4 Summer Essentials Everyone Should Have in Their Closet

Perfect for Mother's Day, too.

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

The below is from editor-in-chief Nikki Ogunnaike's weekly newsletter, Self Checkout. Subscribe here.

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.

A good girlfriend of mine is traveling to Greece in a few months and asked for some outfit recs—kick-starting my brain into summer outfit planning mode. I don’t have any vacations mapped out just yet, but I do know that wherever I go must involve swimwear, a boat, rosé, and loads of lounging around. Here’s what’s currently on my shopping list…

Nikki Ogunnaike at Fashion Month

Editor-in-chief Nikki Ogunnaike.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Warm Weather Dresses

I went through a big Pleats Please phase during the pandemic, buying two dresses and two skirts that I wore nonstop. I put them on ice for a bit, but I’m breaking them back out because they’re perfect for traveling. They don’t wrinkle and can work as cover-ups, sightseeing looks, and ideal building blocks for in-between moments.

Vacation-wise, I often pack both a black dress and a white dress that I can wear for dinner. There’s something so easy breezy, yet polished about these styles that I love.

Two Types of Sandals

When it comes to summer footwear, I generally operate in far extremes: barely-there styles for vacation, and chunky dad or fisherman-inspired styles for work and everyday city life. (Flip flops are quite possibly the grossest thing you could wear in New York City, but I do love these ones from Havaianas and J.Crew.)

Colorful, Comfortable Swimwear

Hunza G recently celebrated its 40th anniversary with a brand trip to Mexico that I stalked on Instagram for three days straight. What I noticed (and kudos to the brand!) is that they brought influencers and tastemakers across the size spectrum and dressed them all in their one-size swimwear and dresses. Everyone looked incredible and now I’m tempted to pick up a couple of styles for myself.

Classic Beach Bags

I generally only bring one or two bags on summer vacations, and one of them is always a basket tote of some sort. They work both on the beach but also when strolling around town. I’m shocked by how many chic options I was able to find under $100.

...and Luxury Upgrades

If a designer option is what you’re looking for, though, I’m very into these ones.

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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.