Welcome to phase…well, let’s just call it 2C: It’s summer and we’re no longer full-time shut-ins, but things aren’t exactly “normal” either. With patios, pools and beaches open across the country, it can often feel like concern for the COVID-19 pandemic is a thing of the past. But if the surge of cases south of the border is any example, this is no time to lose focus (or stop wearing a mask when in close quarters). Closures and distancing measures have transformed this summer into something that’s pared back and hella outdoorsy, which, while exciting and adventurous, has pushed fashion gals into unfamiliar territory.

As someone who typically lives summer in heeled mules, slip dresses and Vegas-worthy statement pieces, I can say that most of my closet is sleeping a blissful slumber, while I struggle to look cute on long walks and sweaty bike rides. My outfit of choice has been leggings, a fanny pack and running shoes and I don’t feel like myself at all! All this has led me on a quest to find the staples for the weirdest summer in recent history.

Here, you’ll find 10 items that are perfect for sitting in parks, biking to the pool and more activities you’ve never done so much in your entire life.

1. A big floppy hat

Because of its large-and-in-charge circumference, a wide brim is a natural social distancer that will do the work of saying “six feet away, please!” for you. Romualda hats are hand painted and sustainably-designed in Madrid, which is the closest thing to a vacation souvenir you’ll get in 2020.

Romualda “Rockie” marbled hat, $388 at romualda.es.


2. Sandals with back-straps

Somewhere down the line, sandals with proper supports and straps became geriatric territory, but aside from the fact that granny chic is trending, there is really no substitute for comfort for walking long distances when it’s too hot for sneakers. MAGUIRE’s “Tavira” sandals are designed in Montreal, transparently manufactured and are chic AF.

MAGUIRE “Tavira” sandals, $210 at maguireboutique.com.


3. Sunglasses that don’t compete with your mask

By now, we’ve all experienced the sauna effect of sunglasses that fog up with every masked exhale. Sure, it’s annoying, but it’s also something that can be very easily solved by wearing a pair that comes up higher than your favourite oversized style. Enter Bailey Nelson’s take on the tiny cat-eye, a perfectly retro answer to the sweat lodge currently taking up residency on your face.

Bailey Nelson ‘Annie’ sunglasses, $145 at baileynelson.com.


4. A very, very flowy dress

Since sitting in the park has become the ultimate activity of the summer, you owe it to yourself to acquire something that you will not have to shift a hundred times while sitting cross-legged so as not to expose your undies (if that’s your thing though, you do you). Boneset’s Birthday Dress is an absolute picnic fantasy and it’s custom made in Toronto.

Boneset ‘Birthday’ dress, $365 at bonesetstudio.com.


5. Bike shorts, obviously

Combine this summer’s heat index with the sheer volume of time spent outdoors, and bike shorts are undoubtedly the item of the season (case in point: they are sold out many, many places online). Since you likely already have a pair or two in black, why not switch it up and go for a foamy pastel pair made from 17 recycled plastic water bottles by Girlfriend Collective.

Girlfriend Collective high-rise bike short, $84.95 at MEC.ca.


6. A bag for all seasons (but especially this summer)

Schlepping a heavy load on long walks is no fun (and no good for you). This slick, nylon cross-body bag by Toronto designer Spencer Badu is the perfect size for the summer 2020 essentials: hand sanitizer, SPF, phone and edibles.

Spencer Badu crossbody bag, $115 at spencerbadu.com.


 7. Fun earrings

Earrings are one of the last vestiges of great style that can’t be affected by a pandemic, the heat or practicality. Ora-C’s brass hoops are hand sculpted and cast in Montreal, which is all the more reason to go wild with your facial accessorizing.

Ora-C ‘Célestine’ brass hoops, $180 at ora-c.com.  


8. A swimsuit that doubles as a top

Whether you’re biking or walking to a public pool (or if you’re lucky, the beach), keeping baggage to a minimum is essential, which is why one pieces that double as tops are essential. Unika’s ‘Luciana’ swimsuit is sexy, sporty and gives the illusion of a high cut with mesh panels at the thigh. It’s handmade in Toronto, too!

Unika “Luciana” one piece, $229 at unikaswim.com.


9. Mom Shorts

Long, linen shorts are a surprisingly easy way to look effortlessly chic, while also allowing you the ability to cop a squat anywhere and everywhere. No wonder they’ve been a staple of moms for time immemorial.

Club Monaco high waisted shorts, $149.50 at clubmonaco.ca.


10. A mask, goddamnit!

You didn’t think we’d leave this one out, did you? Keeping things lightweight and breathable in the heat is key and these Montreal-made cotton masks are just the ticket. Designer Hannah Isolde customizes each mask with your trims of choice.

Hannah Isolde ‘Fancy’ mask in meadow, $25 at hannahisolde.com.



How Merch is Supporting the Music Industry Now More Than Ever

Canadian-Made Athleisure You’ll Want to Wear All Summer

Proof That Canada is Home to the Coolest Dainty Jewellery Brands