Fads can be an intimidating beast. Like with anything new, there's always some nervous caution involved when trying to figure out how to style the summer's trickiest trends. For example, you heard that bras are now supposed to stick out from underneath your dresses or peek from flirty cutouts. Which is perplexing because your whole life you've been battling with pasties and cutlet contraptions to hide those ever frowned upon bra straps. On top of that, bucket hats seem to be having a moment and pants seemed to have grown baggy and flared overnight. What's more, you've heard through the grapevine that fanny packs are now... fashionable.
I mean, are there no laws left in this land?!
Some people have no trouble figuring out how to make a 1998 throwback bucket hat work with their wardrobe, but for the rest of us mere mortals we appreciate a little help with how to mold trends so they fit with our own styles. Ahead are tips on how to style summer 2015's top trends in differing ways, shared in the hopes of inspiring you to play with pieces you normally wouldn't think twice to try! So go forth, and embrace the '90s mom or '70s counterculture babe within you.
The Waist Belt (AKA The Fanny Pack): The Traditional Styling
Stripe Print Midi Dress, $68, Topshop.com; Nugget Ghillie Bronze Heel Sandals, $90, Topshop.com; Cynnie Lambskin Belt Bag, $245, Cusp.com; Ray-Ban Original Aviator Metal Frame, $139, Gilt.com; Brixton Bristol Panama Hat, $58, Nastygal.com
Oh, the fanny pack. It strikes horror into the hearts of many women, bringing up images of '90s fathers standing in line for corn dogs at Disney World. It's just not stylish. That is, until it made a very updated and sleek comeback. Sure, there are still the standard issue fannies around, where they come with canvas belts and a saggy-like bulk. But the newer versions are sleek and sophisticated, coming in structured, compact shapes and cool leather textures.
Go the traditional route of styling this piece by giving it a festival-like touch, pairing it with Bohemian inspired midi dresses and cage sandals. Give the look a more relaxed feel (and not like you're about to proclaim flower power) by pairing it with reflective aviators and a white straw hat. By doing so, you root the festival-inspired look in a more typical-week-day vibe.
The Waist Belt (AKA The Fanny Pack): The Fresher Styling
Engineered Striped Crop Top, $22, Topshop.com; Motto Clean Hem Culottes, $70, Topshop.com; Black Cutout Slingbacks Heavy-Bottomed Sandals, $35, Romwe.com; Cynnie Lambskin Belt Bag, $245, Cusp.com;GlassesUSA Harlow Black w/Khaki, $44, Glassesusa.com; Wide Brim Straw Hat, $22, 2020ave.com
Move the fanny pack away from festival-pass terrains by pairing it with more relaxed pieces. Try cinching it around the waist of culotte jeans paired with a stripe crop top, letting the waist belt act more like a purse than a bold fashion statement.
When matched with such everyday items, the intimidating factor of the trend is taken down a notch. Tie the look together with clunky sandals to give the outfit a touch of youth, and don't forget to hide your face underneath a sun hat!
The Tropical Print: The Traditional Styling
Dorothy Perkins Tropical Shift Dress, $26, Houseoffraser.co.uk; Preston Caged Block Heel Sandal, $49, Gilt.com; Rebecca Minkoff Finn Fringed Convertible Crossbody Bag, $195, Saksfifthavenue.com
'90s florals have made a comeback in a big way, and it seems like everyone is trying to paint the traditional-Hawaiian-shirt pattern on every dress, pant, woman, and man. Add a touch of urban sophistication to the throwback pattern with a white leather fringed bag, and give weight to the look by opting for heavy cage sandals. By surrounding the pattern with such bold pieces, you take the focus away from the surprising print.
The Tropical Print: The Fresher Styling
Dorothy Perkins Tropical Shift Dress, $26, Houseoffraser.co.uk; Vans U Autentic, $102, Yoox.com; Urban Expressions Eliza Quilted Circle Crossbody, $30, Nordstromrack.com; Rag & Bone Cotton & Linen Baseball Cap, $150, Saksfifthavenue.com
Give a tropical dress a completely different feel by taking it outside of its sleek Bohemian element. Deconstruct it instead by pairing the shift with laid back sneakers and a cap for an easygoing vibe, and then give it a pop of fun by reaching for your brightest crossbody bag.
The Gladiator Sandals: The Traditional Styling
Embroidered Stitchtake Dress, $158, Madewell.com; D-Frame Sunglasses, $295, Bally.com; Bamboo Looped Tall Gladiator Sandals, $43, Charlotterusse.com; Fringe Circle Crossbody Bag, $35, Lastcall.com
Gladiator sandals are a staple for summertime adventures, helping to dress up an unassuming shift dress or adding a big dose of interest to a simple mini or a pair of shorts. Balance out the bold shoes with an equally interesting bag, going for something with fringe or pattern. Then level out the look with a neutral pair of sunnies and you're ready to head outside!
The Gladiator Sandals: The Fresher Styling
Bamboo Looped Tall Gladiator Sandals, $43, Charlotterusse.com; Blue Floral Print Culottes, $20, Newlook.com; Black Stand Collar Pockets Long Vest, $26, Us.shein.com; Cream Lace Back Bralet, $18, Missselfridge.com
Instead of letting the sandals snake all the way up your leg with a dress, give it an even bolder look by cutting it off with pants. Try either culottes or cropped pants, letting the snaking leather straps end right at mid-calf. It's unusual and brings more attention to the creative styling. Keep the rest of the look balanced out by pairing the pants with a white top, and keep things sophisticated with a structured duster vest as a balancing layer.
The Tunic: The Traditional Styling
H&M+ Patterned Tunic, $35, Hm.com; H&M+ Jersey Pants, $18, Hm.com; DEE KELLER Scheffy Strap Heels, $235, Ifchic.com; Lush Life Deep Cool Plum, $22, Maccosmetics.com; Leather Bucket Bag, $75, Shop.mango.com
When the tunic came out as a wardrobe possibility, a lot of us were confused. Is it a dress? Just a really baggy shirt? Can I wear leggings with this? After some experimenting and trial and error, the fashion community decided two things: It's never OK to pair anything with leggings so just give up on that dream, and this loose top looks extra cute over slightly baggy pants.
Skinny jeans work excellently too, but there's something so effortless and unexpected pairing such a long top with tapered pants. Add in a pair of strappy heels to amp up your sleek levels and wipe on a bright purple lipstick for a hint of color in a neutral outfit.
The Tunic: The Fresher Styling
H&M+ Patterned Tunic, $35, Hm.com; Kick Off Strappy Heels By Restricted, $54, Threadsence.com; H&M+ Girlfriend Jeans, $50, Hm.com; Fringe Ethnic Clutch, $25, Shop.mango.com
While this top looks lovely dressed up, it looks especially fun dressed down. Go for a Bohemian summer look by matching it with torn boyfriend jeans and woven clutches, giving off a relaxed but styled-up vibe. But you might be asking yourself: Isn't such a long top going to look shapeless when matched with such saggy jeans? Yes, and there's a remedy for that! Unbutton the bottom of the top till you hit your natural waist, and then only tuck in one half of the tunic into the waistband of your jeans. That way you have a half-tucked, half-untucked look going that looks equal parts polished and wild child.
Bellbottoms: The Traditional Styling
Floral Lace Tassel Tank, $38, Abercrombie.com; Kenzo Bell Bottom Denim Jeans, $519, Baqheeraboutique.com; Women's Color-Block Sandals, $22, Oldnavy.gap.com; Black Leather Snakeskin Panel Backpack, $30, Newlook.com; Wide Brim Straw Hat, $21, Shop.2020ave.com
No matter what your style is, chances are you've been attracted to something that calls out to your inner flower child at least once in your life. And in an age where the majority of us squeeze ourselves into tight and confining skinny jeans, the looser bellbottom option sometimes comes as a godsend.
The knee-jerk reaction to style such a piece usually revolves around Woodstock-esque details, pairing the pants with crochet tops or fringe accents. If you don't want to go all-out '70s, balance out the look with minimalist sandals and a structured, sharp bag.
Bellbottoms: The Fresher Styling
Kenzo Bell Bottom Denim Jeans, $519, Baqheeraboutique.com; Short-Sleeve Pop Over Shirt, $105, Jcrew.com; Nicole Croc-Effect Sandals, $110, Topshop.com; Riviera Envelope Clutch Tricork, $190, Wolfandbadger.com
Instead of treating bellbottoms like a theme (i.e.: It's time to hippy out), just treat them like a pair of pants. Which means, pair it with your usual pieces! Try matching it with a tailored white blouse for a sophisticated look, or a tunic with a playful pattern for some cheek. Keep the outfit looking 2015-esque by matching it with on-trend sandals (like a chunky heel pair) and an interesting statement bag.
Images: BettyMello/Instagram; Courtesy Brands