Temperatures may be through the roof, but we’re only a couple of days into summer—meaning there’s still time to figure out what to wear in summer and to get your reemergence wardrobe in order. Whether you’ve already begun dressing to the nines or are slowly working up the nerve to slip back into a pair of structured pants, this season’s seen-everywhere pieces have a little something for everyone.
For those of us who remember ordering from the Delia’s catalogue in the late ’90s and early 2000s, the trends dominating summer 2021 look eerily familiar: bucket hats, friendship bracelets, kitten heels (kitten heels!)—the list goes on. It’s a mash-up of the zaniest Y2K throwbacks—think Spice World meets Lizzie McGuire meets middle-school sleepaway camp—mixed with polished pieces that feel more appropriate for postadolescent activities like, say, working in an office.
Frankly, I’m here for it. After a year cooped up inside, it feels like there’s less pressure to reemerge looking perfect than there is to simply reemerge, ready to celebrate, wearing whatever you wish—whether that’s a rainbow knit bucket hat or ’70s-inspired crochet tank.
Ahead, we’re calling out and forecasting which pieces will define the summer of 2021—wares you’re sure to see everywhere from Instagram to the sidewalk and your favorite .com shop. Because we’re guessing you’ll want to join in the fun, shop all these pieces below.
Knit Bucket Hats
If you’re still resisting the return of the bucket hat, I urge you to reconsider. Everyone else seems to have embraced them, so what’s stopping you? I pair mine with EltaMD’s Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 for an added dose of sun safety.
Maybe we all watched The Queen’s Gambit one too many times, or maybe we’re just getting tired of tie-dye, but checkerboard prints are popping up everywhere this summer. As someone whose day-to-day style isn’t quite so bold as to successfully pull off an extra-loud pattern, I’ll be taking this trend to the beach.
If round sunglasses feel too John Lennon, oval sunglasses look too Jackie O, rectangles will feel just right.
Matching sets can easily feel like pajamas—especially when a top is paired with a tiny coordinating skirt or shorts. Follow Lorde’s lead and wear one of these midi-length sets next time you’re filming a music video for your chart-topping single.
Who could have guessed those vintage Nine West pumps you used to own would be now a hot item on Depop? Perhaps the most controversial item on this list, square-toe sandals have officially returned to the mainstream.
Crochet is absolutely everywhere this summer. Keep things low-key with a beachy neutral, or go bold with a bright, ’70s-inspired pattern.
Your eighth-grade self is calling, and it wants you to dig out your old friendship bracelets. Not to worry if you’ve lost track of them—there are plenty of delightfully nostalgic options available.
Poplin Crop Tops
What to wear in summer? A crop top! Which, this season, has managed to reinvent itself once again—returning in crisp, polished fabrics and bold prints.
If you spend any time on Instagram, you’ve no doubt witnessed the rise of the now ubiquitous fishnet grocery bag. Keep it simple with a basic market tote, or level up with something a little more statement making.