June always marks the dawn of a new season: summer. With that comes warm weather, sunny days, the desire to don summertime staples like bikinis, dresses, and sandals. Though your sense of style and the way you get dressed might be different with social distancing as a part of daily life, that shouldn't prevent 2020's expert-approved summer fashion trends from finding their way into your wardrobe.
Whether you take inspiration from the runway or royals like Princess Diana, summer has a lot in store from updated versions of romantic, floaty dresses to the latest chunky sandals and sporty separates. According to some of the industry's top fashion buyers, there are a few key trends to focus on for the season, especially as a method for lifting spirits — there's no harm in embracing the feel-good positivity that fashion can bring.
Ahead, keep scrolling for 10 summer must-tries from fashion buyers at Net-A-Porter, Moda Operandi, Bloomingdale's, Mytheresa, MatchesFashion, Farfetch, and The Webster. These in-the-know women make a job of knowing exactly what will be in over the next few months. Plus, shop the edit with options for every budget, from cult-loved designer accessories to investment-worthy apparel and affordable buys.
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Summer 2020 Fashion Trends: The Modern White Dress
"I foresee the not-so-simple white cotton dress to be a key piece in everyone's wardrobe after the pandemic," Net-A-Porter's senior fashion market editor, Libby Page, tells TZR. "We have seen a huge shift in how women are dressing, and comfort is key. People will be looking for maximum impact with minimal effort. Brands like Cecile Bahnsen, Gabriela Hearst, The Row, and Jacquemus all have beautifully simple yet sculptural white dresses that we will all be itching to wear. These dresses pair perfectly with a stacked chunky sandal from The Row or the Proenza x Birkenstock."
Summer 2020 Fashion Trends: Animal Print Shoes
"Thinking about life post-lockdown, I feel that the myriad animal print shoes and boots we've seen emerging will really appeal to our renewed want for a bit of fun in our wardrobes," says Celenie Seidel, senior womenswear editor at Farfetch. "Styles from Khaite and Bottega Veneta are particularly key." For such a bold shoe, try keeping your look simple and styling with jeans.
Summer 2020 Fashion Trends: Billowing Silhouettes
Natalie Kingham, fashion buying director of MATCHESFASHION, tells TZR that relaxed silhouettes such as kaftans and loose-fitting dresses with special detailing are key for 2020. "We are talking about a relaxed elegance being prominent as customers look for special pieces that can be worn for entertaining at home or a more effortless approach to dressing up," she says. As for styling these pieces, Kingham recommends the addition of bold jewelry.
Summer 2020 Fashion Trends: Strappy Sandals
Barely-there strappy sandals were a huge hit in 2019, and Laure Hériard Dubreuil, the founder and creative director of The Webster, thinks the look will be even bigger this season. "We feel that strappy sandals like ones from Aquazarra, Jacquemus, and The Row will be the perfect elevated choice for those days where you crave a dressier moment while still achieving comfort," says Hériard Dubreuil. "Both of these styles are easy to wear with a jean, dress, or even a loose suit to capture the essence of a functional yet chic."
Summer 2020 Fashion Trends: Resort Shorts
Denim shorts are a summer go-to, but for an "on holiday" feel, Mytheresa's fashion buying director, Tiffany Hsu, believes strongly in the resort short for 2020. "We believe that transitional resort wear will really pick up, especially some summery shorts like from our upcoming Zimmermann Capsule collection," she tells TZR. "Combine [them] with an oversized or big shoulders blazer and style it as an easy suiting look, preferably in a bright color. It's weather appropriate, fresh and uplifting, and you can wear them out or even at home with an understated shirt or knit from brands such as Khaite, The Row, and Jil Sander."
Summer 2020 Fashion Trends: Daydreamy Dresses
Loungewear has been a big piece of the getting-dressed puzzle as of late. Denise Magid, Bloomingdale's executive vice president and general merchandise manager of ready-to-wear, predicts a transition to daydreamy dresses as a followup to the look. "When summer rolls around, and we venture outside, we won't want to give up on the comfort we've gotten used to. But we do expect women will want to dress up their looks with chic and easy dresses, nothing fussy or formal," she says. "What's inspiring me as I think about summer are dresses from brands like Sleeper and LoveShackFancy, which really strike that balance between comfort and style."
Summer 2020 Fashion Trends: Chunky Soles
With '90s and aughts nostalgia continuing to permeate 2020 fashion trends, Kingham tells TZR that chunky shoe silhouettes are another look she's buying into on Matchesfashion. "We've seen continued strong sales of the clumpy, flat shoe which is easy to wear and can be worn now — around the home or for errands — and also later, post-lockdown. Our Birkenstock 1774 exclusive collection and the Birkenstock x Proenza Schouler collaboration has performed very well."
Summer 2020 Fashion Trends: The "Fashion-Girl" Cardigan
Lisa Ruffle, buying manager at Moda Operandi, says that fashion-forward cardigans and sets à la Katie Holmes are a key staple for 2020 summer wardrobes. "The cardigan is back in a big way, and we're backing the iconic Khaite cardigan (complete with matching bra) as the perfect transitional wardrobe piece. An essential piece for WFH and those cooler summer nights."
Summer 2020 Fashion Trends: The Heeled Thong Sandal
Another nostalgic shoe trend backed by Net-a-Porter? The heeled thong sandal. "After months of kicking back in flats, the '90s heeled thong will be the perfect antidote to the relaxed attitude that has dominated throughout these types," Page tells TZR. "I'll be wearing mine with long-line denim shorts and a crisp blue cotton shirt, which is an easy entrance into smart casual."
Summer 2020 Fashion Trends: Going Green
Ethical practices are increasingly a focus for brands and shoppers alike, and Hériard Dubreuil predicts a "thinking green" mentality as a big trend heading into summer 2020. "Post-quarantine, our industry is going to be implementing a lot of changes to adapt to this new environment," she says. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the retailer began spotlighting designers who dedicate their efforts to making the world a better place through creativity and social responsibility, making it easier to shop ethical brands. "On our website, these brands are labeled 'conscious' so that our clients can join us in championing their efforts. Try pieces from conscious brands Stella McCartney, Marine Serre, and Mara Hoffman," says Hériard Dubreuil.