It has only been in the past year or two that designers, store buyers, and the media are viewing resort wear as a specialized year-round clothing style and fashion season. There are some important reasons for this. Areas such as Las Vegas, Phoenix, Honolulu, Palm Springs, San Juan, and the Caribbean Islands were holiday destinations, but they are now becoming places of year-round living. From the spectacular resorts destinations of Qatar, South Africa and Thailand, to the Spanish Coast, Costa Rica and the Grecian Islands, resort wear popularity is growing and it is not surprising to see Hawaiian shirts being worn on the Mexican Riviera. It has become a cross-cultural style that signifies relaxation, affluence, and an appreciation of nature, and displays a sense of style for the wearer.
From walking shorts, caftans and sandals, to full-length evening dresses for women and light dinner jackets for men, resort wear is unique in its design and function. Resort wear is generally made from cotton, silk, denim, microfiber, straw and poplin that are easy to pack, lightweight and breathable. They are easy to clean and look great without ironing or fuss, much like the new hair styles that are casual, yet very fashionable.
The style has gained enormous popularity for many who demanded the comfort and ease of care the old summer clothes had, but tired of the stereotypical t-shirts, shorts and baseball caps seen by the masses. This newly-defined style instantly combines comfort and easy care with a fashion sense, comfort and personality, thus its sudden rise in visibility is no surprise.
It is characterized by the "nautical" style, inspired by sailor and yachting themes, classic Hawaiian prints of palm trees and hula girls, brushed denim from San Francisco, bright floral prints from South America, minty greens, yellows, blues and whites from the Mediterranean and natural materials and glove-weight leathers from the Caribbean. Large hats, sunglasses, open-toed shoes and innovative waistlines complete the look of sun-soaked destinations. The style has already been the subject of small runway shows in New York, Paris and Milan.
Though designers and design houses as J. Crew, Banana Republic, Lilly Pulitzer, and Tommy Bahama have pioneered the style, other leading designers are now creating resort wear. Oscar de la Renta, Michael Kors, John Galliano, Matthew Williamson, Vera Wang, Heidi Klein, Jo Eden Mimimango, Anna Sui, Charles Svingholm, Allegra Hicks and Tashia London have all shown resort wear in recent shows for the 2006 and 2007 seasons.