of my Summer wardrobe. Score!
When visiting religious cultural sights, it’s important to take into consideration the modesty rules. I know I’m well-covered (pun intended), but I want to refresh my look. Plus, I need to update my shoe game so my feet are secure after my ACL surgery.
For more on my Roman Holiday, click here.
Updating My Summer Wardrobe
I’m staying with the blue and white I’ve been using in my Mom wardrobe for several years now.
Why? Above all, I want my kids to know I have their back. Trust is a core value in our family, so I want to underline it always with blue. The white stands for new beginnings because every day needs to be a fresh start for all of us!
I’ve been gradually adding in touches of orange to amp my own enthusiasm and fun factor and green for balance so I keep everything on an even keel.
For more on color story, click here.
My Mom uniform is defined by simple, easy pieces on purpose.
Fabrication: Cotton or linen with stretch or knit. This is practical for ease of movement and to keep cool. I also want to encourage myself to be easy-going and flexible since my natural inclination with the kids is to be quite strict. I run a tight ship for efficiency, but I want them to feel that I am reasonable and will always listen.
Patterning & Texture: I’m in full-color, plain-textured pieces to emphasize my straightforward nature, but I do love a fun print to add some energy and love eyelet detailing as a measure of transparency and femininity combined.
Cut: I’ve been actively adding dresses to my Summer wardrobe to amp the fun factor and also because I find them so comfortable in super-hot weather. For travel, it’s great to have a versatile dress in case you actually do have the occasion to go out.
Styling: I’m grounded with a practical (yet cute) shoe, slung with a small, cross-body bag in pebbled leather (it wears best) and finished with my classic Ray-Bans and my tiny diamond starter earrings (no losing these!) for a timeless, polished look.
The Shopping List
The Dress: Madewell Eyelet Dress $168
This dress hits all my elements: eyelet, orange, defined waist, arm & leg coverage (key for visiting major churches) lined (no slip necessary) and 100% cotton. I can dress it up with bangles and a pretty shoe for an evening out or dress it down with espadrilles for a day of sightseeing (with Spanx to protect my legs).
Only available 00-14. The dress was only available in a 10, but Nordstrom says it runs large, so I’m taking a chance! Shame on Madewell for not having a larger size range and too bad for me if the fit’s not right!
The Staple: NYDJ Marilyn Straight White Jeans $119
Finally! I’m going to get white jeans on time. The past few years I’ve wanted them, but my size has been sold out. The key here is the straight-leg version. With the ACL surgery, my legs are weak and wobbly. Cellulite shows up with tight white jeans. Uh, no thank you!
As for brand, I only purchase NYDJ and encourage all my clients to do the same. They have a high quantity of stretch, so they feel amazing on your body — and look amazing, too, thanks to brilliant construction. You do need to wash them more often because of the stretch, so keep that in mind! But, as these are white, I’m sure I’ll be washing them with each wear anyway. I’m pretty clumsy — bring on the napkins!
This brand has a great size range — petite, plus and in-between.
The Swimsuit: La Blanca Meridian Stripe One-Piece $123
La Blanca makes great swimsuits — lovely construction, fun prints and very flattering on the body. I have one bikini, which I wear when I’m feeling confident. Otherwise, I mostly stick with one-piece suits. I like to swim and I don’t enjoy worrying about wardrobe malfunctions!
This one is fun with the stripes, but also super-flattering for me since the stripes emphasize the waist and chest and play down the hips. If your volume is on top, this suit won’t work for you! The halter-top plays down my large shoulders and puts the focus on the decolletage and clavicle, which I works for me!
Available in Plus and Misses sizing.
The Layer: Eileen Fisher Organic Linen Short Sweater (ON SALE $124)
A short sweater is great because you can layer it over a dress without losing the waist definition, but it also works short over long with tees and shorts. I love linen sweaters because they provide coverage without bulk. It’s just the touch you need on a cooler day or evening.
Eileen Fisher is an amazing brand of simple, yet stylish pieces in a great size range with a commitment to sustainability. The pricing is high, but the quality is amazing. The styling can get a bit bland, so mix them up with the rest of your wardrobe.
ON SALE: Sizing limited.
The Sneaker: Nine West Espadrille Sneaker (ON SALE $59)
I love an espadrille sneaker for Summer. You can use your insoles and stay light, but cushioned. This fun patterned version has all my colors in it, plus some more! Nine West has always been a go-to brand for me as they offer affordable shoes up to size 12.
However, note these do not last. You’ll need to say goodbye to them at the end of the Summer, which is a waste. If you can get rid of the rubber, you can probably throw them in the compost bin!
ON SALE: Sizing limited.
The Sandal: Naturalizer Emory Sandal ($79)
One of my first jobs in retail was at Naturalizer shoes. I love the brand because they offer such a great size range, which is lovely for girls with big feet like me. I also learned that Summer it’s great for the trans community. I sold five pairs of shoes to a gentleman who had been sizing up whether I would be kind to him before he entered. I walked to the front of the store and said, “You’re welcome to come in if you want to try something on?” I didn’t know any trans people at the time, but could feel his yearning for shoes!
These shoes look super-comfy with lovely padding in the footbed. The color is right for me, but choose the correct nude for your skin. The closer to your leg color your sandals are, the longer your legs will look!
Available in size 4-12 with three different widths.
Styling the Pieces
My Summer wardrobe is a capsule to make packing easy. What does that mean? All the pieces work together so I can pack for a number of climates and locations. We love to travel, so this was done by design!
Below, I’ve put the pieces in my shopping list together with examples of things I already own to show you how they will work together. A study just proved that a great deal of your happiness comes from anticipation — and I can tell you I’m now super-excited for our trip after creating this list!
I imagine I’ll be even more excited when the items come and I can try them on to make sure the fit is right! Note I’m ordering a good three weeks before my trip so I have time to exchange pieces I don’t love in person.
The maxi dress ($138) is a great travel piece — especially on a red-eye flight. You can curl up with the skirt around your legs like a blanket. The short sweater ($124) keeps the integrity of the waistline while also giving you a layer against the air-conditioning without being too hot. The starter diamond studs ($175) are just enough flash and the screw-in backs keep them on even while sleeping. The cross-body ($278) keeps your Passport close-by and away from pick-pockets. Kate Spade makes a great bag, albeit an investment, which will last a long time — may she rest in peace.
This look is pure fun. The dress ($168) is light and airy, grounded by the embroidered espadrilles ($59) for a sense of whimsy. The starter diamond studs ($175), cross-body ($278) and Ray-Ban Aviators ($153) are classics for just the right nod to being a grown-up. Note the short sweater ($124) can also go over the this dress — wide sleeves on both! Last but certainly not least, I like to pair my Summer dresses with lighweight Spanx ($52) to protect myself for long days of walking!
Summer Nights Look
Wear the short sweater ($124) over a simple camisole for dinner on the beach, poolside or a BBQ. Paired with the white jeans ($119), you will be covered for bugs, too! The metallic sandal ($79) grounds the look while adding some sparkle and shine. And, of course, diamonds ($175)!
I love the decorated Havianas ($34) for the peek of fun pattern on the footbed. These flips are super-soft and malleable so will keep you upright on any pool deck! Pair with a tunic cover-up ($99) to protect you from the sun. You can probably also multi-task this cover-up over the white jeans in cooler climates. Top with a packable raffia hat ($45) to protect your delicate face from harsh UV-Rays.