Summer Whites For All Ages

By Erin Donnelly

You love bright hues as much as the next girl, but the season’s blinding rainbow shades are giving you a Technicolor overdose – and the mere suggestion of baking under the hot summer sun in black is enough to make you break into a sweat. So why not opt for white? It’s classic, it’s unfussy, it looks great on everyone, and it’s one of the coolest colors of the season. From romantic eyelet dresses to tan-accentuating bikinis, we’ve rounded up stylish summer whites for every age group. But feel free to mix and match – you’re only as old as you feel, after all.  


Dress: Who says simple can’t be sexy? This strapless Susana Monaco Pocket Tube Dress can go from the barbecue to the bar.

Top: While you can never go wrong with a classic white tank, this Ted Baker Silk Chiffon Double Layered Top is a gorgeous, ethereal-meets-edgy choice.

Swimsuit: Make like Honey Rider in this ring-accented Glam Bikini from Nina Swimwear.

Bottoms: For a more sophisticated take on short-shorts, look to the Baird McNutt crisp linen cuffed short (in sea salt) from J.Crew.

Handbag: Cynthia Rowley’s hip and roomy Hilary Patent Tote is the perfect bag for summer.

Shoes: Vamp it up in a chunky, strappy sandal like Victoria’s Secret’s Buckle Anklestrap Sandal.


Dress: This Black Halo Jackie Dress has two things going for it: 1) its trendy one-shoulder cut, and 2) its sexy and confident (without being too revealing) design.

Top: Give the menswear trend a romantic twist by wearing this Newport-News Seersucker Vest over their delicate and ultra-feminine Floral Lace Blouse.

Swimsuit: Revel in the retro glamour of Poko Pano’s Copacabana one-piece. The front features a classic halter, while the laced-up back provides a tantalizing surprise.

Bottoms: Want to show some leg without venturing into Daisy Duke territory? Slip into Cache’s Cotton Sateen Bermuda Shorts. Wearing a high heel will help lengthen the appearance of your legs.

Handbag: MICHAEL Michael Kors Ranger Wild Venus Large Hobo combines utilitarian function (gotta love those extra pockets!) with a fun, modern design.

Shoes: Drape your feet in the sleek, graceful curves of the Ballincolliga white patent sandal from Aldo.


Dress: It’s all in the details with Catherine Malandrino’s stunning cut-out Knit Dress. The beautifully detailed knit is sure to invite plenty of compliments.

Top: This Velvet Ruched Top’s skillful draping conceals the belly while offering a sexy but subtle hint of cleavage.

Swimsuit: Make a splash in St. John’s tasteful (and tummy-concealing) Pleated Swimsuit.

Bottoms: Pair Nanette Lepore’s Barrier Reef slim-fit capris with a bright tee and your favorite sandals.

Handbag: Kate Spade’s Nob Hill Flat Serena hobo contrasts pure, snow-white calfskin with a funky red strap.

Shoes: Sleek white patent gives this flat Max Studio Halley sandal a modern touch.

50s & Up:

Dress: Turn heads in this lovely cotton eyelet sheath dress from Ann Taylor.

Top: Keep your cool in this lightweight Lauren by Ralph Lauren V-Neck Eyelet Top, accented by a pretty lace trim.

Swimsuit: A sheer striped overlay gives the Anne Cole First Class Swimsuit a glamorous edge.

Bottoms: Stay cool and comfortable in Spiegel’s Washed Linen Walking Shorts.

Handbag: Coach’s Ergo Pleated Frame Tote in gleaming white makes for must-have arm candy; it’s spacious but stylish and modern.

Shoes: Woven details – like on this Cole Haan Mara Woven Wedge – were made for summer.


More SMW Fashion Advice:

In Full Bloom: Floral Fashions

How to Dress for an Interview

Spring 2009’s Top 5 Footwear Trends