Summer is finally here in The Mile High City and with all the chaos circulating, Coloradans are not only excited to be in the warm months but are breaking all the rules when it comes to the summer fashion trends. This summer, the Denver fashion scene is seeing a lot more skin and vibrant colors as we pop out in the city.
Some would agree that it’s easier to dress for the summer months compared to any other season but planning these looks can still be overwhelming. Not to worry, as 303 Magazine compiled a quick guide to what we are wearing this summer in Denver.
Whether you’re traveling to Denver this summer or you’re a local, it’s very clear Denver is on its way to becoming a fashion district in its own distinct way. The fashion scene is breaking major ground in the city of Denver, from local designer fashion shows to weekly vintage pop-ups all around the city. Denver’s growing economy leads to a wide range of different fashion trends anywhere you go. From Birkenstocks to Air Jordans or second-hand items to online boutiques, 303 Magazine took a deep dive into what Denverites are wearing and what trends to follow.
To build this guide, we spent Juneteenth Sunday on the 16th St. Mall strip to talk to both people traveling to Denver for the weekend or locals just spending the day with their friends. 16th St. Mall is located in the heart of downtown Denver, making it one of the most popular shopping, eating and entertainment destinations in the city. What better way to connect with tourists and locals than visiting one of the most energetic areas in Denver?
Now, let’s uncover what locals and travelers alike are wearing during these hot summer months.
Sun Protection But Make It Stylish
A trend that forever belongs to summer is hats. Staying cool in real life and temperature-wise, it’s evident that hats are a favorite amongst the guys and gals this summer. Bucket hats are a must for their versatility. It’s clear that this summer, gender-neutral fashion is taking over, giving us fresh looks and trends we haven’t seen before. During our tour of 16th St. Mall, a fashionable local said that she only chose a baseball cap because she loves the colors. It tied the whole look together from her Air Jordans to her Zara Blazer.
Men’s Fashion is All the Rage
There is a rise of local fashion designers and creators everywhere designing their own custom brands that are essential to everyone’s wardrobes. This Colorado local originally from Atlanta is sporting a custom brand called Tulones, straight out of Atlanta, GA. Staying cool and looking good go hand and hand when it comes to men’s fashion this summer. An increase of the daddy shorts and low-top Nikes are essentials for the men in Denver. The internet is going crazy over the “Hoochie daddy shorts,” which are simply above-the-knee shorts that show off the legs.
Grab a Purse For Any Occasion
Purses are also all the rage this summer. Denverites are living for small and bigger than Louis Vuitton bag brands, such as the Brandon Blackwoods and of course, the Telfars. Telfar is a Black-owned brand based in New York that the fashion world is obsessed with – from its exclusivity to its wide range of amazing colors that come in 3 different sizes. It has become a movement to “try to catch them” and collect as many Telfars as possible. One thing is for sure – Telfar is a great conversation starter to connect with people. Walking around 16th St., there were Telfars everywhere, but we must acknowledge all the other very cute bags too.
Head to the Mall for Basics
Let’s not get it twisted, there’s nothing better than a good luxury fashion brand or a custom look. However, Denver lives for sustainable fashion. Colorado boasts a huge market for second-hand shopping and vintage pop-ups – you name it, we’ve thrifted it. While many mall-goers wanted to talk about their big-name brands, we met so many people that raved about their Goodwill finds and old boyfriend t-shirts or pieces that were borrowed from friends.
One thing to note here is that confidence is key in whatever one is wearing. While trends are exciting, confidence can be worn all summer long. Accessories are also very important in tying a look together. The right sunglasses, earrings and watches will really take an outfit to another level or can serve as the focal point of a look.
16th St. was full of friends and fashionistas. We caught up with a group of friends having dinner together who are predicting that knits, cowboy boots and little bags are bound to be the top Denver fashion trends this summer. They shared three of their favorite online boutiques: ba&sh, Looks Like Summer and Faithfull The Brand. ba&sh presents some sustainable fashion with boho-chic, in addition to a good range of sandals, belts and eyewear. Looks like Summer offers colorful shoes, jewelry and some must-have purses. Lastly, Faithfull The Brand is a one-stop shop with vibrant clothing, swimwear and jewelry that make great additions to a personal collection.
The struggle can become real when shopping for the next show-stopping look. Sometimes, there isn’t time for online shopping and pieces need to be accessible for a same-day event. So where are mall-goers shopping? Zara. There it is – Zara is where everyone is shopping for summer looks. Luckily, Denver is saving all of us from delayed shipments from online boutiques with access to a giant Zara at Cherry Creek Mall.
Sometimes, the items we need to complete a look are right in our friends’ closets. While a successful mall run is always good, we can all appreciate sustainability and second-hand shopping. Finding the perfect one-of-a-kind item at your local thrift store can be so fulfilling that shoppers can avoid the mall entirely. This summer, Coloradans are wearing sustainable fashion from either our friends’ closets or from other local second-hand locations: The Common Collective, Lost Room Collective and Denver’s newest vintage and modern store, Dream Fever Denver.
Another trend for a casual or professional go-to look is wide-leg pants and crop tops. Paired with a baby tee, a wide-leg pant in breathable material is perfect for the summer. Having versatile items in the summer that will last through other seasons is a game-changer.
Summer is All About a Good Shoe
At the end of our tour, we stumbled upon a couple that was traveling from out of state. They were wearing matching looks all about comfortability. They confirmed that a good pair of sneakers like Converse is necessary to have as a go-to shoe this summer in addition to having a great pair of sunglasses to enjoy the beautiful view while traveling around the city. They confirmed that once again, shorts and vibrant colors are what we are wearing this summer.
The fashion scene is growing in Denver from sustainable fashion to runway shows to showcase local creatives. Over the last few years, Denver has created space for fashion ingenuity and the city couldn’t be more supportive. Denver is creating its own identity when it comes to the overall look of fashion in the city. From hiking to festivals, to work apparel to late-night outfits, Denver is a city full of versatility and personality. Denver’s fashion scene can not be defined by one person or one outfit. We all have our own sense of style and can flex our style in all 4 seasons.
16th St. Mall was a great reminder that as a city, we are making room for diversity and fashion. It is a great time to be in Denver and to witness the growth of its social identity and the progress of the city’s culture becoming rooted. It’s clear that this summer in Denver will be full of personality and color.
All photography by Roxanna Carrasco.
Editor’s Note: 303 Magazine Contributor Tristan Bego also owns the vintage shop The Common Collective, mentioned in this article.