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14 Must-Have Summer Essentials, According To Fashion Insiders

Every season, a new selection of soon-to-be bestsellers hits our favorite fashion retailers. With so many summer 2022 trends and products to keep up with, it’s hard to know what to “add to cart.” In our New Arrivals series, we consult the buyers, editors, and fashion insiders at our go-to shopping destinations to find out their best bets for the season’s wardrobe essentials.
From heart-shaped sunglasses to cargo denim pants to bloomer shorts, summer is arguably the most fun of the trend seasons. But which warm-weather fads will grow old by the time you take your next vacation and which will make it into your summer capsule closet for years to come? To get the low-down on the best summer staples to invest in, we tapped buyers and experts at some of the most popular retailers. 
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The party girl aesthetic continues to lead this trend cycle. "Summer events are back in full force and with them comes a desire to dress up to the nines," says Olivela Chief Merchant Maria Milano. "Now is the time to double down on your partywear style. After all, we're making up for lost time." If party dresses and micro mini skirts aren’t your thing, you can still join in on the fun with sequins and shiny fabrics. "High-shine details have become a standard for a playful upgrade to summer staples,” confirms Arielle Siboni, Bloomingdale’s ready-to-wear fashion director. “Whether you’re attending a wedding or hitting the beach, crystal detailing, injections of lurex, and sequins are the perfect way to add excitement to your outfit." 
If you’re looking to invest in new textures this season, make it crochet or raffia. "They are the star players this summer, and knit dresses and clashing prints are an easy way to reinterpret the trend," says Libby Page, senior market editor at Net-A-Porter. Meanwhile, in the bathing suit department, more is more: “This summer is all about sexy and playful styles in bright colors, sequins, and cut-outs.” Upside-down bikinis are also back on the trend circuit. 
In terms of accessory must-haves, bandanas and statement-making shoes and bags top the shopping list. “This summer, it’s all about making a statement and a luxe pair of platform heels is the perfect way to stand out,” says Jodi Kahn, VP of luxury fashion at Neiman Marcus. “Intricate patterns and vibrant-colored shoes can instantly transform an off-duty look into a glam outfit.” Liane Wiggins, MatchesFashion head of womenswear, suggests a crystal-embellished bag: "They have been a real hit this season, and we see this continuing as our customer searches for special pieces to wear to all of their summer occasions and events."
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Ahead, all the summer wardrobe essentials you shouldn’t sleep on, according to fashion insiders.

Bandanas

"The silk headscarf tied bandana-style conjures the perfect amount of Noughts nostalgia and is a great solution for hiding not-so-great beach hair or flyways on a windy day! Pucci and Versace offer the best versions, just make sure they are bright and silk with juicy patterns." — Harriet Hawksworth, Farfetch Editor-in-Chief

Summer Suiting

"For a modern take on suiting this summer, we love the waistcoat and tailored trouser sets in neutral tones. They are perfect for the office paired with a flatform or with a heel for an evening out." — Liane Wiggins, MatchesFashion Head of Womenswear

Crochet Fashion

"One of my favorite trends this summer across ready-to-wear and handbags is crochet –– the seasonal fabrication feels like a fresh yet simultaneously nostalgic trend that acts as an eye-catching addition to your summer wardrobe." — Arielle Siboni, Bloomingdale’s Ready-to-Wear Fashion Director

Sherbet Shades

"We’re loving the fun, vibrant sherbet colors, from pistachio and strawberry to lemon and lilac. Shoppers can style these shades either with a monochromatic look, or more of a bold outfit by wearing all these colors at once." — Caroline Maguire, Shopbop Fashion Director

Statement Swimwear

"After seasons of sensible neutrals, it's time for swimwear to really make a splash. From bold prints to skin-flashing cut-outs and even sequin embellished bikinis, this summer's lineup of statement swimwear cleverly doubles up as ready-to-wear — just add a pair of high-waisted jeans, fluid cotton pants, or a jersey midi skirt for a truly versatile and holiday-ready look." — Maria Milano, Olivela Chief Merchant
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Jeweled Shoes

"With shorter hemlines in the summer, shoes are on display. We’re seeing fun, jeweled statement shoes sell really well this year and the style options have continued to expand this summer. This type of shoe brings a playfulness and pop of fun to any outfit." — Tracy Margolies, Saks Fifth Avenue Chief Merchandising Officer

Daytime Sequins

"There are so many fun summer trends that I can’t wait to try out, but the ones I’m most excited for is dressing up a day look with sequins or shine." — Divya Mathur, Intermix Chief Merchant

Distinguished Accessories

“Striking accessories are a clever way to set yourself apart and create a unique and memorable outfit. Pieces featuring embroidery and natural textures such as raffia are a great way to elevate a look with classic summer motifs.” — Jodi Kahn, Neiman Marcus VP of luxury fashion

Party Dresses

"As the temps heat up it’s time to go bare with a bold mini-dress or bodycon silhouettes. Electrifying colors, sexy cutouts, and sheer materials bring skin show forward as a top summer trend." — Kate Bellman, Nordstrom Managing Fashion Editor

Warm-Weather Workwear

“Work attire can be difficult to determine in the warm, summer months and often less is more. Lay the foundation of your wardrobe for the season with simple tank tops, cotton dresses, tailored vests, and wide-leg pants.” — Libby Page, Net-A-Porter Senior Market Editor

Silver Punk Jewelry

"At the heart of every awesome look lies contrast, and summer’s whimsy often requires an ‘edge.’ Think: winter’s equivalent of the stompy boot. This year, chunky silver chains, stacked silver hoops, and weighty rocker rings will give your floaty dresses some much-needed cool." — Harriet Hawksworth, Farfetch Editor-in-Chief
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Platform Shoes

"Platforms are back and better than ever! I’m so excited that these are becoming an essential for the summer. They add a nice touch of 'funk' or 'cool factor,' and automatically are a statement for any look." — Caroline Maguire, Shopbop Fashion Director

Summer Dress

"In the summer when it’s hot, there’s nothing easier than throwing on a perfect dress. It’s a complete outfit and is the coolest option when temperatures rise outside. The best part about a summer dress, too, is that you can keep it casual or dress it up. This makes it a super versatile option to go from work or running errands to a happy hour or dinner party. This summer, we’re seeing customers flock toward a lot of bold and fun prints which offer a unique twist to the typical sundress." — Tracy Margolies, Saks Fifth Avenue Chief Merchandising Officer

Preppy Fashion

"Bold stripes and joyful color come to life through statement shirting and playful dresses this summer. The mini skirt is also seeing its comeback and is a key item back to a white loafer or Mary-Jane." — Kate Bellman, Nordstrom Managing Fashion Editor
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

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