Summer always puts our less-is-more fashion theory to the test. But when stripping down to the bare essentials, some of us tread a fine line between minimalist and beach bum. Save your style–and dignity–with pieces that will help you keep your cool while still making a statement. We chatted with Toronto stylist Sansyrae St.Martin about her top summer fashion picks for making a sartorial splash this season.

THE SUMMER SHOE: The coloured heel

Expert fashion tips: “Whether you’re dressed for the office, a picnic in the park, or a night out, take a step into one of the season’s hottest trends: pops of colour. For more daring individuals, pair a
coloured heel with a matching or contrasting hued trouser and tank for a colour blocked outfit. For a more subtle–yet sexy–look, wear them neutrals and a brightly coloured lip or jewellery.”

Try: “ I love bright yellow heels. They work well with just about every colour and they remind me of a sunny summer day,”

THE SUMMER BAG: The little printed purse

Expert fashion tips: “Whether it’s graphic stripes, polka dots, floral, or Navajo print, a vibrantly patterned purse is a great way to liven up your summer fashion wardrobe and take your favourite basics into this season. Pair it with brightly coloured nails and your
favourite solid summer dress.”

Try: “I’ve always been a fan of Kate Spade’s purses.”


Expert fashion tips: “Show off those great collar bones and avoid strap-tan by wearing either a one piece strapless swimsuit or a flirty little strapless bikini. Accessorize the look with your favourite summer hat.”

Try: “Clube Bossa bikinis are truly a work of art. They provide a statement look while remaining perfectly elegant.”

THE SUMMER DRESS: The little white dress

Expert fashion tips:
“White shows off that golden tan, is a blank canvas for accessories and is always elegant. This season, I am especially loving lace and crochet for a vintage feel. Throw a blazer over it at the office or make it casual with colourful sandals and a chunky metal watch.”

“I love Aidan Mattox’s flirty and feminine white lace dress.”

More expert advice on the top summer fashion must-haves for this season, on the next page…
THE SUMMER SHORTS: The preppy short

Expert fashion tips:
“In the heat of summer, shorts are a must–have and this season it’s all about keeping things clean and simple with the preppy short. The tailored, clean look works just about anywhere and with just about anything, especially a
straw fedora and strappy, flat sandals.”

Try: “Clean-cut Club Monaco shorts work with anything from a worn-in tee and sneakers to a silk top and heels.”

THE SUMMER JEWELLERY: Cuffs and bold rings

Expert fashion tips: “With all those drinks on the patio, our hands are the focus. Brightly coloured statement rings, resin and metal cuffs can be worn alone or paired together. Don’t be afraid to play or mix and match and don’t over-do it with necklaces and big earrings. They look great with any outfit, even your strapless bikini.”

Try: “Dean Davidson rings are my favourite. I love the geometric setting with the soft coloured stone.”

Read more:
Summer fashion: What to wear on a date

6 hot summer dresses under $100

Summer fashion: 8 amazing beach bags

Summer 2012 swimsuits: Top 10 suits under $200