In the heat of yet another brutal Texas summer, three local clothing store managers on Guadalupe Street weigh in on smart wardrobe investments, purchases to avoid and how to maximize the use of everything in your closet.
Photo by Kae Wang
Regardless of your personal style, these managers all agree that a great set of basics is the best foundation for a summer wardrobe. The following are their suggestions on how to keep your look fresh without breaking the bank.
Name: Katy Gardea
Occupation: Buffalo Exchange store manager
Katy Gardea is no stranger to vintage. With a wardrobe full of bold thrift shop finds and a selection of updated basics, she exemplifies how personal style can exist at any price.
According to Gardea, a blend of ‘70s and ‘90s throwbacks are popular right now. That means high-waised, denim cut-offs, cropped tops, bell-bottom relaxed-fit jeans and maxi skirts. As for showing some skin in the summer, lace and other sheer fabrics are essential and can be incorporated into practically any article of clothing. And if that doesn’t provide enough options, loose shark bite T-shirts are making a comeback.
All of these loose-fitting clothes are much more relaxed and flowing, which is perfect for summer. These pieces, Gardea said, take the place of the super-skinny jeans and deep v-neck T-shirts that look stale.
Naturally, the one key component of summer style that Austinites have to consider above all else is the Texas heat. Loose, sheer maxi skirts with spandex shorts or skirts underneath, Gardea said, are a great way to provide ventilation when it’s 102 degrees outside.
Because there isn’t the same bustle of the school year, Gardea explained that it is a good season to branch out and be more adventurous with style.
“Buy and wear one retro trend that you are afraid your friends may make fun of you for wearing,” Gardea said. “It will set you apart from the crowd and they will be wearing it by the end of the summer.”
Name: Rachel Myhill
Occupation: American Apparel store manager
Rachel Myhill sticks to the basics and bold, bright colors to complete her effortless summer look. Centered around airy chiffon skirts and cropped tops, she keeps it simple and interchangeable — giving herself an infinite number of ensembles to choose from.
Instead of buying clothing that is limited to one or two outfits, Myhill suggests focusing on pieces that can integrate well into an entire wardrobe. “Stick to pieces that you can incorporate into many different outfits,” Myhill said.
Myhill suggests stocking up on pieces with lightweight fabrics: they work well in hotter weather but can also be layered in the fall.
Adding accessories can be a great way to update an outfit without spending a lot of cash. Myhill suggests buying a few key pieces that are “uniquely you,” such as a straw summer hat or vintage sunglasses.
She warns that constantly buying into the latest craze can be costly.
“Buy something because you like it, not because it’s trendy,” Myhill said. Sticking with pieces that are flattering and serve a purpose can ensure less buyer’s remorse in the long run.
Name: Star Lee
Occupation: Dog and Pony owner
Star Lee, owner of the nine-month-old boutique Dog and Pony, keeps her closet much like her store: carefully curated. With a summer wardrobe of versatile dresses and comfortable basics, she focuses on quality over quantity.
Lee suggests avoiding purchases on anything too trendy as these will not translate well for fall. Instead, she said, it would be wiser to invest in something that will be worn every day. Even with accessories, she said, “Find something you love that looks great on you and proceed to wear it to death!”
Lee notes that casual dresses are a good investment to survive the temperatures because not only are they easy to throw on and less restrictive, but they effortlessly transition from day to night. Being comfortable, Lee said, “is the best way to look more put together when you’re wilting in the heat.”
Another economically savvy way Lee suggests acquiring new outfits is through a clothing swap. Trade with a friend, or host a clothes-swapping party like Lee did at her boutique last February.
In the end, it’s all about the way an outfit feels.
“I only keep things in my closet that I feel amazing wearing,” Lee said. “If you don’t like the way something looks on you, maybe it’s better to scrap it and move on.”