Here at Who What Wear, we constantly have our eyes out and ears pricked for the emergence of a cult item. Sometimes a piece will explode onto the scene, on a runway or even just via the latest high-street drop, and within what seems like minutes, so many of the stylish people on our feeds are sporting that exact hero piece. Sometimes it’s a slower build, spotted once, twice, or three times perhaps over the beginning of a season, or it could even form its cult status over a number of years. Either way, our editor Slack channels are usually filled with discussion over these exact pieces, which ones have won us over, which are worth investing in and which will truly stand the test of time.
And since spring is well underway, holidays are booked, and on top of that, it feels like we’re about to launch into the beginning of summer early next week (there’s a heatwave afoot if you hadn’t already heard), I thought it was the perfect time to collate the cult items we’ve been discussing most this season, all in one place. We like to help you stay as informed as possible when making your new-season purchases, after all.
The criteria for making it into such an exclusive edit? These items need to be genuinely trending, not just gifted to influencers but ubiquitous in their own right. And they need to have longevity. We’re looking for capsule items that feel really special and not too of the moment—pieces that will live beyond the thrill of this summer and become part of the furniture alongside the other favourite wardrobe items you bring out year after year.
Yes, this edit is shaped mostly by luxury pieces to invest in, from Prada’s epic miniskirt to Chanel’s padded flip-flops, but there are also some more affordable heroes too—& Other Stories’ linen dress, for example, or Hunza G’s now-iconic swimsuit. Whatever your budget, though, I would encourage you to use this list as a mood board to inspire your new-season shopping, whether that means picking up an exact item or pulling out trending colours or silhouettes in your own way.
Without further ado, then, keep scrolling to see fashion’s big hitters for summer 2022.
1. HUNZA G SWIMSUIT
Hunza G's crinkled swimwear has absolutely reached icon status. Fashion people have been fans since its relaunch a number of years ago. (Did you know the original brand actually designed that blue-and-white dress from Pretty Woman?) But with the return of holidays as usual, this year (touch wood), we're predicting a serious influx of these on our feeds, and we're not mad about it.
2. LOEWE TANK
Ever since the moment Jonathan Anderson sent a simple white logo tank down his spring/summer Loewe runway, the entire fashion world was hankering for it. Our acting assistant editor and shopping expert Maxine Eggenberger said, "Do I need a Loewe vest? No. Do I want a Loewe vest? Absolutely. Will I regret buying a Loewe vest? I honestly don't think so. I think investment in high-quality basics is very wise indeed."
Of course, it's basically been sold out ever since it dropped online recently, but I've added links below for you to sign up for stock updates, and there are even a few sizes of the black left. It just goes to show sometimes simple is best.
3. MATTEAU ANYTHING
This is less a cult item and more a cult brand. It's not often a whole collection garners such exclusive status, but I'll make an exception for this S/S 22 edit. Yes, the dresses, in particular, are truly beautiful, but there's also the silk shirting and co-ords that I can't keep out of my mind. So after seeing so many stylish women in varying Matteau pieces already this year, I couldn't possibly limit it to just one. The ruching, muted-but-rich colour palette and airy-but-luxe fabrications all clearly set it on a trajectory for summer stardom.
4. DÔEN DRESS
Dôen dresses have been steadily growing in popularity over the last few years and now are a mainstay in the everyday wardrobes of the most fashionable people. And why not? They're comfortable, easy to throw on and make you look like you've put in a lot more effort than you have—perfect.
5. CHANEL FLIP-FLOPS
Okay, these may seem ridiculous, but I couldn't not include them in this edit after the pure buzz that exists around them this summer. Plus, they're the kind of shoes that will add something special even the simplest summer outfit. They're the equivalent of fashion gold dust, but keep your eyes peeled on Vestiaire, and you just might come out on top. First one to bag the pair below wins.
6. AJE DRESS
This dress has it all: a beautiful hue, trending cut-outs and a showstoppping silhouette. There's no wonder it's the fashion world's number one choice for summer occasions, then. And coming in under £500, it's an investment you'll reap the rewards of for many years to come.
7. THE ROW SANDALS
It's been a good few years since The Row launched its fisherman sandals into our lives. And although some of the coolest fashion people I know jumped on them instantly, I wanted some reassurance this chunky, strappy style was here to stay before investing. Now I've considered it, and I truly think they deserve a place on this cult-buys list.
8. CHRISTOPHER ESBER SHIRT
Designer Christopher Esber has a certain knack for creating simple and wearable yet interesting fashion pieces we all want to wear. This twist on a classic white shirt is the perfect example, and I can see it working both on a beach and in a city heatwave, which makes it the perfect summer piece in my eyes.
9. THE FRANKIE SHOP BLAZER
The Frankie Shop's blazers have become the mark of a seriously stylish wardrobe. The new butter-yellow and baby-pink versions of its famous slouchy style are perfect for summer evenings thrown over a bikini top or even the Loewe tank.
10. FAITHFULL THE BRAND BIKINI
Faithfull the Brand is an expert by now in creating desirable summer prints. From dainty florals that were made for British-countryside jaunts to tropical flashes that look right at home on Caribbean beaches. This summer, though, it's this neutral abstract print that has captured our sun-worshipping hearts, and we've already seen so many influencers sporting their interpretations on social media. We're predicting a sellout. In fact, the underwired-bra-top version is already seriously low in stock, but I've added the just-arrived strappy version for you below.
11. PRADA CROCHET TOTE
This made-for-summer bag has claimed the top spot on Who What Wear UK Editor in Chief Hannah Almassi's wish list right now—quite a feat since she has some of the best taste in the business. And it's not just her who's been wooed. So many people I know are lusting after this timeless tote for the summer ahead, and I can see why.
12. PRADA MINISKIRT
Okay, it may seem ridiculous, but one thing's for sure: This skirt will be an icon for years to come. We're thinking museum-level standard of future investment. But most importantly, as Camille proves, it's a joy to prance around it right now.
13. CELINE SUNGLASSES
Every time I open Instagram right now, there's only one pair of sunglasses staring back at me: Celine's Triomphe Oval style. If you're only looking to buy one summer accessory this year, you won't regret making it these.
14. & OTHER STORIES LINEN DRESS
Photo:& Other Stories
Having previously sold out in spring, & Other Stories' puff-sleeve linen dress is back and ready to add the perfect level of ethereal lightness to your summer wardrobes. I've personally tried this, and the body does fit snug, so I'd advise sizing up once or twice for a comfortable fit.
15. LOEWE'S BASKET BAG 2.0
We all know how iconic Loewe basket bags have become, and this latest, slightly more refined version is no different. Use it to elevate all your summer outfits in an instant.