Refresher Course

A few breezy pieces to update and refresh your summer wardrobe. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Every year about this time, I find myself staring down several more weeks of warm weather. And that’s when the Summer Wardrobe Doldrums set in.

I don’t have a large Summer wardrobe, as I often find it the most difficult season to shop and dress for. I’m tired of looking at the same few tops and though I love my jeans, it would be nice to have a few more alternatives.

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If you’re also looking to refresh your summer wardrobe, I’ve spotted a few pieces that look relaxed and comfortable enough to wear at home, but polished enough for “out and about” when the time comes. And that are classic enough to wear for more summers to come.

Madewell linen-blend midi dress with belt. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Above, for those who love dresses, here’s one in a linen blend, available up to size 24 in some colors. A simple chic alternative in a sea of frilly and floral summer dresses!

It has pockets! Talbot's striped cotton-linen blend midi skirt. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

This linen-cotton blend skirt reminds me of something you’d see in a Paris shop window in the summer. Offered in Misses, Petite, and Plus sizes. (And very budget-friendly at the sale price!)

Madewell tapered Huston pull-on pants in linen blend. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I’ve ordered these linen-blend pants in the Natural color to try. The olive is a nice neutral too. Yes, they have pockets! They’re offered in Regular, Petite and Tall, sizes XX-Small to 3X.

Everlane organic cotton box cut tee. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I absolutely love these little organic cotton tees! They’re available in several colors (solids or stripes) in sizes XX-Small to XX-Large. (See how I’m wearing one of mine here.)

JJill linen knit v-neck top. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

If you love the coolness of linen in the heat, but not the wrinkles, try a linen knit. This top is offered in Regular, Petite, and Women’s sizes, and is currently marked down substantially. More colors, too!

Everlane air scoop neck tee in white. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Or maybe you’re just at that point in the year when your favorite white tees are looking a little dingy. Here’s an easy scoop-neck tee in super light cotton fabric.

👉 10 Easy Outfit Ideas

Ideas to refresh your summer wardrobe: J.Jill striped cotton knit tunic. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I have this tee on order, will report back. Offered in Regular, Petite and Women’s sizes. It’s a nice longer piece to throw on over my stretch crepe ankle pants.

Update: I received this top yesterday and would suggest if you’re between sizes to go down. The fabric is a lightweight, textured weave, very nice!

More summer wardrobe refreshers…

What items are you wearing most often this summer?

Stay in touch.

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25 Comments

  1. Robyn
    August 5, 2020 / 3:13 am

    Summer is the hardest season for me to dress for too. Living in the southeast, fall is late to arrive and is short lived. The items you’ve chosen are very versatile choices. Thanks! I wish the Madewell dress was in another color though. Even though it’s not my colors I might go for it anyway. I’m a little looser in dressing for my season.

  2. Kelly
    August 5, 2020 / 4:50 am

    I agree with Robyn, if you live in the southeast, summer runs from April to October. At least on the fringe months you can sometimes add a second layer like a cardigan or jean jacket. I’m pretty much living in cropped jeans – boyfriend, kick flare, and slim straight – and a nice, lightweight tee. I’ve bought more tees this Spring and Summer than ever before. I love stripes and white tees, but I’ve also bought some florals, patterns, and animal prints. I followed your link to the Everlane organic tees and am considering 3 of them too!

  3. August 5, 2020 / 5:41 am

    Low that linen knit top you featured at JJill, and with the extra récusation on their sale price I just had to order it. Thanks!

  4. Jill
    August 5, 2020 / 6:37 am

    Thanks for helping me shop! I love your recommendations! I ordered the linen pants and jJill
    Top!

  5. Vive
    August 5, 2020 / 7:16 am

    Like those who posted from the Southeast, here in Texas the summer will go on for much longer, and summer clothes make up much of my wardrobe. What I wouldn’t give for a cool Southern California evening! Thanks for including such cute, affordable options in this post.

  6. Memee
    August 5, 2020 / 7:19 am

    I have the linen stripe skirt and love it. I just ordered the jjill linen knit top in two colors. . .at $19.99 each a great bargain. Thanks for your suggestions!

    • Lee Ann
      August 5, 2020 / 11:24 am

      I, too, have this skirt. It is wonderful; easy to wear with many tops and SO comfy! I can imagine wearing it into fall with a denim jacket and tennis shoes.

  7. Ellen
    August 5, 2020 / 8:01 am

    My favorite pants this summer have been my Eileen Fisher delave linen lantern pants in the natural color…so cool and easy to wear on the hottest days, with the legs rolled up. I like them best with a high neck sleeveless night top.

  8. Kay
    August 5, 2020 / 8:27 am

    Susan, you mentioned in one of your posts you were going to try out the thermacell mosquito repellent. I may have missed the post with your review and wondered how it worked for you.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      August 5, 2020 / 8:28 am

      You’re right, and I’ll include in Friday’s post. (It does seem to work, at least when used close by.)

  9. Rose-Marie Patev
    August 5, 2020 / 9:55 am

    Ordered the striped skirt from Talbots. Thanks for the recommendation!

  10. Holly Beaver
    August 5, 2020 / 1:31 pm

    Susan, I really look forward to reading your blog daily. We’re about the same size so I appreciate it when you post the size you have in your items. I’m considering the EF ochre sandals in Nordie’s Anniversary Sale. I’m wondering if this particular mustard shade will blend OK with tops that feature a plain yellow color though.

  11. Wren
    August 5, 2020 / 2:30 pm

    Hi Susan,
    Have you figured out how to wear elastic waist pants without leaving a tee or blouse untucked? I have a couple pair of linen pants but I think they make me look bulky in the middle…and my waist isn’t my best feature (slim hipped but not much waist). You show the olive green pair that you have ordered in neutral so I’d be curious as to how you will style them.
    Also, I don’t know how to chose my size from J Jill since I wear a 4-6 and that spans from XS, 2-4 to S, 6-8. It puts me in the middle.

    • Cathy
      August 5, 2020 / 2:59 pm

      Regarding J Jill sizing, I find many items run a bit large. I usually wear a size 12 but generally need a medium in J Jill knit tops; I like a fit that skims the body, not skin-tight nor over-sized. I suggest you try XS.

      • Wren
        August 6, 2020 / 7:04 am

        Thank you, Cathy!

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      August 5, 2020 / 3:18 pm

      Hi Wren, regarding J.Jill sizing, it depends on the piece, but I think some items do tend to run just a skosh large. If you’re in between sizes and the fit looks to be relaxed, I’d probably suggest sizing down.

      And I’ll tackle your other question once I have the pants, but I’ll probably opt for a shorter top, or do a half-tuck in the front.

      • Wren
        August 6, 2020 / 7:05 am

        I appreciate your input, Susan. TBC…

  12. Anon
    August 5, 2020 / 2:35 pm

    I like all of these pieces. They are comfortable yet feminine shapes in fabrics that would work for me. I want to be on the sunny side of life right now, and these pieces do it.

    I ordered a linen blend T-shirt in butter yellow and white stripes.

  13. Val
    August 5, 2020 / 5:17 pm

    Tried on the striped Talbots skirt today and it made me look huge…and I tried on a small.. Not a very flattering shape unfortunately.

    Watched Episode 1Season 1 of Endeavour last night…..I digress from fashion.. loved it. Used to watch Morse when we lived in Scotland…..the music is wonderful .

  14. Lee
    August 5, 2020 / 5:53 pm

    I am curious to see what you think of those Madewell pants. I was in my local store for a return & tried them on in olive (& after being in the dressing room a few minutes, it was like it suddenly hit me that Covid-19 is not gone! What was I thinking?!). They were bigger & more billowy than I expected, so I’m not sure if I should have sized down or if they should look that way. They felt nice on & I liked the pockets, but I also felt the waist & large legs were not flattering on me. Maybe I’m also not yet used to this wider-leg silhouette…

  15. Linda
    August 6, 2020 / 4:17 am

    I really wanted a pair of linen pants with an elastic waist this year. I tried a few and returned them all. I actually tried the Madewell pair that you said you ordered. I really wanted to love them, but I am kind of a pair shape and they fit me in the waist but a little tight around my hips. When I put my hands on my pockets the fabric pulled across my tush. I’ve mostly been wearing shorts, at this point I give up on the linen pants and will keep them on my want list for next year.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      August 6, 2020 / 7:11 am

      Hi Linda, have you tried these linen pants from Chico’s? https://bit.ly/2BVM4Uq They have a combination elastic/drawstring waist so that you can adjust.

    • Lee Rosenthall
      August 6, 2020 / 2:13 pm

      Linda, wide-leg, ankle-length linen pants have been my summer staple for 30 years. For years, I wore J.Jill linen crops that hit me at my sweet spot. (My ideal length is somewhere between 25 and 26 inches, but depending upon where they fall on your waist or hips I can go up or down an inch.) I’d been disappointed in J.Jill’s offerings for a while, so decided to try Flax brand (flaxdesigns dot com or linenwoman dot com), based on someone’s recommendation here. They are wonderful! But they are a little heavier than I like for the warmest days. Still, definitely check them out, and expect to size down at least one whole size. I’m a pretty-true, hourglass-shaped, size 14, and I wear a medium in their staple “Floods.” Their Barn Sale is on 8/14, and while everything is final sale, I think they’ve gone final sale anyway, due to Covid, so if you want to try them, that might be a good and relatively risk-free opportunity.

      I also decided to try a pair of Chico’s linen crops when they were having a flash sale recently, and I love them. I normally wear a size 2 (12-14) in Chico’s pants and jeans and sometimes I need a 1.5 (10), but I stuck with a 2.5 (14) on these because I wanted them to rest below my waist to get some extra length and I don’t think linen should EVER be snug around one’s bum. (I decided to skip their regular linen pants after reading some reviews, because a lot of customers couldn’t get them to fit no matter how much they sized up.) The crops are elastic in the back and have a zipper and two buttons and a cute matching tie belt, so you can get a bit of a “paper-bag” look if that’s your thing. I like wearing them without the belt so they’re loose fitting and cool, but they look nice with a half tuck tee and the belt too. I bought them in navy, white, and blue and white pinstripes. I didn’t realize they offered them in natural and pearl gray linen too (they’re three different items on the website), but I may go back for one or both later.

  16. Brenda
    August 6, 2020 / 5:26 pm

    Not sure you can buy these in the US (Cdn company) – I bought 4 pairs of these this summer and am loving them with a light tee. I am tall but the tall was way too long for me, so expect to have to hem if you’re shorter than 5’7″ or 5’8″.

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