There’s something so hopeful about the first few weeks of spring – the days are longer, the air is sweeter, and mornings are filled with the promise of new outfits (working from home or otherwise).

It’s also the perfect opportunity to take stock of up-and-coming trends (they don’t call it a spring clean for nothing). Finally, we can pack away the winter woolies in favour of easy, breezy options. Some summer items are obvious and evergreen (bikinis, Havaianas, straw hats for sundowners at Bondi), but other trends are more surprising.

The best way to get a preview is from those in the know, and surely there’s no one better than The Outnet’s buying and merchandising director, Vikki Kavanagh. Kavanagh’s job is to forecast what’s cool, so it’s safe to say she’s got a keen eye when it comes to predicting what we’ll be wearing before we actually wear it. If you’re looking for a fashion crystal ball, this is probably it.

Here, Kavanagh talks us through five key trends for summer – including the shapes, fabrics and colours you’ll be seeing a lot of (plus a fresh take on uniform dressing). Because if you can’t indulge in a little bit of retail therapy after the winter that was, when can you?

Chunky Sandals

When big, strappy, “ugly” sandals made their way onto runways, the fashion world recoiled. But like all questionable trends they gained traction, and now we don’t know what we’d do without them. Kavanagh suggests a “thick-strapped, chunky minimalist sandal in both black and tan, as they’ll go with everything and are perfect for all summer occasions”. Who doesn’t love a supportive sartorial statement? These silk-satin Marni sandals are a great choice, or go for leather with this pair by Ancient Greek Sandals.

Floaty Dresses

Blame it on the pandemic, but it seems our affinity for loose-fitting clothing has translated to summer dress trends as well. “Dresses are a popular category for The Outnet, and recently we’ve seen an increase in searches for midi dresses,” explains Kavanagh. “They’re a super-versatile piece that can be easily dressed up or down, dependent on the occasion. I love free-flowing cotton dresses; our in-house brand Iris & Ink has some super-wearable ones. Also, nothing says summer like a gingham check.” Ain’t that the truth. This ponte midi dress from Iris & Ink is a great in-between weather pick, while this breezy and colourful Roksanda frock screams rooftop cocktails.

Pastels with neutrals

When it comes to wardrobe basics, it can be all too easy to stick to a monochrome colour scheme. But according to Kavanagh, the onset of spring/summer is the perfect time to introduce a new, fresh palette into your existing wardrobe. “Soft, citrusy pastels such as butter yellow and pistachio are ideal companions with clean neutrals,” she advises. Try styling them with crisp white tees and city shorts for an off-duty look. It doesn't get more citrus than this Philip Lim dress, while these Kwaidan Editions pants are the perfect transition from loungewear.

Simple Silks

Classic silk pieces make for great staples during the warmer months because they’re light and breathable. Plus – as long as you take care of them – they’ll last you for many seasons. Kavanagh likes the idea of a “lightweight trench worn over silk slips for the evening, and silky wide-leg pants styled with a simple tank.” This versatile silk dress and this simple cami, both by Iris & Ink, are two of our top picks.

Matching Sets

Matching sets used to be for Tiktok stars and supermodels only, but 2020 has seen this super-easy trend dominate our wardrobes. Kavanagh takes inspiration from the ‘90s: “crop tops and tube skirts and of course tie-dye!” Or keep it simple in a tee, short-sleeved shirt or cami paired with matching wide-leg pants. For summer beach days, we can’t go past matching linen either. This black linen pant and breezy top set by Solid & Striped is the grown up version you’re seeking.

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