summer style guide 2016

So... this is my first ever style post in the year and a half I've had this blog. Kinda crazy considering that I attend the Fashion Institute of Technology, but it can be VERY hard to feel like a stylish person when you're surrounded by some of the most stylish students in the US. I am probably one of the least fashionable people I know at school. But for the time being, I am home in Raleigh and have gotten some decent feedback about my personal style this year and in the past, so I thought I'd give it a shot! Keep in mind that I am no expert, I'm just learning as I go like everyone else.

I find that summer is the hardest season to dress for. It's easy to fall into a routine of shorts and a tee shirt every day, which I have definitely done in the past. I've put together 5 summer situations you may find yourself in and a corresponding, practical outfit for each. Let's get to it!

the graduation party

So, your friend/relative/distant acquaintance has graduated. This calls for a celebration that you may be lucky enough to be invited to. Oftentimes these celebrations are outdoors, involve a lot of food, and many distinguished adults from your friend/relative/distant acquaintance's past. 

For this look, I would choose something a little more conservative due to the fact that many educated adults and small children will probably be in attendance. It also is scorching outside most likely, so I would go for something sleeveless. Personally, I like to eat a lot of food at grad parties, so I would also choose something that does not cling to my stomach. 

This is the outfit that I wore to my cousin's graduation party last weekend. Jane will be attending the University of Michigan in the fall and I'm super proud of her!

 glasses: Ray-Ban, dress: Anthropologie, shoes: Madewell, bag: Kate Spade

glasses: Ray-Ban, dress: Anthropologie, shoes: Madewell, bag: Kate Spade

I went for a light, novelty printed sundress and heeled sandals. It felt great in the heat, and the shoes were comfy! I love the whimsical popsicle print for summer.

I paired it with my favorite bag for summer, the Kate Spade Cedar Street Maise in Mint Mojito. I got this color on sale last summer and it is the perfect spring/summer bag. It holds all of my essentials, including my Moleskine notebook, which is nice!

the pool / beach day

The pool/beach/lake are much beloved institutions of summer lifestyle. There's nothing better than escaping the 90 degree heat by plunging into the water.

When I go to the pool, I try to wear something that is easy to get on and off and can transition easily into whatever activity I'm off to next. I grew up swimming year round for 6 years, so staying in a swimsuit all day is kind of a habit. I also opt for my oldest sandals that I don't really feel attached to, considering that the water will wreak havoc on them.

 romper: Urban Outfitters, glasses: Ray-Ban, suit: Aerie

romper: Urban Outfitters, glasses: Ray-Ban, suit: Aerie

I chose an off-the-shoulder romper for this look, some polarized glasses to protect my eyes from UV rays shining off of the water, and a suit from Aerie last year. 

Madewell sandals from 3 years ago hardly pictured on the left side. I'll be barefoot whenever I can in the true spirit of summer, but barefoot on black asphalt and hot sand is a little risky.

picnic

Something about eating outside in a field with friends makes food taste so much better. When outside with no body of water in sight, I try to choose as little clothing as possible while still making it presentable.

 top: Madewell (came with another top that goes over it), shorts: Madewell, shoes: Birkenstock, scarf: Anthropologie, glasses: Ray-Ban, bag: Rebecca Minkoff

top: Madewell (came with another top that goes over it), shorts: Madewell, shoes: Birkenstock, scarf: Anthropologie, glasses: Ray-Ban, bag: Rebecca Minkoff

I tried to veer away from the typical jean shorts and a t-shirt look by choosing a camisole and some unexpected shorts from Madewell. I bought these shorts last year because they felt like almost an upscale exercise short. They are beyond comfortable and a nice break from the Daisy Duke jean shorts that typically dominate summer style. 

These Birkenstocks are a summer staple for me. They are so comfortable that I can wear them walking all over New York and also just on an average day in Raleigh. I like them because they're a little different than the Arizona style that is so popular. I got them from FreePeople.com. If you haven't tried Birkenstocks because you think they're "hippie shoes", I recommend checking out Free People's selection because they have more atypical choices and the shoes are the most comfortable choice you can make for your feet!

pro-tip: if you swap out the silk scarf for a bandana, you can soak it in water before wearing to keep cool in the heat!

brunch with girlfriends

If you know me, you probably know that I have an obsession with brunch. It has only grown tenfold since I've returned home from New York. There's nothing better than catching up with some girlfriends after a busy work week over French toast, omelettes, fruit, and lemonade. 

For brunch with girlfriends, I try to dress like I'm semi-professional and know what I'm doing, but also comfy so I can eat to my heart's desire.

 top: Madewell, jeans: Urban Outfitters, heels: Madewell, glasses: Ray-Ban

top: Madewell, jeans: Urban Outfitters, heels: Madewell, glasses: Ray-Ban

For this look, I chose a patterned top from Madewell that I'm kinda in love with. I've been eyeing it for awhile waiting for it to go on sale, and it finally did this past week! 

tip: Madewell lets you combine your student discount with their standard sale discount. This top was originally $72, and I got it for $31. Score.

These black jeans are some of my favorites. They have holes in them now and I've had them for years, but I haven't found a nice alternative yet considering that Urban Outfitters changed their denim material. I chose heels because they make me feel fancy and brunch usually involves sitting, so not too much stress on your feet.

The top is a bit boxy, so I chose to tie it off and pair it with fairly tight pants.

I'm kind of a sucker for novelty prints, as you may be able to tell. I love the sweet lil cheetahs and tigers together.

These are my favorite heels from Madewell. I put Dr. Scholl's heel inserts on the inside to make them a little less painful. Thank you for this tip, Lyd!

 Can you tell I'm a little obsessed with these glasses? So lightweight and I'm loving the polarized lenses.

Can you tell I'm a little obsessed with these glasses? So lightweight and I'm loving the polarized lenses.

bonfire

I realize that this is mostly a winter activity, but here at the Neff residence, we like to put aside our environmental concerns for a night and burn our schoolwork at the end of the year. At least, Max does. He's entering middle school which is SO CRAZY. 

This could double as a nighttime summer party outfit idea!

When attending a bonfire, I try to choose clothing that can be thrown in the wash because that sweet bonfire-y smell does not come out for a loooong time if not washed.

 dress: Urban Outfitters, jacket: Urban Outfitters, shoes: Converse, necklace: Free People 

dress: Urban Outfitters, jacket: Urban Outfitters, shoes: Converse, necklace: Free People 

My outfit of choice was an easy, light tee dress from Urban Outfitters, paired with some SUPER old Converse (like junior year of high school old). Jean jacket necessary in case it gets chilly on summer nights, and I chose my favorite bib necklace from Free People. It dresses up any outfit and I love it.

My favorite trend for spring/summer is a cropped denim jacket with little pins to personalize it. My pins are from People I've Loved and Glossier!

 many thanks to my cute photographer in his PJs who took all of these shots today :)

many thanks to my cute photographer in his PJs who took all of these shots today :)

Hope you enjoyed this type of post! It took a lot of effort but I'm pretty happy with the result! Let me know if you have any feedback!

Bonus photo of Max dabbing in front of his burning schoolwork. I'm a proud sister (I think).

Congratulations to the winners of my Pura Vida giveaway: Adrianna, Tyler, Tearra, and Maeghan! I generated random numbers on Random.org to choose the winners and sent out the bracelets yesterday. Hope you all enjoy your new bracelets! I'll be thinking of ideas for my next giveaway.

I want to do a post about items that are difficult to style. Comment below an item that you struggle to know how to wear and I will try to incorporate it into a new post!

Thank you for all of your kind words!

love

em