While the Spring/Summer 2012 runway shows left us with a vast, colourful rainbow (literally!) of looks to choose from, wading through the sea-inspired fashion trends, bold prints and
flared peplums to find the perfect summer outfit can get tricky—if you don’t know where to start. We’ve broken down the top six summer fashion trends—by body type and the celebs who wore them— for the best ways to recreate your favourite runway looks this season.
Summer fashion trend #1: Pastels
Runway inspiration: Chanel, Louis Vuitton
The scoop: Colour blocking is a perennial fashion trend, but this season, designers took the traditional technique—playing with primary colours—and introduced us to the world of pastel matching. Our favourite colours to block? Sea foam green, cool mint, subtle mauve and delicate pink.
How to wear it: If your style is classic or overtly feminine, try wearing pastels in a monochromatic palette. If you’re unsure about the head-to-toe look, mix and match pastels with neutrals. (Check out 3.1 Phillip Lim for a pastel-blocking master class.) Your accessories should act as discreet accents—think pearls or bangles in a soft pastel hue.
If you’re more of a glamour girl, pair your pastels with a pair of white Manolos and bold accessories, like chunky bracelets, in metallic finishes.
Expert beauty tip: Keep your makeup as minimal as possible. On the hair front, high or messy buns and soft waves are the best pairing for this trend.
Summer fashion trend #2: The drop-waist dress
Runway inspiration: Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Chloé
The scoop: The drop-waist dress (sometimes referred to as a flapper dress, because of its popularity during the Roaring ‘20s) features a seam that is usually two inches below the waist, falling at the hips.
Who should wear it: Tall, slim women with longer torsos and smaller hips, like Victoria Beckham and Brooklyn Decker, who benefit from the curves created by the drop-waist silhouette. It’s also a great look for petite women with long torsos and great legs, like SJP.
Who should skip it: Curvy women, who should opt for a silhouette that highlights their waist, instead of obscuring it.
Expert fashion tip: Fit can make or break this look. Make sure your drop-waist dress fits perfectly around the shoulders and bust area.
Expert beauty tip: During the day, wear your hair down, styled with (seemingly) effortless waves. For an evening look, try a high ponytail and sky-high heels or strappy sandals.
Summer fashion trend #3: Peplum
Runway inspiration: Jason Wu, Alexander McQueen, Thakoon
The scoop: Ultra-ladylike peplum emphasizes the waist by playing with exaggerated details at the hips. The result? The perfect hourglass silhouette.
Who should wear it: Almost every body type will benefit from the hourglass suggestion created by an otherwise streamlined peplum dress. If you’re curvy, opt for solid colours and use black to camouflage problem areas. Follow the example of Kim Kardashian, who recently paired a white sleeveless peplum top with slim-fitting black pants, creating an extremely flattering silhouette. With peplum, always wear heels. After all, you’re going for a glamorous look—may as well strut while doing it!
Hollywood inspiration: Beyoncé, Emma Stone and Blake Lively have all worn the peplum trend to great effect.
Expert fashion tip: Adding a thin belt to a peplum dress accentuates the waist and creates a more defined hourglass shape.
Read on to the next page for more of the top summer fashion trends…
Summer fashion trend #4: Showing off your midriff
Runway inspiration: Prada, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana
The scoop: Ab-baring dresses ruled the runways
Who can wear it: This sexy trend has a
very specific body type—toned abs, long legs—as its target. Even though Selena Gomez is petite, she was able to pull off a midriff all Versace ensemble due to her small hips and long legs. Hint:
Heels can totally create this illusion for you.
Hollywood inspiration: Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, Leighton Meester. (All young women. Is that a sign of its level of sartorial difficulty? Yes.)
Summer fashion trend #5: Water-inspired fashion
Runway inspiration: Peter Pilotto, Mary Katrantzou, Thomas Tait
The scoop: From dresses with under-the-sea prints to the emergence of neoprene as a fashion fabric,
water-inspired fashion is a must-try trend this summer.
How to wear it: If you’re opting for Mary Katrantzou’s take on the trend (think whimsical dresses printed with fish, coral and shells), keep your accessories minimal so that your dress takes centre stage. On the neoprene front, pair a neoprene top with cigarette pants—the neoprene has a sculptural effect that draws the eye upward, while the slim-fitting pant creates the illusion of a narrower lower body.
Who can wear it: Fashion daredevils, who also appreciate comfort. Do I expect to see someone on the streets wearing a neoprene jacket to work? Probably not, but I could see how it can totally make a statement if we were it with the right top, shorts or pants.
Summer fashion trend #6: Bold prints and patterns
Runway inspiration: Diane Von Furstenberg, Rodarte, Proenza Schouler
The scoop: Prints and patterns are back and stronger than ever. Remember how spring used to be automatically linked to the flowering of fresh buds? Well, this season it looks like
hyped florals and pumped patterns are in bloom.
How to wear it: Adventurously! Try pairing florals with stripes, or stripes with polka dots. Just make sure that one print is dominant so that your look has a focal point. For example, pair a bold striped dress with a subtle print, like a polka dot scarf.
Expert fashion tip: Dresses with
bigger and bolder prints shouldn’t sit below the knee. If they do, then it changes the effect to the print from slick and sophisticated to sloppy and dated.
Expert accessory tip: Accessories should be equally bold, but be wary of competing prints. Instead, opt for gun metals and dramatic silver and gold bangles and statement necklaces.
Expert beauty tip: Keep your makeup clean and your hair pulled back or up. After all, you want to avoid drowning your beautiful face in that sea of prints.