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10 Flattering Summer Outfits To Show Off Your Favorite Features

During the summer months, a kind of fashion math comes into play: As temperatures rise, the amount of fabric we wear diminishes in proportion. Slowly but surely, we start shedding our wintry layers. However, we're much quicker to shed some layers than others: Some of us may prefer to keep our calves covered, but will gladly put our forearms on display — or vice versa. Or, we'll seek out a high-waisted trouser to pair with a skimpy crop top. We love 100% of our bodies. But, sometimes, we just like to show off a particular 20%. 

As we cap off the month of May, we're honing in on those perfect summer-wardrobe items that highlight our best features. To scope out these pieces, we enlisted three awesome stylists to walk us through the season's sleekest styles: Alex Sweterlitsch, Sarah Slutsky, and R29's own Emily Holland.

If you want to show off your...shoulders and neck.

There are a lot of off-the-shoulder options popping up for summer — from looser-fitting peasant tops to more structured Bardot necklines that bare your clavicles for all to see. While they have a “glamorous, elegant-woman feel,” Slutsky suggests keeping the look “fresh with denim or a trouser.” For a more contemporary or playful look, seek out an off-the-shoulder top with dainty straps or more traditional cutouts around the neckline. 

If your clavicles need to stay covered, you can accentuate through embellishment. Highlight the neck with a simple, clean choker — err on the minimalist side, as opposed to a clunkier statement piece. Likewise, to draw attention to your shoulders in a more covered-up way, Sweterlitsch recommends buying into the “'80s big-shoulder moment” happening: Try a simple silhouette with “a nice shoulder detailing, something architectural or a little more modern and unique."

This Bardot sexy mini dresses is perfect for someone who wants to show off both the shoulders and the legs.
(Self-Portrait Off-Shoulder Bardot Dress, $291.30, available at Self-Portrait)

This off-the-shoulder top comes with an elasticated neckline to ensure the most comfortable fit. The breezy silhouette, lightweight fabric, and summery stripes make this a no-brainer for your seasonal wardrobe.
(ASOS Off Shoulder Knitted Top In Stripe, $54, available at ASOS.)

A one-shoulder dress really draws attention to your neck and, well, one of your shoulders. The brightly patterned silk makes this a solid choice for any cocktail hours, weddings, or other fancy-dress occasions you may have lined up.
(MSGM One Shoulder Striped Dress, $329.14, available at Farfetch.)

Try a swimsuits as an alternative to a one-shoulder tank. The formfitting style will hug the area you love most — although, bathroom breaks may take a tad longer. (This particular suit comes with a snap closure at the base.)
(Alix Black Crosby Cheap One Piece Swimsuits, $125, available at Alix)

If you want to show off your...arms.
The first thing that happens when the temperature rises above 70: The sleeves come OFF. To show off bare arms, Slutsky says to seek out a silhouette with a great back cutout, like an exaggerated racerback where the armhole exposes more skin. This, in turn, emphasizes the length of your arm. 

However, you don’t necessarily have to expose the skin to flaunt your favorite limbs: Translucent or mesh sleeves are lightweight enough for the summertime, but allow you to remain covered up. And, because we still have to go to work in overly air-conditioned offices, seek out jackets that actually flatter the arms. Slutsky narrows in on the wrist: 3/4- or zip-sleeve blazers will allow you to hint at the arm. "It's a subtle suggestion," she explains.

The name says it all: It's a button-up, long-sleeve blouse with a super-secret mission to make your arms look awesome.

Nasty Gal Undercover Top, $33.60, available at Nasty Gal.

This loose-fitting tank leaves both your arms and back completely exposed, with dainty straps so as to not interrupt the line connecting the back and the limbs.

Reformation Cassidy Top, $78, available at Reformation.

When it comes to cap sleeves, Holland prefers those that are "shorter and almost angled," so you get some coverage without necessarily cutting into the arm. The sculptural sleeves of this bright, shapely dress certainly draw the eye.

Rosie Assoulin Buttercup Cotton-Faille Dress, $2859, available at MatchesFashion.com.

If you want to show off your...legs.
“This season, I’ve been really excited about the midi-length skirt, but the ones with slits,” says Slutsky. This revealing detail works with all hemlines: It's about exposing the right amount of skin with every step. As for the shorter, A-line skirt, it's still going strong, especially in denim. It’s “kind of a break from the denim short, and feels a little dressier,” Holland argues. 

When it comes to pants, it’s about extremes: You either let your calves breathe the fresh summer air, or completely cover them in an is-this-a-skirt-or-a-pant palazzo bottom. “When you do a great wide-leg trouser, and you pare it down with a T-shirt, it puts the emphasis on the leg without having the leg out there,” Slutsky explains. Go wide or go home, we say. (Sorry, skinny jeans: You’ll have to wait until fall.) 

Lastly, don’t forget about the ankles. Your footwear choice can have a pretty dramatic effect on your calves. Sweterlitsch encourages his clients to add some height. The right heel “tenses the muscle so that your calves look awesome.” You don’t want to break up the leg, so opt for a slim strap around the ankle, as opposed to a clunkier wrap or covered foot. Embrace the espadrilles and open toes of summertime.

The dark-beige hue has a '70s feel to it. This skirt checks out on both the leg-flattering and the on-retro-trend fronts. Score!

H&M Short Skirt, $34.95, available at H&M.

Slutsky has been eyeing Wes Gordon’s lace-insert styles, which expose the leg through sophisticated, femme paneling.

Wes Gordon Lace-Paneled Crepe Midi Skirt, $907, available at MatchesFashion.com.

This isn't your typical high-low skirt: It has more shape to it, which makes the effect of the asymmetric hem all the more dramatic (and flattering).

COS Asymmetric Cut Skirt, $115, available at COS.

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