I Just Assembled My Ideal Summer Wardrobe—These Were the 5 Key Pieces


(Image credit: Imaxtree/Jil Sander)

After months of shopping without rhyme or reason, my summer wardrobe is in need of a fix. It's the classic trope of having too many options without having anything to truly wear, so in light of my situation, I'm getting more strategic. While I don't need to go overboard with a whole new closet, I do want to invest in a few essential pieces that will do the heavy lifting and reduce how long I sit and stare into the abyss that is my closet. Since the runways are always a source of discovery, I went back and combed through the spring/summer collections for fresh inspiration. Now that these collections have finally trickled from the shows into the retail stores, it made even more sense to give them another look. Hours of clicking and scrolling later, I finally arrived at my dream summer wardrobe, and it came down to five key pieces. 

From prep-school miniskirts (thank you, Miu Miu) to happy-hour halter vests and cocktail-hour crochet, these were the standouts among the host of florals and linen pieces on the runways. The point is that I can incorporate them into my current wardrobe as a focal point with my existing staples as the supporting act.

They're ready to set the tone and define the mood of the summer—keep scrolling to see the buys energizing and unifying my summer vibe.

Statement Sets


(Image credit: Acne Studios)

Two pieces are better than one. Designers proved that on the season's runways with two-piece matching sets in an array of lightweight fabrics and eccentric shapes. ACNE Studios is always one of my favorites, so as soon as this midi skirt and matching cropped jacket appeared during its spring/summer show, they didn't leave my brain. I'm no stranger to the power of a matching set, but this one was different. The wired hem, the semi-sheer wool, and the slightly distressed composition were all a statement that you couldn't glance away from. The look fully convinced me that eye-catching sets were nonnegotiable for the warm months ahead, and thus far, they've proven useful. It seems like someone is throwing a party for something every weekend, and a statement set like this takes the guesswork out of getting dressed. Plus, the whimsy makes compliments inevitable.

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Puffball Dresses


(Image credit: Sandy Liang)

Sandy Liang's spring show was filled with plenty of hits—sleek schoolgirl skirts, cool cutout vests, and itsy-bitsy bralettes—but the standout moment for me was this khaki-colored A-line dress. It's a silhouette I've seen countless times, but Liang's version, with a slightly dropped waist, felt special. It also signaled a bigger moment I'm currently seeing a lot of now: modified puffball and A-line dresses. Slimmed at the bodice and spreading into a full skirt, the shape feels sophisticated but with an edge.

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Summer Vests


(Image credit: Coperni)

Leaning a less conventional, we have the halter vest aka the summer vest. Coperni's pinstriped version paired with billowy tan cargo pants is a look I'd like to wear this very moment. It's an outfit that means business but doesn't take itself too seriously (hence the very Y2K-inspired cargos). A halter vest is also something very new to my white tank top– and linen pant–dominated closet, so it's an opportunity to change things up—maybe it will be my new staple.

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Preppy Miniskirts


(Image credit: 16Arlington)

Until a few months ago, I feverishly swore off miniskirts. The recent abundance of Miu Miu micro miniskirts changed my tune. This year, I'm giving them a try, following London-based label 16Arlington as the blueprint. The brand sent an off-white pleated miniskirt with a long-sleeve crystal-embellished top that felt like something Britney Spears would've worn in 2003. For its faithful adaptation of early aughts fashion (which we've already seen a lot of at this point), I'm still transfixed by this outfit. And thus, I'm currently ordering every pleated miniskirt my fingers can scroll through.

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Cocktail-Hour Crochet


(Image credit: Jil Sander)

Crochet is so synonymous with summer that it would be more of a surprise if it wasn't mentioned within the context of summer fashion. However, this crochet is more fit for an occasion with a little more pomp and circumstance. Jil Sander was one of the many names that presented elegantly fancy crochet (or openwork) pieces within their spring/summer collections. Proenza Schouler and Ferragamo also followed suit with heavyweight crochet dresses that could function as worthy options for a fancy aperitivo. The Michelin-starred rooftop restaurants aren't ready.

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Fashion Market Editor

Indya Brown is a fashion editor, stylist, and writer living in Los Angeles. While going to school at Columbia University in New York City, she got her feet wet in the fashion industry interning at Elle magazine, Harper's Bazaar, and New York magazine's The Cut. After graduating in 2016, she joined The Cut as a fashion assistant, eventually working her way up to fashion editor. There, she worked on a multitude of projects, including styling inbook feature stories for New York magazine's print issue, writing and pitching market stories for The Cut, and serving as fashion lead for The Cut's branded content. While New York has been her home for over 10 years, she moved to Los Angeles in the midst of the pandemic in 2020 for a new chapter. Now she is a fashion market editor for Who What Wear, focusing on emerging designers, rising trends on and off the internet, interior design, and BIPOC creatives and brands. Aside from her duties as a fashion market editor, Brown is also a freelance stylist and writer, working on national print and video commercial campaigns for Sephora, The Independent, and Cadillac. Her bylines also include Harper's Bazaar, Vox, and The New York Times. But once the computer goes down and the emails turn off, she's likely eating her way through Koreatown, hunting down vintage furniture, scoping out new outrageous nail designs to try, or taking a hot cycling class.