6 Summer Basics

The dog days are here. Yesterday, I passed a trio of towheads sitting cross-legged on a grassy front lawn, electric blue popsicles dripping down their chin, elbows, knees. Bikes piled haphazardly in the driveway, garden sprinkler a flurry.


My summer wardrobe has always been whittled down to the simplest tried-and-true basics. It’s just hot, so so hot, far too blazing to preoccupy oneself with accessories. Save for the occasional neckerchief and statement earrings, the barer the skin, the better. Bonus points if layered over a swimsuit. It’s comfort first around here, is what I’m saying. Linen dresses by the handful, these sandals on repeat. Easy does it.

feet swinging in sandals

And yes, for what it’s worth, ethically-made is a must for me. The more I allow myself to question fast fashion practices, the harder it is to justify a $39 dress that is perfectly vintage-inspired and wonderfully-hued and fits like a dream, but that was most certainly made by calloused hands of the choiceless.

(I am terribly unfun at Target, is also what I’m saying.)

And so, as it stands, I wind up with a few thoughtful pieces on heavy rotation – 2-3 times/week at least – and little else in the way of excess. The standbys? Below.


For the road trip enthusiast, this weekender is 5+ years old and going strong. (After my first trip to Ethiopia, I mindlessly threw it into the washing machine and it’s still miraculously kickin’, albeit faded.) Plus, it’s entirely foldable for under-the-bed-stashing between adventures. Made in Ho Chi Minh City.

woman drinking coffee


A playsuit is my ultimate one-and-done. This romper (on sale!) is the loveliest shade of pistachio green, and long enough in the legs to actually romp around town in. 35+ feels too old to spend another minute adjusting certain undergarments, know what I mean? Handmade in India, by my beloved friends.


When the temps dance toward the lower 90s, this tank (first photo above) is the only denim I can really get behind. It’s cropped to perfection with plenty of room to breathe. Plus, it plays wonderfully with that vintage skirt you’ve stolen from your grandmother’s closet. Handmade in Mexico.


Marvelously gauzy with a surprisingly substantial weight, this dress is the go-to I reach for on the bleariest of days. I’ve worn it to farmers markets with sneakers and outdoor weddings with fancy earrings, and every single time, the compliments roll in. Highly recommend! Made in L.A.

woman and dog in lawn


For day-to-day adventuring, I dress the kids in head-to-toe French terry cotton, and this gender-neutral tank wins for ease. Paired with cut-offs, it’s sized to grow with your kid (and quality enough to withstand the years!). Plus, it’s towel-soft and ever-cozy. Made in L.A.


It’s not every day a thirty-something raves about how well her swimsuit fits, but truth be told, this one-piece suit is endlessly flattering on a wide array of bodies. (For the two-piece fanatics, these are just as lovely and have held up well for the past three years.) Plenty of coverage with nary a wedgie in sight, can I get an Amen? Made in Minnesota.


What’re you wearing this summer? Tell me everything.

  • I have been trying to find a cute easy fitting romper! I am hoping this is it!! Thank you!

      • The romper was a bit on the small size…(I tend to be on the “chesty side”) I will HAVE to keep it because this site will not take returns for items on sale! buyer be-aware!!! Luckily I can wear it, I was expecting it to be a little roomier! Or I will have to loose a few more pounds! LOL

      • Oh I’m sorry to hear that – thank you for letting us know, Tracy! I’d forgotten it was on sale, which means no returns. :( I’m wondering if you can try to resell it on Instagram/Facebook, or maybe it’ll work well with a blouse over? I always hate when something doesn’t fit perfectly!

  • Hi, Erin! Thank you for sharing these finds. I hope you’ll continue to share ethical fashion options that you like. I’m trying so hard to make more conscious choices about what I buy and you’ve given such great ideas. Have a great week!

  • I finally found a few ways to wrap a headscarf using the scarves I already have. So I’ve been wearing those a lot so far this summer! I love that I can continue to wear some of my favorite pieces in a way that feels more updated than just around the neck.

  • I want to be more ethical in my purchases, but I am just a little overwhelmed. I feel like it takes so much more time and money to shop ethically. I know that one big way is to shop secondhand, but as a mom of three little ones, online shopping has become my norm. Could you maybe write more about how you got started and some of your tips? I feel like you always have such an easy, nonjudgmental approach to things like that that it makes it easier for me to undertake making changes!

    • Mary, this was SUCH a kind and thoughtful comment. Thank you for your honesty, and yes, I’m happy to share! What a great post idea. I’ll work on it asap. :)

  • Love shopping intentionally and ethically but can’t always pay $100 for a dress even in a capsule wardrobe. Its just not in our budget currently.. But LOVE these policies that Target has but in place about ethically made and taking care of their workers over seas . Take a look below.


    Love this part:
    “Improving worker well-being is about enriching and protecting the people who create our products, the families they support and the communities where they live and work.

    “It’s an ambitious challenge,” Kelly says, “that will touch the lives of at least 3 million people in the factories and surrounding communities where Target’s owned-brand goods are produced. We’ll do it by opening up access to things like women’s empowerment initiatives, education and training.”

    One recent example? Target’s work with nonprofit partner GoodWeave in support of its mission to end child labor in the rug industry. We’d previously worked together to certify Target’s owned-brand rugs as child-labor free. Last year, we teamed up again to develop a technology platform that monitors for human trafficking risks in our supply chain in India. The project answered a call from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for concepts to collect real-time data from partners closest to the problem.”

    i am not sayign they do everything right. But it is a step in the right direction!

    • Thank you so much for sharing this with us, Erica! I hadn’t been keeping up with their strides in this department and am happy to see a bit of effort coming down the pipe! Definitely a step in the right direction. :)

  • Fairandsimple.com just dropped an ethically made children’s line and I love it so much! Perfect for adventuring kiddos and opening the communication line about where our clothes come from.

  • I AM LOVING the ethically made organic cotton tank tops by Krochetkids! I have a regular size and a crop top and i rotate them with eshorts jeans and over sleeveless dresses. I pretty much war then 3-4x a week :)! And that was all I really needed for the summer, saving for some linens one day though!

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