Hot Take—We're Absolutely Obsessed With These 7 Controversial Summer Trends


(Image credit: @endlesslyloveclub)

If there's one thing I can always count on from my co-workers at Who What Wear, it's a sartorial hot take. Whenever I walk into the office, I've come to expect to get into at least one discussion—be it over an outdoor lunch in Bryant Park or down by the sparkling-water machine in the lobby—about some controversial trend or another. Fishnet tights, visible underwear, pencil skirts… You name it, and we've broken it down, with one person almost always running to defend a fad that others have sworn never to wear. Trust that this summer's discussion is well underway. 

From The Row, Khaite, and Dear Frances's now-viral mesh ballet flats that come up at least once a week and will surely lead to a spike in pedicure sales to the see-through clothing that, despite trending on the runways for multiple seasons, still manages to stump even the most advanced dressers, the controversial trends on the table this season at Who What Wear are anything but boring. Scroll down to see (and shop, if you're daring enough) the seven we talk about most. Proceed if you dare. 

Mesh Ballet Flats


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"Ballet flats are officially reaching peak pretty, and the latest iteration to emerge is ultra-delicate mesh flats. With viral pairs like the Alaïa netted flats and Khaite's crystal-adorned mesh pair, these are all anyone can talk about right now and shop for, but the conversation is definitely split. The see-through style may not be for everyone, but I happen to think they're incredibly chic, and I know I'm not alone since retailers can barely keep these popular pairs in stock. No matter your thoughts on them, mesh flats are about to be everywhere soon." — Anna Laplaca, Editor


(Image credit: @brittanybathgate)

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Sheer Clothing


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"With the warm-weather season rapidly approaching, we can expect to see the sheer trend spotted all over the runways come back to life. And I'm here for it. While some may deem this see-through look as risqué and daring, I find that it adds depth and an ethereal essence to any ensemble. Depending on your mood, sheer pieces can be styled modestly or with a little more edge (both being equally sexy in my opinion). Not to mention, sheer items make for a stylish swimwear cover-up whether you are lounging poolside or basking on the beach." — Raina Mendonca, Associate Editor, Branded Content


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Chunky Jewelry


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"Perhaps it's the minimalist buried deep, deep inside of me cringing, but I've heard a lot of outrage suddenly about oversize, chunky pieces of jewelry making a comeback. I, for one, am fully behind it. Gold bauble earrings and oversize pearls have been calling out to me since I saw whispers of the '80s and '90s summer trends coming back into the picture. Instead of having your clothes do all the talking this summer, opt for neutral, elevated basics paired with gold drop earrings or vintage chunky arm cuffs to add a bit of dimension and spice into your look." — Ana Escalante, Assistant Shopping Editor


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"Much has been said about whether flip-flops are chic or not, but I'm here to tell you that they are. (Flip-flops, after all, are an Olsen staple!) As a SoCal native, I've been a proponent of the casual shoe style for as long as I can remember, and my love for them has never wavered even after becoming a fashion editor. Sun's out, toes out!" — Erin Fitzpatrick, Associate Director of Fashion News


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Hot Pants


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If micro miniskirts were too controversial for your taste, then you'll be shocked to discover the latest trend to take over: hot pants. Skintight and alarmingly short, the retro silhouette has been spotted all across Instagram following the rise of the underwear-as-pants trend, and despite everyone who's hard-pressed to never let the trend return, I'm all for it, with pairs already packed for my upcoming summer vacations.


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Floral Dresses


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"Call me crazy for referring to floral dresses as 'controversial,' but all of a sudden, they are. When The Guardian announced that floral dresses were out, fashion people went into a hissy fit, and the debate is still going on a month later. Long story short, a lot of fashion experts are saying that, if you already own a large collection of floral dresses, you should stop buying new ones and focus on building out more timeless wardrobe staples. I hear that argument, but honestly, I can never have enough floral dresses hanging in my closet. Every occasion and vacation requires a brand-new floral dress that is different than the many styles I already own. I just can't help myself. With that being said, I will still be buying into this 'controversial' item that I consider to be a timeless wardrobe staple, and no one can stop me." — Sierra Mayhew, Associate Editor


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"While the major wedge comeback is undeniable, the shoe style remains divisive. The piece is sitting at the top of my personal shopping list, however, so I'm voting in favor of the controversial shoe style. Pieces including Khaite's architectural heel version and Bottega Veneta's pumps designed with a gold-tone slingback are rising to cult status, but I'm also gravitating toward streamlined '90s-inspired styles. Regardless of your stance, these are set to be defining shoes in 2023." — Kristen Nichols, Associate Director of Special Projects


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Next up: The 2023 Jewelry Trends Everyone's About to Be Completely Obsessed With

Senior Fashion Editor

Eliza Huber is a New York City–based fashion editor who specializes in trend reporting, brand discovery, and celebrity style. She joined Who What Wear in 2021 after almost four years on the fashion editorial team at Refinery29, the job she took after graduating with a marketing degree from the University of Iowa. She has since launched two monthly columns, Let's Get a Room and Ways to Wear; profiled the likes of Dakota Fanning, Diane Kruger, Katie Holmes, and Sabrina Carpenter for WWW's monthly cover features; and reported on everything from the relationship between Formula One and fashion to the top trends from fashion month, season after season. Eliza now lives on the Upper West Side and spends her free time researching F1 fashion imagery for her side Instagram accounts @thepinnacleoffashion and @f1paddockfits, running in Central Park, and scouring eBay for '90s Prada and '80s Yves Saint Laurent.