Update Your Summer Wardrobe in 5 Steps


Bring On the Color

Bright summer weather means bright colors.
Bright summer weather means bright colors.
Jordan Siemens/Getty Images

If you've ever watched the trends change from season to season, you know that fashion is a fickle beast. However, one thing it almost always does is reflect -- and respect -- the weather. Style has dictated some pretty uncomfortable trends (think teetering platform heels or Madonna's infamous Gaultier cone bra), but fashionistas everywhere can rest easy with the assurance that long sleeves will indeed not be a must-have until fall.

Color trends also tend to reflect the corresponding seasons. While fall and winter gloom inspire deep and muted palettes, summer's sunshine and vibrant foliage portend bright colors on the runways. And adding a splash of color to an outfit is one of the easiest ways to spruce it up for the summer months.

If your goal is a fresh but understated look, reach for colorful accessories: A basic, classic outfit is a cinch to punch up with a splashy scarf or bright-colored shoes. You'll maintain versatility while still bringing seasonal notes to your ensemble. If you work in an office with a dress code, this technique also allows you to maintain a professional look while keeping your wardrobe updated. For a slightly bolder take, try choosing a bold, rich hue for a single component of your outfit -- think pants or a shirt. More daring dressers might even go head-to-toe color for a truly summery statement.

So what colors should you look for? A good rule of thumb is to think about the colors you might see on a tropical vacation. Fads change from year to year, but bright, saturated jewel tones are always reliable. For a truly expert and in-depth look at color trends, industry fashion reports like Pantone's offer specific guidelines on the season's trends . Timid about brights? While pastels are typically relegated to spring styles, they can also be subtle but effective summer accents .