The best matching sets...where to begin? I’ll start with this: I have a tendency to wax poetic about my current clothing hyperfixation. Eyeglass chains? They’ll make your life approximately 94 percent easier. A lightweight summer jacket? You must always have one handy; thank me later. But when it comes to matching sets, I veer more into the “preaching aggressive” territory—and for good reason. At their best, matching sets are striking, sumptuous, irrefutably cool. At their worst, they’re intentional, which counts more than you might think. No matter where they land on the spectrum, two-piece sets are *always* more stylish than the sum of their parts.
The matching set, a.k.a. the two-piece outfit, is of course not a new concept. In the ‘50s, Coco Chanel’s cardigan blazers and matching skirts revolutionized womenswear—and have been iterated on ever since. There was the genius of Pierre Cardin, who dressed everyone from the Beatles to Jackie Kennedy, and brought boxy day suits, space age sets, and sculptural designs to the mainstream. More recently, there was the ‘90s Clueless era, in which Cher and Dionne’s plaid skirt sets were forever seared into our collective memories. Even at the height of pandemic lockdowns, we found small joys in the form of coordinated loungewear; searches for the best sweat sets and the best pajama sets reached an all time high. Just as swaddling ourselves in sets of the stretchy variation provided a semblance of structure, elevated alternatives offer a similar delight.
When life feels disjointed, when socks consumed by washing machines render so many mismatched pairs, I find a sense of togetherness in the form of a two-piece set—and I think you will too. While the algorithm has already caught onto the trend (raise your hand if you’re a victim of the Instagram shop tab), I took it upon myself to compile some of my own recommendations, for all warm weather dressing, because you deserve it.
BIRKENSTOCK + STAUD Kai Patchwork Plaid Cotton Set
STAUD is perhaps my favorite destination to shop for matching sets. This patchwork set features a gorgeous criss-cross halter top, with a breezy summer skirt that will keep you cool (both literally and sartorially) on even the hottest of days.
BIRKENSTOCK + STAUD Kai Patchwork Plaid Cotton Halter Top
BIRKENSTOCK + STAUD Sea Patchwork Plaid Print Maxi Skirt
Mango Openwork Knit Set
We’ve already explained why the Coastal Grandmother trend should be on your radar this summer, but I’d be remiss not to back up our claim elsewhere. This outfit is basically begging you to book a weekend in the Hamptons, and, if not, it’s the closest you’ll get from the comforts of home. The openwork-style knit gives the set a summery feel; layer it atop your best swimwear for a subtle peek-a-boo effect.
J.Crew Zinnia Floral
This pattern-punched set is so summertime fine that you could basically wear it barefoot and still be the best-dressed at the function. There’s even a matching blouse (opens in new tab) if that’s more of your vibe.
Cupro Long Parke Blazer in Zinnia Floral
Drapey Cupro Rrouser in Zinnia Floral
Solid & Striped The Lucia Ruched Set
Haven't you heard? Tangerine is the color of the summer—and this look is like a creamsicle on a swelteringly hot day. In case you need any more convincing that this set deserves a spot in your closet, the top has adjustable straps and an adjustable drawstring. Run don’t walk!
Solid & Striped The Lucia Ruched Drawstring Top
Solid & Striped The Roya Gingham Pants
AQUA Swim Terrycloth Matching Set
Get in on the hot pink trend—with a touch of irreverence—by way of pink terrycloth everything. Pool not included, but encouraged!
AQUA Swim Cropped Terrycloth Shirt
AQUA Swim Smocked Terrycloth Shorts
Jacquemus Bagnu Cotton-Blend Terry Set
If I haven’t convinced you to go full terrycloth with the previous pick, here’s a formal alternative that gives more “summer in Provence” and less “poolside chill.” Take a closer look at the top for the gorgeous back detail.
JACQUEMUS Bagnu Open-Back Cotton-Blend Terry Top
JACQUEMUS Bagnu cotton-blend terry wrap mini skirt
ALLSAINTS Matching Set
Know that feeling you get when you discover your favorite dress has pockets? This two-piece set has a similar effect. A sleek satin slip dress is topped with a pointelle-stitch tank, which is somehow so simple and yet so groundbreaking? In fact, it’s not the first time we’ve gushed over ALLSAINTS’s two-in-one dress styles.
Cass Two-Piece Pointelle Tank & Satin Slipdress
Le Superbe Sun Struck Set
Possibly the coolest upgrade to the Hawaiian dad shirt, this set by Le Superbe is all smiles (look closely)—and you will be too when rocking this lightweight pairing. May I recommend topping it off with an equally cheerful crochet hat?
Cinq a Sept Coco Set
The contrast threading of this structured set may be a delicate detail, but it’s also what makes the look so impossibly cool.
CINQ A SEPT Coco Short-Sleeve
Aldi Belted High-Rise Stitched Shorts
Maeve Matching Set
The large bow detail on the back of this tube top gives this structured set a festive flair; great for the understated girlies who prefer a subdued pop. Maximalists out there, have no fear: this set is available in a cherry print (opens in new tab) too.
Maeve Tube Top and Wide-Leg Pant Set
MINKPINK Jedda Set
I know I said that matching sets are more stylish than the sum of their parts, but this paisley pairing may be the one exception—but only because each piece is so perfect.
DEIJI STUDIOS Double Tie Cotton-Poplin Set
All I can think of is how jealous my friends will be when I’m ~easy breezy~ on a sweltering summer day, wearing this lightweight organic cotton set. Bonus: it’s categorized as “loungewear” but could be easily transformed into a chic nighttime ensemble.
The Double Tie organic cotton-poplin wrap top and shorts set
WAYF Twisted Silky Set
Together, these pieces are a cocktail party dream. Apart, you’ve got the perfect formula for a more laid-back look.
WAYF Alcott Knotted Top
WAYF Inez Twist Knot Slit Front Midi Skirt
Ulla Johnson Ianna Set
Ulla Johnson is never one to shy away from whimsy, and this set is what fairytales are made of.
ULLA JOHNSON Angelina Peplum Top
ULLA JOHNSON Ianna Cotton Skirt
STAUD Hana Set
Another perfect pick from STAUD, this set manages to fall under the categories of elevated athleisure and night-out appropriate.
Lucia Tonelli is the Social Media Editor at Marie Claire, where she oversees and creates content across the magazine’s social platforms. When she’s not sleuthing the internet, she can be found tending to her sourdough starter or placing bids on vintage furniture she doesn’t need. Prior to Marie Claire, Lucia held positions at Town & Country and ELLE Decor.
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