Now that it's finally warm outside, it's time to talk summer trends. We checked in with buyers and directors across various retailers like Nordstrom, Stylebop, Net-a-Porter, and Forward—just to name a few—to see which ones they love...and which ones are on their way out. This is what they had to say.
"After so many seasons of being wed to our vintage denim, we are excited to have a new off-duty alternative in the form of khakis and chinos," shares Lisa Aiken, retail fashion director for Net-a-Porter. "The idea of utility dressing had a strong influence across the season, so we turned to Joseph, a brand masterful at reworking wardrobe essentials, to create an exclusive capsule collection."
"Gingham was once associated with a certain preppy style but has now become much more fashionable thanks to J.W.Anderson, Rosie Assoulin, and Altuzarra," says Aiken. "It's our alternative and welcomed second option to stripes, a perennial summer print." Elyse Walker, fashion director of Forward, agrees. "I am loving anything with gingham or ruffles," she says. "Caroline Constas and Johanna Ortiz do these so well."
"Cowboy boots are back," reports Ida Petersson, womenswear buying director at Browns. "In fact, they are one of the biggest trends for fall/winter 2017 (which is lucky for me as they also happen to be a personal favorite of mine), but early adopters are already embracing the trend with gusto. They look great worn with bare legs and a strappy dress, so are the ideal footwear choice for festivals and summer parties."
"We've seen a real attitude shift toward effortless, easy elegance coming into spring 2017, and nothing sums up this new mood like the wrap dress," says Petersson. "Worn over your bikini on the beach or with jeans in the city, it is the most versatile lightweight staple you could ever wish for. Everyone needs at least one in the summer wardrobe. Vali and Borgo de Nor should be your go-to brands for a beautiful summer style."
"The bigger and bolder, the better!" says Nordstrom fashion director Shannon Schafer. Think elongated drops, artful metals, and mono silhouettes, advises the industry pro. Ann Mashburn, owner of the eponymous e-commerce site, agrees. "Large colorful earrings still feel happy and fun. Rebecca de Ravenel really kicked this off and I don't think it's going anywhere anytime soon," she says. "They are equal parts classic (like something my mom or grandmother would have worn) and whimsical. I should be sick of it but I am not!"
"These are set to have a big comeback this summer," shares Roberta Benteler, founder of Avenue 32. "Brands like Ulla Johnson, Marco de Vincenzo, and Preen by Thornton Bregazzi have been leading the way for us. Great for a summer wedding or garden party. A mid-to-floor length micro floral dress should be everyone's go to this summer."
"Pool slides, furry slides, embellished slides—there are a ton of options coming through right now, it's hard to avoid them this season," says Coco Chan, head of womenswear at Stylebop. The same can be said in the resale market. The RealReal reports they've seen searches for flats grow 22 percent faster year over year than the rest of the shoe business, especially heading into the summer months. "From the mule to the ballet flat, the trend will continue," says a rep for the company.
"Winter will be back in no time, so grab the opportunity now for some experimentation with color," says Chan. This should be easy as so many designers are doing the legwork for you with bold colors and prints across the board." Also on the color front, "bold colors are replacing pastel shades from previous seasons, with bold yellow being the signature color of the season," says Shira Suveyke, chief merchant of The Outnet. "A simple way to try the trend is with a statement earring."
Though they've been a mainstay of summer wardrobes, "the look is not feeling so fresh this summer," says Petersson. "Have we reached peak peasant top fatigue? I think so."
"For summer, we're moving away from the literal lingerie references that we saw so much of in past seasons," Aiken says. "We do still love the slip dress, but opting to wear it in a clean, modern way or perhaps layered with more substantial pieces."
"Anything fringe, flannel, or grunge," says Walker. "These were great at the time but it's now going in the way of clean and feminine." Adds Suveyke, "Full-on boho had its moment but it's time to avoid fringe, gladiator sandals, and oversized sunnies. The new boho is cooler and tougher; think belted maxi dresses with chunky black sandals or slides."
"I find myself reaching for my skinny, tight jeans less and less," says Mashburn. "Especially the coated ones. Wider and straighter denim is looking more fresh to me lately." Data from The RealReal supports this notion. "Search for skinny jeans is down 35 percent from month's prior," shared a rep from the consignment e-tailer. "Although we will always have a place for skinny jeans in our closet, the 'go-wide' has resonated in all silhouettes from cropped to long with search up 87 percent month over month."