Spring is such a glorious time full of new life, color, and the opportunity to clean out our closets and freshen our wardrobes. Lighter layers are appropriate but sometimes the weather can shift back and to from winter to spring. This makes having a few spring wardrobe essentials necessary to dress with the ebb and flow of the season.
What are the must have spring wardrobe essentials?
These are my recommendations for a casual wardrobe but what is actually essential for you may vary based on your climate and lifestyle. Feel free to modify this list to fit your own needs. These are core pieces that will work with other spring trends and colors, as well as work with each other to complete a spring wardrobe. Several of these items are also included in a list by Cyndi Spivey.
A denim jacket is a great piece to have year round for fluctuating temperatures but it’s a great lighter layer to have around for spring. A medium to light wash looks great with white jeans. A denim jacket can bring a casual vibe to spring dresses.
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The utility jacket is another great light jacket and spring wardrobe essential. Temperatures are still cool and the extra layer is still needed in early morning and late evening. An olive utility jacket can be treated as a neutral and worn with most anything, but you might want to mix it up and pick a fun colored utility jacket like this pink one.
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On its own, a white tee isn’t such an exciting piece but it’s a great base to ground other spring pieces. It can be worn from spring through summer to fall. The white tee can be paired with everything from your most basic pants to your dressiest skirt.
A band tee or a tee with a fun saying or print is a fun piece to have in a spring wardrobe. Layer one under your denim or utility jacket, pair it with jeans, joggers, or dress down skirts with a graphic tee. If you are just not a fan of graphic tees, add a striped tee in spring colors.
Your climate might dictate a long sleeve layering tee in place of a camisole, but a camisole is a great piece for us southerners. A camisole is great for layering under a sweater or cardigan or even a blazer so we can keep layering in spring without melting. Our spring season gets pretty warm. An ivory cami or even a floral print one goes a long way in your spring wardrobe.
No season is complete without a cardigan. I even keep a lightweight cardigan around in the summer for chilly indoor air conditioning. (Side note- every time I’ve posted on social media about a jacket or cardigan for chilly air conditioned stores/restaurants or how to dress for the heat, I get called a “Karen”. What the ? A Karen would be complaining. I’m not complaining, I’m simply showing how I deal with a problem without complaining. There’s always a troll…)
The cardigan in soft spring colors is a must have on the list of spring wardrobe essentials. It’s cozy for chilly mornings and easy to remove when the afternoons warm up.
There are still some chilly days in spring so don’t pack away the sweaters just yet. A bright cheery or soft pastel sweater is essential for spring. In Change Your Clothes, Change your Life: Because You Are Worth It, George Brescia recommends a cashmere sweater for it’s instant polish and noted that lighter weaves can be worn into spring. I have yet to invest in cashmere, but it’s on my list.
It’s not cashmere, but the JCrew Factory Teddie sweater is my favorite and always comes in the best spring colors.
White jeans are a refreshing change from darker denim. If you have shied away from wearing white jeans in the past because you think they are hard to keep clean, show all you lumps, etc. let this be the year you invest in white jeans. I do recommend buying a higher quality brand when buying white jeans because the material will be a bit thicker and more flattering. My favorite brand is NYDJ but I also wore a white pair from Loft for years. I wear their curvy fit.
Light wash jeans
Dark wash jeans will forever be classic and all around flattering for most women, but light wash jeans have been having a moment for a couple of years. Like white, lighter washes are a refreshing change for spring and pair well with all the spring pastel colors. I bought these high rise destructed crop ankle flare jeans a couple of months ago and they will be on repeat for spring. No matter what your jean style preference is- skinny, straight, wide leg- get a pair in a light wash.
Pack up the heavy winter boots and pull out the loafers and mules. They make a great in between shoe when it’s not quite time for sandals and open toe shoes. Mules have become my go to shoes during the pandemic because they are so easy to slide on and off. Check out this article for some history on mule shoes.
I’m laughing at myself for including sneakers as an “essential” because I went for years convinced that I only needed my running sneakers and I did not wear sneakers for anything else. I was more than happy to wear all the other cute casual shoes but eventually sneakers wore off on me and I have several pair in several styles. Whether you favor a chunky white sneaker, a low top white sneaker, or a slip on, sneakers have become an essential for our more casual lives.
Flowy or floral dress
Spring is for pretty dresses. I don’t get the opportunity to wear dresses much but spring brings so many occasions for wearing dresses- Easter, weddings, baby showers, and Mother’s Day events. It’s not a bad idea to have at least one pretty dress in your closet. Spring dresses tend to come in lots of florals and are usually a little more flowy than fitted.
Spring is the time to shed the layers and wear pretty tops that shine on their own. A floral top will usually have several colors that will give you multiple options for pairing it with different colors bottoms and jeans. If you want to be on trend this season, wear a puff sleeve top.
These last two items are purses. I don’t change purses often but I do like to change with the season. A classic tote in cognac, taupe or blush will make a great addition to all your spring outfits. A tote is my go to for day to day because I chunk everything in it when I’m going to the office, including a water bottle and snacks.
When you want to lighten the load and only carry a few personal items, a smaller crossbody purse is a great choice. Choose a lighter color like taupe or blush for spring.
For another take on spring wardrobe essentials, check out Jo-Lynne Shane’s list of spring items.
Which of these items do you have in your closet and which will you be adding?