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Summer is heating up, and if you’re searching for cute outfit ideas for the beach, summer weddings and any other occasion while you’re having sun in the fun, you’ve come to the right place. Looking your best in a heatwave can seem challenging at times, but it doesn’t have to be. If there is one thing to remember this summer, it’s to keep things easy. “Looking and feeling effortless is key when it comes to summer dressing,” Sari Sloane, founder of Everafter and The Westside, tells WWD. This philosophy is the solution to perfecting any summer look.
Choosing your shapes and fabrics for summer should both be simple (think one-and-done dresses, flowy pants, and wide-leg jeans). “Soft and natural silhouettes are perfect for warm evenings, and bright pops of color reflect summer’s happy vibe,” Sloane says.
“The fabric should feel soft, light on the body, and comfortable,” Meredith Melling, Chief Officer of La Ligne, tells us. “When temperatures rise, staying cool and comfortable are high priority. I tend to gravitate towards breezy cotton dresses and flat sandals. If I find a versatile dress that I love, I can accessorize it in so many different ways to suit different occasions.”
Accessories are crucial when it comes to situational dressing. Swapping a beach bag for something smaller and with more structure for evening, can completely change a look. Changing out a sandal for a heel, elevates any outfit for evening. “Location, crowd, and vibe all contribute to choosing the right outfit,” Sloane says. “A barbecue, beach party, or dressing for a vacation all lend themselves to different styling. My advice is to get into the mood of the party or trip and go for it.”
Dressing for the occasion is important, but dressing for your personal mood is even more necessary. “Dopamine dressing is a trend that has registered with our customer,” Melling says. “The bolder and brighter the dress, the harder it is to keep in stock.” These mood-lifting trends, like bold colors, vibrant prints, sequins and shine, resonated strongly across the Spring/Summer runways. Make sure to look for items that bring joy while you create your summer outfits, as it is the best season to test out new trends and have a little fun with fashion.
Keep scrolling with these pointers in mind, to find our favorite pieces for cute summer outfits ahead.
Cute Summer Outfits for 2022
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La Ligne Constance Empire Waist Silk Maxi Dress
The Quirky Printed Dress
“I love to push my prints and color palette over the summer, opting for unexpected acid brights or quirky prints,” Melling tells WWD. And we recommend just that. This silk maxi dress is the perfect summer starter style. Bursting with swirls of color, the print is grounded by a navy pattern throughout. Dress yours up or down depending on the occasion. A simple slide sandal and a straw designer handbag pair well for a day brunch. Swap the accessories for evening with a metallic heel, statement earrings, and a beaded clutch and you have your new go-to wedding outfit.
The Westside Collection Valentina Top
The Printed Matching Set
“I’ve been seeing customers flock to sets with cropped tops and fuller skirts, like our Valentina top and Sienna Wrap skirt,” says Sloane. The swirly print offers a softer play on the tie-dye trend, while flowy silk provides comfort for all day wear. The flattering, off-the-shoulder crop top silhouette balances the high-waist of the matching wrap skirt for an easy outfit. Alternatively, you can break the pieces apart for even more styling solutions. The top goes well with your favorite high-waisted summer jeans and the skirt can be paired with everything from tanks and t-shirts to fitted bodysuits. Just add your favorite sandal and you are good to go.
ByTiMo Gingham Cotton Poplin Smocked Top
The Smocked Blouse
We can’t get enough of the smocked tops and dresses that are popping up everywhere this season, but this style is even sweeter, by combining gingham, another of our favorite spring trends, into one adorable garment. The 100% cotton-poplin gingham fabric and voluminous balloon sleeves will keep you cool on hot days. The square-cut neckline will flatter your neckline and leave room for a fab pendant necklace to be shown off. Wear yours with the matching mini, or high-waisted straight-leg jeans for a relaxed weekend look.
Everlane The Tourist Pant
The Linen Trouser Pant
A wide-leg, pleated front pant will be your savior on muggy days when you have little inspiration for cute outfits. Made from ultra-breathable linen and organic cotton, these pants will become a fast favorite due to the relaxed fit and endless styling opportunities (although we love the simple pairing with a crisp white t-shirt). We also love the pockets on the front and back, giving it the utilitarian feel. Wear it to work with a classic designer tote bag and slip-on slides to maximize the “tourist” feel for which this pant is named or try a crop-top for an evening feel. As one customer raves, “Absolutely love these pants. True to size. So so cute.”
Aquazzura Almost Bare Sandal Flat
The Metallic Flat Sandal
Upgrade your footwear game for summer with a metallic sandal that will take you from day to night in a heartbeat. Aquazzura’s minimalist thong style is made in Italy from mirrored leather and comes in both silver and gold colorways. The easy shoe pairs comfortably with all your favorite summertime essentials. Try yours with printed palazzo pants and a billowy blouse for a pajama-style look that will take you from beach to street shopping and more.
The Westside Maya Ruffle One-Shoulder Bodysuit
The One-Shouldered Ruffle Bodysuit
“We’re selling lots of bodysuits. We have a one-shoulder ruffle bodysuit that’s already a bestseller in the collection. They look great with a wide-leg relaxed jean or a long skirt,” Sloane tells WWD. This flattering shape will highlight your neckline and toned arms with a one-shouldered silhouette. The statement ruffle amps up the feminine feel on this ballet pink toned suit, while the soft jersey body will smooth and provide comfort with every bottom pairing, but especially with flared jeans.
Nili Lotan Josette High-Rise Wide-Leg Jeans
The Wide-Leg White Jean
White jeans are a summer closet essential and this Nili Lotan wide-leg version is a must-have for all denim lovers (and are particularly flattering for curvy women). The high-waisted cut will enhance the natural waistline and provide an elongating effect with the wide-leg, slightly longer pant shape. The Josette style is available in sizes 24 to 30. Style yours with a striped tee for a nautical feel, or try an embroidered bohemian style top for an eclectic vibe. A platform sandal will balance out the length of the jean and a simple leather belt will finish off every outfit with a polished touch.
Altuzarra Tandy Skirt
The Lightweight Printed Floral Skirt
A cotton midi skirt is another essential closet buy for summer. This style from Altuzarra features a tonal blue floral motif print that is soft and subtle. The drawstring tie-waist and button front closure add special details to the classic shape. A side slit will show a little skin and keep things still sexy. Style yours with everything from workout crop tops to simple knit tank tops or even a button down shirt for the office. Lace-up gladiator sandals will accessorize perfectly for a refined outfit idea.
Veronica Beard Livina Tank
The Crochet Tank Top
Crochet was heavy on the runway and this tank top is the ideal piece to inject the trend into your everyday wardrobe. Veronica Beard’s soft, cotton pullover style will be comfortable, chic and take crochet beyond beachware. The thicker strap and square neckline allows for bra straps to be covered, for those who prefer to have extra support. Tuck yours into a billowy, high-waisted pant for a riviera feel, or pair yours with denim cut-off shorts for a weekend of city wandering.
Loewe Small Leather-Trimmed Basket Tote
The Designer Basket Bag
You can never go wrong with a designer beach bag, especially when it comes in a classic, Jane Birkin-inspired shape, like this straw basket bag. Loewe’s chic leather straps and leather logo patch will make sure yours stands out in a crowd. The bag is big enough to fit all the essentials and more, but small enough not to overwhelm, like a true beach bag size would. Toss over your shoulder for a picnic in the park for an effortless French girl vibe.
Alex Mill Summer Short Suit Pant
The Summer Short Suit Pant
Suiting can be worn all year round if you look for the right fabric and cuts to match the season. Linen is the ideal fabric for summer and linen dresses, along with suit separates, like these pleat-front tailored shorts, are office appropriate. Pair them with the matching vest and blazer for the full three-piece suit or break it up with just the vest, short and fisherman sandals for a cute and comfortable look. “I will be living in these all summer! Second purchase after buying the navy. Was concerned about how the linen would look after hang drying (not ironed). Pleasantly surprised that it works either way — crisp and structured and air dried and drape-y,” one customer reviews.
Zimmermann The Terry Cloth Pant
The Terry Cloth Pant
Sloane also recommends “towel terry dressing with a chic, vintage feel” as another top trend to try this summer. These Zimmerman drawstring pants are made from soft, cotton terry cloth fabric and feature a retro-inspired fleur-de-lis print, channeling beach clubs of the 1960s. These will of course make a great cover-up for days by the pool, but you can also wear these pants for everyday with a white t-shirt and dressier sandals for weekend errands or a brunch al fresco. Complete the look with oversized round sunglasses in a gradient color to capture the retro essence.
La Ligne Twist-Front Cotton-Poplin Midi Dress
The White Poplin Dress
La Ligne’s white poplin dress is a classic with a twist, featuring a gathered top, puffed short sleeves, and a tiered skirt for a chic and feminine play on the shirt dress. “We are all excited about the LWD (Little White Dress) as a crisp summer statement that looks great with neutral accessories or bold pops of color and can certainly serve summer brides at their many different wedding related events,” Melling says. Whichever way you choose, play with accessories for an entirely different look each time you wear it.
Chelsea Paris Remy Heel
The Bold Strappy Sandal
When you need a little pick-me-up, reach for a vibrant pump to dress up any outfit. Chelsea Paris’ signature Remy style, is a strappy shoe that has a square toe, wrap ankle with buckle closure and 3 inch heel. Available in bright red and neon green, it is an easy way to inject color into your summer wardrobe. As Melling suggests, “I personally love all the crisp white dresses that I can add colorful accessories to.” This shoe would complement a white dress fabulously, but also works well with playful printed dresses or classic jeans and a tee.
Reformation Tasha Tank
The White Tank Top
Perhaps it was the clean white tank top that walked the Prada FW22 runway on Kaia Gerber and Hunter Schafer, but ever since, white tanks have been on our mind. This Reformation style is an affordable alternative, made sustainably in Los Angeles from ribbed organic cotton. The high-cut neckline and wider strap make it a cool take on a classic. Wear yours with your favorite high-waisted jeans for a casual moment or a sequin skirt and metallic heels for a night out, inspired by the runway.
Dôen Samara Top
The Romantic Blouse
Summer dressing calls for breathable, oversized tops that don’t stick to the skin. Florals are always in fashion and when suited with one of Dôen’s free-flowing top silhouettes, it’s a match made in heaven. It’s all in the details with this one, featuring delicate scalloped ruffles and a whimsical feel. Style yours with shorts or jeans for casual days, or a high-waisted poplin skirt for a dressier feel. Ballet flats will complement the romantic nature of the top, and simple gold hoops and chain jewelry will top off any look with finesse.
Vince Sequined Midi Skirt
The Sequin Skirt
Events and nights out on the town are finally back, so it is the perfect opportunity to lean into another runway hit: sequins and shine. This fully embellished, A-line skirt from Vince will make evening dressing a breeze this summer. Date night calls for simplicity, so pair yours with a tank or tee and a simple sandal. A special event is the time to go more over-the-top with this style. Play with textured shine by pairing it with a draped satin top and statement platform pumps for a disco-inspired take.
Self Portrait Pink Gingham Print Chiffon Midi Dress
The Gingham Dress
If you have a summer of weddings to attend, you will want to look for stylish dresses that can be reworn and reworked in different ways. Gingham, traditionally associated with daytime wear, takes an elevated form when printed on soft chiffon, as seen on this Self Portrait number. A corset-inspired bodice and darling sweetheart neckline solidifies the romantic mood. Pair yours with pearl drop earrings and chunky heels for a wedding guest appropriate look, and then swap for flats for your next garden party.
Completedworks Tra-La-La Pearl 14K Gold Vermeil Earrings
The Pearl Drop Earring
Fashion’s obsession with pearls is still going strong, and we can’t get enough of them. Completedworks stunning drop earrings are not your grandmother’s pearls. Handcrafted in sterling silver plated with 14k yellow gold vermeil, these freshwater pearls take on a modern spin with the cluster design. Wear these with everything from casual looks for a little something extra to dressier outfits for evenings out, weddings and beyond.
La DoubleJ Long Coverup Printed Pareo
The Printed Pareo Skirt
Some may call it a sarong, some may call it a wrap, but pareos are all about versatility. “We always introduce pareos, in the prints we are offering for the summer season, and they are a great styling tool,” Melling notes. “You can wear it as a skirt, a dress or use it as a scarf on cool summer nights or plane trips.” Ground this vibrant print with plain colored pairings, like a simple white bikini or black one piece from one of the best swimsuit brands. Summertime accessories like raffia bags, leather sandals and beach jewelry will forever make a cute summer outfit.
Meet the Experts
Sari Sloane and Haro Keledjian, the visionary wife + husband team behind Intermix, returned to retail and founded the Greenwich Retail Group (GRG) in 2017 with two complimentary retail destinations: The Westside, a California inspired women’s boutique, and Everafter, a one-stop-shop for the modern parent in search of stylish options for kids and teens. Previously a buyer for Bergdorf Goodman, then Fashion Director of Intermix, Sloane has more than found her role within the retail industry. She launched 3 private collections for each brand under the GRG umbrella in Summer 2021. She resides in NYC with her husband and 3 daughters.
Meredith Melling began her career in NYC at Vogue in 1999 as an assistant in the fashion department, after graduating from Tufts University. She quickly became Senior Market Editor and oversaw the popular Index section and the CFDA/ Vogue Fashion Fund. The latter gave her unique perspective into both the successes and challenges of emerging brands. In 2010, she was named Fashion Director at Vogue.com. Three years later Meredith and fellow Vogue colleague, Valerie Macaulay, founded La Marque, a content and styling consultancy with clients like Tiffany, Theory, Lily Aldridge and Ashley Graham. In 2016, they partnered with Molly Howard to launch La Ligne, a direct to consumer fashion brand for the stripe-obsessed. Meredith balances her career in fashion with a growing family that includes four children and their three rescue dogs.
Meet the Author
Kristina Rutkowski is a New York-based freelance writer and editor with a focus on fashion. She was previously the Senior Fashion Market Editor at InStyle, covering all things trends and shopping related. She has also worked in the fashion departments at Self and Glamour. Her bylines have appeared on Vogue.com, TheZoeReport.com, VanityFair.com and InStyle.com. Editing fashion throughout her career, she has been able to see, try and research the best brands available on the market today.