Understanding summer 2014 fashion trends: Where they came from and how to wear them

Crop top

Crop top

Meet 5 of summer 2014’s fashion trends »

For better or worse, fashion is a revolving door of must-have items. Each season, a subtle shift in silhouette represents a shift in covetable items—the mini skirt made way for the midi skirt last fall, bringing with it the advent of the flat slip-on, the cropped jacket and so on and so forth.

This season, a few items emerge as must-haves to match summer 2014 fashion trends. Some are retakes on last year’s bets and some are wholly new. Here, we break down what they are, where they came from and how to wear ‘em. For good measure, we threw in some shopping suggestions too.

The Mule (predecessor: the heeled oxford)
Once only known as a geriatric staple, the mule, especially a heeled version has been everywhere since being featured on the Céline Spring 2014 runways back last fall.

How to wear it
Since the mule tends to cover much of your foot’s real estate, it’s best to ensure that there’s a little leg showing elsewhere to balance out the heaviness. As such, a midi skirt does the mule just right.

The Culotte (predecessor: the at-the-knee jort)
Say the word culotte out loud in the wrong circles and you’ll be met with questions like “the kind I wore in middle school?” Your answer by the way is “no, not that kind” as 2014’s brand of the long short is actually pretty awesome: chic, relaxed and pretty much unanimously figure-flattering.

How to wear it
The culotte is the perfect pairing for another item on this season’s hot list, the crop top. Since most current culotte models feature a high-waist, a short, streamlined top best accentuates your mid-section.

The Teva Sandal (predecessor: the Birkenstock)
Birks are still as popular as ever, but 2014 has brought it a new hella functional sister: the Teva. Best known for its help on camping trips of our childhood, the Teva style has been reborn on runways thanks to Prada’s bejewelled version on the runway.

How to wear it
While Teva sandals will always suit a jeans and T-shirt look, try taking them into fashion territory with a bright and popping summer dress.

The Crop Top (predecessor: the crop top)
The crop’s been trending for 3 seasons now, which is ample time to break down even those with intense stomach baring fears. This season’s update is less statement more streamlined as evidenced by designers like Rag & Bone.

How to wear it
Lucky for you, the crop top is the perfect partner to many of this year’s hottest bottoms: culottes, midi skirts and loose trousers all beg for a simple, form-fitting crop top. About an inch is all you need to show to hit this one out of the park (and by that we mean look really hourglass)

The Rash Guard (predecessor: the rash guard)
Appropriating this surfer essential has been popular for at least three years now. This season, the rash guard has expanded to being available in cropped, short sleeve, sleeveless and multi-colour versions.

How to wear it
Still one of the more challenging pieces to wear for those with other than boyish bodies, the rash guard is certainly going to be a tight fit. As such, layering it under a strapless dress or underneath a cropped jacket would provide interesting results. Tip: rash guards get pretty warm, so avoid wearing them on super hot days.