Spring wardrobe essentials: weekend wear

Nikki ParkinsonFashion 79 Comments

Spring has almost sprung so I thought it would be timely to start a mini-series here on the blog, highlighting some spring wardrobe essentials that you might like to consider this season.

Maybe you’ve only just started looking but are a bit lost on where to look for a style update that might suit you? Maybe you’re just have some fresh shopping ideas?

Either way, you’ve come to the right place.

Now, you know my rules, don’t you? Before you start waving that credit or debit card around, you need to actually have a look in your wardrobe and see what is still working for you from last spring-summer.

And when I say working for you, it has to fit and make you feel fabulous every time you wear those items.

Any glaring gaps in your wardrobe? Do you have seven gorgeous tops but not one pair of pants or shorts to wear with them?

Identify those gaps and then craft out your shopping wishlist, remembering this doesn’t have to be ticked off in one session. In fact, shopping mindfully over a number of months with that list in mind will ensure you have a spring-summer wardrobe that excites you well into the silly season and beyond.


Today we’re talking weekend wear – or casual wear – for those of us who dress like it’s the weekend every day.

This season, I see three potential casual outfit combinations. The first is based on a cropped, printed pant; the second on shorts; and the third (and always my favourite) on a frock.

All of these looks may not be for you but I’d like you to consider embracing at least two of them as a style guide (these exact pieces may not be right for you but they’ll give a guide as to what to look for in store and online). At the very least, embrace the frock.

Why the frock?

It’s the easiest way to get dressed each spring-summer morning. It’s one garment and just needs a pair of sandals and a statement jewellery piece to get you out the door looking dressed and polished even when the heat is on.

Speaking of statement jewellery and sandals – choose well as these are icing on your spring outfits. You can’t layer clothes like in winter so all the interest in your outfit comes back to layering of accessories.

Spring 2013 wardrobe essentials | Weekend and casual wear | printed pants

1. Virtu printed pants $89.95 | 2. I Love Lola necklace $59.95 | 3. Target top $39 | 4. Zoe Kratzmann flats $230

Style notes:  Refer back to these posts re wearing printed and graphic pants: here, here and here. This is a style that works on any shape, it’s just a matter of finding the cut and fit of the pant that is flattering for you. Scared about the print? Start with baby steps, choosing a black and white geometric or graphic print before introducing colour. Find pants like this in a fabric that breathes and they will earn their spring wardrobe space this season.

Spring 2013 wardrobe essentials | Weekend and casual wear | shorts

1. Bella Lido short kaftan $69 | 2. Eb&Iv beads $19.95 @ Sequins and Sand | 3. Samantha Wills ring $99 @ Zambezee Boutique | 4. Country Road shorts $69.95 | 5. Misano sandals $119.95

Style notes: Please do not be afraid of shorts. They CAN work for you. You don’t have to emulate the sweet young things wearing shorts shorter than my underwear and please do not go down the three-quarter pant fashion path. This post explains my reasons why. Find a short length that works best for your legs. The most flattering length is one that falls just above the knee, like these Country Road ones above. Do opt for a style that is more on the slim-legged style – like a slim jean it is also universally more flattering. I’m a big fan of then balancing out the proportions of the slim shorts with a more voluminous top like the Bella Lido one above.

Spring 2013 wardrobe essentials | Weekend and casual wear | frocks

1. Blue Bungalow dress $89 | 2. Misuzi necklace $159 | 3. Misuzi necklace $129 | 4. Mimco bag $199 | 5. Tank dress $14.99 (on sale) at i Allure | 6. Windsor Smith clogs $89.95 @ Style Tread

Style notes: I’ve already talked up my case for embracing the frock when things starts to warm up. For weekend casual wear I love loose dresses in cotton, rayon or bamboo. And I usually opt for a bit of arm coverage if it’s also a dress that will go over my swimsuit at the beach. See that white tank dress above? These wardrobe basics are the key to making your shorter summer frocks work for you. Layer underneath and you’ll never be embarrassed should a gust of wind send your frock up north around your armpits. Clogs are a great weekend shoe alternative to flats. Not too high but just enough height if you want to feel a little more dressed up. Note the jewellery, Nina Proudman fans. Yes, thanks to Instagram, I finally found out where Nina’s long, disc necklace is from. Misuzi is a Melbourne-based bespoke jewellery designer. You can buy online or they have retail stockists as well. This bar necklace is not the same but if you’re looking for the exact one, it’s by Tesori Bellini (also Melbourne based) and you can find details to order here.

Tell me, are you and your wardrobe ready for spring? What’s on your wishlist?

Comments 79

  1. How lovely is the Blue Bungalow dress?! Just had a look on their site & it’s filled with great stuff! Thanks for the heads up Nikki x

  2. Hi Nikki, I’d love to wear shorter dresses, like the lovely blue one and have a good leg shape but horrible veins that show. What do you think about the wearing just below the knee-leggings under dresses look?

  3. hey nikki, i could be your biggest project….ever! I have THE flattest arse in the history of man, and whilst i LOVE jeans i own maybe one pair, of skinnies and i have worn them to death (in winter) only, cause i can cover my tushie with all manners of jackets, shirts etc…..now, its summer, eeks!!! I WANT to wear those gorgeous print 3/4 length pants that are all the rage now, u know the slimline stovepipe kind, but i DONT want to wear long shirts etc, in summer!!! Pleeeease help!!

  4. Great post Nikki. After reading this on Friday morning, I ducked out and bought the CR shorts at lunchtime same day 😉 I love them with the Bella Lido short kaftan. Who am I? I hardly know myself anymore. Before last summer I had not worn shorts for more than 10 years! I still really love dresses for summer though – and there are so many gorgeous ones coming out. Looking forward to more Spring essentials tips.

  5. Love the Bella Lido kaftan. Might have to pick one up soon. Will be culling the wardrobe this weekend to get ready for Spring/Summer. Thank you for the suggestions.

  6. I LOVE that there is a picture of a “larger” girl wearing them. She’s probably a normal sized human being but looks bigger next to the skinniest.
    So to clarify, tight 3/4 capris are ok? I have short fattish thighs, and not a fan of shorts, I like capris because I can pretend my legs are a bit longer…

    Like he country road ones, may give them a go with cute sandals.

  7. I’m looking forward to these spring fashion posts. We are off to Sydney at the end of Sept and I’m down for some serious shopping. Would love some more frock ideas. I find dresses hard at the moment, I don’t like ones that cinch under the bust as they make my hips look huge and if they just fall loose they look like a bag. Frustrating me at present!

      1. I like dresses that are fitted but comfy at the top but then glide over the hip area without flaring. I haven’t actually bought a dress for a while because I just can’t find ones that suit!

  8. Funny thing…I tried on a pair of printed pants today at cotton-on, loved the flourish pattern in black and white but didn’t buy them because they are unlike anything else I own. So funny to come home and read your blog to see they are on-trend!

  9. Lovely ideas tku, I have been searching for some cool clothes to wear to Singapore later in the year. Size 16 and feel the heat but so hard to find cool comfy clothes. Just updated a few white and grey long-line singlet tops and a soft chambray long sleeveless vest that I can wear over camisole tops. Would love a few nice light dresses that don’t need hot layers to hide the “bum”. Still searching for the age appropriate 40+ shorts that fit and look good!

  10. Nikki you’ve just read my mind – I’ve just been trawling the web looking at my favourite brands and seeing what they’ve released for summer so far 🙂 I think I need those shorts as I am definitely guilty of buying more tops than bottoms – so much easier to get the right fit! Thanks for introducing me to Misano sandals – it’s hard to find nice flatties over here and I need some black ones as a change from my 2 tan CR pairs that I’ve almost loved to pieces. Thanks also to Mr SY for sorting out my husband’s Father’s Day gift (CR gingham shirt…might save the pineapple tee for Christmas!) and to yourself for your makeup advice yesterday – happy weekend to you both! xx

    1. Oh Julie – I think your hubby will be very happy with his gift. You’re welcome re the makeup advice … and yes, I plan to roll out a few in the spring wardrobe series over the next month. Then will have a whole week dedicated to resort wear ahead of summer holidays x

  11. Love all the options ,especially Blue Bungalow dress but do you think Nikki that my size e boozies would make this look like a tent I would really love it though.You have helped me so many times with your advice and places to go too especially online shopping.Thank you

    1. It’s really hard to tell Noelene … the neckline looks low enough that it should drape ok. Maybe pop the girls at Blue Bungalow and see what they say. I haven’t tried the dress on myself so don’t have that as a comparison (I’m a D). x

  12. I love all of these looks, Nikki! I have the items (or very similar) from the shorts look, but never thought to wear them together – thanks for the inspiration! <3 that dress, and thanks for the links to the Nina necklaces. Albero in Union Road, Moonee Ponds (Melb) is also selling the love/heart version. Hope you have a great weekend! Nicoll x

  13. Great post, love the dress in the last pic.
    I’m definitely wearing printed pants when it warms up in Perth, with flat sandals and a singlet. I’ve got to be honest and say I have too much in my wardrobe rather than not enough right now, so shouldn’t even be looking at buying anything new. Slap my hand now!


  14. Hi Nikki – I love the Misuzi necklace! but I think the designer one she wears that says ‘LOVE’ on it with the little charm is apparently by Tesori Bellini – here is the link to their instagram that confirms it – she maybe had multiple ones though – it’s $79 for gold plate or silver plate. It’s nice to not get the exact one though sometimes and do your own thing. I’m thinking of ordering it in silver 🙂


  15. I have been doing quite a bit of spring wardrobe planning lately to get ready to head off next weekend for a week in Brisbane then Bundaberg. I am loving this post today as it is making me feel very organised and reassured about my purchases so far. Black and white geometric print pants + black tee….tick. Those Country Road shorts….big tick (I got black & red). Still on my list is a couple more t-shirts. Love the ones from Sussan but one I particularly wanted was sold out before I got there so I hope they might get more stock. I also want to get a dress or two from Bella Lido and now I think I will have to grab one of her great brightly coloured shirts to go with my black shorts too.

  16. That Blue Bungalow dress is divine!! I’m determined to have a good sift through my wardrobe this weekend and (the fun part!!!) start making a shopping list!!! Thanks for the nudge!! xx

  17. Just bought Blue Bungalow dress and white clogs. Just like that! I never do stuff like this but they are gorgeous. Bring on Spring!

  18. Hi Nikki, I love the printed pants. will try and find the best pair to suit my shape. I decluttered my wardrobe yesterday.i found out that I buy too many tops and not enough bottoms.

  19. Great post, Nikki. I am curious about the first look. I love those pants. Is it ok for me to team black (top/shoes) and those pants together?

  20. I was actually looking in my wardrobe yesterday to see what I need for spring and Summer,Very timely post Nikki! I have on my orange jeans and a striped top today as it is supposed to be pretty warm.
    On my wishlist is another pair of printed pants in black and white a new black tee and a pretty top to wear with white jeans and a pair of black shoes.
    Love the printed pants and the dresses I love dresses but I don’t do shorts as it highlights my fat leg( there is 9cm difference between them! my body reacts to the metal in my leg) Dresses hide the fact a little better and I would never wear 3/4 pants I really have never liked them and I cant see the point of them,I know some people love them like my Sister in laws but not me.I plan on looking at the shops after my hair appointment and trying to fit in a pedi as well.Thankyou for these suggestions I love that Blue Bungalow dress.

      1. Yep I bought 2 pairs of Pants this morning one black and white and one a tighter cropped floral pair in a pretty print!

  21. I finally caved and bought a condom dress! (They are on special at the moment on the Seed website). Can’t wait til it arrives.

    As you know, I’m already a fan of the “everywhere dress” for Spring/Summer – but now I’m thinking some printed pants are calling me!

    1. Hi Nikki
      Would like some help in finding swimwear for a size 10F. I just live in my surf club swimmers for the season because I can’t find anything else to fit.

  22. I have become a clog sandal addict. They are super cute and really comfy. Look online at Lotta from Stockholm and Hasbeens.

  23. Oh no, such a tease! I am so excited to get the boots and jeans off and jump into spring/summer clothes, but we are heading off to the UK and France (yes, poor me) in 2 weeks, so have an ‘extended winter’ and not allowing myself to spend on the spring/summer fashions til I get back- need to save my $ for the trip. I’ll refer back to this post when I return!

  24. I have just purchased 2 navy blue maxi dresses (witchery and firefly) that I adore, and a black silk summer dress from Firefly – so my summer wish list is a few new accessories to enable me to style them a few ways.

    I am looking at orange, yellow and gold sandals love the clogs but I need to be able to walk 1-2 km a day to school and back so flats work best.

    I may have just added that yellow necklace to bag and am looking at the orange version too…you are an enabler Nikki!

  25. Woo hoo! This post comes just at the right time. My gal pal and I have a day booked together for a big wardrobe planning session for Spring. Think I will buy your ebook as extra help! I was lusting over the gold Misuzi necklace this whole last season of Offspring so think that may be my Christmas present to myself with my daughter’s initials. Can’t wait to get out the sandles and long shorts. Thanks for the inspiration, Nikki!

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