The Summer Essentials I’m Living In

As someone who has always loved fashion, getting to try out lots of different clothing is a major job perk.  But even with access to such a variety of items to review and wear, there are some pieces that I find myself coming back to again and again. The last few months, I’ve noticed that I have a handful of standout pieces and important staples that are getting VERY regular wear, and that I think make valuable wardrobe additions if you don’t already have your own.

Substantial bike shorts: The bike short trend isn’t going away any time soon, and in my opinion, that’s a good thing, because once you have a good, quality pair, you can wear them with everything from sporty casual looks to chic lightweight layers (I absolutely love how they look with a blazer and a crop top).  I’ve found my go-to pair in this style from Lane Bryant: They are a substantial, stretchy cotton blend fabric, so I feel comfortable and supported without feeling squished, and the cotton keeps them breathable.  Since I bought this pair a couple of months ago, I’ve already worn them at least 15 times (literally wearing them again as I type this), and with their low price point, they are gearing up to be the best value of my summer wardrobe.  I love that they are available in sizes up to 40 too, and my Instagram readers agree – I posted about them on Stories a couple of weeks back and have already gotten a bunch happy reviews from women that then bought and love them too!  Click through below to shop them and other options in plus:

Cream cowboy boots: I love cute sandal as much as anyone, but for all those days where I want more coverage and less sandal straps rubbing on the top of my foot (the worst!), I appreciate having an unexpected alternative that looks just as good with everything from dresses to cropped wide leg denim. In my opinion, short boots are much more comfortable than a heel, and instantly bring a little *fashion* to even a simple look.  I’m really into this creamy neutral hue, but any shade of white can work.  And as for the inevitable “isn’t it hot?” question, I don’t find it to be any different than wearing a pair of sneakers with socks.  Which brings me to my next must-have…

White platform sneakers: For the longest time, I had a complex about wearing sneakers as a fat woman – they aren’t “leg elongating” (which is something we’re constantly told to strive for), and even as I broke out of my comfort zone for clothing, this particular internalized nonsense stuck around.  When I talked about this on Instagram last year, I got an absolute flood of messages from readers who identified all too well.  I’m sharing this now because if you are still feeling like you “can’t pull off” fashion sneakers, you totally can! And as someone who is happily on the other side of that hang up, let me tell you: It is so much better over here.  Cute, comfortable, and on-trend.  I will be wearing dresses and my white platform sneakers all summer 2021. This pair is from Primark (which unfortunately does not offer any online shopping), but I’ve rounded up some similar pairs you can shop from home below:

Oversized denim jacket: One of my most-worn items this year has been this oversized denim jacket from Lane Bryant.  It is lightweight, has enough stretch that I can comfortably push up the sleeves without my arms feeling strangled, and the silhouette is aesthetically oversized without overwhelming the outfit.  It looks good with casual looks (like with my go-to bike shorts above), but it can also dress down more formal pieces like my beloved Mayes NYC crane gown.  Jean jackets are a pretty timeless item in general, so you probably already have one, but if you are shopping for something new this year, steer away from cropped and close-fitting silhouettes, and embrace the volume of an oversized version for a more current look.

Girlshorts: Thick thighs are a blessing, but they can feel like a curse if you try to walk around in a skirt with nothing else underneath, the ensuing chafing can start to feel like a curse.  I have a few favorites for preventing thigh rubbing, but my Evelyn & Bobbie Longline Girlshorts have solidly taken the top spot for wearing underneath dresses.  Super lightweight, basically seamless, and totally invisible under clothing with no compression – they tick all my boxes.  And they are opaque enough that I don’t have to worry too much if a gust of wind from a subway grate blows my skirt up randomly – I’m still fully covered.  I’ve been a fan of Evelyn & Bobbie since I first tried them back in October of 2019 (their wire-free bras like the one above have legitimately changed my life), and have an ongoing partnership with them so I can extend my readers a coupon code: CURVILY321 will give you one free pair of panties for every item purchased (and that includes other panties!).  Just make sure to put all the items you want in your cart before applying the code for it to work correctly!

Wearing a version of this Evelyn Bobbie set under pretty much every dress this summer

Megababe Thigh Rescue: While not technically a garment, Megababe deserves an honorable mention because it has been such a game changer for me and so many others to wear with shorts and swim.  I know I’m not the only one who used to put some invisible solid deodorant on my inner thighs to keep them from tearing each other up when I was wearing something with my legs all the way out.  There’s no shame in that – we were all making the best of bad situation – but I’m SO glad there’s a better option now.  Thigh Rescue looks like a stick of deodorant, but is actually formulated specifically to prevent chafing, and without the harsh ingredients found in a lot of commercial antiperspirant.  It also lasts – I’ve tested it walking 8+ miles around NYC on hot summer days, and my thighs remained unscathed through it all.  It is also cute enough to put in your bag without feeling self-conscious about pulling it out (the brutalist product design of some of the sports-focused alternatives is always a little off-putting, IMO).  And it comes in a mini size too, perfect to keep in your beach bag to reapply after swimming.

Oversized white button down: This is one of those classic wardrobe staples that I’ve heard about for years, but has long since eluded me because it is not easy to find a good one in plus.  So when founder Shanna Goldstone of Pari Passu suggested I try one of their classic button down shirts on in a few sizes up when I visited their Garment District offices, I admit I was skeptical.  Once I got it on though, I was in love.  The cut is oversized without being shapeless, and now that I have one, I totally get why it is such fashion industry fave.  I wore it here with my go-to bike shorts, platform sneakers, and my Telfar belt, but it also looks amazing with everything from cutoffs to tied up with a sleek bias cut skirt.  And I love how rich it looks worn over a bikini.  Expect to see me in this shirt a LOT.  P.S. I was able to get a Pari Passu discount code for my readers: curvily20 for 20% off sitewide (except charity capsule collections).