Fashion is back. After months of loungewear, we are ready to step out of the trackies and into something a little more considered, more trend-focused and probably with a lot more going on in terms of colour and pattern.
Fashion’s role as a mood-booster has been overlooked of late, and our high street and online stores have put much thought into redressing the balance (see what I did there?) with styles created, yes to flatter, yes to be easy, but – most important of all – to look as if we have actually made an effort, and enjoyed doing so.
Now is not the time for huge, dramatic, floor-sweeping gowns (Lady Gaga at the Met Ball excepted), nor for structured suits and trussed-up fitted dresses. But effortless, style-conscious dressing with a decidedly fashion-conscious edge is the look of now. These are the seven key pieces your post-lockdown new summer wardrobe needs...
Colour co-ords: “I think people will want to wear fun bold pastels this summer. After a year of lockdowns and dressing to stay home, I think we will all want to add a splash of happy colour to our wardrobes to help us feel more positive,” says Barnsley-born Lucy Greenwood, CEO and co-founder of eco fashion brand Lucy & Yak, which makes clothes in India, Turkey and Barnsley and sends them out across the UK and the world from its warehouse in Barnsley. These beautifully bright shirts and matching skirts can be layered and dressed up and down with ease, wherever you want (or are allowed) to go.
The trophy jacket: The brighter and more wonderfully patterned, the better. Throw one on over whatever you are wearing and it’s an instant mood and style-elevating outfit smartener. Dorothy Lee, of Montana Northallerton, says: “The thing people want now is something to make them feel alive again, like a bright coloured jacket to put on with jeans when popping out on the school run or into town for a coffee.”
Gingham style: Gingham is THE print of summer 2021, adding a cool, retro vibe to the wardrobe as well as a playful touch. Look out for gingham dresses and tops in sugar pastel shades of peppermint, cornflower blue, sunshine yellow and cherry red. It’s an easy way to inject a note of glamour.
Joe Browns, based in Leeds and with stores at York Designer Outlet and Meadowhall Sheffield, says: “It’s the iconic print that’s taking over this summer, and Joe Browns has a little gingham for every occasion. Add a little vintage edge to your style with this gypsy-style gingham top. Just team it with your favourite capris and get ready to feel those retro vibes.”
Luxe linen: To wear together for a co-ordinated look, or as easy separates, linen is perfect for summer and ideal for packing for staycation holidays and short breaks.
Emily Gray, personal shopping stylist at John Lewis Leeds, says: “Our pink Modern Rarity pure linen two-piece is perfect for keeping cool this summer in the colour of the season. I would style by tucking the top into the trousers and define the waist with the removable buckle belt. It would look great with a heel but if you’re not quite ready to put those back on, a chunky sandal or trainer will also look great.”
Tiered maxi dress: Whether you go for fine and floaty or something more substantial like this leather style from Whistles, the tiered maxi dress is a summer wardrobe must. Just add sandals, maybe a jacket, and you are good to go.
Whistles says: “This dress is a unique piece that offers a welcome hint of luxury to your wardrobe for the spring-summer season. Style yours with touches of gold jewellery and a pair of mules for an occasion look that’s as elegant as it is cool.”
The day-to-night all-in-one: Nothing says summer freedom like a light and easy jumpsuit or all-in-one that looks brilliant with heels, flats, boots, sandals, espadrilles, wherever the weather or your fancy takes you.
Hush says: “The new Hush Spring 2021 collection is inspired by enjoying sunny spring days exploring the outdoors and eating ice cream on weekend afternoons. The colour palette for the new season features feminine shades of soft yellow and dusty pink, power punching utility greens and classic, crisp white essentials.
“Our jumpsuit is an easy style that’s perfect whether you’re lounging at home, running errands or going to and from the beach.”
The print shirt dress: Body-skimming and tie-belted is the most flattering style and look out too for styles that can be worn open as long jackets to throw on over your tees and leggings.
M&S says: “Customers have already begun embracing the ‘bounceback wardrobe’, swapping loungewear for relaxed denim styles and slippers for sandals. We’ve seen demand for dresses steadily growing since the end of February, and a rise in searches for bags, sunglasses and sandals, to add those all-important finishing touches to their summer looks.
“We’ve kept a close eye on customer needs during the last year and that continues with our ‘Bring On’ campaign, putting a spotlight on the products customers are searching for online as social events start to return.”