Last summer looked a little different than those of previous years. Rather than calculating our remaining vacation days and putting together looks and itineraries for weekends away, we started to cultivate a wardrobe of comfortable separates and settle into an existence that saw our homes become our new offices, gyms, and restaurants. But the world is slowly dipping its toes into a kind of hopeful normalcy. Things are starting to feel a tad more upbeat than they did a year ago, and the promise of blue skies, balmy nights, and sunny days calls for a wardrobe to suit. Here are our favorite fresh takes on 4 staples in which to embrace the season’s carefree spirit.
the summer dress
Brightly colored flowy dresses are an obvious go-to when you want to keep cool in the hottest temperatures. This season’s iterations come in a variety of vivid shades and eclectic prints, and are cut from luxe yet sustainable fabrics including soft cotton and silk, making them the perfect sartorial salve for the heat. With its striking ombré-effect and impeccable craftsmanship, the Daffodil Utility Dress by South African high fashion brand Viviers is a dazzling and dramatic choice. Featuring a voluminous yet adjustable silhouette and a classic button-down design, the piece needs little accessorizing and is commanding enough to speak for itself. If you prefer a figure-hugging fit, consider Andrea Iyamah’s Reni dress. Available in a rich tangerine hue, the bold, elegant midi dress incorporates knotted detailing to flatter the frame and a midriff-baring cutout to make a cheeky statement. Combine it with oversized gold jewelry and a pair of barely-there stiletto sandals for a look that will take you wherever you need to go, whether that’s a dinner with friends or a night on the town.
the summer jacket
The arrival of summer is traditionally a signal to start moving those winter coats toward the back of your wardrobe and making some room for less bulky, more colorful pieces. Choose from soft, understated takes on the classic bomber jacket, or go for an innately glamourous, lightweight cape (try Emmy Kasbit’s Akwete cloth Toye cape for just the subtlest of coverage). One of our favorite cover-ups for summer though is the Reversible Poncho from Senegalese label Diarrablu. Constructed from a blend of acrylic and wool, the relaxed silhouette drapes gently in the front, while its black and white brushstroke-like print lends it an artistic edge. And though you could easily combine this unique style with a clinging strappy dress or neutral separates, we suggest donning it with the brand’s matching Fekh shorts and a pair of on-trend, chunky sneakers for a look that’s sports-luxe at its finest.
the summer jumpsuit
A one-and-done statement piece, the jumpsuit is a figure elongating classic that’ll take you from day to night with ease. It’s comfortable, simple to wear, and the perfect work-from-home companion—but with just a few considered jewelry choices and the right pair of heels, it instantly becomes the base of an elegant evening ensemble. Take the colorful route and turn to Kahindo’s ankle-length blue and green jumpsuit. The oceanic-toned, vacation-ready piece forms part of the label’s Resort'21 Collection and was inspired by the myriad shades found in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. With its relaxed shape and roomy wide legs, this style will quickly become one of your go-to seasonal staples. If versatility is what you’re after however, then allow Diarrablu’s Umy Jumpsuit to take its place as your new wardrobe superstar. Available in salmon pink and crisp white, its luxurious, silk-like cupro form can be worn in over nineteen different ways and is custom made to fit your body. End things on the right foot and pair this elegant all-in-one with a classic summer sandal like Loza Malehombo’s Koh style in black or white.
the summer swimsuit
Nothing says “summer” quite like long days spent lazing next to the water in a brightly colored swimsuit. That's right, we’re sorry to break it to you, but the basic black swimming costume you wore in high school will simply not cut it. Turn rather to the vibrant bikinis and one-pieces of Andrea Iyamah—the Nigerian-Canadian designer counts celebrities including actors Gabrielle Union and Issa Rae as fans—and allow her flirty and fun designs to guide your poolside style. Iyamah’s swimwear boasts ultra-feminine, almost retro silhouettes that still feel timeless, while modern touches like gathered ruffling, high-waisted fits, and asymmetrical details deliver a season specific relevance. Her orange Nisi swimsuit is a one-shoulder design accented with sculptural leaf-shaped ruffles. It’s also fitted with underwire and light padding for extra support, and finished with high-cut sides and a keyhole detail at the back. The Kuwa Bikini is another example of the brand's signature summertime elegance, this time in a shimmering olive hue that’ll complement your sun-kissed glow. Finish it all off with a beach-appropriate basket bag to store all of your essentials and an oversized sun hat to protect yourself from the elements.
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