The Top 6 Trends for Summer 2013

At last, summer is finally here! Say goodbye to endless layers and hello to sunshine-friendly threads. Luckily, top-notch style doesn’t get a summer vacation. After taking a look at our favorite easy-to-wear summer trends, you’ll be rethinking that tank top and denim cutoffs combo. 

1. Knee-high gladiator sandals

This summer, ditch the flip-flops and opt for a more stylish sandal. Even if Megara from Hercules wasn’t your childhood style icon, tall gladiator sandals are a trend worth trying. “They’ve recently made a huge comeback to the runway and red carpet with designers like Tom Ford and Prabal Gurung showing off some pretty futuristic styles in their latest collections,” says fashion consultant Colin McDonald. We know you’ve been slaving away at the gym all winter, so why not show off those sculpted legs with this trend? These lace-up gladiator sandals (left; $34.40) are perfect for the collegiette who is dying to make a statement. Or, try these heels from Sears (center; $58.95)—any Grecian goddess would love to wear those! If you’re looking to splurge, we love Carvela Krown’s take on this trend (right; $150).

But aren’t you limited with this trend? Absolutely not! On the contrary, our style guru proves that gladiator sandals are surprisingly versatile. “Pair them with a fun pair of short shorts or [a] skirt,” suggests McDonald. “You an even pair [them] with a chic cocktail dress for a more dressed up attire.” We can’t wait to get a pair for ourselves!


2. Black and white color palette

We know what you’re thinking: isn’t summer the perfect time to sport neon hues? That may be true, but a black and white ensemble is any fashionista’s answer to an effortlessly chic look. “The high-contrast combination of black and white is a minimalist aesthetic with maximum impact,” explains Maria Vasilevsky, founder of styling agency Stilista.

Since the summer calls for easy-to-wear pieces, this potent color duo is collegiette-approved. Not only does this River Island blazer (left; $100) scream trendy, a fitted blazer is a must for your internship wardrobe. If you’re more of a feminine fashionista, keep it girly with a black and white floral skirt—this pick from Dorothy Perkins (center; $14) is adorable. Looking for a fuss-free outfit for those amazing summer soirees? This Vero Moda black and white dress (right; $54) is effortlessly stylish. Just remember to accessorize your high-contrast ensembles. “With black and white being neutral colors, they are very easy to wear with any complexion and pair with colors, metallic, or embellishments of your choice,” says Vasilevsky.  Looks like you can sport those neon pieces after all!


3. Leather wrap bracelets

As every stylish collegiette knows, an ensemble is never complete without some amazing accessories. Though we’ll always have a soft spot for statement jewelry, a leather wrap bracelet is a perfect low-key accessory for this season. “[This trend] is a great way to look effortlessly chic all summer long,” says McDonald. “They’re great layered with two or three (bracelets).” Though this Max & Chloe pick (center; $50) is a little pricey, we have a sneaking suspicion you’ll be wearing this bracelet all year long. Or snag this wrap bracelet from Need Supply Co. (left; $26). The website may say it’s a men’s accessory, but this trend is gender neutral. If those bracelets don’t tickle your sartorial fancy, unleash your inner rocker with Target’s studded leather wrap bracelet (right; $6). For a personal touch, McDonald suggests adding your favorite pieces of arm candy to the mix.


4. Cat eye sunglasses

It’s no secret that sunglasses are essential for this sunny season; however, some collegiettes may be surprised to hear that summer 2013’s go-to sunglass shape is the ever-so-retro cat eye. “Throw on a pair of these on and you will take any look from boring to chic in a snap,” says McDonald. We love this trend because cat eye shades can be worn with anything, yet are edgier than your average pair of Wayfarers.

If you’re a cat eye novice, try a classic pair—this pair from C. Wonder is a great investment piece (center; $68). Or add a pop of color to your ensemble with this fiery pick from zeroUV (top; $9.99). Are you more of a style trailblazer? There’s even a cat eye for you. “We’re seeing them with details [such as] flowers,” McDonald observes. ASOS’s embellished gem cat eye sunglasses (bottom; $21.21) are sure to give any ensemble a necessary dash of sparkle.


5. Stripes

Whether or not you plan on hitting the beach, this nautical pattern is a must for summer. “[It’s] a huge trend we saw on the runway for a variety of designers’ collections for summer,” says McDonald. “It’s a great pattern to really stand out at any summer gathering.” Rocking this trend is as easy as pairing a striped sweater (center; $69.99) with a pair of boyfriend jeans or throwing on a striped skirt (right; $9.99) for the office.

As tempting as this trend sounds, we all know that horizontal stripes are occasionally unflattering. However, before you reject stripes from your wardrobe, know that this trend does have slimming alternatives. “I suggest sticking to a vertical or thinner stripe,” advises McDonald. Not only does this pick from Topshop (left; $92) follow the black and white trend, the shift silhouette is super breezy for those warm days.


6. Kimono-inspired pieces

Forget about western influence; this summer, fashion’s finest are looking to Asia for inspiration. “They often give you the chance to wear cooling silks and roomier silhouettes that still accentuate the waist while keeping you cool and breezy on hot days,” explains Vasilevsky. Stylish, flattering, and comfortable? The sartorial gods have finally answered our prayers! Luckily, there are multiple ways to sport this trend. Keep it basic with a simple kimono shirt and a pair of jeans—we’re obsessed with Dorothy Perkins’s printed top (right; $35). Unleash your inner goddess with this kimono-inspired dress from Target (center; $24.99) – go the extra mile by pairing your new high-knee gladiator sandals with this pick. Protect yourself from those chilly summer nights with A|wear’s kimono sweater (left; $27). With a variety of different looks to choose from, how could you resist this emerging trend?

From the beach to your cozy intern cubicle, our top picks are perfect for almost every type of summery event. But unlike that coveted tan, these trends won’t fade once these glorious months come to a close. Whether you throw on chunky knit or a pair of riding boots, they’ll also look fabulous in the fall!