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Summer fashion finds

Valerie McPhail

(6/2016) Gazes upon the sunset in Saint Augustine, dazed from the tranquil clear waters of Bavaro Beach and soaking up the rays of the South Miami sunshine — childhood memories alongside the ocean’s calm, offered nothing short of rest. Beach days initiated volleyball games on the sandy court and led to afternoons of sunbathing. The sight of five towels side by side, spread perpendicular to the water was where you would find my mom alongside her four daughters. As my sisters embraced the sun on their skin, I focused my attention to my summer reading list, a distraction from the awkward sunburn that awaited my pale skin. I am without a doubt not a beach babe; I covet the cashmere tops and wooly sweaters in my closet and I feel most comfortable wrapped in turtlenecks. Or maybe I just really love clothes, and the beach season lacks the value for such an interest. Bikinis, swim trunks and sunglasses hold greater worth. Or at least, that is a common misconception, for Merecedes Benz Fashion Week Australia would beg to differ.

June marks a big milestone in my life. As I reflect on this first summer month, I think about my first moves into the New York fashion scene after graduating from the Mount. The experience has been exhausted with competition and dishearten with frustration, for the island of Manhattan is overcrowded with people pursuing their dreams, just like me. Opportunities are around the corner, but success simulates city traffic: timing remains indefinite. This fresh season and newfound sunshine we have surprisingly seen spurs a restless yearning for those vacations once again. However, these memories wouldn’t congeal without the bathing suits, sundresses and sandals I wore in the company of oceans waves and sandcastles. Time again, denim jeans, board shorts, baseball caps create the staple pieces that make the most of a summer style as the recapitulation of Australia Fashion Week, ignites my summer daydreams.

The Daybreak of Denim

First sightings of the trend appeared in an eclectic, beautiful pair of Junya Watanabe jeans I saw online. I channeled this love at first sight by wearing a pair of light washed, slouched, boyfriend-fit jeans purchased at Zara. I wore this pair of jeans through the summer straight into September. Now New York can’t get enough of their style and relaxed fit.

In a blink of an eye, gone are the days of skinny jeans and tailored-fit, styled rock stars and the fashion magazine editors of my affection. Colors of acid wash, indigo and midnight black were top sellers, but now fashion has reached a new wave of denim. Cropped, flared, boyfriend and distressed are the styles that currently navigate its world. Fits are in season and the only materialistic investment involves jeans with patches in an assortment of indigo shades. Brands including — Levi, Valentino and Stella McCartney have ventured far into designing styles with embroidered patches. These specific styles add a personal touch. The aesthetic is a bit bohemian — loose fitted and relaxed.

It is a feeling entirely depicted in a balanced lifestyle of excitement, wonder and rest. Australian brand Ksubi has this world to share… Now based in California, Ksubi brings nostalgia of relaxed fit jeans in conjunction with details of modern fun — expressed in cryptic messages and youthful scribbles decorating a pair of denim shorts and a jacket. This type of playfulness brought excitement to Mercedes Benz FashionWeek Australia, Australia’s very own fashion week.

Last month, Mercedes Benz — fashion’s favorite automobile, sponsored Fashion Week Australia. Marking the start of the resort wear season, the event was held from May 15 through May 20 in Sydney. Designers including the romance of Cynthia Rowley, the bold Zimmermann and the decadent Tome as well as others — Christopher Esber and Romance was Born showcased their new collections throughout the week.

Cynthia Rowley brought the flower power to the runway. Floral prints blossomed on numerous swimsuits, body suits made for surfing the Pacific Ocean and flirty skirts and dresses with ruffles, wide sleeves and twilight colors. The collection walked with a strong feminine disposition.

A similar elegance remained with Tome’s 2017 Resort Collection. Taking full inspiration from the minimalism and all-black dress code of New York City, the runway projected a summer sensibility through a variety of strong pieces: a black trench coat, canary yellow pleated cropped pants and full floral printed jumpsuits. Looser fits and flairs brought the ease to summertime styles.

A Short(s) Story

The aftermath of spring’s pleated pants is here to stay. Without a doubt do pleats add a stylistic change to the typical tailored fit and equally provide comfort. For just as the saying of old continues to rephrase the significance of comfort in fashion, "Comfort is key," is a rule embraced in the large fit of shorts offered this summer. Shorts with a baggier fit and a longer cut — a mid thigh board short are styles that continue to fill the racks in men’s shops. It is a classic design that is just starting to resurface. As if the menswear industry re-traces its steps to the original characteristics of clothing and reasons for why men shop, the thigh-length, drawstring pant is brought back. What’s the interest? Practicality, comfort and style.

The Sweat Short

Roots, the Canadian brand based out of Toronto, is arguably the country’s most regarded retailer. Without a question the brand is a staple of Canada. Offering a top level of luxury in their leather goods, excellent craftsmanship runs through their jackets, bags, shoes and to counterbalance, their classic sweatpants. The brand not only fully endorses, but supports the sweat pant trend. Typically recognized in the US for their trademarked Salt & Pepper print found everywhere from their classic Pocket Original Sweatpants to their recently released fully water-proof rain jackets. The marled look reappears for summer in the form of sweat shorts. What else could suffice for comfortable fashion? The shorts are designed identically to the board short style and its touch is as soft as a beach towel. It is indefinitely a summer staple.

Cap it Off

New York is a city with a hat obsession. For the winter months this obsession appears with an interest in beanies, the slouchy hat that equally covers your ears from the cold and hides your bedhead on a bad hair day. For summer, the fascination remains in the form of the baseball cap. Styles come in a variety, flat or curved rim, box cut style often regarded as "the trucker hat," all offer an opportunity for both men and women to create a collection. This fashion fad remains a mystery. My only conclusion for its interest remains in its "cool factor," welcomed by the self-proclaimed trendsetters and their congregations in Soho. Wearing a baseball cap makes you look mysterious and unapproachable — a character trait New Yorkers take pride in. However, there is practicality to its design, a function most appreciated in the sun: the baseball cap protects one’s head and face from the sun. Brownie points aside, the baseball cap would never be summer’s ultimate accessory without this quality.

Read other articles by Valerie McPhail