Styling Advice for Summer: Asking for a Friend

Last week I got an email from a friend asking styling advice for a new summer wardrobe.  Not only am I flattered that she asked me, but I also LOVE these kinds of questions and perhaps got a little overexcited in my response (It's a long one, but worth the read IMO).  I'd be willing to bet there are others with a similar outfit dilemma, so I got her permission to share our exchanges on the blog.  If you find this helpful, please let me know! If you still have questions, I'd love to keep chatting on this topic and other styling questions you may have. 


Hi Corri/Magenta Blazer,

If I want to spend about $100 - $200 and get a few easy, cute summer dresses and tops, which store do you recommend?

  • Express
  • Target
  • Old Navy
  • Loft

And is there a particular dress style/cut that you think is PERFECT for petite ladies like us?

Finally, would you ever be up for a shopping trip with me? Or virtual shopping? I love your style and I'm desperate for some new clothes.

Let me know.  :)



This is by far the best email I've gotten in quite some time!  I planned on doing a little light research and spiraled into a full online shopping spree. I'd love to hear if you find any of this useful and are planning to purchase anything. Whether this is helpful or not, I would absolutely love to go shopping with you sometime and go through this journey IRL together!

Are you OK with me posting this on the blog? This captures the mission of MagentaBlazer perfectly, making it my special little place.  I'd love to share it with others with similar questions. 

In general, I've been moving toward midi length dresses.  They are the perfect length for work, play and anything in between.  Maxis can come off too casual (and let's be honest, I'd have to hem any maxi I buy) and minis tend to show a little more than I'm willing, especially sitting in meetings.  Look for something that has definition at the waist.  Whether it's a belt or a cinch, something that gives you some shape and doesn't go straight down is most flattering. 

I've really been into the Who What Wear Collection from Target.  Their styles are super cute, quality enough for the price and seem to fit me in a flattering way, which is saying something since I'm a shorty.  At one point I accidentally bought a new summer wardrobe at Target, and I've been going back ever since! I usually go with an XS in Who What Wear dresses and shirts.  Bottoms are a 2 or 4.  A couple that are versatile for work, weekends, whatever:

From left: 

  • Wrap midi dress I own this and love it.  There's a snap at the bust so no gaping neckline. Goes with heels or flats.
  • Striped shirt dress A shirt dress is a classic, so it can take you through many summers. Dress it up or down with footwear.  You can even go with the sneaker trend with this dress--one of my favorites!  The fabric is lightweight for your commute, but enough coverage for freezing office AC.

My second stop would be Express.  I love that they make closet staples in multiple colors and prints to anyone's taste.  At the same time, they have a couple super trendy pieces, so I'm giving you both.  Never pay full price here!  They have sales constantly and around holidays they tend to mark everything 40-50% off! I usually stick with XS or Small here.  

From left:

  • Reversible Barcelona tank This is by far my favorite tank ever.  It's double layered ensuring it's not see-through, the fabric doesn't wrinkle or need ironing, you can layer it up. This one particularly reversed from print to color--two totally different shirts for one!  It's currently 30% off can comes is many other colors and prints.
  • Floral Sleeveless Portofino Similar to the Barcelona, the Portofino is a classic.  The fabric is low maintenance and it's great for layering.   I chose this one specifically because I'm currently into anything floral and the cutout detail on the shoulders is fun for summer.
  • Gingham tee Gingham screams summer and this one has just enough to make it work for any occasion with the right pairing.  Black denim shorts for a weekend brunch and black slacks or white pants for the office.  (I just put this one in my cart--"occupational hazard" of outfit blogging ;)
  • Striped off-the-shoulder top Trendy for sure, but also adorable.  This caught my eye because I would immediately pair it with a high waisted jean and outfit complete.  A hot summer night goes perfectly with this top. 

I also recently started adding Modcloth to my list of go-to stores.  They have fun, quirky prints and a huge selection of styles. I dig the vintage feel and fit of many of their pieces.  I also find that Modcloth isn't as popular as Target or Express in New York, so it's less likely I'll end up twinning unexpectedly with someone in Modcloth. I tend to size up here, sticking with smalls. 

From left:

  • Flamingo Knit Dress See what I mean about quirky prints and vintage-inspired style? This dress exudes happiness and will definitely get some positive comments.  It can also double as a bathing suit cover.
  • A-Line Polka Dots This dress gives me sailor vibes in a good way.  The cinched waist is super flattering. The navy is the perfect contrast for a redhead like you, as well as, a great transition into fall.  Think 80 degrees in September!

You didn't ask about shorts, but the only jean shorts I wear are from Madewell.  They are the best pair I've found that has a high waist and are still long enough to look appropriate on anyone over 30.  By the way, for when it gets cooler, I also love their jeans.  It's rare to find denim that fits well, so I'm telling everyone I know :)

Let me know what you think!




What an incredible email!!!! 

I love all of your suggestions and can see you rocking those in social posts.  :)  I think I have a few challenges. 1) I'm afraid of color. And prints.  2) I don't have the right jeans, shoes, other pieces, etc. to pull a look together. 3) I have zero fashion sense.  Pretty big challenges, right?  I think I also see pictures and think, "I could never pull that off." So I don't even try.  I feel like I need someone to hand me things and say, "Put this on and I will tell you how it really looks." (That's where you come in.)

Express is having a big sale right now. Maybe I'll online shop a little. Worst case scenario -- I return everything.  :)

Oh! Also! A lot of looks require strapless bras. Nightmare. Do you have a brand/style you love?

Feel free to share anything you want on the blog. I'm happy to support your passion!

And honestly, let me know if you want to go shopping one day. After shopping, I'll take you out for dinner or drinks or both!



OK, I’m going to take each of these one at a time with a list because I love a good list. 

1) Fear of print or color is just something you’ll get over with trying things on and finding what works for you. Since you’re fair skinned, stick with greens and blues and avoid reds and yellows. Take prints slowly. Start with a subtle stripe and work your way to florals and beyond!

2) I agree the magic in making an outfit you really love is finding great pairings. I’m a true believer is investing in a pair of jeans with a classic cut (skinny or boyfriend) that you truly love and goes with everything. As I mentioned, Madewell is my current go to. Stick with a darker wash and a high waist and always remember length can be easily hemmed to your perfect size. 

Shoes are a little easier to experiment with and have fun with different styles. Personally, they are my favorite part and often where I start building from. A casual, comfy (flat) sandal, a dressier version (maybe a short, block heel with straps) and a lifestyle sneaker (think Stan Smiths or Chucks) can take you all the way through summer. 

The other great thing about summer is that it’s dress season! One piece and you’re ready to go. Take advantage as you build out the rest of your classic pieces and finding the perfect jeans. 

3) Fashion sense is an urban legend. It’s a matter of finding the styles that flatter you and you love and sticking with them. For example, I’m super short waisted so I flip this as a positive and constantly match high waisted bottoms with crop tops. Not every trend is going to look great on everyone. I wish I could pull off anything that requires going braless but that’s never going to happen for me. You’ll find your go-tos as well, but it take experimentation and trying on to get there! 

4) Strapless bra! Wrote a post on it. For context, it was super expensive but so worth it. I purchased in 2015 and it’s still going strong today.

5) I’d love to hear how your Express purchases turn out. Let’s set a date for an IRL trip soon!


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