With Memorial Day behind us, all signs are pointing toward the lazy days of summer. Or, at least nostalgia for those carefree days summer always promised us as kids. Truth is, summer can be a very hectic time, and work does not stop for most grown-ups.
However, the idea of summer camp makes me long for some nostalgic activities like canoeing, craft-making, bonfires, and color wars. And while most of us can’t go to sleep-away camp on Lake Mahwanocka, we can bring the trends we loved as kids into our grown-up summer style.
Here’s a rundown of some classic summer-camp-inspired trends that are ageless. Full disclosure, I never went to a summer camp, but I did work at one, and I just made up that lake name.
First up, tie-dye. My 7-year-old loves tie-dye. Not only is it a great summer activity, best done outdoors, in my opinion, but it’s also a “print” that just about anyone can wear. You can do a higher-performance hoodie for summer nights around the campfire, like The North Face All Over Print Hoodies. Or try out an unexpected silhouette of this print in Shein’s Tie Dye Tie Back shirt dress for work. I also love the idea of grabbing up a bunch of light-colored t-shirts from a thrift shop and DIY your own tie-dye.
Nothing feels more summer than cutoffs. Shredded denim shorts may seem a bit adolescent, but they don’t have to be tossed now that you’ve entered adulthood. Create your own from an old pair of jeans, then pair them with an eyelet blouse and loafers to make them feel more sophisticated. Or check out Levi’s 501 90’s Women’s shorts for true throwback style. I love the idea of a pair of jean shorts with a button-down and sandals. And of course, you can’t go wrong with jean shorts, a t-shirt, and sneakers.
Speaking of t-shirts, remember ringer tees? You can add a pop of color with an outfit of white jeans and a white ringer with a trim of red, blue, or green. Etsy seller byAngelawithLove offers retro ringer tees in solid colors. Or check out graphic ringers at The Bee and The Fox online to add an athletic flair to a slip skirt and mules.
Another great top for summer is the crewneck sweatshirt, especially in classic colors like gray and navy. These pullovers are an easy layering piece for going in and out of freezing AC, especially in an office setting. A fitted gray crewneck looks cute and appropriate over a sleeveless shirt, flared skirt, and ballet flats. I’ve just about worn out the one I’ve had from the Gap for almost a decade. So, I’m looking at their Vintage Soft Gap Arch Logo sweatshirt in off-white as a refreshing replacement for this summer at work.
For shoes, two styles this season are standing out to me. Birkenstocks and Converse because sometimes you just want to be comfortable. Naturally, you can wear these shoe styles more casually, but I like the idea of “playing against type” when it comes to summer footwear. Consider mixing a classic gray, black, or white Chuck with tailored trousers and a blouse. Or Birkenstock’s Arizona suede sandals with a cocktail dress for a night on the town.
As for accessories, friendship bracelets, the quintessential summer camp piece, can be reworked for a more adult feel. Go with a tassel bracelet, like the Krissy Adjustable bracelet in pearl gray from Piper and Scoot. An updated version of this summer staple is easily upgraded when layered with bracelets and bangles made of silver and gold.
If you’re one of those lucky folks with a family camp, be it a cabin, river lot, or private campsite, you can rock these trends in their natural setting. For those of us more familiar with movies of summer camp than the experience, we’ll just have to live vicariously through camp-inspired clothes.