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As summer nears fall, some of the trends of the season have approached style with an emphasis on comfort and practicality. Perhaps it is a coincidence, or perhaps this grew out of our collective shift toward comfortable clothes, loungewear, and athleisure this past year. Whatever the cause, anything fun and stylish that’s also comfortable and practical is a win in my book!

Here are just a few of the styles we’re seeing.

SUNSET COLORS

Sunset colors have really boomed this year, with oranges, yellows, and peaches becoming quite popular in such shops as Zara and H&M. There are also variety of milder tangerine, apricot, and citron colors available for people who are not yet ready to jump into a bright orange-juice hue.

Sunset colors also easily transition into fall wardrobes, because autumnal colors are generally warm and sometimes muted. You could pair various sunset summer colors with traditional autumnal shades such as marigold, burnt orange, and wine red. If your fall neutrals tend toward camel, clay, and brown, these will also pair well with many summer oranges, yellows, and peaches. A sunset-colored summer outfit is often just one-brown-blazer away from an autumnal ensemble! 

Linen shorts in apricot by H&M

Linen shorts in apricot by H&M

Drawstring shorts in pale yellow by J.Crew

Drawstring shorts in pale yellow by J.Crew

Go for a one-and-done piece with this J.Crew pale yellow and peach maxi dress.

Go for a one-and-done piece with this J.Crew pale yellow and peach maxi dress.


Pastel sunset colors such as peaches and light oranges can pair well with white tees or blouses, as well as other pinks and peaches for a monochrome look. Brighter, more saturated hues work with more colors. You can wear a bright orange or yellow with black accessories, for instance, without the black completely overpowering the rest of the outfit, as sometimes happens with pastels. Bright yellows and oranges also make it easier to color-block outfits. This bright yellow JCrew pencil skirt and pair of espadrilles can pair with bright orange, navy, or royal blue, bright or wine red, forest green, lavender, black, white, and brown.

Some colors already fall in the autumnal range, such as these burnt orange linen pants from Old Navy. Pair with white or pink blouses in the summer, and black, brown, or reds in fall.

High-waisted linen blend in Tiger Eye at Old Navy

High-waisted linen blend in Tiger Eye at Old Navy

J.Crew dress in marigold and bright orange

J.Crew dress in marigold and bright orange

SQUARE-TOED SHOES

The resurgence of square-toed shoes is yet another reminder that what goes around comes around. Once popular in the 1990s, this was considered a dated style for many years before it started trending again in late 2019. Whether it is the strength of the trend or the pandemic’s pausing effect on fashion last year, the much-maligned square-toed shoe is still going strong.

This is very good news for those who, like me, need a wider toe box. Square-toed shoes don’t cut off your pinky toe or risk forming bunions on your big toe the way pointed-toe and some almond-toe shoes do.

Square-toed shoes are in a way classic, as people have been wearing square-toes shoes for thousands of years. (You can check out the full historical story at Vintage Fashion Guild or The Zoe Report.) And if you can’t help but see square toes as clunky, remember that ballerinas, the epitome of grace and style, all wear square-ish pointe shoes

Popular square-toe styles include mostly sandals for the moment, especially the square, heeled, flip-flop style found at Shein. Strappy sandals such as those at Banana Republic and Zara have been all over Instagram, as well. If you don’t like sandals or are already thinking about fall, Nordstrom has a decent selection of flats with a square-ish toe.

Minimalist red sandal from Banana Republic

Minimalist red sandal from Banana Republic

Thus far, there is not much variety in square-toed boots. Mostly, they come in blacks and browns with a few snakeskin or animal-print options.

Simple black boots at ASOS

Simple black boots at ASOS

Franco Sarto adds more interest to this boot with a snakeskin material.

Franco Sarto adds more interest to this boot with a snakeskin material.

Sam Edelman’s animal print boots

Sam Edelman’s animal print boots

SWIMWEAR WITH SLEEVES

It may seem a little late in the season for swimwear, but it’s actually a wise time for finding the sales if you still plan to hit the beach or pool.

Details on the shoulders have been all over swimwear this summer, coming in the form of actual sleeves, ruffles, and pretty rash guards. 

Swimsuits are a great way to try out new styles, because suits rarely last for more than a few years anyway. They don’t hold up very well in storage, either, so it’s not practical to buy several of an item to wear in future years. There are washing tips that will help your suits keep their shape longer, but they are still much more short-lived than many other items of clothing. Take this as a sign to try whatever trends you enjoy this year, and any year, because the suit may be worn out by the time another year rolls around.

Ruffles on shoulder straps are a romantic touch. Check out the ruffles on these tops by Summersalt and Qua Vino.

Black and white ruffle suit by Summersalt

Black and white ruffle suit by Summersalt

Some brands have added actual sleeves to their swimsuits, covering the shoulders, which, when exposed, are one of the first few places we get sunburned. 

Puff sleeve one-piece in blue by Qua Vino

Puff sleeve one-piece in blue by Qua Vino

Puff sleeve v-neck by Qua Vino

Puff sleeve v-neck by Qua Vino

If you like to relax on the sand, this suit would be a great way to protect your shoulders without having to wear a T-shirt over your suit. However, if you are a swimmer, this may be less practical as the sleeves can get weighed down in the water and waves.

Other sleeve options include short-sleeve crop-top bikinis by Albion and Shein which are meant to stay put for a more active beach day. 

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rashguard

Surfers and boogie-boarders may prefer a tighter, longer-sleeve style that will protect their skin and won’t weigh them down. Target, Madewell, and Shein all have styles that combine pretty prints with the coverage of a rash guard.

Tropical crop top suit by Shein

Tropical crop top suit by Shein

Colorful rash guard at Dillards

Colorful rash guard at Dillards

This Roller Rabbit rash guard at Dillard’s features a fun, almost sweater-like print. And Zappos has a tropical one-piece below.

Palmetto long-sleeve one-piece from Zappos

Palmetto long-sleeve one-piece from Zappos

As the summer comes to an end, it’s not too late to give some of these late-season looks a try, and see what works for you.