Stay stylish in the summer sun with on-trend statement pieces.
By Ashley Probst
Summer fashion trends are all about making a statement. After years of loungewear and athleisure, fashionistas are making up for lost time by donning their most daring ensembles this season.
“[There is a] play on being bold and coming out of our shell,” says Leslie Christen, a Laguna Beach-based fashion stylist and founder of her recently launched clothing line, Ellis Sea, which is available online and at Good Together House. “I feel like a lot of people are blossoming and finding a little bit more freedom, and I think it translates to the clothing that people are picking.”
Modern milliner Teressa Foglia, who is the founder, CEO and designer of her eponymous brand, which has a studio in Laguna Beach where she creates custom pieces, has observed something similar among her clients.
“Dopamine shopping [is] where people want to go into stores and environments that spark a lot of joy,” Foglia explains. “… It’s a summer of bold dressing and really having fun in what you’re wearing and being a little more carefree.”
Fashion Trends Shine Bright
One way to achieve a bold look is to curate outfits that feature bright hues, which Christen points to as an overarching trend for apparel and accessories. She specifically highlights neons like oranges, pinks, greens and yellows, but also whites and other neutral color palettes.
Jess Watson, owner of The Shop. Laguna Beach, agrees. “The swimsuit trends for this season are neon, definitely a[n] … 80s vibe,” she says.
Christen notes that brown and baby blue are being seen a lot as well, which may seem a stark contrast to the bold. “But I think they pair really nicely together and it’s a great neutral without wearing the traditional black or navy,” Christen says. “It’s a spin on the classics.”
Foglia has noticed clients gravitate toward similar colors, such as neutrals and soft pinks, as well as brighter shades. “People are dying for turquoise and teal and emerald colors. … Yellow has been insane for us—like a bright yellow hat has been really popular, so we’re doing a lot of bright yellow straws,” she says. “… I tend to find that, … depending on their eye color and their hair color and their complexion, different colors light up people in different ways.”
Tie-dye has also been a popular option from Foglia’s collection, especially after singer Miranda Lambert wore one of the brand’s pink tie-dye hats to the Country Music Television Awards.
Aside from florals, there aren’t many patterns that have stood out to Christen this season. Instead, there is an emphasis on monochromatic pieces—“which makes you look really good when you’re tan,” she adds. “That’s probably one of the most flattering colors on a tan body.”
Day-to-Night Swimwear Styles
Hitting the beach is a quintessential summer activity and there are a few standout styles for bathing suits, including one-pieces and tankini tops. Other details like high leg lines and cutouts cultivate a sexy ’90s vibe.
“If the suit is high-waisted, it’s also high hip,” Watson says. “The underwire bra top is trending and tie sides are back [as well].”
Christen’s favorite local swimwear brand is Vitamin A, which was founded by Laguna resident Amahlia Stevens and is still based in the seaside locale. She and Watson both love that the line’s pieces are sustainable, and Christen also appreciates that its website features size-inclusive models.
She also says designers are highlighting pieces that have a transitional nature for a day-to-night ensemble. “Maybe you’re at the beach and you use that one-piece as your bodysuit, you throw on a skirt and a jean jacket and then you go out for drinks after,” Christen explains, noting that sarongs are also a summery, multi-purpose option that can be used as a blanket or a cover-up.
Another way to style swimwear is to layer it under a blazer or oversize shirt, such as an upcycled men’s button-up from her brand or pieces from local stores like Free People and Kerry Cassill. This move into oversize silhouettes, which also include baggy boyfriend jeans and wide-leg pants, is a way to ease back into dressing up for going out, which is also conveniently ideal for summer.
“My clients are starting to just be a little bit more free and wanting to get back to dressing,” Christen says. “… It’s stuff that’s really light and comfortable, but still really fashionable and really chic. Obviously a bathing suit is tight, but with the juxtaposition of … something oversized over it, you still look proportional.”
An Emphasis on Accessories
Accessorizing is a key component that pulls any outfit together, and a quick way to add boldness to your look. Christen recommends gold jewelry like rings and bracelets, especially dainty pieces mixed with thicker ones.
Other on-trend accessories include sunglasses with a retro look in white, neon colors or other bold hues and gold accents, such as the Barton Perreira collection at Aris.
When it comes to bags, opt for large tote bags that can fit beach essentials like a towel, water bottle and change of clothes. Some standout silhouettes are French market bags as well as straw materials or, of course, a cheerful color palette.
For footwear, Christen adores the sandals from Beek, a Newport Beach-based brand. Additional styles she’s been seeing a lot: Mary Janes and lace-up gladiator sandals.
She also points to De La Fuente for hats. “There’s a little tend[ency] of opulence, because we have been so minimalist, so … wearing pieces that stand out, like a hat, that’s just fun and eye-catching and makes things a little avant-garde,” Christen says.
As an expert in the hat department, Foglia has noticed exponential interest in these fun and functional accessories.
“Hats have really been catching on for the last few years,” Foglia says, noting that this trend started with more classic styles, but now people are branching out. “… I think it makes it fun to have staples in your closet and everyday classics, and then you put on this really fun and colorful hat—it just brings the entire outfit to life.”
Some popular options among Foglia’s clientele include cowboy hats with rancher-style crowns and flipped up rims, and recycled denim or canvas bucket hats, as well as wide brims and felt.
“Anything that has a chin strap is amazing for going to the beach [or] if you’re going to be boating,” Foglia continues, pointing to pieces in her collection like the Piana, Chelsea, and Dodici.
For a style that fits the Laguna Beach vibe, Foglia opts for an everyday straw hat. “I would recommend a natural Panama hat with a thicker weave and just something that has a classic bow and band that’s really lightweight,” she says.
And for a night out on the town, she points to a pinched crown style in a classic bone color. Her clients can also opt to add customized wood-burned or hand-painted details for a more daring look that’s still chic and elevated.
“We have a pretty evergreen line and really timeless, classic designs. … And if someone wants to switch it up, they can always come back and we can change it to what they’re currently feeling,” Foglia says of her redesign policy.
No matter what trends you’re playing into, you’re sure to have fun in the sun this summer—just don’t forget the reef-safe sunscreen.