Semi-sheer fabrics, saturated hues and offbeat prints – summer looks are playful but not childish, fun but not frivolous.
The powers that be may rarely deign to bless Britain with sunshine, but that doesn’t mean you can’t channel hotter climes with your summer clothing.
With the catwalks continuing to draw inspiration from ’70s bohemia and old-school sportswear, summertime fashion is set to be hot, regardless of the weather forecast.
Swapping the city for the glimmering Côte d'Azur? Look to the palette of your destination, adding splashes of vibrant colour to your suitcase. Missoni beachwear reliably sports the brand’s iconic zigzag pattern, adorning sheer kaftans and beach dresses alike. Complete the look with a pair of statement sunglasses for a dose of St Tropez glamour.
Collections from Lisa Marie Fernandez fuse bohemian sensibilities with an athletic aesthetic. Try her patchwork one-piece to match the myriad hues of the sea, or contrast with your surrounding in a high-waisted cherry-toned bikini.
Brazilian label Blue Man combines 2016's athleisure trend with retro silhouettes. Build your summer outfits around its billowing kaftans in kaleidoscopic prints and silky shift dresses.
As the sun slips below the horizon, channel Spanish señorita style with oversized ruffles and sangria hues. Showcase your Iberian influences in a frill-fronted blouse or a dark jumpsuit with rippling detailing.
Having studied under Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood, Christian Siriano filled his 2016 collections with striking shapes and artful drapery. For structured sophistication on balmy evenings, choose a black silk crop top and wide-legged trousers in a lightweight fabric.
‘90s style was hugely influential on the SS16 catwalks. Saint Laurent dresses, which feature deep V-necks and unorthodox slits, demonstrate the label perfecting a tougher take on this era. The beauty of this trend is its relative simplicity, so keep things understated with black ballerina shoes and a monochrome box clutch.
Summer in the city
Whether you’re jetting off to Paris to browse Les Puces or catching up with friends in Covent Garden, city summertime fashion calls for light layers and easy-to-wear denim. A pair of cropped flares is a playful alternative to your staple denim skirt, such as those from AMO. A sleek fit and gentle stonewash make them perfect to pull on with a shoulder-baring top.
Stella McCartney’s take on this hard-working fabric, embellished with cartoonish embroidery in crayon-box hues, brings a modern touch to the '70s trend. Marc Jacobs’ reference to the decade is far more obvious, however, with spangled patches and stars-and-stripes motifs.
For something a little more classic, take inspiration from Alexa Chung and Edie Campbell’s hallmark Sloane Ranger style. Navy blazers teamed with silk neckerchiefs and subtle jewels are key characteristics of this urban-chic look, but keep it fresh with a dainty ear cuff rather than a string of pearls. A pair of glossy Nicholas Kirkwood Beya loafers with a razor-sharp pointed toe will set you further apart, while a perforated smiley-face tote from Anya Hindmarch brings a dose of the bag designer’s trademark humour.
Garden party summer clothes call for pretty patterns and soft tailoring, but eschew the usual pastels and prim cuts for Lanvin’s elongated lines and moody florals. The fashion house’s loosely layered maxi skirts look sharp with a white blazer, and accessorised with an outsized graphic Shourouk necklace.
Designs by Preen by Thornton Bregazzi work well in late-afternoon light. The fine, feminine fabrics with sheer leopard and floral prints are layered over one another to form sculptural shapes. A stand-out piece from the line is a flowing black asymmetric dress with juicy orange and green stripes.
Alternatively, for avant-garde neutrals, look to the Navajo-inspired Valentino collection. Its printed mini summer dresses are designed by artist and Métis tribe member Christi Belcourt.
Working the trends
Even if you’re spending summer by the water cooler rather than the pool, you can incorporate summer outfit ideas into your office attire. Slim-fitting culottes in navy are a lighthearted alternative to the trouser suit, so head to Jil Sander. The elegant, pared-back aesthetic of the item works best with a semi-structural blouse.
Meanwhile, Derek Lam 10 Crosby combines low-key designs with quirky charm. Add a creative edge to your working wardrobe with its layered tops and knot details.
For a summer look that lasts longer than any tan lines, go for clean-cut shirt dresses. Parisian label Equipment navigates the fine line between sharp tailoring and femininity, so wear one of its midi designs with a pair of metallic sliders to give your summer outfits a sports-luxe twist.