Her outfits were full of important lessons.

By Samantha Sutton
Updated Jan 29, 2020 @ 4:00 pm

Let's travel back in time to the early '00s, when jeans were low-rise, tiny Nokia phones were everywhere, and one of the hottest shows on TV was The O.C. Fans of this soap opera-like series excitedly tuned in week after week, eating up all that high school drama and lusting after the outfits — particularly those worn by Summer Roberts, played by Rachel Bilson.

Sure, Marissa Cooper (AKA Mischa Barton) had that cool, effortless, Cali-girl thing going on, but Summer was the true style icon. She stayed on top of trends. She enjoyed piling on accessories. She wasn't afraid to say what she wanted via graphic T-shirt. Plus, who can forget about the time she dressed up like Wonder Woman to impress Seth Cohen? That's something only a true fashion girl would do.

We didn't immediately realize it, but Summer was teaching us a ton of invaluable lessons that we still think about while getting dressed. The styles may have changed (or, um, have they?), but these fashion tips will live on forever.

Don't Underestimate a Simple Dress


When it comes to events, it doesn't matter if your clothing is somewhat understated — Summer taught us it's all about those little extras. She'd add a headband, drop earrings, and an elaborate purse, turning a simple look into something that's all her own.

Bring on the Graphic Tees

Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

This girl may have been in high school, but making a statement has no age limit. A graphic tee can be a conversation starter and a fun way to say what's on your mind. Plus, they always look good with a casual pair of jeans.

Not All White Shirts Are Created Equal


Summer wore her fair share of white tops, but she never looked like she was repeating an outfit. That's because all of them were slightly different — tees, crop tops, various necklines, etc. — and she made them stand out with the help of accessories.

Embrace a Pop of Color


Another trick to amp up a white shirt, or even a neutral or casual outfit? Add a pop of color. Here, Summer used her earrings to give things a vibrant twist and a bit of flair. The same thing can be done with a bright scarf, a printed bag, or a colorful hat.

Think Versatility

Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

Sure, Summer's closet was a never-ending abyss that allowed her to wear a new outfit each episode (TV magic!). But if she did want to repeat pieces, she had options. This skirt in particular could have easily been paired with a sweater, the cami would look stunning with jeans, and, really, what wouldn't a black pair of wedges go with? Yep, this girl was definitely the queen of stylish staples.

Cozy Can Be Cute

Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

It can be a little tricky to find the balance between polished and comfortable, but Summer showed us the way with this chunky knit and midi skirt. She also wore a lot of knits and taught us the power of layering.