Our Ultimate Must Have Summer Pieces

by Freya Wilcox
women wearing bardot tops in gingham, yellow and pale blue

Think that summer is over for another year? Think again! We’re still lapping up the colour, prints and styles of SS17 – and, with sales still in every high street shop window, why not indulge in some of the key trends of the season?

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Key Summer Trends

The best summer fashions have walked the catwalk and the high street proudly this summer, and the obsession with embroidery, gingham, over-the-top ruffles, bardot necklines, cold shoulder maxis and statement denim are still very much the summer must haves that we reach for daily from the wardrobe.

So let’s take a look at some of those fashion must haves and see exactly how to style them.


Gingham trend 2017

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Whether pleated, ruffled or layered, gingham style is everywhere. But don’t be thinking that the ‘school summer dress’ vibe has made a comeback (complete with matching scrunchie) – oh no. Gingham print has been taken to a whole new level this summer; from dungaree dresses, to cigarette trousers and midi skirts. It can be both pretty and girly, or edgy, depending on the item, cut and what it is paired with.

We love a slogan tee, tucked into high-waisted gingham trousers or skirt, or even layered with a gingham strappy dress. The added floral embroidery with the classic black and white check makes a real summer statement too.

Our Top 6

With some classics and also colour, our top 6 picks feature various outfit styles to suit all occasions. From smart to statement, these gorgeous items belong in your summer wardrobe! We’re loving the addition of floral embroidery, ruffles and bows throughout for that added feminine touch.

ASOS £28
Miss Selfridge £28
New Look £22
New Look £24.99
Selfridges £395
Black and white gingham pinafore with embroidered flowers and white slogan tee
Topshop £45


Ruffles trend 2017

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We’re not quite throwing back to the 80s here, but spring 2017 fashion trends have gone to town with the use of ruffles – decorating necklines, adding quirkiness to the bottom of trouser legs, and draped across shoulders. Ruffles almost act like a well thought out accessory, and such attention to detail can really transform an outfit.

We love the boldness that comes from rocking ruffles, too. Paired with something understated like skinny jeans, a fitted skirt or tailored trousers encompasses the real trending fashion. Adding a touch of grunge to a ruffled bardot dress, for example, with classic Converse is also a winning look.

Our Top 6

From bold brights and larger than life ruffles, to delicate ruffles mixed with lace and florals – this top 6 encapsulate the best summer styles out there. There are also some great transitional pieces for autumn.

ASOS Orange Long Sleeve Ruffle Off Shoulder Mini Dress
ASOS £38
Net-a-Porter Dolce and Gabbana Ruffled Corded Lace Dress
Net-a-Porter £1300
Oasis Ruffle Floral Pencil Skirt
Oasis £33.60
Selfridges All Saints Deirdre Ruffled Chiffon Dress
Selfridges £117
Topshop Blue Petite Tie Mini Skirt
Topshop £26
Topshop White Pleated Ruffle Wrap Top
Topshop £36

Statement Sleeves

Statement sleeves trend 2017

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There aren’t may tops around at the moment that don’t rock perhaps the biggest summer trend – the statement sleeve. From floaty 70s flares to ruched sleeves with big bow finishes, this style has given stiff, tailored workwear an edge and weekend wear a fashion boost.

Billowing sleeves can add elegance and sophistication, particularly when paired with a flattering bardot neckline. Pinstripes are also a huge hit with this style, as well as gingham.

So many stores are showcasing different statement sleeves, which is hugely exciting. You really are spoilt for choice – hugely helpful when deciding what style will best suit your body shape. But rest assured, whatever the occasion, this is a trend that will work in making you feel confident and a little bit sassy.

Our Top 6

This collection certainly has drama, with summer brights and unique workwear styles to name a few. The key is to let the statement sleeves do the talking, and these definitely do.

Anthropologie Lorna Striped Bell-Sleeve Top
Anthropologie £78
ASOS Fuchsia Occasion Coat with Statement Sleeve
ASOS £32
Dorothy Perkins Isabel London White Long Sleeve v-neck top
Dorothy Perkins £22
Miss Selfridge Ivory Extreme Sleeve Tunic Dress £20
Miss Selfridge £20
New Look White Ruched Bell Sleeve Shirt
New Look £19.99
Topshop Orange Drama Sleeve Poplin Playsuit
Topshop £42

Bardot Necks

Bardot necks trend 2017

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Having briefly touched on this throughout, bardot necks continue to grace the pages of street style blogs and it’s not hard to see why. This flattering shape suits anyone who wants to give it a go and truth be told, the best summer clothes style it beautifully.

Ruffles go hand in hand with this look, whether that be on a top, dress or shirt. The embroidery trend adds a boho twist and is one of the leading pieces in summer 2017 fashion.

It’s transferrable from work, to the weekend, to a summer wedding – what’s not to love?

Our Top 6

Yes, a bardot neckline even features on jumpers this season! This top 6 presents what some of the best high street brands have to offer, each with a unique take on this go-to style, from formal and fitted, to floral and floaty.

ASOS Bardot Long Sleeve Polka Dot Dress
ASOS £28
Miss Selfridge Striped Self Tie Bardot Dress
Miss Selfridge £35
Missguided grey sweetheart neck bardot tie maxi dress
Missguided £30
New Look Pink Bardot Neckline Sweater
New Look £15.99
Oasis ZSL Bardot Top
Oasis £30
Topshop Shirred Floral Bardot Dress
Topshop £46

Denim Dresses

Denim Dresses trend 2017

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Comfortable and cool, denim dresses with thinner straps are perfect for layering with t-shirts, smarter tops or a bardot during the summer months. Pinafore styles with buckles are also great for this and will be sure to transition well as we head into autumn.

When it comes to more fitted styles, we love collared necklines with wrap around belts, as well as ruffled hems and lace-up details – proving that denim works as evening wear, too.

Our Top 6

Who knew there were so many variations of denim dresses? Summer outfits are calling out for classic blue, black, white or pastel shaded dresses that are both oversized and fitted. We love the gathered sleeve detailing on the shirt dress from ASOS, and the strappy midi version from Missguided is the perfect day-to-night outfit choice with its gathered waistline and daring split.

All Saints Blue Hally Denim Dress
All Saints £82
ASOS Bershka Button Front Denim Dress
ASOS £27.99
Boohoo Laura Denim Pinafore Dress
Boohoo £25
Miss Selfridge Petite Ruffle Denim Dress
Miss Selfridge £35
Missguided blue denim midi dress with button detail
Missguided £30
Net-a-Porter Frayed Cotton and Linen Blend Wrap Dress
Net-a-Porter £150

Cold Shoulder Maxis

Cold shoulder trend 2017

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The ‘showing off your shoulders’ trend has gone one step further in the summer style stakes with cold shoulder maxis this season. These gorgeous pieces are pretty and yet add a hint of sexiness to an outfit – understated chic at its best.

Wear on a summer holiday with a pair of sliders and sunnies, or out to dinner with statement wedges and a denim jacket – both situations are perfectly for cold shoulders with beautiful ruffled edging.

This style is also where you’ll find the most gorgeous summer prints. These delicate and tropical floral patterns are wardrobe must haves, so get them while you can.

Our Top 6

The elegant shoulder exposure on these top 6 pieces are to die for. The bold yellow dress from ASOS stands out thanks to its sweeping sleeves and daring thigh high splits. But if you’re looking for something more reserved, M&S give a nod to this trend with a classic LBD, while Anthropologie have gone for the layered floral look.

Anthropologie Kalia Floral Cold Shoulder Maxi Dress
Anthropologie £39.60
ASOS Drape Cold Shoulder Maxi Dress
ASOS £48
Boohoo Anna Cold Shoulder Frill Sleeve Maxi Dress
Boohoo £18
Marks and Spencer Black Pleated Cold Shoulder Maxi
Marks and Spencer £79
Missguided White Frill Cold Shoulder Printed Maxi Dress
Missguided £35
New Look pink frill scrappy cold shoulder maxi dress
New Look £24.99

Street Style

These ultimate summer pieces are a fashion bloggers dream. For some style inspiration, take a look at how the current fashion trends 2017 are being showcased and shared online in street style blogs below.

Street style SS17 trends

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Combining gingham print and bardot effortlessly, the wrap midi dress with hamper style bag in look one is given some street cred with the white sunnies and espadrilles.

In the second look, the frilly sheer blouse under denim pinafore dress is both preppy and pretty. Complete the outfit with high tops and you’re on to a winner.

And finally, the date night look is covered with this flared sleeve, relaxed white shirt and blue denim, twisted seam mom jeans with court shoes. Go for a red lip to finish off this cool fashion favourite.

Celebrity Style

Not only do we love a Pinterest and Instagram scroll to see how friends and bloggers are putting looks together, but also it’s difficult to resist flicking through the latest celeb sightings to see who wore it best.

They really do help to make the phrase ‘fashion must haves’ a thing and it’s not hard to see why…

Alexa Chung

Queen of style, Alexa Chung, shows us how a pretty summer dress can be taken to the next level – complete with deep red lipstick and dainty ballet pumps. We love the floral pattern and tie detailing on this one. The simple styled hair also makes sure all the attention is on this beautiful outfit.

Alexa Chung floaty patterned cold shoulder maxi dress

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Jaimie King

This daring statement sleeve top is edgy yet feminine on the gorgeous Jaimie King. The bows and pinstripe only add to this winning fashion trend, and the understated blue skinny jeans allow the top to do all the talking. We love!

Jaimie King blue and white statement sleeve top and blue jeans

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Millie Mackintosh

Fashionista Millie Mackintosh has a wardrobe to die for and this summer look is another must-have. Her up-do hairstyle is the perfect choice with this boho inspired bardot top and relaxed white denim shorts combo. The statement sleeves here also showcase why Millie is such a trend-setter.

Millie Mackintosh blue bardot top white shorts

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Pippa Middleton

We can’t get enough of this look from Pippa Middleton. The ruffles make a statement and yet don’t overpower her small frame. The colour choice has a lot to do with it – white is just right for summertime and, paired with blue skinnies and wedges, Pippa oozes glamour.

Pippa Middleton white ruffled long sleeve top blue jeans

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Rachel Weisz

Showing the sophisticated side of trending fashion is none other than Rachel Weisz in this collared, wrap around midi shirt dress. This is a look for both work and play, depending on how you choose to accessorise it.

Rachel Weisz gingham midi dress with tie waist

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What’s Trending this Summer?

This fashion season has been one to remember and one that has pushed the high street style boundaries no end. Don’t miss out on some of these key pieces in the summer sales and enjoy wearing the trends that can turn heads.

  • Balance out the busyness of gingham with simple tees and tailoring.
  • Don’t let ruffles overrule – try on all styles to see which flatters your body shape best.
  • Statement sleeves are the perfect addition to your work wardrobe and evenings out. Flattering and fabulous!
  • Grab all the bardot necked items out there: the must-have summer wardrobe staple that go with everything.
  • Denim dresses with cotton blend are light and airy if you want to avoid structured, thicker denim during warm summer days. Opt for thicker fabrics during the change of seasons.
  • Don’t go on holiday without a cold shoulder maxi – the answer to all ‘evening outfit’ prayers!

Read more great articles on women’s fashion here at alexie.co.

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