Building a Closet Of Summer Staples .

Of all the clothes I share, I often get asked to narrow down which pieces I reach for time and time again. The truth is, I share a wide variety of styles across my platforms but OG Styledby followers know that it’s my Express basis + denim that I always run back to. I’ve been wearing their stuff for years, whether to class or a party.

As I’ve begun thinking about what I’ll wear throughout my summer internship in California and my study abroad travels this fall, it’s dawned on me that it’s time to stock up on some timeless basics. Of course, I turned to none other than Express as so many of their pieces can be transitioned from season to season and day to evening.

I picked up a handful of new items during their big spring sale, prepping my closet for this exciting season of life. With so many of you on the hunt for trusty staple pieces, I figured today I’d share how I’m styling them for every summer occasion. As always, I’ve included links to shop so you can easily recreate these fits. Enjoy! #expresspartner

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McKenz on The Move

This outfit couldn’t be more me. I mean come on, I’ve been wearing variations of this same outfit since I started Styledby six years ago! I find that regardless of the occasion, you can almost never go wrong with a white top and cut-off shorts. This tank is a sweater-knit material that’s super thick. I love the unique neckline—I feel like it spices this outfit up just a touch. If you need an added layer or are unsure of the dress code, throw a button-up over top. I’m leaving this one unbuttoned for a casual vibe.

Express was running a buy one get one $10 shorts sale and I was in dire need of a refresh. I picked up these high-rise shorts and they fit me like a glove. They’ve got tons of stretch and unlike most shorts I come across, actually cover my tush. I’m wearing a 00 and have a 25-inch waist for reference.

tank // button-up // shorts // sandals 

New Friends In New Places

Last year Express released “Body Contour”, a collection of timeless basics that are designed to smooth and sculpt your figure. I quickly fell in love with these pieces—they are double-lined meaning they aren’t see-through and are thick enough to wear without a bra. Double yay! They’ve got tanks, bodysuits, long sleeves you name it. I own almost every style in dozens of colors.

This bodysuit is hands down my favorite style. I’ve had it in white and black for months but wanted to pick up this new pastel purple for the spring. I wear these bodysuits with everything but for the sake of this outfit, I’m sticking with a pair of white denim shorts and my summer go-to… lace-up sandals. This is the perfect outfit if you “don’t know what to wear”. Simple yet cute!

bodysuit // shorts // sandals  

Dinner Date 

While you can totally keep those bodysuits casual, I also dress them up from time to time. In fact, on most first dates I wear one. I loved this new powder blue color! Their bodysuits are thong style so they leave no panty lines and have a snap closure along the crotch making them no-fuss when using the restroom. This collection runs a little large so I tend to size down to an XXS (usually wear an XS in tops).

I love white denim in the summer and am slipping into a new pair of straight-leg jeans from Express. Their denim is my absolute favorite and I’ve gotten dozens of friends and followers hooked. This specific pair is full length but I left them cuffed to show off a pair of matching blue heels. Pop on a cute purse and you’re good to go!

bodysuit // jeans // heels // purse

By The Beach

A white top and pair of jeans are one of my favorite combos to wear after a day at the beach. I picked up the tube Body Contour bodysuit and am loving how simple it is. These flare jeans are another recent Express pick-up. They are super stretchy and have just a little kick to the bottom. I’m tossing on a few straw accessories to keep things extra summery.

Most Express jeans are available in short/regular/long options. I’m roughly 5’2 and wear a regular as I do have longer legs!

bodysuit // jeans  // sandals // purse 

College Townies  

If you’ve been following me for some time then you definitely recognize this outfit combo. This cropped tank is one of my most-worn pieces in my closet. Whether it be out to the bar or layered under loungewear, this tank is constantly in and out of my dirty clothes pile, lol. It makes your boobs look amazing and truly pairs with everyhting.

Toss on something basic like this with your trusty black jeans and a good ole pair of white sneakers and you’re good to go for a college night out. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve worn this combo over the years!

top // jeans // sneakers 

Keeping Classy 

That top that I was wearing unbuttoned in the first outfit?! Here she is buttoned up, front tucked into a good ole pair of denim shorts. This look isn’t rocket science by any means but my gosh does it always look good! Toss on your favorite pair of white sandals and you’re good to go for any summer occasion. As Tik Tok says it’s giving ~costal granddaughter~. So chic!

button-up // shorts // sandals 


Brunch With The Girls 

There’s a reason we were all hooked on Justice camis back in the day… they came in every color, looked good with everything, and didn’t need a bra. I’m so glad that there’s an adult version of them! Express just released this cami bodysuit in several colors and needless to say, I’m obsessed. I grabbed the Basil and Lilac and won’t be stopping there.

So effortless with a pair of shorts for a simple outing like brunch but could definitely transition these into my study abroad wardrobe with a linen button-up, cardigan, or even leather jacket. Count me in! Oh, and yes… I did need the lace-up sandals in a second color. Nothing elongates the legs quite like them!

bodysuit // shorts // sandals // purse

The Never Fail

This is the Body Contour bodysuit that started it all for me… she’s my ole faithful. I’ve had this baby since last summer and wear her at least once a week (Tik Tok followers know). Finally, a white top that’s not see-through and actually stays white. This seamlessly tucks into everything. 

I wear this whenever I need something quick and easy—with skirts, shorts, jeans you name it. These are another favorite straight-leg pair from Express. Again, I’m wearing a 00 regular and finishing off this easy look with a pair of white high-top sneakers. Feel free to spice things up with a pop of color—a hat, belt, or even bag.

bodysuit // jeans // sneakers 

Meet The Parents 

Meeting his parents this summer? I find that a high neck top is always best for family functions. No room for error with something modest like this Body Contour bodysuit. This is another one I have in dozens of colors. It’s perfect for business casual settings too with a blazer popped over top!

Transition to a more casual setting with a pair of white jeans. I’m tossing on black platforms to keep things young and trendy. Add a few layered necklaces and your everyday hoops and you’ll be good to go. Simple yet still sleek!

bodysuit // jeans // shoes // purse 

A Night At The Ballpark

Catch me at the baseball field all summer long. Unfortunately I’ll be moving so the teams I’m going to watch aren’t my home base. For this type of situation, I usually reach for a basic fit—either a black or white tank, pair of shorts, and sneakers to match. Don’t forget a light layer as it tends to get chilly as the evening sets in.

top // shorts // hoodie // sneakers 

Building a Closet Of Summer Staples // 10 Basic Summer Outfit Ideas With Express

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Express is running all kinds of sales all month long. I highly recommend signing up for emails and texts as that’s where you’ll get the latest scoop on deals + my personal favorite, the “$75 off $200 purchase” sale.

I’m so pumped to have added a few more basics to my summer closet and know I’ll be mixing and matching these pieces all summer long. Which outfit was your favorite? Be sure to let me know in the comments below. I’m sure I’ll be placing another order before leaving for Italy… when I do you’ll be the first to hear about it. Stay tuned!

With love, McKenz

Latest Post: Statement Outfits I’m Wearing This Summer
Related Post: Styling My Top 10 Favorite Pairs of Express Jeans
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