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The Biggest Instagram Trends That Are Dominating This Summer

Wondering what stylish girls are wearing this summer? You could stroll through any high-end shopping mall, or you could just take a cursory glance at your phone, where you’ll find the answers just as easily—and much faster. Instagram is the de facto tool for women and men to share their new purchases, their trophy pieces, and their “candid” shots of carefully composed outfits (not to mention what they’re eating for dinner or where they’re sailing in Italy). The collective mind-set feels akin to that old adage about a tree falling in the forest: If you don’t share it on Instagram, did it even happen? And if you invest in that enormous Jacquemus sun hat and don’t post a photo with it, are you just missing the entire point?

It begs the question of whether we’re (consciously or subconsciously) shopping and styling ourselves with Instagram in mind. The platform has afforded us radical transparency in a lot of ways—with a few taps, you can voice your opinion, see what celebrities are commenting on others’ posts, and learn about virtually anything, from manatees to ketogenic dieting—but when it comes to fashion, it does get a bit muddled. Is that photo Facetuned, or does she really have perfect skin? Oh, wait, she’s an avatar. And are people really wearing these wildly impractical trends IRL, or is it all just for the ’gram?

The trends we’re seeing most on Instagram this summer seem to walk the line between the two camps. Yes, we’ve actually seen girls wearing bike shorts, wedges, and beaded bags on the streets of New York, but we’re not sold on the staying power of heart-shaped sunglasses or ’80s bikinis. Below, we’ve gathered all of the top Instagram trends of summer 2018—so far—and how they differ from what we wore this time last year.

Beaded Bags Are the New Basket Bags

Last summer, basket bags were everywhere—on the street, in the Vogue offices, and in the endless stream of ’70s Jane Birkin photos shared on Instagram. The trend is still going strong—you’re still more likely to see a girl carrying a wicker tote than a giant designer hobo—but colorful beaded bags are quickly replacing them. Susan Alexandra’s rainbow-striped beaded mini bags are impossible to miss on the streets of New York City, and Shrimps’s “pearl” bags are so hard to get, they’ve inspired endless knockoffs on Etsy.

Prairie Dresses Are the New Slip Dresses

When you’re not showing a little skin in a glossy, strappy slip, the only dress worth having seems to be of the Little House on the Prairie variety. We’ve seen a lot of girls in long, billowing frocks by DôenUlla Johnson, and Tory Burch, while others are opting for actual vintage nightgowns, which have a similar effect. No brand is more synonymous with “prairie style” than Batsheva Hay’s namesake label, Batsheva, though. A fashion-insider favorite, her dresses are as covered-up and “folksy” as it gets, and we’re guessing non-fashion girls will be wearing them soon enough.

Enormous Sun Hats Are the New Moderately Sized Sun Hats

Everyone’s a “hat person” in Simon Porte Jacquemus’s gigantic toppers. Last summer, it seemed every girl was packing his ribbon-tied, flat-brimmed hat for their travels to Ischia and St.-Tropez, but the look was supersized to XXL proportions on his Spring 2018 runway. We had no idea the massive, impossible-to-pack chapeaux would even be produced, let alone become a must-have item. He isn’t the only designer pushing major sun hats, either; Olmos y Flores has a fringed version (which went viral after Bella Hadid wore it). And you can always go vintage.

Bike Shorts Are the New Leggings

Finally, an alternative to stretchy leggings! . . . Shorter stretchy leggings! But at least pulling off bike shorts requires some clever styling. Kim Kardashian West, who is largely responsible for the trend, often wears her tight, knee-length shorts with oversize jackets; Christine Centenera recently wore a black pair with a long tunic and Céline sandals; and Khaite designer Catherine Holstein shows them with a sweet cotton-poplin blouse. We don’t think this trend is going anywhere anytime soon; prepare to see more of it later this fall (with chunky sweaters, or maybe knee-high boots!) and next summer, too.

Wedges Are the New Block Heels

For a while, wedges were nothing but a memory of the early-’00s: clunky, vaguely frumpy shoes we preferred not to revisit. But in this age of ugly-chic, ironic fashion, it’s little wonder the wedge has made a major comeback. Maryam Nassir Zadeh’s super-popular PVC wedges are the first to come to mind, but we’ve been seeing lots of girls in Castañer’s classic espadrille wedges, too. Loq makes a lower, more walkable wooden wedge, complete with a semi-divisive toe ring. They look a lot cooler than the block heels we’ve been wearing for the past few years—and might even be more comfortable.

Chain Belts Are the New . . . No Belts?

When’s the last time you wore a belt, or even thought about one? It’s likely been a few years. Lately, though, one belt in particular has been cropping up in our feeds: the chain belt. Revolve recently shared a photo of women with heavy chain belts over their swimsuits—a styling trick that seems wholly impractical for swimming—but this is actually a trend we’re expecting to see more of. Chain belts were big on the Fall 2018 runways, from Versace to Chanel and Louis Vuitton, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley recently wore one over an LBD.

High-Cut ’80s Bikinis Are the New High-Cut Maillots

Kendall and Kylie Jenner move the needle on a lot of trends, but this one has their fingerprints all over it—literally. They’ve been wearing bright bikinis with V-cut, ’80s-ish bottoms from their own label, Kendall + Kylie, and have likely inspired tons of other girls to do the same.

Heart-Shaped Sunglasses Are the New Itty-Bitty Frames

Last summer, celebrities and “real women” defied conventional wisdom by wearing itty-bitty, hardly protective sunglasses. And not just on the beach: Bella Hadid, Rihanna, and Millie Bobby Brown wore them on the red carpet, too, a somewhat bizarre styling choice. In a story about the trendVogue’s Steff Yotka said tiny frames were simply voyeuristic: Instead of hiding their faces from the camera, now celebrities (and Instagram stars) were putting themselves in front of it.

This summer, tiny frames have been replaced by heart-shaped sunnies, and the reason is just as perplexing. Why, exactly, do women want to wear cartoony hearts over their eyes? Is this an example of life imitating emoji? Or do we just want to feel like kids again? Somehow, this kitschy trend is sticking; you can get a $10 pair of heart-shaped sunnies on the Soho sidewalk or a $420 pair by Saint Laurent, and both will give your face the same perpetually happy filter.

Now Read: White Wash: The Best Icy White Pieces to Shop This Summer

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