Effortless and Elevated Are the Goal—These COS, Aritzia, and J.Crew Finds Are It

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If I had to choose one word to describe my summer aesthetic, it would be “elevated.” This is the season I really lean into refined looks and keep my outfits relatively simple and low effort but put-together. Maybe it’s the scorching temperatures, but I find myself wanting to put less energy into styling trends and instead rotate through a series of straightforward and classic looks. That’s why I’m making it a point to arm myself with a collection of quality staples to build my seasonal wardrobe around so that these pieces can do all the heavy lifting for me. Right now, that assortment involves pieces like airy poplin skirts, pretty drop-waist dresses, bateau-neck tops, and statement accessories to accent all my looks.

It’s officially the dead of summer, which means that I’ve reached my limit with trying to put in maximum effort when getting dressed. It’s all about looking chic while doing the least because my days are quickly filling up with travel plans and because NYC’s nonstop heat waves require fuss-free looks. I’m shopping with this in mind and have found so many pieces at retailers like COS, Aritzia, and J.Crew that feel both effortless and ultra-elevated at the same time. Below, I’ve curated a list of the top 31 staples I’m currently eyeing—from cotton maxi skirts to tailored vests to airy dresses—in case you’re in the market as well.

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