When describing a noteworthy runway collection, the old truism about how the whole is greater than the sum of its parts sometimes comes to mind. Taken alone, a silhouette, color, or accessory choice might not be revolutionary, but when considered as part of an entire look and a complete collection, it adds up to something wholly memorable. We tend to think of the Southwest in the same way, meaning that there are numerous elements that contribute to the region's allure and make it a consistently intriguing locale. Its talented artisans, Pueblo and Navajo textiles, and tawny desert landscapes all contribute to its charm, so it's no wonder why we--and noteworthy designers--find it inspirational. Using this stunning region as our jumping off point, we've sourced some of summer's most covetable pieces, all of which you simply must Go Buy Now!
In case you need convincing that your wardrobe will benefit from some Southwestern flair, we'll take a closer look at how one particularly stylish S/S 11 collection and a perennially chic actress interpreted this trend. Speaking of the former, Just Cavalli showcased a number of outfits that evoke the spirit of Santa Fe, but our favorite is the above ensemble. We particularly love the boldly printed Vest ($1902, 212.888.4333), which is a decidedly modern take on the patterns of traditional Native American rugs. Since the region is a hub for arts and crafts, we also think the intricately detailed Jeans ($2700, 212.888.4333) would be right at home in our spotlighted setting. This look is equally dashing off the runways, as Diane Kruger proved when she was snapped at the airport in Nice, France last month. The stylish actress showed us how to execute the trend the right way: by wearing one standout piece and complementing it with quieter accents. As for the specifics, Kruger wore Antik Batik's brightly patterned Zanon Cardigan ($364) paired with the Bowie Skirt ($230) and Betina Tee ($253), also by said brand. The resulting look is definitely swoon-worthy and is the perfect way to inject just the right amount of Southwestern chic into your summer style!
Now that we've given you a quick breakdown of the trend, let us introduce eight supremely fashionable pieces to help you achieve this look! The region certainly offers us inspiration aplenty, so it was tough to narrow down our search. However, we think we hit the nail on the head with these products and hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
1. American Eagle Outfitters Braided Huarache Sandals ($39.50, 1.888.232.4535)
If you want to upgrade your warm-weather footwear from basic flip-flops to something more stylish--but aren't willing to sacrifice comfort and affordability--look no further than this pair of sandals by American Eagle Outfitters. They'll go with nearly anything, from white cotton frocks to cropped jeans, making them a fantastic buy you won't regret! We're also crazy about the braided leather detailing, which give the sandals a rugged, utilitarian quality that's perfect for your on-the-go lifestyle this summer.
2. Fortune Favors the Brave Concho Collar($185) in Silver
When we think of this region, one of the things that immediately pops into our minds is ornately-detailed silver jewelry, so we'd be remiss if we didn't include at least one option! After scouring through tons of products, we decided to highlight this stunning necklace by Fortune Favors the Brave. It boasts a lovely concho design, which is characteristic of Native American jewelry and typically used for belts, making this a unique and truly SW-inspired piece! Team this necklace with anything from a white t-shirt to a maxi dress and all eyes will be on you!
3. Parker Strapless Print Dress ($242)
Navajo prints are synonymous with Southwestern style, so bringing you a fabulous patterned option was a no-brainer. Instead of going for a classic floral frock, why not don this Native American-inspired dress? You're sure to turn heads in this short number, which features a sweetheart neckline and silky fabric. To dress it up, team it with stacked wood heels, or if you're looking for a more casual ensemble, try a pair of flat gladiator sandals. We're dying to get our hands on one pronto, and we suggest that you snag one before it's too late!
4. Low Luv x Erin Wasson Thunderbird Cuff ($63) in Antique Gold
One of the most intriguing elements of the Southwest is the mythology that originated in the region, so when we spotted this cuff--depicting the thunderbird, a Native American icon of power and strength--we knew it would be perfect for this story. We particularly love that the bracelet has a tarnished gold look, which gives it a rustic vibe and almost makes it appear as a precious artifact.
5. Charley 5.0 Fringe Benefits Shorts($118, 732.530.3334)
While we'll never get rid of our favorite basic denim shorts, we're always on the lookout for ways to spice up the wardrobe staple. This bold pair by Charley 5.0 is perfect if you want to take a bit of a risk this season--and believe us, you should! These coral, fringed shorts have a bohemian vibe and would be a great option for a music festival or beach BBQ. Pair them with a white peasant top and moccasins for the full Southwestern effect, or with a simple white tank and sandals for the perfect casual look. However you choose to style them, we're confident that these shorts will get a lot of wear during the upcoming warm months!
6. Dior DiorSkin Nude Glow Healthy Glow Summer Powder ($42) in Sunset
Nothing says summer like luminous, sun-kissed skin, so we simply can't resist this bronzer by Dior. Since tanning the old-fashioned way invariably leads to a slew of unwanted side effects--nobody wants to think about sunburns and age-spots!--we suggest using ample amounts of sunscreen and brushing on this bronzer to help you fake an enviable just-got-back-from-vacation complexion. Additionally, we love the product's mix of earthy tones, which reminds us of a beautiful Sonoran Desert sunset--what's not to love?
7. Lucky Brand Ojai Crochet Crossbody Bag ($129)
When it comes to choosing a bag for the summer months, it just doesn't feel right to reach for anything too precious or expensive looking. (Who wants to worry about getting sand in their most prized purse?) Instead, we suggest opting for an easy, go-anywhere bag like this one by Lucky Brand. It's roomy enough to stash the essentials, like sunscreen and swimsuits, yet compact enough, so it won't weigh you down. It also has a bit of a bohemian quality, thanks to its use of crocheted natural twine and beaded leather tassels. All in all, we're mad about this bag and recommend picking one up pronto!
8. Lemlem Adama Tunic ($175)
If you plan on heading to the beach or lounging poolside this season, a great swimsuit cover-up is absolutely essential. With that said, we think this Lemlem tunic fits the bill perfectly. The handcrafted top--from supermodel Liya Kebede's line--is airy enough for those hot summer days and is guaranteed to keep you looking stylish in the heat! This versatile top will work well even if you aren't bound for ocean destinations; try teaming it with a pair of rolled-up denim shorts and espadrilles for a chic summer-in-the-city look. We're especially captivated by the gorgeous striped pattern and mix of burnt orange, azure blue, and steel gray, which gives this tunic an artsy twist.--Erin Fitzpatrick