The Cool-Girl Starter Pack: 8 Things Every Early Adopter Is Wearing RN


Right now, there are plenty of exciting new trends on deck for summer 2022, and I've been spending a lot of time chronicling them lately. There are the major overarching trends, as dictated by the runways, that are the styles that are going viral on each of our social media feeds, but I'm most invested in what fashion's early adopters are actually wearing these days. Welcome to what I'm calling the cool-girl summer starter pack.

I study their outfits like it's my job (well, it basically is), and after careful consideration, I've come to the conclusion that are eight trendy items they all seem to agree on. Some of these include updated staples like maxi skirts, but as I'm talking about a group of trendsetters with more experimental style, I have to warn you that there are also some divisive items in here, like the new "dad" sneakers and parachute pants they're all into.

Ahead, dive into the eight cool-girl summer trends that the most in-the-know style people are wearing and shop my picks for each.


(Image credit: @nonicyngor; @aminamuaddi)

While everyone else is buzzing about miniskirts right now, the coolest girls in my feed are going in the opposite direction and embracing ankle-grazing maxi lengths, especially sleek '90s-inspired column cuts that are equally as alluring as their micro counterparts. For an even more daring ensemble, they're styling the skirts low on their waist with a shrunken top. 


(Image credit: @stephaniebroek; @lucyraemcfadin)

I fully blame the Balenciaga Cagole boots for the return of this early-aughts shoe staple. While knee-high boots have been a fashion-person staple for a minute now, it wasn't until just recently that the boots underwent a subtle but important shift. In place of structured shapes, we're now seeing styles that are shrunken around the calf with pointed toes and a stiletto heel. It's even better if they feature some moto-inspired hardware.


(Image credit: @devonleecarlson; @devapollon)

I'm trying not to sound like a broken record, but I'm noticing yet another Y2K trend bubbling up to the surface. Bowler bags—a favorite of the early aughts thanks to Prada and Louis Vuitton—are stepping back into the spotlight once again on a certain subset of TikTok-creating cool girls, like Devon Lee Carlson.


(Image credit: @stephaniebroek@himichelleli)

I'll just warn you now: These aren't the last controversial trend you're going to read about here. Sure, they're a little out-there and downright "ugly" even, but there's no denying that those in fashion's most in-the-know crowd are sporting these wraparound sunglasses en masse.


(Image credit: @frejawewer; @himichelleli)

Parachute pants are another summer trend that's rather divisive, but when Bella Hadid, Hailey Bieber, and seemingly every trendsetter on my timeline are sporting the oversize cargo-inspired trousers, I have no choice but to pay attention. 


(Image credit: @nnennaechem; @frejawewer)

Shocked? Same. But since Scandi girls are always 10 steps ahead of us, I'm officially declaring that their latest sneaker obsession, Asics, will soon become the must-have kicks for fashion people everywhere. 


(Image credit: @mayastepper; @champagnemani)

Cool girls love a quirky accessory to spice up even their simplest outfits. Right now, it's puffy-heart necklaces that I'm seeing them all wear. The velvet-trimmed Saint Laurent version is certainly on my wish list, but luckily, there are plenty of affordable options that are just as striking.


(Image credit: @sashashviderska; @champagnemani)

I know what you're thinking. But headphones aren't a fashion item. And you're right! As nostalgia for the '90s and early '00s reaches a fever pitch, it makes sense that we're also yearning for simpler times with our tech accessories. Over-ear headphones were a staple of the '90s, and thanks to the new AirPods Max, it seems that they're having their moment in the sun once again. While I love my barely-there earbuds, this trend even has me dusting off the Beats headphones I wore throughout college.

Up next, These 6 Designer Brands Are Defining the Current Zeitgeist

Senior Editor

Anna is an editor on the fashion team at Who What Wear and has been at the company for over five years, having begun her career in the Los Angeles office before relocating to New York, where she's currently based. Having always been passionate about pursuing a career in fashion, she built up her experience interning at the likes of Michael Kors, A.L.C., and College Fashionista before joining the team as a post-graduate assistant editor. Anna has penned a number of interviews with Who What Wear's cover stars over the years, including A-listers Megan Fox, Issa Rae, and Emma Chamberlain. She's earned a reputation for scouting new and emerging brands from across the globe and championing them to our audience of millions. While fashion is her main wheelhouse, Anna led the launch of WWW Travels last year, a new lifestyle vertical that highlights all things travel through a fashion-person lens. She is passionate about shopping vintage, whether it be at a favorite local outpost or an on-the-road discovery, and has amassed a wardrobe full of unique finds. When she's not writing, you can find her shooting street imagery on her film camera, attempting to learn a fourth or fifth language, or planning her next trip across the globe.