How to Wear Darker Colors in the Summer

How to Wear Darker Colors in the Summer

Ah… summer! We often think of summer whites and pastels when we think of summer fashion, but there are great ways to wear darker colors in summer, too. Let’s look at some of the options.

Lovely in Linen

Linen is a classic for summer. It looks sophisticated and is naturally light and breathable. A women’s linen shirt is a great wardrobe staple—especially in white, navy, or black. Go for linen from head to toe, or add linen to other fabrics in the form of a blouse or jacket to make any outfit more summery.

If linen isn’t your favorite fabric for summer (it’s beautiful but is higher maintenance because it wrinkles), consider other fabrics that are not only lightweight but look lightweight. Lightweight twills, silk, or chiffon are all good candidates. Just like you want your winter sweaters to look comfy and warm, in addition to being comfy and warm, you will want your summer clothes to look breezy and light.

Made for Monochrome

If you want an easy and elegant look, go monochrome from head to foot. Black or navy are great choices for monochrome outfits and can be striking for eveningwear. You can play with this idea in a number of ways. Pantsuits that are essentially a tunic top with a pair of pants made from the same fabric can be a great look for either day or evening. Keeping the color the same while changing up fabrics and textures is a fun idea, too (just wear the “heavier” looking texture on the bottom).

Did someone say maxi dresses for women? Yes, please! A dark-colored maxi dress is a fun summer statement. The right maxi dress can be dressed up or down and go from day to night. Consider navy blue with silver jewelry or black with yellow gold for great classic looks. Maxi dresses are also fun in bright colors, pastels, and white for summer.

Striking in Stripes

Dark colors with white stripes are a great way to create a summery look. For example, a black and white or black and navy horizontal stripe is a classic look for summer tops.

From the early days of the French striped shirt that has long been part of the sailors’ uniform in the French Navy to today, horizontal stripes have been wardrobe staples that make a statement. They are extra versatile because they look great with solids but also blend with florals. It’s difficult to successfully put two patterns together, but stripes are “basic” enough that they don’t clash with most florals.

Wear White

Add white or other lights to darker colors to lighten them up for summer. A women’s white blouse with black dress pants for example, is a great summer outfit. Just add black shoes and a black purse, and you have a sophisticated ensemble.

White pants or women’s khakis is also a great option for pairing with a dark top and shoes. White capris are almost exclusively a summer garment and will look nice with either a dark or bright top.

A women’s white polo shirt is another option for lightening up dark colors in summer. It’s a great look with dark wash jeans or navy or black pants. Because of the collar and banded sleeves, polo shirts automatically look crisp, which helps to light up the look of any outfit.

Shoes and Purses Please

Many of us were raised to believe specific “rules” about shoes and handbags—things like never wearing white shoes before Easter or after Labor Day and shoes and handbags should always be the same color. Although fashion has loosened up dramatically since our grandmothers followed these rules without question, there are a few tips that are helpful when it comes to summer shoes and handbags.

It creates a more finished “frame” to have your shoes either be the same color or darker than the hem of your pants or skirt. This is one of the reasons why black shoes are one of the best wardrobe staples you can own—they will go with almost everything else you own. It’s not a bad idea to reserve white shoes for outfits that have a white hem because of this guideline. You can also “lighten up” dark-colored shoes by wearing black strappy sandals or nice black flip-flops. Navy is also a great neutral color for summer shoes (and many of us look great in navy clothes, even if black outfits aren’t that flattering).

If your outfit is all black, either a black purse or a pop color purse that becomes part of your ensemble is a sophisticated choice. And although it’s not necessary, having your purse match your shoes is always a safe fashion choice. When in doubt, in the evening, go with a small black purse. Enjoy wearing your favorite darker colors all summer long!


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