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A Guide to the Ultimate Soft Girl Summer Day

Nov 27, 2023Nov 27, 2023

Published July 31, 2023

Elissa Sanci

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Savoring the first bite of a particularly juicy peach, dipping your toes in cold water on a warm day, belly laughing with friends over fizzy cocktails—“soft girl summer” is one of the latest crazes dominating social media, but it’s more than just a trending hashtag.

Soft girl summer represents a gentle way of life that prioritizes self-care and stepping off the hamster wheel. Any person, regardless of gender identity, can have a soft girl summer. And though you really don’t need to buy anything to enjoy the ultimate soft summer day, these Wirecutter picks have helped our staffers to live better.

This alarm has the most soothing simulated sunrise and sunset, so it may help you feel less groggy. It offers a good range of alarm sounds, a second alarm, power backup, and a sleek design.

On this soft summer day, you’re not jolted awake by a blaring cell phone alarm. Instead, you are gently roused by a sunrise alarm clock that gradually brightens the room. The Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light, our top pick, uses red-tinted light to simulate the natural colors of dawn, and that can help you feel less groggy as you rise. If you suspect that light alone won’t be enough to get you out of bed, the Philips SmartSleep also has a range of soothing alarm sounds—including soft piano music and chirping birds—to serenely wake you.

Comb through your closet and don your favorite summer dress, your loosest linen pants, or whatever you find to be most comfortable. The cozy wardrobe staples you already own will work. But if you’re looking for more inspiration, try leaning into last year’s popular (but always relevant) coastal grandmother aesthetic.

This simple journal has all the basics and provides a better writing experience than the more popular Moleskine notebooks it mimics.

This app has the largest variety of meditations, with guided sessions for beginners and less-structured programming for pros. And its rich library of meditations is well organized and easy to navigate.

Before embarking on a day dedicated to living in the moment, take some time to jot down your thoughts—whether you’re free writing or following specific prompts, journaling can be a great way to touch base with yourself. I find writing in a Paperage Lined Notebook to be particularly soothing because of the satisfying way my pens glide across the thick, smooth pages. This hardback journal looks similar to a Moleskine notebook, but it’s made with higher-quality paper that can handle rollerball, gel, and fountain pen ink with little smudging—and it’s usually half the price.

If journaling isn’t your thing, a quick morning meditation session can help you prepare for the day. Headspace, one of our favorite meditation apps, offers a variety of programming for beginners and seasoned meditators alike. With its user-friendly interface, the app is easy to navigate: Sessions are clearly labeled and categorized, so you’ll be able to find something that works best for you.

The nylon mesh drawstring bags in this set are well made and sturdy enough to transport produce or other items. They are also more attractive than most produce bags.

May be out of stock

This sack-like tote has a water-bottle pocket that can hold anything you don’t want sliding to the bottom of your bag. It’s more flexible and smaller than the heavy canvas structured bags that tend to have more organization.

If you love spending idle summer mornings wandering through your local farmers market and foraging for all of your favorites, be sure to bring along reusable bags to haul your bounty. For fresh produce, we like the Junes Carry-All Set. The sturdy mesh pouches are tightly woven, with drawstring closures. You can load up on dried goods (such as beans and nuts), and items like loose green beans and snap peas won’t poke through the bag. For carrying bulkier items and other locally made treasures, we recommend the Everyday Tote from Junes. Its water-bottle pocket can also be used to hold your wallet and keys, and the bag’s stretchy weave is more accommodating than standard, rigid polyester totes.

These watercolor paints occupy a space somewhere between watercolors and gouache—they can flow, dilute, and mix like watercolors but have the opacity, pigment, and impressive vividness of acrylic paints.

These colored pencils are as effective as artist-grade pencils twice the price. They offer vibrant color, blend nicely, and are easy to sharpen.

You don’t need to be a professional artist to find artistic endeavors therapeutic—all you need are the right tools and a positive outlook. Watercolor is an especially forgiving medium for beginner painters, and the watercolorists on staff love painting with Kuretake watercolors.

“The paints are extremely pigmented and vivid, blend well and dry fast, and even though I’ve had my palette since early COVID, none of the paints have cracked in their pans,” said SEO content strategist Mackenzie Greene. “I watercolor sometimes to de-stress, and unlike some of the other paints I’ve tried, this palette has never given me any stress-inducing trouble. Plus, the packaging is cute, practical, and protects the watercolors no matter how irresponsibly I store them!”

If you lean more toward drawing than painting, a pack of high-quality colored pencils might be a better fit. “I’m no artist, but I still want a solid variety of colors and a smooth pencil to make coloring a pleasurable experience,” said updates writer Sri Rain Stewart, who prefers to use Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils when she colors. Affordable, well-made, and easy to sharpen, Prismacolor pencils glide smoothly on paper, so they are satisfying to use, and the soft wax’s creamy texture makes layering the vibrant colors easy.

This tumbler has sleek flat sides and an anti-slip bottom, and it comes in a great variety of colors.

Gather your friends for evening cocktails, charcuterie, and camaraderie. Whether you’re sipping on something boozy or a tasty nonalcoholic spritz, you’ll want to use an insulated wine tumbler to keep your beverage cool. The Corkcicle Classic Stemless is excellent at keeping cold drinks chilled for up to six hours, and its subtly contoured panels make it easy to hold. The Corckcicle also comes in more than 50 colors and patterns—if you entertain often, you may want to invest in tumblers of varying designs so drinks don’t get mixed up.

These relaxing, scented two-in-one bath salts add sudsy bubbles to your soak.

This sleek bamboo bath tray has a nice wooden body and adjustable metal legs, so it’s easy to place on a tub to hold a book.

The waterproof Kindle Paperwhite is worth upgrading to if you do a lot of reading in the tub.

Celebrate the end of a peaceful day with a blissful bubble bath and a good story. As you fill the tub, pour a generous amount of Dr. Teal’s Balance & Calm Foaming Bath. It produces lush bubbles that bring back the joyful feeling of taking a bath as a kid, and it’s infused with relaxing essential oils that can make your bathroom feel like a spa.

Once you’re in the water, use a bath tray to keep all of the essentials nearby: The Umbra Aquala Bathtub Caddy can hold everything from your phone to a full glass of wine. It’s also the only bath tray we found that was able to support a hardcover paperback book. But we suggest using the Kindle Paperwhite when you’re in the bath—the waterproof reader can survive an accidental drop in the tub, whereas crinkled book pages will never lie flat again.

Smooth against the skin, this weighted blanket looks and feels more balanced than many others, especially with the duvet cover. (The duvet cover, which is sold separately, is soft but isn’t as tightly stitched as others we’ve seen, and its zipper looks cheap.)

With its electronically generated sounds, the LectroFan EVO masks a wider variety of noises than the other machines we tested in its price range.

We can’t think of a better way to end a soft summer day than slipping under a weighted blanket and drifting off to dreamland. Affordable and smooth against the skin, the Luna Weighted Blanket looks and feels more like a heavy comforter than a more traditional weighted blanket. The Luna is available in a range of weights up to 25 pounds, and we love that its weighted beads don’t pool in the corners of the blanket, as they do in other, similarly priced options on the market. “I have no clue how I used to sleep without it,” said updates writer Gabriella DePinho. “I had to let it dry overnight once after washing it, and I didn’t sleep as well that night!”

For an even better night’s sleep, pair it with a white-noise machine to mask disruptive noises. The LectroFan EVO is compact enough to fit in even the tightest spaces. And it can generate 10 colored sounds—ranging from a low-frequency brown noise to a high-frequency white noise—that will gently lull you to sleep after a soft day.

This article was edited by Alex Aciman and Annemarie Conte.

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