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/ Source: TODAY
By Lindsay Albanese

Summer outfits don’t always have to be the obligatory tank and shorts or simple dress.

I want to inspire you to try new, elevated versions of your favorite summer staples — team up different textures, colors and style sensibilities. I always say the secret to achieving personal style and interesting outfits is to have fun with it! That is often where the style magic happens.

Stop following archaic, outdated style rules. Instead, rock that personal style.

Elevate shorts

Take your classic shorts up a notch by going for a bold print. TODAY

A lot of women avoid shorts because they're tricky! They tend to ride up and sometimes fit strangely around the thighs. Plus, many say they're inappropriate for sophisticated events like baby or bridal showers, birthday parties or a night out.

Not true! Shorts are in the vanguard of fashion right now. To keep the look polished, shop for shorts with tailored elements like cuffed hems, pockets and a tied waist to avoid looking like you’re wearing pool shorts. I also suggest choosing something a little high-waisted to really define your shape, or even to create shape!

Also, make sure they're not too tight around the thighs. Keeping this in mind will create a chic and sophisticated look.

Slim trucker jacket, $40, JustFab

TODAY editors, writers and experts take care to recommend items we really like and hope you’ll enjoy! Just so you know, TODAY does have affiliate relationships. So, while every product is independently selected, if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the revenue.

Circle hoop earrings, $40, Jules Smith

Cati slide sandal, $25, JustFab

Dionne square neck crop white, $32, White Fox

Tropical shorts, $40, Zara

Die-cut basket, $60, Zara

Jump into a jumpsuit

Jumpsuits are the new dresses. TODAY

Jumpsuits are another tricky article of clothing. If you’re ruling them out or think you’re “too old,” I'll tell you to stop. You’re missing out!

Jumpsuits have the same elegance as a dress but the functionality of pants.

If you haven't found a jumpsuit that suits you, keep trying. The key is finding one that checks all the fit and style boxes. I promise, it's out there. This one flatters Cassia because the tie at the waist really pulls everything together and balances out her proportions.

So, next time you have an event where you think, I need a new dress, try on a bunch of jumpsuits instead! Pair one with bright, white sunglasses! They integrate with any summer outfits.

One shoulder jumpsuit, $40, JustFab

Kayu mini St Tropez tote, $65, Shopbop

Almond toe suede sandals, $85, & Other Stories

Abstract oval earrings, $39, & Other Stories

Premium square sunglasses, $33, Zenni

Dress to the max

Sneakers and a maxi dress will be your new favorite combo. TODAY

The fashion sneaker movement is here and I give you cart blanche to wear these sneaks with everything.

They add a sporty twist, and I suggest wearing them in place of any outfit that you would normally wear with sandals. You will be surprised at how appealing the contrast of athleisure and daywear looks when teamed together.

My biggest tip when trying to pull off sneakers and maxi dresses is to make sure the maxi dress hits at your ankle or higher. I don’t really suggest wearing sneakers under floor length maxi dresses, because the rubber from the shoe can get tangled up in the hem of dress — which can cause you to trip! And, don't forget to try the easy hair wrap trick that really took this look to another level. Simply throw your hair up into a high bun (messy works!) wrap a scarf around the bun, then tuck in the ends.

Flowy ruffle maxi dress, $115, & Other Stories

Merane-n, $65, Aldo

Chunky oversized hoop earrings, $28, Madewell

Bandana, $12, Madewell

Totes with wooden handles, $46, Zara

Lindsay Albanese is a style expert and accessories inventor.