Here in Seattle, it’s common knowledge that real summer weather doesn’t start until July 5. True to form, after an overcast and drizzly weekend, today has been beautiful and in the 80s in the Emerald City. Once the season has arrived, we take every advantage of our brief but beautiful summer weather, and one of our favorite things to do (even after a long day at the office) is pack up a picnic basket and head outdoors to soak up as much vitamin D as possible.

Planned or spontaneous, in the park or in the backyard, dining alfresco and lazing on a blanket couldn’t be a more perfect way to enjoy a brunch, lunch or dinner. Once you have your essential gear at the ready, all you need is to pack up and head outside. Make picnics an easy (and regular!) summertime activity, and find all you’ll need in our Outdoor Entertaining and Picnic Shop.


To help simplify your summer-fun choices, we hand-selected a few art, food, music and film events across the country for you—and paired up two different go-to looks for each category. Find out what’s happening near you this summer, as well as the perfect outfit to arrive in style!


Jeff Koons: A Retrospective & Edward Hopper and Photography
Koons: June 27-Oct 19 | Hopper: July 17–Oct 19
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City

Outfit Inspiration:


Time to break out your reds, whites and blues! It’s almost the 4th of July—a day when anyone can pull off a patriotic combo of primary colors—and we’ve got inspiration for what to wear this Independence Day. These outfits will have you looking ravishing under the rockets’ red glare no matter where your celebrations take you.


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It’s almost summer, and we’re already dreaming about the ultimate island vacation in the season to come. Before settling on which sun-splashed locale to book tickets for, we’re sharing an inspirational roundup of the best sandals for every getaway. Whether touching down in Sri Lanka, partying poolside at an all-inclusive resort or enjoying a relaxed shore-side stroll, you can count on any of these beauties to be your true island sole-mates.



Breeze through summer with our five wardrobe essentials styled with new shoes, bags and bling for sunny, sultry looks. From swimsuits to straw hats, see them all—and how to wear them—in our Plus-Size Summer Essentials Guide.


Make your swimsuit do double duty and take you from lounging at the pool to cocktails and dinner.

Put a peekaboo pop of color under a lacy top. [Pictured: L Space Bikini | Hinge Lace Top]

A bralette-style bikini couldn’t be more on trend and plays well with almost any style of bikini bottom. [Pictured: Maaji Bikini | Hinge Pleated Skirt]

Throw a blazer over your triangle top for a look that’s unexpectedly fresh. [Pictured: Becca Bikini | Caslon Linen Jacket]

A flirty skirt paired with your one-piece: chic and easy at its max. [Pictured: Robin Piccone One-Piece Swimsuit | Elan Draped Skirt]

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Sunny days are here again (even in Seattle)! Check out our list for the season’s top 10 essentials for easy summer style. How does your own list stack up?


Kate Spade makes us all pine for the start of hot, summer days spent poolside, by asking one question:

Swan dive?

…or cannonball?


Summer Event Planner

Now that summer is in full swing, your social calendar should be bursting with invites to get-togethers that take advantage of the nice weather. Here’s some style inspiration for a few outdoor events we can’t wait to get dressed for.

Dockside-Party Perfect: Linen Pants and Tank by Allen Allen

4th of July BBQ:

MOTHER 'Skinny Not Skinny' Frayed Hem Denim ShortsWilt Rugby Stripe Racerback TankTOMS 'Classic University' Slip-On

If there’s any time when you can express your patriotic spirit by wearing red, white and blue all at once, it’s the 4th of July. For a casual backyard BBQ, go Americana with red, white or vintage denim shorts and a graphic striped top. For your feet, try striped TOMS, or an embellished flat sandal.

Lake House Retreat:

Stem Microfiber Maxi SkirtFree People 'Sahara Star' PulloverDV by Dolce Vita 'Ash' Sandal

We love a lake house—or a cabin, or really any retreat that gets us out of the city. But since you’re not camping, commune with nature in style. An easy maxi skirt is perfect for lounging on the deck while taking in panoramic views, and open-knit sweaters do double duty as a daytime cover-up or evening-chill prevention.

Rooftop Cocktail Party:

Cara Accessories Colored Stone BangleCharlie Jade Short Print DressCorso Como 'Decoy' Sandal

When summer heats up, one-step dressing is a top priority. But no one has to know it only took you 10 minutes to get dressed for that outdoor evening soirée. A colorblocked maxi dress or short little number in a vividly printed silky fabric makes head-to-toe glam happen with minimal effort.

Date-Night Picnic:

August Hat 'Large' Floppy Synthetic Straw HatRory Beca 'George' Embroidered BlouseKork-Ease 'Danielle' Slide Sandal

Eating outside is one of our favorite things about summer, so a date-night picnic is absolutely on our to-do list. To achieve cute comfort while enjoying our splendor in the grass, we’re envisioning a romantic blouse with distressed denim shorts and ‘70s-retro clog sandals. And we’ll top it off with a floppy straw hat—at least until it’s time to watch the sunset.

Dockside Marina Party:

J Brand 'Bette' Wide Leg Stretch JeansRobin Piccone Nautical Stripe Bandeau BikiniSperry Top-Sider® 'Jellyfish' Sandal

You don’t have to pull up anchor to be seaworthy. Rock the yacht scene in regatta-chic whites and brights. Wear white denim or linen pants, a sleeveless blouse layered over a bandeau bikini top, and canvas slip-ons or flat sandals for a breezy look with great balance.


Brainy & The Beach

Put on your swimsuit, pack your tote, hit the beach or set up poolside—and don’t forget to bring a book.

Take your pick from these smartly offbeat reads recommended by staffers at Elliott Bay Book Company, plus selected swimwear to help you set the scene.


Cover image courtesy of Elliott Bay Book Company

Just Kids by Patti Smith
Legendary musician Patti Smith’s first book of prose details the deep relationship between a young Smith and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe as they trip through their formative years in the late-1960s New York City art scene and beyond.

My Boyfriend Wrote a Book About Me by Hilary Winston
If your ex-boyfriend wrote an unflattering book about you, you might fight fire with fire. That’s what Winston, a writer-producer for the TV sit-com Community, does in this TMI-packed tell-all about a seriously bad breakup and other relationship disasters.

Shop our itsy-bitsy swim picks:

ViX Swimwear Bia Logo Bikini TopRobin Piccone Bandeau Top & Hipster BottomsMICHAEL Michael Kors Bikini Top & Bottoms


Cover image courtesy of Elliott Bay Book Company

One Day by David Nicholls
On the day after their college graduation, July 15, 1988, Emma and Dexter finally connect romantically. And then they go their separate ways. This story tracks where they are in their lives every July 15 for 20 years—and how their paths repeatedly cross.

An Atlas of Impossible Longing by Anuradha Roy
Set in Bengal, India, Roy’s first American-released novel is a complex family saga woven with the narrative threads of two star-crossed lovers whose deep and enduring connection transcends time, distance and caste differences.

Shop our flirty swim picks:

DKNY 'Pastel Floral' One Shoulder MaillotBetsey Johnson Tankini Top & Bikini BottomsMICHAEL Michael Kors Ruffled Bandeau Bikini


Cover image courtesy of Elliott Bay Book Company

Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell
Sardonic storyteller Sarah Vowell trains her sharp wit on the missionaries and other enterprising Westerners who invaded Hawaii’s sandy beaches before the kingdom’s U.S. annexation in 1898. The result is an entertaining and informative look at a little-known chapter in American history.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
A fascinating account of the woman whose “immortal” cancer cells, sampled in 1951, lead to generations of advancements in medical research—without her ever knowing. The Immortal Life delves into a discussion of medical politics while telling the story of the Lacks family today.

Shop our retro swim picks:

MARC BY MARC JACOBS Ruffled BikiniFreya Bikini Top & BottomsNanette Lepore 'Floral Lover' One Piece Swimsuit


Cover image courtesy of Elliott Bay Book Company

Scenes from an Impending Marriage by Adrian Tomine
In his latest, graphic novelist Tomine (Summer Blonde) invites you to witness his and his fiancée’s journey to the altar. From the politics of whittling the guest list to putting up with pre-wedding exercise regimens, he illustrates the extreme lengths couples will go in pursuit of the “perfect” wedding.

Mister Wonderful: A Love Story by Daniel Clowes
Cartoonist and Oscar-nominated screenwriter Clowes (Ghost World) vividly tells the story of Marshall, a middle-aged divorcé who goes on a blind date for “one last stab at romance.” And then, when his date finally appears, the night takes him to unexpected places.

Shop our graphic-print swim picks:

Nanette Lepore Bikini Top & Hipster BottomsMARC BY MARC JACOBS Button Strap MaillotTrina Turk 'French Riviera' Tunic Cover-Up


Cover image courtesy of Elliott Bay Book Company

Roseanna by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö
Before Stieg Larsson’s dragon-tattooed girl, there was Sjöwal and Wahlöö, a Swedish husband-and-wife duo who penned classic thrillers in the 1960s and ’70s. Roseanna, the first story in a 10-part series, follows investigator Martin Beck as he attempts to solve a wayward tourist’s murder.

Elegy for April by Benjamin Black
Set in 1950s Dublin, Black’s third novel starring broody Irish pathologist Garret Quirke centers on Quirke’s search for April, a doctor at his hospital and the best friend of his semi-estranged daughter. More than just a gripping who-done-it, Elegy is also a tale of family ties and loyalty.

Shop our arresting swim picks:

Beach Star 'Yipes Stripes' Hooded Cover-UpMake + Model 'Seaside' Henley Cover-UpBeach Star 'Yipes Stripes' Cardigan Cover-Up

Check out the Elliott Bay Book Company blog for more reading recommendations.