In Fashion: Seven days and nights of summer - seven easy pieces
Jun 08,2007 00:00 by Sharon_Mosley

It's easy to look cool this summer when you pare down your wardrobe and stick to a simple plan of mixing and matching fashion's newest casual essential. Whether you're packing for a quick vacation getaway or you're just hanging out in your own backyard, you can count on these seven easy pieces to make dressing this season a stylish snap.

COOL IT - The long gauze maxi dress from Max Studio is a great piece to add to a cool summer wardrobe. CNS Photo courtesy of 
One - The breezy, long maxi dress

In the spring, it was the short dress that made fashion headlines; this summer, the dress of the moment is going long in charming halters and sundresses, perfect for an outdoor barbecue or dinner on the waterfront. Dress it down with flip-flops for even more casual appeal.

Two - A pair of jeans

What would summer be without your favorite pair of jeans? This year's skinny jeans are still a trendy must-have in white or lighter washes that do double duty when rolled up for a cropped look. Team them with an embroidered tunic and wedge sandals for a fresh look.

Three - A pair of Bermuda shorts

Another versatile summer wardrobe piece that can be dressed up or down depending on your mood. In linen, they are a comfortable and cooler option to long pants, and they can be paired with a variety of tops and jackets. Paired with a tailored jacket or crisp blouse, they can even go to many workplaces.

Four - The sailor trouser

As pants widen for fall, it's great to take advantage of a new trend now and build a classic into your wardrobe for summer that will give you lots of alternatives to day and night dressing. Try a neutral color in a cotton or linen. For day, pair them with a belted tunic top; for evening a tank and knit cardigan.

Five - The tunic top

These just keep getting better and fit a wide range of sizes. On its own, the tunic is great belted over shorts, jeans or pants; or it can be layered over tanks and swimsuits. For summer, stick to lightweight embroidered cotton, linen, jersey or sheer chiffon that can be worn with a studded belt for even more impact.

Six - The tank and cardigan set

Yes, it's cheating a little bit, but these two pieces will be important assets in even a warm-weather wardrobe. Choose tissue-thin knits in bold summer colors and you'll have layering pieces that will work under tunics, on their own or over dresses and swimsuits for added coverage at night.

Seven - The swimsuit

Don't discount your swimsuit as part of your working summer wardrobe - especially if you have a favorite two-piece suit in a great print that will work with other neutrals in your closet. Brown, black or white is a great background for laid-back summer style when halter tops, bandeaus or tankinis are mixed with tunics or cardigans over jeans or shorts. Just how much of that bikini you want to bare is up to you.

Sharon Mosley is a former fashion editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock and executive director of the Fashion Editors and Reporters Association. © Copley News Service