Amid the bug repellent and tiki torches, save some room on the summer shopping list for apparel and accessories that will keep you looking cool while the weather heats up.Trends for the season are about putting the ease back into summertime living with effortlessly chic hairdos, flattering silhouettes and jewelry, and handbags that do more than meets the eye.Here are some suggestions on how to breeze through summer in style.Retro reduxTorn between a bikini and a one-piece? Go vintage with a long-line high-waisted two-piece swimsuit that hits near or above the navel, ideal for the woman who craves more coverage yet still wants to show a little skin. Find one in a bold color or print that suits your style, such as floral and polka-dot options ($68 each) from topshop.com.Ring mixGive your statement ring some company by stacking bands on multiple fingers. Add levels to the look by slipping on a couple midi rings, or jewelry that sits above the lower knuckle at the middle of the finger. Try out the trend with the “Layer Me” ring set from Urban Outfitters ($18; urbanoutfitters.com), which offers rings in a variety of widths that can be mixed and matched.No-hassle nail polishPacking too many nail polishes can take up precious luggage space (not to mention risk catastrophe if the bottles break). Avoid both with single-use nail polish Press Pods by Formula X ($39 for a multicolor 24-pack at Sephora). Each capsule is filled with enough polish for two coats of color. Just “pop, press and paint!”Jelly shoes 2.0Fall in love all over again with the classic summer slip-ons of yesteryear with a little help from designers of today. Jason Wu has teamed with Brazil-based Melissa Shoes on a collection that includes jelly-inspired woven ballet flats ($105; www.melissa.com.br/en, Amazon.com, and Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue websites are a few retailers). The shoes are made from a unique vegan, recycled-PVC material called Melflex. Not only are they stylish, they’re scented. Each pair is infused with a subtle candy-sweet smell.Smart jewelry Opt for a bracelet that does more than just cause tan lines. The jewel JUNE bracelet by Netatmo ($99; www.netatmo.com) monitors sun exposure throughout the day and alerts your smartphone when it’s time to apply more sunscreen, what SPF to use and whether a hat and sunglasses are essential.Choose from a platinum, gold or gunmetal jewel on a leather or black silicon wrap band. The company says the item will be in stock soon; sign up on the website to receive updates.Pony upFrom the runway to the red carpet, ponytails are the go-to sleek hairstyle of the moment. Keep it simple with a straight, slicked-back one secured low on the head, or pull loose, beachy waves into a high updo for extra bounce. For something more polished, take a strand of hair and wrap it around the hair tie, or find pretty ribbons and materials at a craft store to make your own hair bands. Not the DIY type? Emi-Jay (www.emi-jay.com) knotted hair ties are favored in fashion for their attractive colors and patterns, and no-tug fabrics. Plus, they’re hand-dyed and handmade in America.Top of the cropTemperatures aren’t all that’s on the rise. Shirt hemlines keep creeping up as the crop-top trend settles in. For a more modest interpretation, tops with cut-outs around the trim play peek-a-boo without revealing too much. A perfect example: the Esai midi top by Mara Hoffman for Anthropologie ($276 and $246 for shirt and shorts, respectively).The classic white shirt This staple has been made new again. “There are all of these different variations now on a classic cotton white shirt, which is the most comfortable thing to wear during summer,” said Dana Avidan-Cohn, a senior editor at InStyle magazine. Forget your basic fitted button-down. Some have asymmetric hems, so the back is longer. Others are without collars or sleeves. Ways to wear them are many: Layer over a structured skirt, leave the shirttails out in the back or roll up the sleeves. “You can put something over the top of one. You can wear it as a short dress. They’re really, really versatile pieces to have,” Avidan-Cohn said. “I’ve seen a lot of things returning to a classic, modern way of dressing.”Welcome back the culotteThis spring look is floating into summer, hitting at the mid-calf. “A lot of women say, ‘Oh, I have short legs. I can’t wear cropped pants.’ But it’s just a matter of hemming the pant to your mid-leg,” Avidan-Cohn said. And by wide, she means culottes-wide. “They require a more substantial shoe, a chunky shoe whether it’s flat or with a heel,” she said. “I like to see the waist on these pants, so I like a shirt that hits where your natural waist is at the top of the pant, not showing any skin.” In shorts, the high-waisted style paired with cropped tops that also aren’t belly-baring — hitting just below the waistband — is holding for summer.‘Ugly’ sandals made for walkingThe chunky “ugly sandal” with the comfortable sole and wide straps has enjoyed a higher fashion profile, helped along by women pairing them with more sophisticated pieces. “They’re like a throwback to the original Birkenstocks with the double thick strap,” Avidan-Cohn said. “There are a zillion copycats now, but the actual original Birkenstock in a solid black or white, or even a black patent, is trendy again.” Good for all ages, and for all-day walking or a day at the beach, this slide worn with a lightweight white cotton shirtdress, for example, is displacing delicate strappy sandals of seasons past, she said. A lot of the styles are adjustable.
A summer sale shopping guide
The summer months mean deep discounts on everything from clothing to produce to patio furniture. But what should you buy now, and what should you hold off on to score the biggest savings? Here’s a guide that will keep more money in your pocket — so you can spend it on the important things, like weekly pedicures, impromptu road trips or daily ice cream runs. Sweet!
• Lingerie: Most sales on undergarments take place during summer, including both the Frederick’s of Hollywood and Victoria’s Secret semiannual sales.
• Swimsuits: Pickings may start to be slim, but if you want to pick up a few cheap bikinis or trunks for next year (or that winter vacay to Hawaii), now is the time, when they’re pretty much all on the clearance rack.
• Summer clothing: It’s clearance time at retailers, as they slash already reduced prices to make way for new offerings. Stack these deals with coupons, and, if you buy online, buy through a site that also offers rebates or cash back to really maximize savings.
• Dishes: With wedding registries being shopped at full tilt this time of year, many retailers offer bargains on everything from barware to fine china. Pick up something for the bride and groom — and yourself, too!
• Furniture: It’s also clearance time for furniture, as stores and showrooms make way for new items that typically hit the sales floor in August.
• Linens: Two words: White. Sale. You can thank all those college students for deep discounts on towels, sheets and bedding, typically in August.
• Patio furniture: Is this positively the last summer you’re going to use that worn-out outdoor table and chairs? Wait as long as you can to score the biggest savings — but, as with swimwear, note that you may not have a ton to choose from.
• Back-to-school items: From storage containers (hello, dorm room denizens!) to clothing to backpacks and electronics (especially laptops), retailers cut prices this time of year, as students get ready to crack open the books again.
• Popsicles: Run, don’t walk, to the frozen-food aisle, where you’ll find fab deals on yummy summer treats. Think: 10 boxes for $10. (Running will help balance out the calories, too.)
• Fresh fruit: It’s time to stock up on berries, peaches, melons, cherries and all the other sweet and delicious produce hitting grocery store aisles this time of year. Strawberries on sale for $1.25 per quart, or grapes for $2.99? Buy a few and freeze for later use, or pop them into your mouth straight from the freezer for a cool summer treat.
— Lesley Kennedy, ShopAtHome.com