The overwhelming consensus in fashion right now is the bolder the better, which explains why the summer 2021 color trends are brighter and more vibrant than any we’ve seen in years (yes, they even beat 2018’s obsession with slime). From runways and red carpets to Instagram and TikTok, the looks garnering the most attention in 2021 are consistently eye-catching, with colors like hot pink and saffron red showing up at Jacquemus’ La Montagne show and cyan blue and chartreuse adorning our social media feeds on Dua Lipa and Bella Hadid, respectively. “This summer is all about bright, neon, vibrant colorways,” Caroline Maguire, Shopbop’s Fashion Director, confirms.

According to Maguire, people are seeking out clothing that boosts their summer moods, “so [big] colors and bold fashion details are an obvious must.” She adds, Everyone wants to be out and about, and what’s more joyous than novelty bright summer styles?” Taylor Leath, the founder of De Essentia, a luxury retailer that carries Black-owned fashion brands, agrees: “Fashion is all about self-expression, and right now, we believe there is an uplifting feeling of joy.” For De Essentia, Leath is leaning heavily into colors like bright pinks and soft lilacs, hues that “make you smile… that make you stand out in a fresh way this season.”

It can be tricky, though, to go from your safety net selection of grays and tans to colors of the rainbow. To smooth the transition, we rounded up the top color trends of the summer — and some shopping items to go with! — ahead.

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.


Lime green has been trending almost non-stop since it first spiked in popularity again back in 2018. But the slimy shade has evolved along the way, becoming less Nickelodeon and more high-fashion, with brands like Bottega Veneta, Balmain, and Dior all making the eye-catching color a staple in their collections of late.  

The Source Unknown Towel Midi Skirt, $, available at The Source Unknown

Bottega Veneta Puddle Boots, $, available at Bottega Veneta

Zara Satin Effect Print Dress, $, available at Zara


While this vibrant shade of orange has been trending all summer long on social media, it wasn’t until Demna Gvasalia included the hue in his debut couture collection for Balenciaga that we knew the color would be a true contender for not only this season, but many to come.

Eloquii Cinched Skirt Square Neck Dress, $, available at Eloquii

Nana Jacqueline Bellah Sandals, $, available at Nana Jacqueline

With Jean Carie Cardi, $, available at With Jean

Cyan Blue

We’re convinced that TikTok’s obsession with this electric shade of blue derived from a viral pool cover-up designed by Australian swimwear brand Bamba Swim. Now that the brand has nearly one million views on the Gen-Z-favorite platform, the color has become impossible to miss, showing up at other TikTok shops like Princess Polly and Paloma Wool. 

Lioness The Goddess Mini Dress Blue, $, available at Princess Polly

Paloma Wool No 818 Darsey Bag, $, available at Paloma Wool

Bamba Swim Bounty Dress, $, available at Bamba Swim


There’s a reason why saffron is the most expensive spice — and it’s not just its taste. The color — a smoky, yet bright shade of red — is similarly sought after for dye purposes, this season especially. From Mirror Palais to Gimaguas, this poppy-like hue is showing up everywhere for summer. It even made its way into Jacquemus’ color-filled La Montagne show in July. 

Jacquemus La Maille Pralù Longue, $, available at Jacquemus

Gimaguas Sóller Mini Skirt, $, available at Gimaguas

Wilfred Alps Jersey-Knit Sweater Vest, $, available at Aritzia

Bright Pink

Another Jacquemus favorite? Fuschia pink, and not just in the recent La Montagne collection. The designer from the South of France has been including this pop of color in his collections for seasons now, and every time he does, we fall more and more in love. Looking for a cheaper alternative? Try Frankies Bikinis or Poster Girl. 

Frankies Bikinis Tatum Satin Triangle Bikini Top, $, available at Frankies Bikinis

Frankies Bikinis Tia Satin String Bikini Bottom, $, available at Frankies Bikinis

La Manso Fluodreaaaam Ring, $, available at Simonett

The prices on Poster Girl’s website are in GBP, while our prices are listed in USD.

Poster Girl Miranda Dress, $, available at Poster Girl


Whereas more regal shades of purple have become a mainstay on red carpets — think: Zendaya and Saweetie at the BET Awards — when it comes to actually wearing the final color of the rainbow, we prefer something softer, and therefore, easier to incorporate into our wardrobes. For that, lilac, a shade that’s quickly becoming one of the most Instagrammable colors on the color wheel, is our go-to, with favorites coming from handbag brands like Staud and JW Pei, as well as fashion labels like I.AM.GIA and BAACAL.

BAACAL Charmeuse Slip Dress To The Knee, $, available at BAACAL

JW PEI Gabbi Bag, $, available at JW PEI

I.Am.Gia. Natali Top, $, available at I.Am.Gia.

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