From Malibu to the Hamptons, an insider's guide to hot parties, clothes, cocktails, even cupcakes.
► BEST Shades
For women, says stylist George Kotsiopoulos, "the new mash-ups of cat-eyes and aviators are awesome and original." Below: Classic-with-a-twist mens' aviators in horn plastic.
Enamel and gold metal frames by Agent Provocateur by Linda Farrow, $390, lindafarrowgallery.com; aviators by Gucci, $325, at Gucci, Beverly Hills; Ryan Gosling is a fan of the brand.
► BEST Swimsuit for Guys
Midlength printed nylon swim shorts by CHUCS, $270, mrporter.com. "Guys should go mid-thigh for the original surfer look." -- Welch
► BEST Bathing Suits
For a summer office retreat, Karla Colletto's ruched one-piece ($255, net-a-porter.com) offers some decorum; Mara Hoffman's revealing triangle bikini ($195, net-a-porter.com) is a great find for when propriety isn't as necessary. "Believe it or not, more fabric in a bikini only makes you look bigger," says Kotsiopoulos.
► BEST Picnic Dinner
For nights at the Hollywood Bowl, the best options include the special picnic menu (poached salmon with couscous, beef tenderloin with heirloom tomato) at Joan's on Third (8350 W. 3rd St., $35 and up ) packed in its signature box; the choice of five gourmet picnic baskets at Patina (141 S. Grand Ave., $40-$50), including a new vegan basket with rosemary and balsamic portobello mushroom "steaks"; and the one offered by Doughboy's (8136 W. 3rd St.), filled with a baguette, four spreads, two drinks, a sandwich, one salad, dessert bar and fruit for $45.
► BEST Beach Hangouts
In July, Nobu Malibu will relocate from its Cross Creek location to a new space (22706 Pacific Coast Highway) owned by Larry Ellison. The beachfront teak-and-concrete structure has a deck for people watching. … SHOREbar (above, 112 W. Channel Drive) opened in Santa Monica in May offering high-end cocktails and a members-only TV room upstairs. … Nightlife impresario Brent Bolthouse is going beachy in July with The Bungalow lounge, located in a free-standing 1947-built cottage on the property of Santa Monica's Fairmont Miramar Hotel (101 Wilshire Blvd.).
► BEST Beach Reads
At West Hollywood's Book Soup, bookseller Emily Eslami says these are the titles that industry insiders are grabbing for summer.
Vacation Page-Turner: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Crown, $25). Eslami says this dark, creepy psychological thriller about a woman who disappears on her fifth anniversary and her husband who becomes the prime suspect has been flying off the shelves since it arrived June 5. What has readers talking is the alternating storyline -- half from the husband's point of view, half from the wife's -- that leaves people guessing until the end as to what really happened.
Coffee Talker: Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life From Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed (Vintage, $14.95, July 10). Eslami notes the author's memoir Wild was Oprah Winfrey's first pick of her relaunched book club, but says this collection of her advice columns as the (formerly anonymous) Dear Sugar is getting nearly as much attention. She calls the book an "absolutely fabulous" collection that's more a "call to action" than a straight advice book.
Guilty Good Time: I Hate Everyone … Starting With Me by Joan Rivers (Berkley Hardcover, $25.95). The comedian's new collection of funny essays has been selling surprisingly well. "It was really popular over gay pride weekend," says Eslami.
Escapist Thriller: Mission to Paris by Alan Furst (Random House, $27). The master of the World War II spy story, who returns with his 16th novel, always has been a big seller at the store, especially with his The Spies of Warsaw being turned into a miniseries, set to debut on BBC America.
► BEST Beach Bag
Why schlep canvas? "Classic beach bags are getting an upgrade in shape and fabric, making them more upscale," says Kotsiopoulos. That includes Jimmy Choo's straw tote with leather handle; $895, Saks Fifth Avenue, Beverly Hills. Charlize Theron totes the brand.
► BEST New Towel
Cotton beach towel in Nives pattern by Missoni Home, $225, allmodern.com
► BEST Nail Colors
From left: Nail lacquer in Trout Pout by Butter London, $14, butterlondon.com; lacquer in Coral Blame by Tom Ford, $30, Neiman Marcus, Beverly Hills; Dior Vernis glossy polish in Calypso, $23, dior.com
► BEST Sun Hat
Eugenia Kim's hats are a summer essential for Anne Hathaway. Straw wide brim Cassidy sun hat, $305, eugeniakim.com. "The '70s boho floppy style is totally chic. The alternative, premature wrinkles, is definitely not chic." -- Kotsiopoulos
► BEST Beach Mix
Every summer has its soundtrack. Gary Calamar, music supervisor on True Blood, Dexter and A&E's new Longmire and a KCRW DJ, gives his list for this summer's best albums:
David Bowie Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars (40th Anniversary Edition): The iconic album sounds as great now as it did 40 years ago.
Metric Synthetica: Their fifth release, Synthetica, is a stunner. Check out "Youth Without Youth" and "Breathing Underwater."
Best Coast The Only Place: The SoCal album of the summer. "The Only Place" joins the ranks of "I Love L.A." and "California Girls."
Cat Power Sun: "Ruin," the first single from Sun, has a breezy '70s sound that creates a real SoCal vibe. Iggy Pop is on the album, Power's first since 2008.
Raveonettes Observator The Danish rock duo was once again produced by Richard Gottehrer, who has worked with Blondie and The Go-Go's.