summer essentials
Stuff + Things

City Girl Summer Essentials for Everyday and Away

Summer is here, and the time is right… to pull out sunscreen, sunglasses, and sundresses! Every girl needs wardrobe and life staples for any season, and the summer essentials are especially important. Here’s what I’m packing and wearing on repeat this summer!

This is our first summer in Victoria, but I’m 99% certain that the weather is going to be virtually identical to Vancouver’s — a bit of rain here and there, possibly some forest fire smog, but mostly sunny and hot. The only difference is that it’s mighty windy. Here are my essentials for summer in the city!

summer essentials

Let’s start with the obvious… 

  • All important sunscreen (protect your skin!!)
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Reusable shopping bag (for those farmers’ markets you know you’re going to check out) — Victoria is a plastic-bag-free zone, so we always make sure to roll up at least one bag in my tote.
  • Lovely BC wine to chill in your fridge


My new optometrist started to give me the sunglasses ‘lecture’, but then I told her I have three pairs. (I want to protect my eyes — and you should protect yours, too!) She looked visibly relieved — apparently it’s something she actually has to remind patients about… Sunglasses also make for an amazing headband.

The pair I’ve had for a few years now is from Fossil, but they don’t make the style anymore. I’ve linked a pair below that caught my eye (ha). But, because I’ve been driving more often, I finally broke down and got prescription sunglasses. I had to get new regular glasses anyway, and Clearly has been having a summer BOGO sale — don’t miss this!!

Victoria-based Dream Pandas is making eco-friendly bamboo sunglasses that make you feel good because a) they donate 10% from every purchase to their selected charities; and b) they are pretty fly. Mine are white-framed with bamboo arms, and there have several colours and styles to choose from. 

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Orb Laurel bag crossbody2-in-1 purse

Nevermind diamonds, a good handbag is a girl’s best friend. Especially one that is multi-purpose and has two purses in one. As many purses as I have, my Laurel tote from Orb has been on my shoulder for most of the last 10 months. It’s a roomy tote that comes with a cross-body bag, and it’s the best. The cross-body can also fit my water bottle, so I give it mega bonus points. And for my vegan friends, it’s a very good fake leather. 

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]#GetThrifty: If your budget is tight, try shopping the 3+1 way that my first and only retail job taught me — 3 essentials + 1 fun item (usually an accessory). Ideally they all go together. [/perfectpullquote]

Denim jacket

The ultimate summer layering piece. A denim jacket has been a staple in my wardrobe since I was 13 (a long time…)  My current jacket is from J Crew Factory (mostly the same stuff — but better pricing — as its big sister J Crew), and I’ve had it for a few years. If I needed a replacement, I would probably buy this one from Dynamite.

And while we are on the topic of denim…

Every girl needs a flattering pair of denim shorts. I’m a big fan of the mid-rise cuffed options from Old Navy. (Not too short, and no rips. If I wanted to have holes in my jeans, I would do it myself.)

Also, a good pair of white skinnies or crops never did anyone any harm. Dynamite pleasantly surprised me last year with these white skinnies — quality fabric, high rise, nude pocket lining, and a super #GetThrifty price-point of $55 CAD. (The fact that they are better than the previous, way more expensive, pair I owned is a reminder that higher price doesn’t always mean a quality product…) To be honest, I wear jeans all year round. As soon as the sun goes down and it’s under 20 degrees celsius, I am COLD.

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summer essentials dress


Because I’m on-the-go a lot, most of my wardrobe is multipurpose — the ability to dress something up or down is key. 

This pink shift from Orb is my favourite dress right now. The colour is fab and I can wear it with my Chucks or a pair of dressier shoes. I also love the versatility of a maxi dress (and the fact that they are perfect for when you forget to shave your legs!), and have linked a couple below. 

And because summer is ‘celebrate everything’ (weddings, babies, the bride, everything!) season, having a go-to special occasion dress is mandatory. I’ll be wearing this Orb floral shift dress at the end of the month for the lovely Karlie Rosin’s Montreal wedding.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Savvy Summer Tip: Prevent unwanted chafing and your legs sticking to chairs with a pair of undershorts. Knix has a great sweat-wicking option, and Blue Sky Clothing has super soft bamboo shorts (size down!)[/perfectpullquote]

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Rompers & Jumpsuits

Dress them up, dress them down. I didn’t think I was jumpsuit girl — until last year, when I got a truly amazing Aritzia gem and a comfy option from Old Navy.

I also didn’t think I was a romper girl. But my friends at Orb brought me around with their Drea and Polly rompers. Super comfy and they have pockets! And they both go with all my summer shoes. Every. Single. Pair.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Use my code YASMINE20 for 20% off on your next Orb Clothing purchase![/perfectpullquote]

summer essentials Orb romper

Wide brim hat

Protect your head and face from the sun while sipping something lovely on a patio or people watching at the beach or park. A few years ago, I invested in a Tilley straw hat; it’s made many an appearance on my Instagram feed and has taken quite a few trips with me.

I now also have a more traditional Tilley hat, and if their guarantee is right, I’m set for life. (They are also packable and made in Canada!) You can buy Tilley hats at West Coat Trek Apparel and here on the Tilley site.

Comfy shoes

Whoever said comfy shoes are ugly clearly never looked hard enough. The Brit and I mostly explore on foot, and that means no high-heels (even wedges). But I wanted to have something slightly less casual than my Converse or runners to walk around in. So I scoured the internet, and was reminded that Naturalizer has really great shoes.

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[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Travel Tip: Warm weather clothes are the best and easiest to pack. Roll EVERYTHING. For the items you’re worried about creasing, don’t roll as tight. But this maximizes the space in your suitcase; particularly if you use packing cubes.[/perfectpullquote]

A good read

Because I usually take transit, I almost always have a book in my purse. I love to read and having my nose in a book means I’m not on my phone. I also love to go to a cafe or to the park or beach to read for a bit while sipping an iced tea (or hot — yes, I drink hot tea in the summer). These are what I’m currently reading or have on the docket:

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What are your summer essentials? Share in the comments below!

“Not only do women hold up half the sky; we do it while carrying a 500-pound purse.” ~ Gina Barreca





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