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How to update some of your winter staples so they work for summer

MulberryEmilio PucciJenni KayneBalmainJessica AlbaCelineSarah Jessica Parker

Sure, summer uniforms (a.k.a. anything that's lightweight and airy) are what you want to wear this time of year, but that's no reason to retire your staples from last season. Rather than invest in a completely new a warm-weather wardrobe, why not update your past purchases with a few key pieces? Consider this your closet's annual face-lift, with ideas courtesy of some talented professional fashion stylists.

Black booties

"The key to making [black booties] appropriate for the season is by pairing them with something light and pretty," says stylist Cher Coulter. Kate Bosworth, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Nicole Richie rely on her knack for nailing effortless style, so take note if you thought this footwear should be stashed until fall. Whether your next summer concert is indoors or on the lawn, Coulter recommends channeling the glory days of rock and roll with simple separates and heavy-duty embellishments.

To try: Emilio Pucci shoulder bag in gray calfskin (available at Emilio Pucci, $1,990); Balmain silver-buckle leather belt (available at Luisa Via Roma, $544); Topshop black strappy cami (available at Topshop, $36); J Brand low-rise cut-off denim shorts (available at Net-a-Porter, $152); Oliver Peoples M-4 pewter sun glasses (available at Oliver Peoples, $425); Rag & Bone Harrow leather boot in black (available at Forward by Elyse Walker, $495).

Oxblood clutch

If you splurged on a bag in spring's color du jour, there's an easy way to incorporate that deep burgundy hue into your everyday ensembles: Just add white. Stylists and designers Emily Current and Meritt Elliott (Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Alba and Katie Holmes are fans of the duo's eponymous denim line) are all about incorporating a splash of white and a bit of colorblocking to make the color seem fashion-forward on warm days. Lauren Tafuri, a costume designer and wardrobe stylist who splits her time between Los Angeles and New York, appreciates the versatility of the trendy color: "It's a clean but slick look that one could wear in the day and then wear straight into an early evening soirée."

To try: Nina Ricci gathered charmeuse top in mint silk (available at Net-a-Porter, $525); white Mother high-waist Looker skinny jeans (available at ShopBop, $196); Loeffler Randall Clemence metallic-speckled sandal (available at Barneys, $119); Gap Neon belt in orange (available at Gap, $29.95); J.Crew Classic gold link necklace (available at J.Crew, $165); Mulberry oversized Clemmie clutch in oxblood (available at Mulberry, $1,000).

Leather moto jacket

From punks to It-girls, the motorcycle jacket has quickly become the common denominator of layers — anybody can wear one. Give the look a casual bent by wearing it over your shoulders, as Orlee Winer recommends (she counts Malin Akerman as a client), along with something feminine like a carefree frock. Lilli Millhiser, who works under stylist and designer Kate Young, agrees that balancing out the toughness is key. She would put a moto jacket with a delicate blouse and denim shorts. We could see Young's clients Natalie Portman or Michelle Williams wearing this ensemble.

To try: Birkenstock Arizona soft footbed sandal (available at Zappos, $130); Reiss blush silk and jersey top (available at Reiss, $170); Levi's A.N.G.E.L.O. recycled vintage stone-washed denim shorts (available at FarFetch, $62.13); AllSaints Pitch black leather biker jacket (available at AllSaints, $668).

Camel cashmere sweater

As a contributing stylist for Rolling Stone, Nylon, and Teen Vogue magazines, Laura Francis encourages her clients to take risks. In her eyes, the innate elegance of a camel cashmere sweater calls for some playful add-ons, including a '90s-inspired backpack and leather miniskirt. Blue linen flats give a dash of color to an otherwise all-neutral look.

To try: Opening Ceremony Rusty zipper-embellished moto skirt in black (available at Opening Ceremony, $350); Harper Ave. Kazuyo backpack (available at Crybaby Presents, $210); Jenni Kayne linen D'Orsay flat in pale blue (available at Jenni Kayne, $395) ; Equipment Sloane crewneck camel sweater (available at Equipment, $268).

Dark-wash skinny jeans

Described by Laura Jones as "a year-round styling safety net," dark skinny jeans shouldn't be left for colder months. The stylist boasts Alicia Keys and Lily Kwong as regular clients, so she's aware of what it takes to elevate a staple from basic to breathtaking. Keep cool in an outfit that is equal parts glam and gangster.

To try: Ancient Greek Chrysso beaded flat leather sandal (available at Net-a-Porter, $270); 3.1 Phillip Lim Phoenix graphic racerback tank (available at Barneys, $195); Chloe Paraty military medium shoulder bag in bright peony (available at Saks Fifth Avenue, $2,295); Maison Michel Virginie grosgrain-trimmed straw fedora (available at Net-a-Porter, $480); Celine round sunglasses (available at FarFetch, $415); Paige Skyline skinny jeans (available at ww.Paigeusa.com, $158).

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Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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MulberryEmilio PucciJenni KayneBalmainJessica AlbaCelineSarah Jessica Parker
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