These 15 Fashion Trends Will Define Summer 2021

So much nostalgia.

summer trends

With Jéan x Lord Newry

Everyone has their go-to dresses, shorts, and tops for the heat—a cotton-poplin blouse, comfy cut-offs, a gauzy midi that delightfully catches the breeze, and swimsuits, to name a few. But when you've got to scratch that something-new itch—or legitimately need to replace a well-worn item or two—what could be better than summer's biggest fashion trends to inspire a wardrobe refresh?

This summer, trends are drawing upon decades past—a whole lot of the '80s, '90s, and aughts drifts have been reborn with a modern twist. Statement-making sleeves, spaghetti straps, and feminine details like bustier necklines and corseted waists are more prominent than ever. All of which feel freshest with long, loose-fitting shorts or slouchy pants.

Playful colors and prints also make a splash, from punchy takes on gingham to tropical themes (cute fruit motifs included). As for the accessories—we bet you won't make it to the season's end without coveting a pair of easy slides, a kitschy-in-a-good-way piece of jewelry, or a floppy hat á la '90s sitcom stars.

Moral of the story? This summer is all about having fun with your fashion, from casual outfit staples to beach essentials and occasion-perfect pieces. Ahead, take a closer look at the 15 trends that define the season. 

Romantic Puff Sleeves 

Romantic Puff Sleeves Tops

Design by Tiana Crispino

Puffy sleeves are everything right now, with romantic iterations feeling decidedly sweet for summer. Whether you opt for a dress, blouse, or crop top, breathable fabrics like cotton poplin or linen will keep you the coolest. 

Bright Colors

Bright Colors

Design by Tiana Crispino

You'll feel instantly joyful by dousing yourself in lively colors á la the '80s and '90s. Whether you combine punchy pastels or opt for a single saturated piece, shades like orange, purple, and green are huge this season. 

Bustiers & Corseting

Bustiers

Design by Tiana Crispino

Bustier necklines and corseted waists are another romantic summer trend. Take a cue from celebs like Dua Lipa and Hailey Bieber when styling these feminine pieces—a slouchy jean or low-slung short provides a chill offset, as do sneakers and chunky sandals. 

Cut Outs, Ties, and Open Backs  

Design by Tiana Crispino

Design by Tiana Crispino

The chicest way to bare a bit of skin? With strategically-placed cut-outs, open backs, and ties (also known as the flossing trend). Whether you give this look a go with a dress, top, or bralette, you'll appreciate it most on super-sweltering days.  

Bold Prints

Bold Prints

Design by Tiana Crispino

The most fun way to make a splash is by throwing on '80s, '90s, and early '00s prints. Think: colorful gingham, painterly swirls, and botanical prints destined for a beachy locale.  

Ribbing

Ribbing

Design by Tiana Crispino

The mere thought of wearing knitwear during the summer might make you sweat, but rest assured, ribbing is bearable in the heat. It's all about lightweight weaves and heat-proof silhouettes. Our favorites include open-back dresses, cut-out tops, and swingy sets. 

Slide Sandals 

Slide sandals

Design by Tiana Crispino

Slide sandals are the ultimate summer shoe trend. Iconic versions like Steve Madden's platforms are great for some lift, but having a few flat versions in your rotation will make for plenty of stylishly relaxed moments. 

Smocking 

Smocking

Design by Tiana Crispino

Smocking is another feminine trend that's both pretty and effortless, appearing on just about every summer essential from dresses to skirts and tops. The best part? It offers so much stretch.

Spaghetti Straps 

Spaghetti Straps

Design by Tiana Crispino

You may have been called to the principal's office for rocking these in school, but this summer is the time to live your best spaghetti strap life via tanks, dresses, and so-cute crops. 

Floppy Hats 

Floppy Hats

Design by Tiana Crispino

The bucket hat ruled in 2020 and is still going strong. However, brims are getting bigger and floppier in 2021. We think they're an exceedingly fun finish to any summer outfit. 

Camp Shirts 

Camp shirts

Design by Tiana Crispino

With a hang-ten vibe, this short-sleeve button-down shirt is a chilled-out essential. Wear yours open over a swimsuit as a coverup, half-tucked into shorts, or loose pants with sandals. 

Long Shorts

Long Shirts

Design by Tiana Crispino

Jean shorts are a staple and will never really go out of style. But long shorts are the unanimous choice this summer—from tailored versions to lounge-worthy types like knitted Bermudas.  

Terry

Design by Tiana Crispino

Design by Tiana Crispino

Is there a material more nostalgic than terry? Definitely not. Since a matching tracksuit doesn't quite scream heat-proof, give this trend a try via cute cover-ups, swimsuits, or a '70s-inspired romper. 

Y2K Jewelry 

Y2K Jewelry

Design by Tiana Crispino

Bright beads, colorful acrylic, and daisies are just a few Y2K-style jewelry trends ruling summer. These fun accessories add personality to an outfit, whether you pile it on or opt for a single accent.

'90s Sunglasses

90s Sunglasses

Design by Tiana Crispino

From rectangular and slim oval shapes to ultra-mini frames, '90s-inspired sunnies are key for completing your summer wardrobe. For extra-nostalgic vibes, try sheer lenses or a fun color.

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