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Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Fashion editor Erica Milano is no longer with us. You'll have to read Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun to learn why. Our new fashion editor, Tessa Lisbon, has invited Lucy Faraday to join us today to fill us in on one of this spring's biggest trends. -- AP

Rock the Boat with the Nautical Style

The nautical look has been rocking the fashion boat for almost every spring and summer season over the last decade, and 2012 doesn't fail to indulge in the whimsy of this fashion escapism. When the deep winter blues slowly dissipate to allow for the fresh pastels of spring, the season's fashion colors lend themselves to dreams of summer holidays, warm sandy feet and cocktails in hand. What better style could possibly be associated with the on-coming summer months than an ensemble fit for sailing the seas to your fantasy island?

In the Offing – History of the Nautical Look
In terms of fashion, the nautical look originated in the 1940s, when the average housewife would dream of escaping her daily routine, the mundanity of suburbia and the menial housework, for exotic lands and unexpected frissons in the summer twilight.

The Bali Ha'i, Tiki/Hawaiian 1950's themed restaurant in New Orleans
The nautical look really took off when film became more readily available to the working classes, especially in the USA. In the 1960s, America looked to Hawaii as a main get-away location. Many directors were smart to see the influence this newly appointed 50th American state was having on the nation, which lead to Elvis Presley starring in a trilogy of Hawaiian-based musical comedies, most notably “Blue Hawaii”.
"Blue Hawaii" Elvis Presley film poster
The sultry swaying hips of the Luau Hula girls, idyllic carefree landscapes and images of suave, slick-haired Lothario dream-boats were a welcome distraction to both women and men alike - and to reach your dream destination, you would need an outfit that simply said "I can and will travel".

Anchors Aweigh! Style Tips
Given the current economic state of affairs, it’s undeniable that we’re all focusing our daydreams once again, to escaping to sunnier climes. Whether you’re planning a luxury Med cruise holiday, a ferry trip to a neighboring island, or even just a romantic (yet wobbly!) sail on your local boating lake with your beau, ensure you look the part with these simple and traditional style-tips for a nautical look that will definitely say “I can and will travel”! 

  • The first and foremost iconic symbol of the nautical look is the anchor. The anchor is often used as a symbol of a fresh start and hope – which is a wonderful subtext to your choice of outfit! A great way to get a hint of the nautical theme into your wardrobe is to accessorize with jewelry. The main street provides a plethora of anchor shaped earrings and brooches. Also look out for simple navy blue tops and blouses decorated with embroidered anchor motifs – cute and stylish enough to be worn at the office to really give your work day outfit that little something special.

  • Bell bottom trousers may remind us of the 1970s, but they were first commandeered by the US Navy as a requisite of the work uniform. Although it may be difficult to find true “bell bottoms” (with a rounded hem at the bottom) on the main street, there are many stores selling skinny-fit wide-legged trousers. They’re comfortable and airy – perfect for summer.

  • Team together the bold colors of Navy Blue, Lipstick Red and White for an instant nautical look. Try red espadrilles with blue cotton Capri pants and a white blouse for an implied nautical feel.

  • Horizontal stripes are a must for the nautical look, blue and white being the most popular design you will see this season. Whether the stripes are chunky and bold, or verging on pinstripe, the choice is yours. It has been said that bold, horizontal stripes on clothing are an instant slimming quick-fix, so keep that in mind when choosing between stripy prints.

  • An often overlooked, yet very traditional element of the sailor style is tattoo art. Tattoos were once the reserve of tribal folk, yet of recent years, tattoos have undoubtedly been embraced by mainstream culture, and their influence can be seen in design of every type. The “Swallow” bird is heavily associated with sailor tattoo art. It was used as a permanent emblem of exactly how seafaring a sailor had been. Legend has it that each swallow tattoo indicated the sailor in question had traveled 5000 nautical miles. Look for swallow prints in dresses and t-shirts for a statement of freedom and independence in your nautical style.
Thanks for joining us today, Lucy. Readers, will you be going nautical this spring? Post a comment for a chance to win a book from our Book Club Friday guest author. -- AP

1 comment:

Jane R said...

I love the nautical look - in moderation and not so much the tattoo part! Seems like I've always had some sort of nautical-type clothing in my closet, even if it's just a blue and white striped t-shirt. I 've seen photos of my mother, wearing a white and blue blouse with a wide sailor collar and that was 60 years ago. It never really goes out of style. Thanks for the great post!