Though the phrase “hot girl summer” was coined by Megan Thee Stallion in 2019, no one can deny its ubiquity to the point of overuse this summer. For the vaccinated, 2021 ushers in the so-called “shot girl summer,” characterized by re-openings, improved weather, and, yes, partying. Bitter onlookers can mock all they want—I’m buying in full force.
Now, I’m not the type to hit up a rave or head to Ibiza at a moment’s notice. But, this summer, I’m going to dress like I am. I will be swapping out my standard, mostly neutral, New Yorker color palette for neons, metallics, and candy-colored hues. After the year we’ve had, (for me, spent mostly in grey sweatpants) it’s time to dress for the moment. The new Roaring 20’s is too bright an era for dark colors. I want highlighter-colored tops. Pink wide-leg pants. Tie-dye dresses. Mismatched pairings. Easter pastel purses. I want to look like a fourth grader at summer camp, in beaded necklaces and Hawaiian florals. All patterns should look as at home on a designer dress as they would on an L.L. Bean swimsuit from 2002. Jelly sandals! Bright gingham! And. Lots. Of. Pink.
The summer fashion inspo is already trickling in: Harry Styles in Cher Horowitz-plaid and a feather boa at the Grammy Awards. The TikTok teens are thrifting Lilly Pulitzer halter tops and Pucci prints. This Tweet, featuring Gilda Radnor in pink overalls at Studio 54. The shocking neon pantsuits at Balmain’s Spring/Summer 2021 fashion show. Even Duchess Kate recently wore a bright coral coat in London.
This is not your average summer. This is #TechnicolorSummer (coined by me, right now). It’s absurd and dizzying and the whirlwind of our Y2K dreams—feather boas, halter tops, bright knits, miniskirts, and all. So, pop on a pair of neon-tinted shades and bring some joy back into your wardrobe.
Find this T&C writer’s blindingly bright summer must-haves below.
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Cheri Floral Terry Cardigan Sweater
If we’re not talking a pink terrycloth bikini with a matching skirt and cardigan, I don’t want to talk.
The Noor Headband
Hill House Home
This bejeweled lilac headband will add some glitz to any outfit.
The Lovestruck Tie Back Mini
Nothing (and we mean nothing) screams summer quite like a Zimmermann mini dress.
PAILY HEELS IN SKY BLUE STELLA
We found it—the perfect summer 2021 summer heel. Choose sky blue, bubblegum pink, pistachio, or buttercup yellow (or all of the above).
The Chain Cassette Leather Bag
A neon green Bottega dream.
Happy Go Lucky Necklace
Martha Calvo is quickly becoming the jeweler of the summer. This necklace has just the right amount of chaos.
Go from brunch to beach in this romantic pink maxi dress.
Celia belted layered paisley-print linen shorts
This blue and white skort and top set is both adorable and practical. Shop the top here.
Le Chiquito Bag
The best things come in teeny tiny packages. This Jacquemus purse won’t hold much, but the compliments will be plentiful.
Everyone needs a summer gingham moment.
Birks, but make them fancy.
Arizona Eva Sandals
Or, you know, actual Birkenstocks. But, the sea foam hue adds a playful touch.
Off-White Cashew Scarf Maxi Skirt
This whole outfit is just sunshine and joy. Find the matching (though not matchy) top here.
The “Cloud Clutch” is a fitting name for this puffy bag with a sky blue hue.
Printed Underwire One-Piece Swimsuit
A bit more color shy? Swimwear is the perfect place to experiment with new shades.
Mare crochet-knit kaftan
Missoni feels incredibly of the moment this summer (and, let’s be honest, every summer). This semi-sheer collared caftan is impossibly chic.
Coco Husk Sunglasses
Top off your beach outfit with these cat-eye, yellow-tinted specs.
OV Graphic Tee
This classic tee with funky lettering would look great oversized and paired with biker shorts.
Prada Re-Edition 2005 Re-Nylon bag
Mint and aqua seem to be the greens of the season. This Prada bag blends the trendy color with an ultra Y2K style.
Carina 90 Rainbow Espadrille Wedges
Rainbow espadrille wedges? Sure, why not?
Luka Print Trousers
These trousers are perfect for those of us not ready to transition back into “hard pants.”
Ruffled linen shirt and shorts set
This matching linen set will keep you chic and breezy, indoors and out.
Trekky Bandana Sandal
Do these look kind of like jazzed up Teva sandals from summer camp? Yes. Are they still an ideal summer 2021 sandal? Absolutely.
Ariel crinkle-jersey bandeau bikini
Hunza G bikinis are like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants of bathing suits—they somehow look great on everyone. Find the one piece version here.
TOMMY BEADED BAG | FLAG PRINT MULTI
If you can’t pick a color, you may just have to wear them all.
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