What is the “Summer Girl” style?

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: @tembae/Instagram, Retailers

There’s a “girl” I’ve been following closely on Instagram for a few months. She is always on vacation. Not literally (okay, sometimes), but it’s often a kind of figurative escapism – signaled by aesthetic choices rather than plane tickets. Its vibe is somewhat flawed, with a “just out of a suitcase” feel, and that’s kind of the point: it’s a little salty and sweaty, a little wrinkled, a little fuzzy. A version of personal style where projecting joie de vivre trumps everything, even while doing something as mundane as taking a CVS prescription.

I’m not talking about a particular person, mind you. This “girl” is a composite of many, and is a testament to how trends have evolved to peak in the digital age: not as individual phenomena, but rather in conjunction with each other, to the point where they form an ambitious character of sorts. I started calling this particular character the “Summer Girl” because of her composition of micro-trends, such as turquoise pearl necklaces, fisherman sandals, flip-flops, straw baskets, hand-painted ceramics, terry cloth, crocheted bucket hats, white linen sheets and sarongs as skirts – often displayed in tandem, as if she had sucked summer down a straw and become the season embodied.

“It’s the inevitable evolution of image building and personal branding online,” writer Tembe Denton-Hurst agreed after I shared my theory with her. “We went from ‘Oh, I’m going to wear this specific item because I like this trend’ to ‘Oh, I’m going to wear this collection of items together because I want people looking at me to assume that I’m a certain kind of person.’ In that sense, it’s obvious why the girl of summer is so appealing to project. She’s the sartorial encapsulation of vitamin D – from skipping school on Fridays, swimming in the ocean, d kissing someone whose name you won’t remember on a trip you’ll never forget.

Naturally, a whole host of digitally savvy brands are involved in both creating the summer girl aesthetic and capitalizing on the impact of its appeal. Maryam Nassir Zadeh, La Veste, Ciao Lucia, la Platera, Bode, Gimaguas, Éliou, Tombolo, Tigra Tigra, Emporio Sirenuse Positano and Emily Levine Milan are a few that come to mind, and it only takes a quick take a look at their Instagram account. stream to see what they promise: you’re the most carefree and unplugged.

Tombolo’s website brandishes catchy phrases to that effect such as “escapewear,” “the bridge to your happy place,” and (my favorite) “maximalist inactivewear,” alongside its signature cabana shirts. Emporio Sirenuse compares his philosophy to “a Vespa ride and a basket of lemons”. Blanca Miró Scrimieri – one summer girl if ever there was one – shared to me via email that her brand La Veste “is inspired by the aesthetics of la dolce vita, or summers on the Italian coast.” The result, in all of these cases, is more than just summer clothes – it’s a whole vibe, one where sardines are a mascot and damp hair is acceptable at the table.

“I think it’s partly a reaction to the pandemic,” Melanie Masarin, founder of popular non-alcoholic aperitif brand Ghia, told me. “It forced us to find entertainment in every corner of our lives while breaking outdated dress codes.” It’s true; the moment of summer girls mania makes a lot of sense in this context. Two years and several months into a global pandemic, we’re not only looking to joyful, escapist style, but actually identify viscerally with her.

“My grandmother used to say, ‘When you live in the sun, you have the same problems and the same life, but you have the sun.’ It has always marked me. »

In addition to escapism, I think a big part of the appeal of the summer girls aesthetic is its relative ease and accessibility. If spending an hour blowing your hair and ironing the creases in your clothes is on one end of the spectrum, then this trend exists directly in opposition. It takes a certain level of confidence, especially in a sea of ​​social media-induced perfectionism, to let go and embrace the tomato juice stains, but the benefit of doing so is tangible. At the end of the day, whether I’m scrolling through Instagram or people-watching on the subway, the outfits that always catch my eye aren’t the fanciest or the coolest or the most photogenic, it’s the ones that look like someone has enjoyed a slice of life in them – and that’s what summer girls are.

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