For decades, American designers such as Ralph Lauren, Donna Karen and Anne Klein have spearheaded a certain all-American look that finds its roots in preppy sportswear. It's timely now that activewear is gaining traction around the world as retailers and designers alike continue to focus on the growing athleisure category.
Summer is the perfect time for clothes that switch seamlessly from exercise to everyday wear with ease, much to the chagrin of traditionalists who prefer an orderly dress code for different occasions. It's the perfect inspiration for dressing during the warmer months - relaxed, versatile and effortless.
More recent advocates upholding the American sportswear custom include Tory Burch, who this year announced the launch of her Tory Sport diffusion line to her growing empire, focusing on preppy separates inspired by the likes of sailing, tennis and golf. Those ideals have also found their way through to emerging designers such as Trademark, a brand focusing on traditional sportswear with a Royal Tenenbaum/Wes Anderson bent (keeping the hipster set happy), and is created by Burch's former husband's daughters, Louisa and Pookie Burch.
And while it's tempting to drag out that hackneyed nautical look once again, the idea is to focus on more relaxed separates with a mix of sports motifs and complementary collegiate colours (maroon, red, navy, yellow).
Summer also requires an easy slip-on dress - and you can't look past Kate Sylvester's romantic collection, "Romeo 4 Juliet", for some inspiration. Several stand-out dresses take you from pool to party in one fell swoop, such as the fluttering "Serafina" slip dress, (#6) easily worn with slip-on sandals (the ubiquitous Birkenstock makes an updated return in metallic tones) or alternatively, a pair of trainers and a denim jacket for a weekend in the city.
1. Ingrid Starnes dress, $309. Karen Walker Jewellery 9-carat gold necklace $1109. Mi Piaci sandals $260.
2. Ruby shirt, $169. Penny Sage skirt, $290. Giorgio Armani sunglasses, $290, from Sunglass Hut.
3. Topshop crochet bikini top, $100. Beth Ellery skirt, $295. Havaianas espadrilles, $60. Zelda Murray pendulum earrings, $480, from Penny Sage.
4. Sherie Muijs shirt, $465. Gregory wrap skirt, $249. La Tribe sandals $179.90.
5. Commoners swimsuit $119. La Tribe sandals $179.90. Kate Sylvester hat $95. Karen Walker Jewellery 9-carat gold necklace $1109 and ring, $419.
6. Kate Sylvester slip dress, $425. Wooden bangle from The Mercantile Store, $69. Proenza Schouler leather espadrilles, $589, from Workshop.
• Beth Ellery
• Ingrid Starnes
• Karen Walker
• Kate Sylvester
• La Tribe
• Mi Piaci
• Penny Sage
• The Mercantile Store
• Sherie Muijs
• Sunglass Hut
• Topshop 0508 TOPSHOP