From Art-Inspired to Zippers, Here's Our A-to-Z Guide to Summer Style
In the world of fashion and beauty, keeping track of all the runway trends, the non-stop flood of "It" items on the market, and the sheer volume of celebrity style inspiration can be a touch overwhelming. But it doesn't have to be. We went back to the basics and broke it all down for you the best way we know how: with the good ol' ABCs.
From art-inspired pieces shown on marvelous runways (including the likes of Chanel and Celine) to zippered detailing (see: Jennifer Connelly's sexy-sophisticated Louis Vuitton dress), we hit all the major summer fashion, accessory and beauty trends out there (well, 26 of them that is) complete with our shopping picks and tips.
A is for Art-Inspired
Designers, such as Phoebe Philo of Celine and Karl Lagerfeld of Chanel, looked to great artists this season, painting a picturesque lineup that boasted expressive brush strokes and a bold palette of colors. Unleash your creativity with a watercolor-inspired dress, like this shift from Joe Fresh ($30; joefresh.com), or pay homage to a specific genre with an accessory, like with these mod shades from Cutler & Gross ($667; cutlerandgross.com).
B is for Beach Waves
Zoe Saldana, Olivia Wilde, Emma Stone, and Olivia Munn know the power of a tousled beachy wave, and thanks to its ability to work with the humid summer elements, the style is always our go-to once the mercury starts to rise. Try out the look by misting a sea salt spray like R + Co’s Rockaway ($25; randco.com) into damp hair, scrunch, and allow your strands to air-dry.
C is for Crop Top
The belly-skimming top is still going strong for summer. All signs on the red carpet point in that direction, whether it’s Selena Gomez taking the flirty route in maroon cut-out Cushnie et Ochs separates or Leslie Mann upping her glam game in a sweeping fuchsia-poppy Monique Lhuillier design. Jessica Biel elevated hers to next-level sophistication with high-waisted wide-leg trousers. Shown here are three crop tops worn three very different ways, but they all share one common denominator-high-waisted bottoms to reveal just a whisper of midriff.
D is for Day-Glo Lips
For the Prabal Gurung runway, makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury blended a rainbow of MAC Lip Mixes ($15; maccosmetics.com) to create the ultimate power pucker, which transitioned perfectly to the red carpet with stars like Lupita Nyong’o, Jessica Alba, Solange Knowles, and Jessica Chastain showcasing their own take on the trend. Since the color makes such a bold statement, you can go easy, or even minimal, on the eyes.
E for Eyebrows, the Bolder the Better
Gone are the days of pencil-thin arches – celebrities like Cara DeLevingne, Emma Watson, Kim Kardashian, and Lily Collins are embracing full brows in all their glory, and we’re all following suit. A thick, well-groomed set of eyebrows have the amazing ability to frame your face, create a more-youthful appearance, and with correct placement, can even give off the illusion of a slimmer nose. So step away from the tweezers and pick up a brow pencil, and make sure to veer no more than two shades lighter or darker than your natural hair color.
F is for Fringe
Olivia Palermo made the case for the Western-inspired detailing as she shrugged on a fringe jacket over a lace top and leather pencil. Do the same and integrate fringe into your wardrobe, though one piece at a time (committing to any more could border on costume). Make a statement with a fringed neckline in the form of a tee (Milly, $340; net-a-porter.com) or necklace (Loft, $45; loft.com), or with gladiator sandals (Michael by Michael Kors, $150; michaelkors.com).
G is for Graphic Florals
No wallflowers here-these blooms are bigger and bolder than ever. Find them printed all-over on an outfit-making coat, a la Emma Stone in Brock Collection, sprinkled here and there, like on Lake Bell’s Suno cropped jacket, or intricately embroidered on a dress, as seen on Claire Dane’s Prada dress.
H is for Hit a Homerun
Don’t sit on the bench this season! Enter it with your athletic arms swinging by trying out each sport, from track in Alexander Wang’s leather jogger to scuba diving in Tommy Hilfiger’s leather suit. Or, team two with one look and layer a baseball bomber over tennis whites, like how it was done on the Victoria Beckham runway.
I is for Iridescence
Rock heavy metals with slick pieces that catch beams of light at every shimmy. Jennifer Lopez stole the spotlight with her fierce copper Lanvin and burgundy Vivienne Westwood pairing, while Rashida Jones toned down her Lanvin shine with a sharp blazer. Emma Watson took a different approach, taking on the shimmery textile with Narciso Rodriguez’s blush pink creation.
J is for Jute Rope
There’s no summer shoe quite like a pretty pair of espadrilles, whose main identifier is its (eco-friendly!) braided jute rope sole. While wedges have been the go-to silhouette, we simply adore these bejeweled crochet Tory Burch flats ($195; toryburch.com) that would be perfect for endless strolls through the park or for museum-hopping. For a night-out option, we’d select these two-tone Matt Bernson heels ($218; mattbernson.com) that serve up a fresh mint accent and added texture.
K is for Knife Pleats
As one of the defining characteristics of a flirty skirt or dress, knife pleats, like an accordion, allow for maximum movement without a ton of excess fabric, making them ideal for summer conditions. Our picks: A coral French Connection dress ($238; frenchconnection.com) and a floral Paul Smith skirt ($439; harrods.com). Or, consider pleated detailing by way of a poppy pink top-we love this one by French Connection ($88; frenchconnection.com).
L is for LWDs
Take a cue from the stars and trade in your little black dresses for little white ones. And just like LBDs, LWDs come in all shapes, sizes and forms. Case in point: Sarah Jessica Parker chose a flirty flared tulip-print Alexander McQueen, the Duchess of Cambridge wore a pretty eyelet Zimmermann, while Jordana Brewster went with a minimalist Carolina Herrera shift.
M is for Metallic Eyes
Heavy metal never looked so good! A high-impact effect like Lupita Nyong’o’s smoky eye or Jennifer Lopez’s gilded shadow elevates a night-out look, and during the day, keep your metallic streak going with soft shimmer like Rihanna’s or a touch of gold liner like January Jones’.
N is for Nautical
All hands on deck-give your digits the nautical treatment with Dior’s themed polishes (cleverly named “Sailor,” “Captain,” and “Yacht”) ($30 each; sephora.com). Next, slip on a pair of chambray shorts speckled with miniature sailboats (J. Crew, $60; jcrew.com) and cuff an anchor around your wrist (C. Wonder, $58; cwonder.com). Smooth sailing ahead!
O is for Overalls
If you haven’t already heard, overalls are proving to be the one-piece of the season, with a slew of celebrities backing the trend. The latest one to jump on the bandwagon? Naomi Watts in Black Orchid Skinny Overalls in Mutation ($174; blackorchiddenim.com).
P is for Pool Slides
Dust off your old school ‘90s slides, because sporty sandals are back. But with their return come a new class of pool slides, with pairs washed in metallics (Ancient Greek Sandals, $199; ancient-greek-sandals.com) and vibrant hues (Birkenstock, $120; birkenstockusa.com), complete with cool treads and chunky criss-cross straps (Aldo, $70; aldoshoes.com).
Your tried-and-true neon nail polish just got an upgrade! Instead of last year’s highlighter-inspired colors, beauty brands are rolling out subdued versions that won’t compete with the vivid tropical prints in your closet. Shades like Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics’ Deven Green ($10; sephora.com), Essie’s bold trio (in Too Taboo, Chills and Thrills, and I’m Addicted, $8.50 each; essie.com), and MAC’s Bougainvillea ($18; maccosmetics.com) pack as much punch as the traditional neon, but incorporate an opaque, creamy finish. Not ready to give up your pastel lacquers just yet? Not a problem! YSL’s La Lacque Couture in Bleu Celadon ($27; yslbeautyus.com) and Lara’s Theme by Deborah Lippmann ($18; deborahlippmann.com) seamlessly walk the line between the two trends.
R is for Rainbow Monochromaticism
Lupita Nyong’o (in Stella McCartney), Emma Stone (in Dior), Camilla Belle (in Michael Kors), and Kelly Rowland (in Lanvin) schooled us with a lesson learned in color commitment, ruling the red carpet clad head-to-toe (accessories included!) in one shade without deviating once.
S is for Slip-On Sneaks
T is for Tea-Length Skirts
Take inspiration from the Christopher Kane and Derek Lam runways and add a ladylike flair to your look with a tea-length, or midi, skirt, which should hit roughly halfway between your knees and ankles. Play with pastel monochromaticism for a chic effect, or dress it down with a simple crop tee.
U is for Unicorn Hair
We know, we know…unicorns don’t really exist, but if they did, we imagine that they’d probably be rocking pastel strands like Nicole Richie, Katy Perry, and Sienna Miller. Creative hair color works best an already-lightened hair, but if you want to get a quick fix, try out a hair chalk like Kevin Murphy’s ($20; kevinmurphy.com for salon locations). Since the hue washes out as soon as you lather up, you can change your color to match your mood, and your outfit.
V is for Valentino Pony
This tiered bubble ponytail may be from Valentino’s fall runway, but this is one style we’ll definitely be breaking out early! The effect couldn’t be easier to recreate – just grab a handful of hair elastics, sweep your hair into a low pony, exaggerate each pouf with a teasing comb, and tie into place before moving on to the next section.
W is for Wide Crop
Wide crops, aka culottes, are like tea-length skirts but in pant form-this season’s hottest new pant, in fact. Seen all over the runways, from Emporio Armani to Etro to Proenza Schouler, the dynamic, no-cling silhouette swishes with each step (making it perfect for hot summer days). Plus, they let you show off your killer shoes.
X is for Xtra-Loud Shades
Upgrade your basic black pair with statement sunnies to lend a radical degree of drama to your everyday summer uniform. We’re obsessed with these whimsical cloud-inspired shades (House of Holland, $203; houseofholland.co.uk), an eccentric polka dot pair by Le Specs x Craig amp Karl ($90; shop.lespecs.com), and elevated cat eyes by Wildfox ($249; shopbop.com).
Y is for Yellow-Citrus Fruit
Z is for Zippered Detailing
Jennifer Connelly’s red carpet premiere look was equal parts sexy and sophisticated, thanks to the metal hardware that ran down her Louis Vuitton dress. Give your skirts an edgy spin with the same treatment, whether it’s a vertical zip (Aritzia, $85; aritzia.com), an asymmetric one (Zara, $50; zara.com) or one all over (Mango, $100; mango.com).