The Summer Wardrobe Staples to Take Your Outfit from Day to Night

Summer is finally here, and now that the weather’s turned, your wardrobe is going to need a change too. But for a busy collegiette who spends all day in the sun and parties all night, your morning outfit may clash with your nightlife vibes. If you’re looking for ways to transition your look into something more suited for the nighttime, here’s a few key tips that make all the difference.

1. Swap out your sandals for some block heels

Sandals or flip-flops are the perfect daywear shoes—they keep your feet cool, they look adorable, and the right neutral pair can go with just about anything. But if you’re looking for something a little less casual for when you go out, your shoes can make all the difference.

Rhea Chawla, a rising sophomore at the University of San Francisco, recommends a "pair of heels, like a strappy sandal with a block heel that you can change into from flip-flops," to elevate your look. “Shorts and heels still make a great outfit in summer,” she says.

And if that’s not enough to sway you, listen to Zephyr Basine, editor-in-chief of College Fashion, a fashion and beauty blog devoted to college students. She says that block heel sandals are “classic and can be mixed and matched with tons of other looks, plus they're … inherently sophisticated so they're on the dressier side for daytime but fit right in at any nighttime event.”

We couldn’t agree more. The right pair of heels can elevate even the most basic looks, like this pair from Forever 21.

2. Throw on a blazer for instant elegance

Blazers aren’t only meant for the office. "If you're in a graphic tee and shorts, put on a blazer and heels and it's a cute dinner outfit," says Rhea. A structured blazer brings the whole look together and adds sophistication, giving you a “fun but still has her shit together” vibe. You can play around with different colors or patterns to add your own spin on the classic. Add some heels and a cute clutch for dinner, and your outfit will be the object of everyone’s fashion envy.

Pro tip: If a blazer’s thicker material will have you sweating all night because of the summer heat, try a lighter kimono-style cardigan instead, like this one from H&M.

Related: 5 Tips for Super-Sweaters This Summer

3. Trade your cut-off denim shorts for something more fashion-forward

You don’t have to ditch your casual crop top when the sun goes down—the right bottoms will take your look from the sunny beach to your evening plans. Shorts are great for sunbathing in the warm weather and hanging out with friends, but if you’re dressing to impress, some high-waisted culottes (aka wide-leg pants that hit above the ankle) can take your outfit to the next level. Because culottes were designed to look like a split skirt, the flowy material will keep you feeling and looking cool. Try this fun striped pair from Urban Outfitters.

If you are really attached to shorts, though, you don’t have to give them up entirely: “For a more formal nighttime event, I'd replace denim shorts with a more polished high-waisted paper-bag-waist short,” says Zephyr. “You still get the look of shorts but with some added style points.” Check out this pair from Zara.

4. Rock a bodysuit and change up the rest

Bodysuits are wonderfully versatile, and the right one can flatter your shape and keep you on trend. Rhea attested to the easy switch you can make with a bodysuit. “The right one can work day or night,” she told Her Campus. “You really only have to change your pants.” Wear it with cut-offs, a maxi skirt, under some dungarees; it's up to you! Bodysuits can as modest or showy as you want; if you're a bit more daring, try this lace off-the-shoulder one from Charlotte Russe.

5. Add accessories to take a dress from simple to stylish

If you threw on a simple dress this morning but want some extra oomph, think about adding some fun jewelry or a cute bag. “Accessories are key for elevating an outfit from casual to night out-appropriate,” Zephyr advises. “For a night on the town, I'd add jeweled statement earrings, a patterned clutch, and espadrille wedges to a simple LBD, creating a fun look that's anything but boring.”

College Fashion recommends Baublebar as a great site to shop for jewelry, like this pair of statement earrings.

Staying fashionable in summer doesn't have to require an entire outfit change (because, really, who has the time?). But it can be fun—switching up your wardrobe like this is a great opportunity to experiment with different colors and patterns.

Need some inspiration to start? Zephyr says, “I'm obsessed with Gen Z yellow and lavender! Those are my two favorite shades for summer 2018—you can't go wrong with either. Also, we're loving polka dots this season here at CF. So chic and polished!”

Hopefully these tips help you on-the-go ladies stay in style for all 24 hours in the day. Happy summer!

Erica is a feature writer, news and entertainment writer, and editorial intern at Her Campus, and a staff writer at Her Campus Columbia Barnard. She is a sophomore at Barnard College of Columbia University, studying English and creative writing. In her free time, she can be found searching New York City for trendy dessert places, watching Vine compilations on YouTube, or dancing with Columbia Orchesis, a student dance group. She has very strong opinions about gender equality (for), pineapple on pizza (against), and the Oxford comma (for). You can find her on Instagram at @ericaakam.

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