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In addition to strutting down the catwalk, Ashley Graham walks like a strong advocate for self-love and body positivity. If you need an extra dose of confidence this summer, the often filterless model has some seasoned tips for the season. “Go knowing that there are other people who feel like you and no one is your biggest critic but yourself, so remember that,” she says.
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With summer in full swing, Graham sat down with Revised to share her warm-weather style secrets and must-haves, from Spandex to summer dresses.
Dress for how you feel
Focusing on feel-good fashion is one of Graham’s biggest style secrets, and also a lesson she plans to one day teach her children, two-year-old Isaac and twins Malachi and Roman, six months old. “I think comfort is key, and that’s something I can definitely pass on to them,” she says.
Among the family’s current fashion favourites? Synchronized styles. “The twins dress the same and Isaac and [his father] Justin dresses the same, because Justin wants Isaac to feel like he has a partner in crime in the fashion industry,” she says of her husband, filmmaker Justin Ervin. , whom she also consults for “sound advice” when creating her own outfits.
Whatever pieces you choose, be sure to find clothes that match your own sense of style. “Early in my career, it was like I was just excited if it was right,” Graham says of his style evolution. “But now there are so many more options for designers who come up in my sizes…It’s not just about wearing something because they’re my size, it’s about wearing something because it feels good and it suits me.” Below are her five go-tos for good summer vibes.
Classic linen pants and a button down shirt
Graham rocks her own take on the “coastal grandma” aesthetic. (Let’s just call it the Coastal Model Mom.) The catwalker recommends investing in a pair of linen pants to pair with a range of quintessential summer outfits. Consider picking up a pair from Banana Republic, which she recommends for its “really good” linen options. Try the label’s high-waisted wide-leg pants, which feature both deep pockets and an elastic waistband. It’s available in crisp white in women’s sizes 0-20.
$110 at Banana Republic
Another classic style she still loves? Buttoned shirts. “You can either get a blue stripe or a white one,” she says. Graham’s go-to is from R13, which sells both cropped and classic versions of the traditional top. Try the Oversized Oxford Button Down Shirt in White, available in sizes XS to XL for women.
$345 at Nordstrom
Comfortable cycling shorts
Athleisure looks are also a staple for Graham, which she plans to “shamelessly” wear all season. Forget trend cycles (pun intended) and add a pair of must-have bike shorts to your wardrobe. Graham also turned to stretchy styles during her pregnancy last summer; after opting for looser clothes during her first pregnancy, the second time around she leaned into “[living] in spandex” and focusing on “showing the bump instead of hiding it”.
When shopping for shorts, the catwalk star loves both Prada pairs and supportive styles from Knix, a brand she recently partnered with. The Knix HiTouch High Rise Shorts are a premium design available in black and brown in sizes XS to XXXXL for women. Graham recommends pairing your bike shorts with “either a sneaker [to] actually training in” or a seesaw so “you can do all your errands and run”.
$60 at Knix
A bag to tie the look together
As a young model, Graham’s first big style splurge was a Givenchy tote, “one of the really big totes I could put a whole weekend in,” she says. “When I moved to New York at 17…it was like instead of a car, you had a bag. It was my first big purchase.”
While today she’s known for mixing high and low styles, her love for timeless designer bags hasn’t faded over the years. “There’s always a new bag,” says Graham, who is a pay-as-you-go partner with pay-as-you-go service Affirm, which offers payment plans for products, including Gucci bags, that she’s eyeing. “That’s why I love Affirm because if you’re like me and want to invest in classic, timeless pieces for a new season, you know you can get it without breaking the bank.”
Discover Gucci bags
To get your hands on a designer handbag for less, also consider shopping on resale apparel sites like The RealReal, which sell second-hand styles from high-end brands like Gucci. The site evaluates each piece for authenticity before listing. Graham herself invests in the site’s discount designer duds, saying “Oscar de la Renta always has some great finds.”
Buy Gucci at The RealReal Buy Oscar de la Renta at The RealReal
A light knit cardigan
While knits may not be a priority when it comes to summer tops, don’t forget a cardigan for chilly summer nights. “Just having a little cardigan with linen shorts or pants is perfect,” says Graham, whose favorite design is by luxury designer Khaite. The knitwear brand’s offerings include the midweight cashmere Scarlet cardigan, available in women’s sizes XXS to XL in white and camel.
$1,680 at Khaite
If you’ve gasped at this price, don’t worry: you can rock a similar style with more budget-friendly modes. Consider pieces like Target’s A New Day women’s button-up cardigan, which has a 4.5-star rating and over 160 reviews. It is sold in burgundy and green in women’s sizes XS to XXL. For another year-round wardrobe staple, try Target’s Universal Yarn Open Cardigan, which is sold in seven shades in women’s sizes XS through 4X. Even Graham herself occasionally buys styles from the mega-retailer, as she tells us she loves a “Tarjay moment.”
$21 at target $25 at target
A fun and flowy dress
On the hottest days, your best friend is a light and versatile dress. Look for airy designs that can be dressed up or down, suggests Graham. The model pairs her summer styles with equally easy hairstyles and makeup, saying, “I just like to throw my hair up in the air and not worry about how my hair looks. I wear just a little sunscreen, and I go on and kiss the sweat, kiss the heat.
Embrace (and beat) the heat with dresses from high-end essentials label Vince. “For my height, I fit Vince perfectly,” she says. “Flowing dresses, they are beautiful.” Consider the brand’s square-neck tank dress, a satin style available in light gray in sizes XS to XL for women. For a floral twist, try the Draped Floral Bow Maxi Dress, a light yellow look sold in the same size range.
$150 at Nordstrom Rack $190 at Nordstrom Rack
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.