Trend Scouting: This Summer’s Hottest New Looks

Chelsea Davis in Alice + Olivia

The long-awaited arrival of the sun and surf season calls for some serious style updates. While last summer featured ditsy florals and tiny sunglasses galore, this year calls for casual dressing combined with statement silhouettes and the occasional pop of color. Ahead, the top five trends according to Hamptons shopping meccas.

Trend #1: Band Tees

Rock-and-roll lovers rejoice. Regardless of where you reside this summer, the purchase of a band tee transports you straight to your favorite concert. “I think every girl needs a band tee in her life,” asserts Samantha Watts, personal shopper at Alice + Olivia. “It gives a little bit of edge and is your quintessential downtown, cool girl vibe.”

Shannon Mays, store manager at Mixology Westhampton, seconds the notion: “We are showing a lot of graphic tees and tanks. We have a cropped Guns N’ Roses sweatshirt, items with Queen, and a lot more band-related pieces.” The top can be dressed up or down, whether you wish to pair it with white jeans for a casual dinner or denim shorts for a backyard barbeque. Plus, “all ages are wearing it. Not just younger girls, but moms as well,” said Mays.

Trend #2: Bold Prints

Time to abandon your all-white ensembles — this season is all about eccentric patterns. “Prints are really important, and we’re seeing that all over the market right now. They’re doing really well —the brighter, the better!” said Glynis Karp, svp/merchandising at J. McLaughlin. Specifically, the store’s Bondi Pants — produced in a bright, tribal-esque Goleta print — have been extremely well-received by customers. “It’s been our number-one seller week after week,” said Karp. “It was originally designed to be something you wore on the beach, but we’re seeing women wearing it all over in their daily lives.”

At Alice + Olivia, tie-dye and snakeskin prints are particularly popular. “Tie-dye was all over the runway for fall, so it’s included in our pre-fall collections,” explained Janaye Robinson, Southampton store manager. “Our July collection has a ton of snakeskin as well. We’re producing it in silk burnout so that it can be worn both now and in the fall. In the summer, we suggest pairing it with white pieces. So, if it’s a burnout snakeskin dress, we show it with a white bootie, leather jacket, or belt. If it’s a snakeskin top, we recommend pairing it with white slacks or shorts.” The store’s main goal? “A lot of people think that the concept of snakeskin is a bit dark, so we wanted to make it more of a ‘buy now, wear now’ piece,” said Robinson.

Trend #3: Lightweight Two-Piece Sets

Under the blazing summer sun, cool off with a look that’s cut in half, especially those made in lightweight fabrics. “I’ve never seen anything sell quicker in my life than the sets at Mixology,” Mays declared. “People can’t get enough of matching tops and bottoms because they look cute with sneakers, sandals, and espadrilles.”

Not inclined to show skin? “It doesn’t matter what your body type is because there’s something for everyone. The tops don’t have to show your belly,” said Kelly Kirkpatrick, owner, Therapy Life & Style. “Lots of our pants are high-waisted with a matching top and have just a sliver of tummy showing.” Not to mention, the pieces can be worn as separates with other looks from your wardrobe. “You can wear the skirt with a bodysuit or a graphic tee and place the top with a high-waisted skort,” Mays confirmed.

Trend #4: Flare Pants

Flare jeans are making the ultimate comeback. “They’re totally back in,” Mays confirmed. “Flares are super flattering and make everyone feel slim and tall, from younger girls to older women. We carry them in white, black, and denim, and with rips and belts as well.”

At Alice + Olivia, flare pants have always been a signature item. Robinson cited company founder Stacey Bendet as considering “flare, bell-bottom pants one of her favorite looks,” said Robinson. “She always likes to integrate it into all of her collections. We have denim jumpsuits with the flare, colored bell-bottoms, and also orchid bell-bottoms. We always have flare jeans.”

Trend #5: Smocking

Not a fan of bodycon? No need to fear — smocked pieces hug and flatter every shape and size. “Smocking is everywhere,” said Kirkpatrick. “It’s on so many things, from little dresses to crop tops to rompers. It fits so well and holds you in so that you don’t even need a bra.” This summer’s fashion lineup also features a slew of transitional pieces — and smocking is no exception. “You can dress it up or down, with sneakers, wedges, or heels,” said Mays. “They’re super universal. They’re also very flattering, covering people up in the places that they want to be covered up in.”

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