54 Summer Vacation–Worthy Items I'll Happily Wear at Home

best summer fashion 2020 natalie cantell


@nataliecantell; STYLING: Nobody's Child printed pants; Nanushka racerback tank; Meadowlark Protea cocktail ring; and Alghieiri necklace

Well, I don’t know about you, but my summer plans sure have taken a turn. Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, my four-year anniversary with my boyfriend, Summer Fridays… all are looking like they’re going to be super low-key affairs this year. But you know what they say: Dress for the vacation you want, not the lack of a vacation you have. (Or something?)

While this may be a summer without a destination wedding or even a weekend away, I’m determined that it won’t be one without a summer wardrobe. The honest truth is that I’ve worn leggings and sweatshirts every single day of this lockdown so far, but now that it’s finally warming up in NY, I’m happily transitioning away from athleisure and into easy, breezy (and just as comfortable) summer outfits designed to lift my mood. From this dress I optimistically bought for a September wedding in France to the swimwear I sometimes secretly like to wear under my clothes instead of undies (for that "I'm on vacation" vibe—you know what I mean), here’s a little happy motivation to actually get dressed this season.

One day, we'll have events with nonspecific dress codes again, and I promise this will be your go-to dress.

Just a pair of ultra-chill black leather slides with oversize gold hardware and an espadrille-inspired jute mid-sole that go with absolutely everything, including the above dress. I dare you to find me a pair of sandals more effortlessly cool (and stupidly comfortable) this season.

Honestly, if we're not all wearing Roxanne Assoulin necklaces, is it even summer?

I'll just be over here, pretending I'm sweltering in Paris.

I may not be going to Italy this summer, but try explaining that to a matching set in the most perfect muted gingham.

The top is destined to be paired with all your denim (and is available in sizes 00 to 16).

The cut and details of these ultra-comfy pants make them look elevated, but I promise you, these are pajamas in a chic disguise. (The wide waistband is all elastic at the back.)

It's summer: Layer your anklets accordingly. Exhibit A…

Yes, I've shared this Matteau dress with you before. (It was destined for a wedding in France this summer… sigh.) But this roomy, low-backed number in the perfect print deserves another mention. Trust me: It'll keep.

Speaking of Matteau, this is the ultimate wear-on-repeat black lightweight-knit dress. It will eventually be a great day-to-nighter. (You know—when that means something other than just wearing your PJs all day.)

It'll hold groceries for now, but I'm aiming to carry towels and sunscreen in this shopper eventually.

Vintage-inspired wrap dresses + white sneakers. Can't go wrong.

It's the matching-knit-bralette-cardigan-combo trend, only sans cardigan.

You can't really tell from the photo, but this linen shirt is really good. It's also the answer to, "What does one wear over a knit bralette, anyway?"

Oil! With SPF! Finally. Cue that vacation-skin glow.

The only decision to make with this easy-to-wear skirt is which of the prints is cuter…

I've never owned a pair of Birkenstocks, but I've come close to buying a pair of Arizona's about 20 times. (Mostly because my friend Lucy has worn hers religiously for about 15 years—proof here, here, and here). As someone who, as you may have guessed, strictly invests in gold hardware, I'm extremely glad I held out for this luxe-looking Big Buckle style.

Only wear accessories that put you in vacation mode.

Oh look, it's me, casually wandering the villages of Sardinia to buy fresh tomatoes on the vine… Or, more realistically, drinking Cannonau on my couch in Brooklyn while watching The Spy Who Loved Me. (I'm completely over the fact we had to cancel our vacation, I swear.)

Okay, yes, I'm on a bit of a Free People spree here, but tell me this top isn't about to become the breeziest piece in your wardrobe?

I wear this Alighieri gold medallion necklace every single day of summer.

I accidentally discovered this sweet little sundress when I was browsing Nordstrom and can happily report that it's now 60% off. The alternative prints will cater to all your style personalities: ivory with a tiny floral detail, leopard print, plus a particularly good black and white gingham.

This trending bag style by editor-favorite JW Pei comes in so many happy hues (and summer-ready neutrals, for the less adventurous amongst us). It may only be going for a spin around the block for now, but you can feel extra good about this purchase knowing JW Pei is donating 20% of proceeds from their S/S 20 collection to The Mask Fund in support of COVID-19 healthcare workers.

Something particularly good is going on with Marni's sandals this season…

This textured puff-sleeve dress (in my current favorite color) is a top-rated style on Free People.

This soft, light-weight knit looks way more expensive than it is.

Realistically, these are what I'm wearing 99% of the time.

This Mara Hoffman bikini top is your opportunity to be Carrie in the Hamptons at Samantha's ex-assistant's hoedown party––only without the part when she vomits after seeing Big with Natasha (and, more importantly, without the pink cowboy hat).

As if this dress isn't good enough already, you can also buy it as separates…

Shop the top (with an extra-good drawstring detail)…

And mix and match the skirt, which is also particularly good with a knotted, relaxed-fit graphic tee.

These little treasures are handmade in New York with Swarvoski pearl drops.

I just think everyone should know about this Bottega bikini.

Don't sleep on this relaxed-fit tee in the perfect vintage tones.

I. Am. Here. For. Dresses. With. Pockets.

These sandals also come in black, but I vote for the soft minty green. (And feel free to consider this whole tucked-pant styling trend optional… I know I am.)

Just a ridiculously good tank, if you're in the mood to invest.

Why do I have such a thing for shirts like this?

Ever so slightly more see-through than your usual bucket hat and infinitely chicer.

My sister wore Clinique Happy in high school, and I thought it was the coolest. This classic scent just smells like summer (and has since 1997). Cue the nostaglia.