Summer style should appear effortless. And in order to achieve that mood, you need neutrals in your wardrobe. They are the most versatile, easy-to-wear pieces you could possibly have.

Sand, an obvious summertime hue, is the perfect color to fall back on. The subtleness of the creamy color provides a works-with-everything appeal and your options range from prints, textures, and metallics (as shown on the Ralph Lauren Collection runway: above, left) to everything in between. You’ll want to use sand as a building block for bright and moody colors, too. The color plays well with deep hues like indigo and emerald and also works as a base for sunny shades like coral and clementine.

Because the color is so simple and basic, it’s impossibly easy to interpret it to suit your taste. Even Donna Karan agrees. “It goes with everything, looks good on everyone, and maximizes your wardrobe options,” she tells InStyle. So either introduce a simple sweater striped with bands of sand to your closet or work in a silk mini dress ornate with strategically placed tiers of silk crêpe de chine. If you want to add the color in small doses, pick up a strappy nude sandal. It’s a shoe you can always depend on. The shade and silhouette will instantly elongate your legs. But make sure you opt for a leather style, like the Sam Edelman pair pictured above, because it’ll be less likely to get stained.

To cover all bases, let’s talk cosmetics. Makeup artist Steven Aturo taught us that apricot-hued beauty products will complete your look best. You’ll want to work with gold textures and neutral tones that won’t overpower your crisp and clean look.

Now that you know how to work the color from head-to-toe, click to shop our favorite sand-hued finds.

For more features like this, pick up the July issue of InStyle, available on newsstands and for digital download now.