These Are the Top Print Trends of Summer 2021

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While we've already given you the rundown on the colors of the summer, now's the time to talk about my favorite part of fashion: prints. I've always been one for prints. The images from high school of me wearing cheetah, stripes, and Aztec (yes, all three) haunt me till this day. While I may not be clashing multiple prints all at once, I'm still incorporating them into my wardrobe as a whole. There are plenty of prints that stay in my rotation, such as stripes, plaid, floral, etc. But there are cooler reiterations of the patterns I wore in high school plus some new ones that have surfaced on the fashion scene. After last summer had a lot of COVID-19 restrictions in place, it seems this summer, people are ready to reemerge into society with the loudest prints possible.

For starters, retro prints are having quite a moment in the spotlight right now. Slap them on bikinis, slip dresses, shorts, or headbands, and they're bound to sell like crazy. Checkerboard also shows no sign of slowing down, while the vintage florals of the Bridgerton craze are still going strong. Scroll down to see and shop my favorite summer print trends that you're sure to fall for.

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(Image credit: @emilisindlev; @mdass; Courtesy of Zara, Emilio Pucci)

After seasons of neutrals reigning supreme, the '60s and '70s have reemerged onto the fashion scene with bright-colored prints. They're largely inspired by Emilio Pucci, who championed the kaleidoscope patterns in the '60 with his namesake line.

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(Image credit: @alyssainthecity; @_LAURENWOLFE_; @michaela_bee; Courtesy of Lisa Says Gah )

We saw checkerboard plenty in winter and fall, but summer has arrived. Think checkered bags, hats, and definitely bikinis. You can opt for classic black and white or opt for brighter colorways if you’re feeling brave. 

Not Your Grandma's Florals

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(Image credit: @alyssainthecity; Courtesy of Rixo; Mango)

I love a good grandma print, but the florals on the market are nothing like a couch you’ll spot in Goodwill. On par with the Pucci prints, these florals are equally as joyful. Florals may not be "groundbreaking” as Miranda Priestly stated, but these standout options may give her a run for her money.

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Zara; Rejina Pyo; House of Sunny)

While sea prints are bubbling up in the market, it’s the tropics that are reigning this summer. Think island-style prints but nothing like the ones dads might wear on vacation.

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Alessandra Rich; Rodarte)

Blame Bridgerton—vintage-style prints are still high in demand, and I think always will be. From light florals to delicate patterns, anything that looks like it came off of a tea set is good in my book. It particularly looks stunning on cottagecore dresses and corset tops.

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Christopher John Rogers; Miu Miu; Versace)

We’ve already established that there’s a colorful summer ahead, but it’s the colorful array of stripes—primarily rainbow colors—that I’m seeing a lot of on the market. In Christopher John Rogers's latest collection, he set the scene for bold colors and patterns. 

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Tom Ford; Song of Style; Acne Studios)

I can’t describe this print any other way than it looks like something you’d make in art class. Watercolors, painted patterns—if it seems abstract enough, it’s a print that’s ready for summer 2021. 

Next: 5 New Swimsuit Trends That Work for Every Body Type

Assistant Market Editor
Yusra Siddiqui is an editor who resides in New Jersey but bounces between the suburbs and NYC. (She's a Jersey girl at heart.) After interning at Who What Wear in 2019, she found her way to the team after graduating from LIM College in 2022 with a fashion media degree. She's also spent time writing and working for publications such as Fashionista, Coveteur, and Nylon, but she always knew that Who What Wear was where she was meant to be. When she's on the job, she's perusing runway shows, analyzing the latest thing fellow Gen Zers are up to on the internet, and sharing what she can about the modest-fashion market. You can also catch her dabbling in entertainment, talking about the costume choices of the latest Netflix series or diving deeper into how the plotline affects the viewers in a myriad of ways. Lastly, she likes to create content for Who What Wear's TikTok. Her personal time is spent doing similar but also different things—deep diving into almost every new TV show (Bridgerton, Gilmore Girls, and Stranger Things are favorites), planning her next local getaway (whenever that may be), and reading the latest Emily Henry or Sally Rooney novel in one sitting.