Summer dressing is all about ease. Or it should be. Pop into a simple sheath and sandals, and you’re out the door. Pull on some linen drawstring-waist pants, and you’re ready for the weekend. Most women have their summer favorites, but it’s always fun to dip into a new look or two – even if it’s a new twist on an old one.
Here, we highlight just 10 trends that look promising. There are more, of course. But if you’re looking to freshen up your summer wardrobe, this is a start:
1. Gingham checks. If Dorothy’s blue-and-white dress in “The Wizard of Oz” comes to mind, you may want to rethink this warm-weather classic. Glamour magazine calls the latest checks “Grown-Up Gingham.” After making recent appearances on runways – Victoria Beckham, Michael Kors, Diane von Furstenberg and Joseph Altuzarra all showed them for this spring or last – they now can be found in many styles and price ranges. Black and white is a classic combo, but unique pairings such as fuchsia and rust (J. Crew) can also be found. Look for checks of all sizes on dresses, shirts, skirts and shorts but also accessories. Talbot’s even offers a bucket hat in a tiny black-and-white check.
2. Printed pants. A quick way to snazz up your summer wardrobe, printed pants allow you to give your white ankle crops a rest now and then. Sure, they’re more memorable than solid-colored bottoms, but they sure can be fun. Look for them in slim-leg cuts as well as relaxed, pull-on styles in prints perfect for the beach, patio and beyond. Tropical and botanical prints are popular, as are seaside and other seasonal motifs.
3. Stripes. Summer wouldn’t be summer without stripes. Wearing them can be as simple as slipping on your favorite navy-and-white T-shirt, but you can also experiment with pairing them with prints, such as a floral (think skinny stripes with a bold floral). J. Crew offers oxford-inspired stripes in cobalt blue and white this season; you can even match tops and bottoms for an all-in-one look. Bold stripes are another option in many collections.
4. Midi length. Maybe you like minis. Maybe you like maxi dresses – especially in the summer with cute sandals. But midis are back in styles ranging from pencil skirts to flowing dresses.
5. Shoulder exposure. There are several ways to embrace this look. One is to choose a dress or shirt with stretch banding around the top that allows you to expose one or both shoulders. The other is a “cold shoulder” dress, tunic or blouse with some sort of cutout between the neckline and the sleeves. Urbanoutfitters.com shows several styles, including a shoulder-baring dress that combines tank straps with short sleeves (yes, it’s possible). The Jennifer Lopez collection at Kohl’s also includes several cold-shoulder tops, including one in an oversized floral. Just remember to apply sunscreen.
6. Back views. We would be remiss to not mention back-baring garments fashioned with cuts, crisscrossed straps, slits and keyholes. These often can be found on a dress or shirt that looks quite conservative from the front. We love how one fashion writer described this look: “A more palatable version of the phrase most readily associated with the mullet hair style: ‘business in the front, party in the back,’ ” wrote Debra D. Bass in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
One tip: “Even a shirt slit up the back doesn’t have to be revealing if you wear a tank or tube top underneath in a coordinating color for a twist. The look will still be intriguing, and as the weather heats up it’ll provide some welcome ventilation,” she wrote. (Again, remember that sunscreen.)
7. White-on-white. Whether it’s on the runway, store mannequin or catalog model, an all-white outfit catches the eye. It might be white linen, lace, crinkle cotton, denim, a knit – or a layered combination in different fabrics. In its Summer Look Book, Talbots shows a long white blazer layered over a pintucked shirt and white cropped denims. Ann Taylor calls white “Summer’s can’t-go-wrong shade” and devotes a section to it on its website. Old Navy sends this message: “Bright white-on-white dressing is a key trend, delivering a fresh palette cleanse to signal the start of the summer season.”
8. Earthy greens. In addition to moss and olive, other earthy greens include a shade called Twig at the Gap, Camo Green at Aerie and Enchanted Moss, Dark Green Marsh and Weathered Sage at Loft. These tones show up as solids or background colors for all-over prints. They also work nicely into all the leafy patterns out there.
9. Prairie looks: This is a feminine look with some of the same elements one may associate with the boho trend of recent seasons. Lord & Taylor described the look this way: “Lacy frocks, pastoral blouses and careworn denim (see below) combine for a look that’s prairie-meets-pretty.” Pieces included embroidered denim jackets, paisley dresses, lace-up sandals and hair crowns.
10. Summer denim: Lightweight denim is nothing new, but it’s getting some extra attention. Macy’s, for one, named it as one of its top trends for spring/summer. “Distressed, frayed and patchwork styles carry on this season’s ’70s’ vibe. Crisp white and blue washes rule the scene. Skirts with button-front details, dyed-to-look-denim sweatshirts and delicate sundresses reinvent everything you thought you knew about denim dressing. From ombré washes to all kinds of embellishment, there’s never been a better time to embrace true blues.”