While New York and Paris may be considered the fashion capitals of the world, each summer the who's who of the fashion universe turn their discerning eye to Miami for the latest trends in swimwear and resort collections. It is here, during Miami Fashion Week in the spring and Swim Week in July, where designers unveil their latest swimwear and resort styles in a kaleidoscope of colors and fabrics.
In the meantime, while waiting for next year's fashion trends, here's what you should be packing and wearing to hit Miami's beach scene.
What to Wear Now
"Long sleeves with cheeky cut-outs, low backs in daring bold prints," said Kristian Chase, managing director of Australian fashion brand Aqua Blu.
"I feel like the bikinis got smaller and smaller for so long, but now, you get really fun one-pieces with great cuts, designs and colors," said Charlotte Althin Hicks, founder and creative director of Miami-based, eco-friendly line Sea Lily.
What else? "Sports luxe [athleisure] is a huge trend too," Chase added. "Look for cage briefs, band briefs and high-waisted briefs when pairing with high-neck tops [which] deliver a sporty and quirky edge."
And it's not just that the swimsuits are more demure than before. If last year's trends were all about florals and stripes, perhaps the biggest change for this season, is a smattering of bolder, more vibrant prints accented with trims such as lace.
It's something Althin Hicks described as a "great effect, style-wise."
For 13-year-old wunderkind designer Ariel Swedroe, who confesses she's always in a bathing suit, flashy prints are nothing new. Her summer 2017 collection includes island-inspired prints made from light and comfortable fabrics with a dose of Miami chic.
"I've always loved color and making a statement so I definitely include that in my designs," said Swedroe, who also incorporates natural and cultural elements such as the ocean, sky and people and lifestyles around her into her work.
And when the beach day is over, fashionistas everywhere transition seamlessly into resort wear from designers who have mastered the look.
Dress Up, Dress Down
Originally, resort and beach clothes were reserved for the glamorous, international elite. The wealthy jet-setters who escaped the winter or summer months to lavish resort destinations around the world (Cannes, St. Moritz, Palm Beach). Travel wardrobes included well-thought out, nautically-inspired items; think American sportswear.
After the 1920s, when this apparel became less haute couture and more ready-to-wear, clothes started to be made in cotton, silk, denim and other fabrics that were easy to pack, lightweight and wearable.
If you want to get philosophical about resort wear—it's all about transitions. As the shoreline is the space where the oceanic world meets the terrestrial one, resort wear serves to clothe you in that space and beyond. It's clothing for the in-betweeness of things, a kind of sartorial limbo.
While in other parts of the country, transitional wear is meant to fill the gaps between the "official" fashion seasons in the spring and fall. In Miami, resort clothing takes a very different turn. The all too common temperatures in the 80s and 90s most of the year make it virtually impossible to follow the fashion cycle. For this reason, having an arsenal of multipurpose items becomes key.
"A beautiful top with a pair of jeans is my evening wear. Make it more dramatic with a pair of high heels or silk pants, lots of variation,” said Sabrina Crippa of Taj by Sabrina.
Her collection is meant to transition easily from day-to-night, from the beach to dinner and later to the bar or nightclub.
Sea Lily, with its upscale bohemian charm, offers a variety of hand-dyed kaftans, tunics, cover-ups and breezy dresses. Find their collection at The Biltmore Hotel and other swim boutiques in Palm Beach and the Florida Keys.
And Ariel Swedroe beats the heat in rompers that can be paired with strappy heels for a night on the town.
All the same, always remember to pack wardrobe staples such as T-shirts, shorts, jumpsuits and accessories that add shimmer to that laid-back attire when traveling to warm weather destinations because that one-piece must serve many masters.