Being in style isn't about showing off one’s wealth or taste anymore. Those who live in the tropics at least partially throughout the year know that the clothes you wear in the heat aren't just a matter of fashion; everyday attire also needs to be functional and airy. Seasonal styles aside, natural materials like cotton, silk, bamboo fibre and their mixtures – all staple fabrics in resort clothing – provide comfort in high humidity. Even those who don’t consider themselves fashionistas will admit that being comfortable and presentable in high temperatures is a matter worthy of their consideration.
With more and more brands offering pieces that blend comfort and style, choosing the right day and evening attire can be challenging for both sexes. Many ladies get tangled up in picking out matching shorts and tops, bikinis and dresses, nightgowns and sandals, and pairing them with the right jewellery and accessories. A number of gentlemen, on the other hand, feel overwhelmed by bright hues and bold patterns that seem to be a must in current male summer resort wear.
"Those who live in the tropics, at least partially throughout the year, know that the clothes you wear in the heat aren't just a matter of fashion; everyday attire also needs to be functional and airy."
To try and help with this, we’ve prepared some fashion advice and general guidelines based on what’s available in local boutiques.
For both sexes, looking good on the island’s white-sand beaches or by turqoise swimming pools begins with the right swimwear – and you won’t go wrong if you look no further than 69 Slam! Once you have the bathing suit of your preference, you’ll want to pick out a rayon shirt or a top that covers arms and shoulders. Men who chose swim briefs would need a pair of longer trunks or beach shorts as well, while those who opt for bright boardshorts can combine them with a dark coloured yet light cotton T-shirt.
Regardless of the bikini style a lady likes – and ladies tend to own multiple swimming suits anyway – most will turn a few heads wearing a pair of denim shorts, a knitted beach dress or a simple but bright-coloured dress above knee length. If you’re looking for a bit of summer magic, local boutiques have gorgeous kaftans on offer, from rich-looking single coloured ones to shimmery kaftans in bright shades and with bold prints.
As for footwear, the beach look comes down to a single principle: wear a pair of thongs if you’re heading to a sandy destination. Otherwise, opt for strapped open-toe shoes that match your outfit (ladies) or a pair dressy sandals in earth tones (men).
Dressing for days when you want to be out and about, visiting attractions or brunching with friends, is the time most tropical wear disasters occur. Even if you apply plenty of sunscreen and plan to stay indoors most of the day, you still want to wear a lightweight attire made of natural fabrics that cover and protect you from the harsh Phuket sun.
A great look for the fairer sex includes a pencil skirt and a knitted top paired up with flats or wedges. Midi and maxi dresses are also a lovely choice but it's advisable to take a scarf to cover your shoulders (which is called for while visiting a temple or walking in the sun). You’ll also need sunglasses, a hat and jewellery that complements your outfit; bigger and bolder pieces go well with subdued sand tone combinations, and delicate ornaments match bright and otherwise eye-catching dresses.
"The choice of lightweight pants and dress shorts will appeal to most as well, and lastly for footwear, funky espadrilles or a pair of closed-toe shoes made of breathable materials are a must."
Resort wear collections are a great opportunity for men to step out of their comfort zone by selecting a bold print or a bright playful shirt. Luckily, trends have surpassed leafy botanical prints as the only option and there are truly great colour combinations and styles for every taste. Regardless of whether you have the courage to give a colourful shirt a try or if you prefer to stick to classic designs, Phuket is the place to expand your collection. The choice of lightweight pants and dress shorts will appeal to most as well, and lastly for footwear, funky espadrilles or a pair of closed-toe shoes made of breathable materials are a must.
In Phuket, the sun sets rather early, so refreshing breezes and starlit skies set the scene for exquisite wining and dining in amazing outdoor settings. The cooler temperatures allow for a greater selection when it comes to evening wear, so both the ladies and gents can embellish their looks with light dinner jackets.
Most women can't resist an evening kaftan that flatters almost every figure. Flowing evening frocks are often a bit thicker than those made for daytime activies and they normally call for carefully selected, subdued accessories. Futhermore, many of the island's boutiques offer beautiful and one-of-a-kind feminine silk tops that go well with timeless white pants. Alternatively, make a statement with a shorter dress that's been embroidered with silver or gold details, and a pair of high-heel sandals.
"In Phuket, the sun sets rather early, so refreshing breezes and starlit skies set the scene for exquisite wining and dining in amazing outdoor settings."
Men showcase their fine taste by choosing perfectly fitted items made of high-quality materials. At nighttime, many choose light-coloured shirts or suits that accentuate their tan. Cooler temperatures also mean that you can play with fabrics and wear a poplin or a silk long-sleeve shirt – or stay true to striking and printed items.
Much like seasonal runway fashion, each resort wear collection brings its own styles. For example, 2016 catalogues are introducing a mix of crop tops, skirts, slouchy pants and hoodies, suggesting a modern twist that may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But there are classics that never go out of style, and Phuket is a place where some imagination and fabric awareness makes all the difference between hot and cool.
69 Slam: www.69slam.com
Paul Ropp: www.paulropp.com