“Who is your summer style icon?” This is the question I posed to The Pool office the other day. Audrey Hepburn with her Bretons and boat shoes? Carmen Miranda and her tropical print? Kate Moss during her tea-dress stage? Or maybe early-noughties Sienna Miller, the boho years? (God love a maxi skirt.) When it comes to nailing your summer style, the possibilities are endless.
“Timothée Chalamet in Call Me By Your Name – pastel shirts and lots of stripes,” said one Pooler. “I want to look like I’m off to a market in the South of France. Bardot tops, wicker baskets and MASSIVE sunglasses,” said another. “Alexa Chung – so effortless and cool,” came a third. While, when it comes to summer style, really anything goes, what everyone agreed on was that clothes that are versatile, well made, easy to chuck on and go, and, most importantly, a joy to wear are top of the wish list.
So, with the above in mind, we hit the rails at Marks & Spencer and have chosen the pieces from the summer collection that best sum up our own summer styles, be that flouncy florals, low-key midi dresses or bold, seaside stripes.
"I am all about no-think dresses and smart trainers" Amy Jones
This year, my summer style is going to be easy and relaxed. I want my clothes to be comfortable and I want to spend as little time as possible thinking about them before getting dressed and going out and enjoying the sun. That's why I love this dress – pull it on and I'm ready for a barbecue, work, a walk in the park or a lunch date with friends. It's comfortable, stylish and it has pockets! Win-win-win. Instead of sandals, which require toenail-painting, this summer I'm going for these smart white trainers – they're not going to rub when I go for five-mile walks along the river, they look smart enough that I don't feel underdressed and the flash of red on the heel makes them look a bit special. And, finally, this bright-red leather shoulder bag is going to be glued to my shoulder. It's surprisingly spacious, with more than enough room for my keys, a book and suncream.
"I have developed a deep-rooted love of maxi dresses" Frankie Graddon
My deep-rooted love of midi dresses has graduated to maxi dresses this summer. I find my myself being repeatedly drawn to frocks with long, swishy skirts and covered in pretty florals. For someone who lives in jeans and khaki jackets, it’s all a bit unlikely; however, I’m going with it. I caught sight of this dress months ago and immediately earmarked it – the print! The colour! The swoosh! I’d normally run a mile from satin, but it looked so lovely on the hanger that I was tempted, in spite of the sheen. While you could easily wear this to a wedding/party/posh dinner with a pair of heels, I like the idea of keeping it a little more casual with flat sandals and maybe even a denim jacket over the top. That’s a lot of versatility for under £70.
"I rely on fail-safe pieces – loose tailoring for work and easy dresses for evenings and weekends" Lucy Dunn
Being quite an indecisive person, I find a summer wardrobe so much easier to buy than a winter one. Winter is all about expensive investment pieces, such as coats and boots, and I spend ages agonising over them. Summer is the complete opposite: you can go for it more and experiment with prints and colours. Having said that, I still rely on fail-safe pieces – loose tailoring for work and easy dresses for evenings and weekends. I’ve been after a striped blazer for ages and this one is perfect for days when you are in a rush and haven't had much time to think about what to wear – just throw on over a pair of jeans and job done. Plus, it’s linen! I used to think that linen was an old hippy thing, but in recent years it’s had a real image overhaul – you just have to not stress about the creases. I also love a fun accessory or two, so these striped bow sliders are perfect.
"If I can't slip on an outfit in less than 30 seconds, I won't wear it" Kuba Shand-Baptiste
I'm pretty much always in a perpetual state of perspiration, so I've made a point of making sure my summer outfits prioritise ease and comfort, as well as style. Essentially, if I can't slip on an outfit in less than 30 seconds, I won't wear it. I have more midi skirts than I can count (and I plan on adding to my collection until someone tells me to stop), I love an off-the-shoulder top and I'm a big fan of pops of colour, so it's no wonder I went for this denim skirt and poplin, half-sleeve Bardot-top combo, which I paired with quite possibly the most comfortable espadrilles I've worn in a while. That aside, if you're looking for a figure-accentuating outfit without squeezing yourself into something tight and uncomfortable, this is it.
"Floaty SHAPES and lightweight fabrics are a number-one priority" Elle Turner
My summer style is pretty low-key. When it's hot and muggy, I'm mainly concerned with feeling comfortable, which means floaty shapes and lightweight fabrics. If it looks great, too, then that's a massive bonus. This dress ticks both boxes, is a breeze to throw on and is a ready-made outfit on busy mornings. My top tip would be to wear nude underwear, otherwise you risk flashing your knickers, but I like how summery the cream colour looks. I'd wear it with strappy mules to dress things up for work – these ones are a really doable heel height and don't fly off with every step – but on holiday I'd wear them with flat sandals, loose hair and channel my inner Stevie Nicks.
"Red makes me feel confident and energetic, plus it’s easy to weaR"
I've recently discovered red – I know, pretty late to the party – but it makes me feel energetic and confident, plus is actually quite easy to wear. This red maxi dress is made from super-comfy, stretchy jersey cotton, so perfect for a casual summer outing. Denim is a must all year round and this white denim jacket is a great classic with a fresh twist. It's versatile and a sharp add-on, which I will drape over my shoulders with this outfit and many others in my wardrobe. Summer for me is about comfort and leisure, so I tend to wear flat sandals or slides, or, to dress things up, something strappy and maybe with a heel. These sandals are a great investment for the summer. You can't go wrong with the T-bar shape and the leather feels soft yet durable.