Shop Class: New trends warm up summer wardrobes

Embrace your inner child this season with cute rompers, crafty jewelry and jelly sandals.

Finals are here, the weather is warmer and I am running out of Diamond Dollars. This can only mean one thing: summer is just around the corner. Although I will be spending the majority of my summer in business casual dress, working the nine-to-five shift at an office, the weekends are for fun and playful fashion.

This season’s trends are nothing if not playful. Jellies and rompers lend inspiration to summer fashion, bringing back memories of melting ice cream cones and hopscotch. Large bows add youthful touches to tailored shorts and skirts, while crafty statement-piece accessories incorporate bold colors into a neutral palate.

Colors are beginning to stray away from silver and gold metallic fabrics and move to earthen colors like sandy tans and greens. Saturated peaches, reds and blues add retro looks to sundresses and swimwear.

Embrace your inner pin-up girl with frilly, structured one-piece suits in soft yellows and pinks. Large stripes are becoming a popular pattern for sporty swimwear like boy-short bikinis. Also, kitschy prints like calico floral and paisley add a bohemian look to beachwear and the much-coveted maxi dresses.

Nautical-inspired tops with navy and white stripes or a pink and white striped pocket tee I found at H&M pair well with high-waisted shorts. A black or navy belt with a large bow cinches the look together, giving it a girly and innocent flair.

My favorite dare-to-wear summer trend is the romper. These short jumpsuits, also called Onesies, are cropping up all over the place. Vena Cava makes the ultimate romper in black silk and pastel ruffles around the straps and neckline. For a more affordable version that is just as sweet, turn to Forever 21. However, these silky Onesies can sometimes resemble lingerie. For a safer daytime look, try a safari-inspired design with a sleeveless button-down front in khaki green or gray.

Another easy summer outfit is a simple, lightweight jersey knit dress. Whether they have short sleeves and empire waists or spaghetti straps and pockets, these dresses are just as comfy as T-shirts. I like to spice up a plain white A-line T-shirt dress with a bright accessory like a colorful bag or crocheted necklace.

A crocheted circle necklace from Urban Outfitters works well with simple knit dresses and rompers. Or score a handmade version from Etsy vendor A Merry Mishap sells similar crocheted circle necklaces along with belts and headbands. You can visit her online shop at and check out other great summer accessories from thousands of Etsy vendors.

Every year, those uncomfortable jelly shoes from our youth are slated to make a comeback, but this year, they are taking a different approach. Designers have been using jellies as inspiration for more innovative designs like jelly espadrilles, wedges and sneakers. Check out Kate Spade’s jelly flip-flops or jelly ballet flats from Cesare Paciotti.

I thought gladiator sandals had seen the light of day for the last time earlier this fall, but these strappy, studded kicks are still keeping it real on the shelves. Chinese Laundry has designed the ultimate summer shoe by creating a jelly gladiator hybrid. Pair them with a casual romper and crocheted jewelry for the perfect playful summer outfit.

Nicole Saylor can be reached at

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