Summer Is Coming—5 Essentials I'm Stocking Up On

From new J.Crew to classic Birkenstocks.

Nikki Ogunnaike at Fashion Month
(Image credit: Getty Images)

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With close to 20 years in the fashion industry, I’ve not only seen it all—but also know how to parse through the endless sea of stuff. What’s worth buying? What’s not? In Self Checkout, you’ll find my highly specific recommendations with a few picks from my most knowledgeable, stylish friends.

Though we're a month out until the official start of summer, Memorial Day is just two weeks away. It’s making me daydream about summer Fridays, European vacations, and overall warmer days ahead. So this week, I’m sharing a couple things on my wishlist—from beach reads and my favorite sunscreen to bikini cover-ups and work tops—to enter the new season right.

Nikki Ogunnaike at Fashion Week

Editor-in-chief Nikki Ogunnaike.

(Image credit: Tyler Joe)

My J.Crew Beach Essentials

I visited the new J.Crew store in SoHo, New York, earlier this week and fell in love with the city/coastal decor, soon-to-be-iconic navy staircase, and all of the red pieces the brand had to offer. This oversize button-up (wear it now with jeans, and later on the beach as a cover-up) muscle tee, and one-shoulder one-piece were personal faves.

My Go-To SPFs

Speaking of J.Crew, last year the brand’s creative director, Olympia Gayot, introduced me to my new favorite sunscreen by Clé de Peau. It goes on so smoothly, does not clog pores (something I suffer from with a lot of other sunscreens), and doesn’t leave a weird cast on my skin. 10/10, no notes. It is admittedly pricey, though, so I also use Black Girl Sunscreen as a more affordable option.

My Next Beach Read

Very Bad Company, written by my former colleague Emma Rosenblum, is the definition of a long weekend beach read. Described as “a gripping, darkly comic novel about a team of wealthy and powerful executives on retreat in Miami when one of them goes missing,” I can’t wait to give it a read with a margarita in hand.

My Favorite Summer Sandals

We talked about shoes last week, but I found a couple more pairs that I love and have to share. These Birkenstocks are an instant “Add to Cart”, as are these Havaianas. The Valentino Garavani’s are a splurge, but you’ll be able to wear them for many, many seasons to come. They’re also good outdoor wedding sandals!

My Miscellaneous Must-Haves

Lastly, a few stream-of-consciousness extras. My summer hat of choice is usually a visor. They don’t sweat my hair out and still block the sun. I have my eye on this one from & Other Stories. I’m already thinking about what I’ll wear to the office once it gets really hot (more on this in the next few weeks!), and this Dries Van Noten denim skirt will probably come in handy. Finally, I’ve been thinking about this pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses since I tried them on at Power Play back in March. The inverted lens adds a cool, not-your-run-of-the-mill touch.

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Nikki Ogunnaike

Nikki Ogunnaike is the Editor in Chief of Marie Claire US. She has previously held roles at Harper's Bazaar, GQ, ELLE, Glamour, InStyle, and Vanity Fair. You may also recognize Nikki from her time as the host of Snapchat’s Online, IRL and IGTV's The Run Through. Based in Brooklyn, New York, in her free time Nikki enjoys running half marathons, learning about wine, and watching reality TV without an ounce of shame. You can follow her at @nikkiogun.