From super-sized sunnies to beach-ready bags: 51 accessories to make your summer sizzle

Thanks to the erratic weather you may not be feeling very summery but I hate to break it to you: this is it. We’re not going to get to press play again on June 2024 so you better start leaning into July.

At this time of the year, even if the weather does play ball, you’re probably second-guessing your existing summer wardrobe. Maybe you’ve mooched around the high street and are now flirting with the idea of a new flouncy dress. Or maybe you’ve added a fresh crisp linen co-ord to your online wish list. But hold on. May I divert your attention to the accessories section?

Unlike, say, a maxi dress that is limited to beachside restaurants, most summer accessories don’t come with set boundaries. Chunky sandals are as good for strolling the cobblestones of a historic town as they are for commuting. A jazzy necklace can detract from a crimson sunburnt nose as well as brightening up the most basics of T-shirts.

So the right accessories offer bang for your buck and an on-trend spin to those pieces you may be thinking feel a little dated. Gen Z-approved baseball caps and jauntily shaped sunglasses will detract from that suncream-stained dress and threadbare denim cut-offs. Here are some ideas to get you started. Chloe MacDonnell

Sunglasses

Frames with main character energy will add pep to even the simplest of summer looks. Think: pairs that are oversized, but also cat-eye, square and oval. Try zhushing a T-shirt dress with acid green Le Specs (below) or hide puffy eyes under Accessorize’s equally puffed-up pastel blue pair (below).

BUY: Pink, £90, Quay Australia

BUY: Black, £9.99, H&M

BUY: Green, £118.27, Le Specs

BUY: Brown, £49.99, Zara

BUY: Pink, £50, Izipizi, above

BUY: Speckled, £165, Joseph

BUY: Blue, £8.50, Accessorize

BUY: Amber, £99, Jigsaw

BUY: Salmon, £69.95, Massimo Dutti

Hats

Casual baseball caps are an understated foil to the statement-sleeved dresses that have held the past few summers at their mercy. Outdoorsy bucket hats, seaside straw or kooky crochet will add a more relaxed counterpoint to dresses bought for weddings that need dressing down to work at a barbecue.

BUY: Bucket hat, £199, Helen Kaminski

BUY: Bead trim, £32, Free People

BUY: Striped raffia, £25, Marks & Spencer

BUY: Brown cap, £56, BA&SH

BUY: Crochet, £22.99, Mango

BUY: Denim bucket hat, £60, Carhartt

BUY: Green woven, £28, Oliver Bonas

BUY: Striped cap, £27, Gant

BUY: Cream with suns, £45, LF Markey

Bags

Summer is the time to break traditional styling rules – wear beach-ready raffia or razzmatazz -pink beads with smart dresses, or clash elevated satin pouches with dressed-down denim. If you have tired ditsy dresses that need some updating, go for something more directional – architectural, even – like the handsome M&S handbag (below).

BUY: Striped tote, £35, French Connection, above

BUY: Blue leather, £129, Massimo Dutti

Photograph: PR

BUY: Ice blue, £50 by Kavu from Outsiders store

BUY: Cream and tan, £39.50, Marks & Spencer

BUY: Pale pink, £80, Anthropologie

BUY: Lime green pouch, £128, Hai x Whistles

BUY: Orange tote, £79.99, Mango

BUY: Jute, £85, The Jacksons

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BUY: Pink beaded, £120, Rixo

BUY: Fringed raffia, £57, Arket

Green trim canvas, £95, & Other Stories

BUY: Green trim canvas, £67, & Other Stories

Jewellery

Almost any summer dress can be made 2024-ready with playful jewellery in this era of souvenir-chic. Even if you don’t have plans for a trip away, you can still channel the beach bum vibe via River Island’s coral necklace (below) and Zara’s fishy catch of the day (below).

BUY: Fish pendant, £22.99, Zara, above

BUY: Rainbow bracelet £95, Rachel Jackson

BUY: Pearl bracelet, £16, John Lewis

BUY: Beaded necklace, £95, Essential Antwerp

BUY: Orange necklace, £16, River Island

BUY: Emerald necklace, £99, Ottoman Hands

BUY: Beaded earrings, £19.50, Oliver Bonas

BUY: Enamel ring, £105, Missoma

BUY: Tassel earrings, £35, Boden

BUY: Gold ring, £28, Orella

Woven earrings, £19, Phase Eight

BUY: Woven earrings, £12, Phase Eight

Shoes

We’ve all heard of ‘wrong shoe theory’ by now, right? It doesn’t work better than with sandals. That 2021 prairie dress? Pair it with contrasting silver flats (below). Beaded styles add a boho spin to any linen, while colourful Birkenstocks (below) clash perfectly with broderie anglaise frocks.

BUY: Rope lace-up, £16.50, Asos, above

BUY: Pale blue, £45, Birkenstock

BUY: Brown thick straps, £90, Dune

BUY: Green, £55.99, Zara

BUY: Shell detail, £35, River Island

BUY: White sliders, £115, Cos

BUY: Blue multi strap, £195, Ancient Greek Sandals

BUY: Silver, £19.99, H&M

BUY: Brown braided, £158, Reiss

BUY: Paisley print, £135, Penelope Chilvers

BUY: Brown ankle tie, £32, Next

Lead photograph
Model: Amelia Swaby at Milk. Hair and makeup Sam Cooper at Carol Hayes Management using Living Proof and Lancôme. Hat, £57, Mother Denim. Dress, £35, Rokit. Earrings, €100, Crystal Haze. Pink bead necklace, £128, Monica Vinader. Evil eye torque, €150, and purple bear necklace, €250, both Crystal Haze. Fish necklace, £17.99, Zara. Coral bangle, £22.99, Zara. Green bracelet, £178, Monica Vinader. Star bag, £49.99, Zara. Sandals, £159, Penelope Chilvers. Woven bag, £190, Essentiel Antwerp. Yellow sunglasses, £120, Bonnie Clyde.

All prices correct at time of going to press

The Guardian