Editors’ Picks: All the Summer Fashion InStyle Staffers Can’t Get Enough Of

From travel essentials to funky jewelry, these are the pieces we’re loving right now.

Editor's Picks, Summer Fashion

Let’s be honest: Transitional dressing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Yes, layering is fun, but with the changing of seasons comes complicated feelings of restlessness, allergies galore, and confusion about the weather when we walk out the door each morning. 

Days can go from cold rain requiring boots, a raincoat, and an umbrella to sweltering, almost-summer heat that’ll make you wish you ditched your jacket for a light linen dress in the blink of an eye. Spring temperature whiplash gets old fast — especially on the fashion front. That’s why by the time May rolls around, we’re 100% ready to retire our outerwear, lose the sweaters, and embrace sultry summer dressing in all its light and airy glory.

Besides being the harbinger of summer, May is AAPI heritage month, and therefore as good a time as any to support the emerging and established Asian-owned and -founded fashion brands on the market. So if you’re looking to swap in some new standout staples this season, we’ve got you covered. Ahead, get all the fashion items InStyle editors can’t get enough of right now.

01 of 14

Gentle Monster Musee 01 Sunglasses

Editor's Picks, Summer Fashion

Gentle Monster

To Shop: $300, gentlemonster.com

There’s something very satisfying about new sunglasses and something even more satisfying about an under-the-radar brand that has you rubbing shoulders with Blackpink’s Jennie. With the tiniest bit of effort, you can update an outfit with one piece, and when it’s something like Gentle Monster, that means adding tinted lenses to a classic frame.

I’ve got this pair in orange and purple, and I can’t wait to add light blue lenses next. If the heavy black frames aren’t for you — and they’re not for everyone; I get it — the brand also offers of-the-moment milky frames and classic options that still feature cool colored lenses. Bonus: Since Gentle Monster comes from South Korea, there are plenty of styles that’ll fit people with low (or no) nose bridges. — Christopher Luu, Senior News Editor

02 of 14

Message Mullen Slide

Editor's Picks, Summer Fashion


To Shop: $160, wearmessage.com

Whenever warm weather rears its head, you typically have two options for footwear: ugly yet comfortable sandals or pretty and pinchy mules. These slides, however, lend the perfect balance of chic and durable. They’re also water-, sweat-, and odor-resistant. Bonus: They’re good for the environment, too — each insole is made from unused and upcycled wine cork. My personal favorite is the Mullen style in Crème Brûlée. — Ondine Jean-Baptiste, Assistant Social Media Editor

03 of 14

Tyler McGillivary Corset Tee

DI: Editor's Picks, Summer Fashion

Tyler McGillivary

To Shop: $165, tylermcgillivary.com

The perfect white T-shirt does actually exist. I picked up this staple item at a sample sale and was too enraptured by the cut to leave without it. At first glance, it looks like a typical plain white tee with a midriff cutout, but the boning at the bottom lends a structure to the look that elevates the everyday basic. The back of the shirt features a crisscross tie you can tighten like your average corset, and I have to admit I have been alternating which side to highlight depending on my mood. Two vibes for the price of one? Win-win. — Ondine Jean-Baptiste, Assistant Social Media Editor

04 of 14

Sandy Liang Slight Tank

Editor's Picks, Summer Fashion

Sandy Liang

To Shop: $125, sandyliang.info

I’ve had two Sandy Liang tank tops for many years now, and they both hardly show any wear. And it's not because I baby them — I wear these tanks everywhere, throw them rumpled up in my purse for post-work changes, and am constantly getting stopped by cute girls who want to know the brand. It’s a high price for something you can buy in a 12-pack at Walmart, but the rib cage cutout and the slinky-yet-supportive Rayan fabric blend make these tops super versatile. I even once styled one with a silk skirt for the VMAs red carpet. — Danielle Fox, Senior Social Media Editor

05 of 14

E.M. Kelly Mini Hoop

Editor's Picks, Summer Fashion

E.M. Kelly

To Shop: $160, em-kelly.com

Summer style is all about ease, and for me, that looks like wearing the same stack of hoops every day. I have 12 ear piercings (probably more by the time you’re reading this) and I’ve put in quite a bit of work trying to find the perfect huggie hoop. Designer Erin Kelly Meuchner makes these ones handmade to order in New York City, and I love how the hefty sterling silver sits flush against my ears. I’ve already worn these mini hoops swimming in the ocean and I can report that the hinged-post closure stays strong, so there’s no risk of a Kim Kardashian crying meme moment here. — Danielle Fox, Senior Social Media Editor

06 of 14

Birkenstock Milano Big Buckle Sandals

Editor's Picks, Summer Fashion


To Shop: $180, bloomingdales.com

Do yourself a favor: Go look at the soles of your Birkenstock Arizona sandals. If yours, like mine, are worn well past what is acceptable, it’s time for an upgrade. This summer, I’m going for the Milano in this buttery patent leather; the back strap will keep them from sliding off on the NYC streets (ew), and I’m fully obsessed with the big buckles. — Lindy Segal, Fashion Editor

07 of 14

Lioness La Quinta Pants

Editor's Picks, Summer Fashion


To Shop: $64, shopbop.com

A friend was wearing these lightweight linen-blend pants, and I promptly went home and bought the very same pair. They have a nice mid-rise cut (I’m generally loyal to the high waist, but with pleats, I do think lower feels right) and look way more expensive than they are. There’s also a matching blazer if you’re in the market for summer suiting. — Lindy Segal, Fashion Editor

08 of 14

Quince 100% European Linen Short Sleeve Shirt

Editor's Picks, Summer Fashion


To Shop: $35, quince.com

This is my shirt of the summer! Linen is one of my favorite fabrics, and Quince does it really well. This top is extremely breathable — and as a big-time sweater, I can fully recommend this during those sweltering summer months. Another great bonus: It’s not too long, which means it doesn’t look like you’re wearing your Dad’s button-up. I’m such a fan that now I’ve got my eye on the brand’s matching linen shorts or the long-sleeve version. — Kelly Chiello, Associate Photo Director

09 of 14

Away Packable Sling Bag

Editor's Picks, Summer Fashion


To Shop: $45, awaytravel.com

I have been searching for a bright orange fanny pack for a while, and thankfully, I happened upon this packable one from Away. It’s extremely lightweight and can fold up into the size of a computer mouse when I am not using it. Plus, it’s water resistant, which is perfect for those days when I will get caught up in a surprise summer storm. I love this bag so much that I’ve already influenced a friend to buy one. — Kelly Chiello, Associate Photo Director

10 of 14

Herschel Heritage Hardshell Medium Luggage

Editor's Picks, Summer Fashion


To Shop: $300, herschel.com

It’s so hard to find luggage that is both fashionable and functional, but Herschel (yes, the backpack brand) just created a line of hardshell luggage. The line, which is available in four sizes and five colorways, features the same sleek design that fans of the brand know and love, including its signature embossed diamond detail and logo patch. The bags feature double-sided compartments, 360-degree wheels (for satisfyingly smooth movement around the airport), and a TSA-approved lock. Oh, and the best part? The shell is made from 70% recycled road barricade material, and the inner lining is 100% recycled post-consumer water bottles. So you can embark on your adventures while feeling good about your bag’s previous journey too. — Tessa Petak, Staff Writer

11 of 14

Blackbough Swim Top

Editor's Picks, Summer Fashion


To Shop: $60, blackboughswim.com

With summer just around the corner, my bikini collection is in desperate need of a refresh. Enter Blackbough Swim: This AAPI-founded company has a huge collection of fashion-forward and trendy suits (made using recycled materials!), and with its mix-and-match cuts and patterns galore, there is quite literally something for everyone. I’m loving its Elena Underwire Top in Rosebud Pointelle this season because it’s basically the bikini version of the cottagecore aesthetic with its floral pattern and delicate eyelet lace trim. If you’re going for a beach-ready ensemble, be sure to add one of its coordinating coverups to your cart to go with the suit of your choice. It’s a match made in swimwear heaven. — Tessa Petak, Staff Writer

12 of 14

Shop-Pêche Weiss Sandal

Editor's Picks, Summer Fashion

Shop Peche

To Shop: $79, shop-peche.com

The time has come for me to stop gatekeeping this shoe brand. The Brooklyn-based line provides unique designs at super-attainable prices — not to mention Pêche shoes are consistently comfortable. I currently have four pairs on rotation in my closet, and its heeled sandals are especially chic and walkable, seamlessly transitioning from work to weekends. — Amanda Lauro, Designer

13 of 14

Notte Jewelry Heavy Metal Heart Earrings

Editor's Picks, Summer Fashion


To Shop: $59, nottejewelry.com

Notte makes exactly the kind of jewelry I crave come summer. Founded by former accessories trend director Jessica Tse, the brand specializes in cheeky designs that are way ahead of the curve. You’ll find unexpected materials like mother-of-pearl and quirky-cool pairings like sparkly mermaid-inspired gems. Frankly, I had trouble narrowing down my cart when I made my most recent purchase, but I eventually landed on these heavy metal hearts. I love mixing and matching my gold and silver jewelry (after all, fashion rules are meant to be broken), making this set the perfect addition to my warm-weather collection. — Madeline Hirsch, News Director

14 of 14

Cinq à Sept Kersti Dress

Editor's Picks, Summer Fashion

Cinq a Sept

To Shop: $595, cinqasept.nyc

It was love at first sight with this dress. I have about a million and one weddings to attend this summer, so I’m desperate for formalwear with a bit of personality. Thankfully, I found this ruffly, asymmetrical confection from Cinq à Sept. It ticks all my boxes: The print is the perfect blend of feminine, flirty, and not-at-all prissy, and a red-and-pink color scheme remains one of my all-time faves. Plus, it instantly reminded me of an iconic outfit in fashion history: the floral midi Sarah Jessica Parker wears in the boathouse date scene in Sex and the City (you know the one — she falls into the Central Park lake wearing it). When in doubt, I take my styling cues from Patricia Field. She never misses. — Madeline Hirsch, News Director

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