10 foolproof summer trends that are more affordable than you think

·5-min read

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*Adds everything to cart* (Photo: Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack)
*Adds everything to cart* (Photo: Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack)

Summer is in full swing — hooray! That means you still have plenty of opportunities to dress up and turn heads. If you've been feeling uninspired by what your closet has to offer, we've got the antidote — an injection of affordable, on-trend pieces that are sure to stand the test of time.

This season is all about wearing what makes you feel like the best version of yourself — and possibly taking a few style risks, too.

Fashion-forward items include billowy smocked dresses, Y2K-inspired outfits and padded sandals — and you can find all of these winners (and a ton more) for amazing prices at Nordstrom and at the Nordstrom Rack Clearance sale, which just launched! Your wardrobe is in for a real treat.

Keep scrolling for the biggest trends of summer 2021.

The Trend: Smocked Dresses

The ultimate picnic dress. (Photo: Nordstrom)
The ultimate picnic dress. (Photo: Nordstrom)

Call it the aftermath of spending the first half of the year obsessing over Bridgerton, but dainty, smocked dresses simply scream "romantic heroine" in our books. Whether you love that all-over dimension or just want a puckered bodice, this trend isn't just flattering — it's super comfy, too. Don't want to commit just yet? This Madewell frock has a flourish of smocking on the waistline, plus a billowy tiered midi-length skirt. It's exactly the type of dress we envision Daphne Bridgerton wearing on a hot summer day.

The Trend: Crochet

Not ready for crochet bucket hats? Try this instead. (Photo: Nordstrom)
Not ready for crochet bucket hats? Try this instead. (Photo: Nordstrom)

The '70s are back, baby, and you know what that means: Crochet everything. The cool kids are all rocking crochet bucket hats, tops and pants, but if you just want to dip your toe into the trend, try a crochet tote. This one by BTB Los Angeles is the perfect size for the beach, and comes in five colors: sand (how appropriate!), black, navy, red and mint. An added bonus: The cute set of pom-poms on the strap.

The Trend: Halter Necklines

Peep the semi-sheer skirt! (Photo: Nordstrom Rack)
Peep the semi-sheer skirt! (Photo: Nordstrom Rack)

Y2K is back with a vengeance, and the biggest trend to re-emerge from the turn of the century? Halter necklines. Some have twist accents, others have sultry low-cut backs, but all are a great way to show off your collarbones and arms. This dreamy frock in a floral print puts the gorgeous neckline front and center, plus it's appropriate for anything from Sunday brunch to a day out. Even better: It combines two summer trends in one, with a playful smocked waistline.

The Trend: Cutouts

Effortlessly chic. (Photo: Nordstrom)
Effortlessly chic. (Photo: Nordstrom)

Cutouts aren't just for party dresses anymore — they've evolved into an everyday trend. Before you grab a pair of scissors and start chopping away at your favorite t-shirt, try the look in a swimsuit instead. This stunner by Sea Level has a cutout right at the smallest part of the waist, and the one-shoulder neckline is super flattering. The textured fabric adds a little extra something, too.

The Trend: Wide Leg Pants

Easy, breezy and so right. (Photo: Nordstrom)
Easy, breezy and so right. (Photo: Nordstrom)

Wide-leg pants are this summer's answer to sweatpants. They're comfy, ideally elastic-waisted and luxuriously lightweight. Though these Eileen Fisher beauties are made of airy organic linen, the look is crisp. Dress them down with platform sneakers and a tank, or jazz them up with wedges.

The Trend: Puffy Sandals

How cute? (Photo: Nordstrom)
How cute? (Photo: Nordstrom)

Say hello to this summer's comfiest trend: Puffy sandals! They're like slippers, yet infinitely more stylish than the ones you throw on at home. This APL pair, made of rich quilted nappa leather, comes in 14 summery shades (Coastal Blue! Bright Citrus!). The 3D molded footbed and luxe responsive cushioning feel like, you guessed it, a dream.

The Trend: Pareos and Sarongs

Bonus points if you match with your swimsuit. (Photo: Nordstrom)
Bonus points if you match with your swimsuit. (Photo: Nordstrom)

Time to ditch the denim cutoffs — this season's biggest beachside trend is the sarong. Play matchy-matchy with your swimsuit, or go for a fun print to brighten up your go-to black one-piece. We're partial to the psychedelic print of this coverup, which can also be worn as a skirt or a strapless dress.

The Trend: Long Shorts

Stylish and comfy, all in one. (Photo: Nordstrom)
The season's most stylish shorts. (Photo: Nordstrom)

Say buh-bye to the Daisy Dukes of yester-year — this season is all about longer lengths. Of course, long is a relative term, and whether you prefer styles that hit mid-thigh or skim the knee, both are on-trend and look fab. This adorable NYDJ denim pair with cute rolled cuffs is emblazoned with pinstripes. And...surprise! The shorts are made with the brand's exclusive lifting and slimming technology.

The Trend: Bustiers and Corsets

It's on sale, too! (Photo: Nordstrom)
It's on sale, too! (Photo: Nordstrom)

Corsets are nothing new — they've been around for hundreds of years, after all — but this summer has seen them re-emerge in a refreshing way. This WAYF top has a square neckline and dramatic voluminous sleeves, but the bustier-style silhouette is what steals the show, with seams running down the front and cup detailing at the bust. Grab it for 40 percent off.

The Trend: Bubblegum Pink

Try the trend in the comfort of your own home. (Photo: Nordstrom Rack)
Try the trend in the comfort of your own home. (Photo: Nordstrom Rack)

Sorry millennial pink — you've been overshadowed by bubblegum. Summer is the time to play with color, and this sweet shade looks marvelous on bathing suits, bags, sandals and more. If you're not quite ready to deck yourself out in head-to-toe pink, try blush loungewear on for size. This robe — nearly 80 percent off right now! — flaunts a slightly muted version of the hue, and pairs a cozy shawl collar with horizontal stripes throughout.

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