Growing up in a tropical country and hanging out at the beach since my toddler days, I’ve come to classify the girls I see according to the type of cover-ups they wear. There’s the “Roxy chick” who’s uniform is usually a tank top, board shorts and flip flops, the “Boho babe” who lives in caftans, kimonos and sarongs and the “Preppy princess” who loves her nautical-inspired boat neck tops, crisp white shorts and gingham sundresses. I used to belong to the Roxy tribe when I was younger, loving the freedom and boyishness of good board shorts and cotton t-shirts. I’m probably one of the few women who have a hard time walking with a sarong around her waist—strange I know.
As I got older though, it began to feel too juvenile to be in super colourful knee-length shorts and a racerback. I wasn’t an athlete nor an outdoorsy person to pull it off naturally. I started leaning towards more mature and sophisticated choices: short, easy dresses, tunic tops and kimonos. I began to amass a small collection starting with a few tunics and kimonos from STU and my travels. It felt more age-appropriate and just as easy to wear. Now I have a full drawer of these cover-ups that only see the light of day in the summertime or the occasional off season beach trip.
Thankfully, fashion has evolved in a way that there are no longer strict rules in seasonal dressing. Good news for innovative girls who want to up the ante and dress like no one else. I’ve put together five looks using our cover-ups from past collections that can work in an urban setting and even for Casual Fridays! Read on and be inspired to take that lobster print caftan to a night out in town.
Twist the scarf around your neck to make a halter-type top showing off your midriff. Top it off with a menswear-inspired blazer for contrast (and a touch of modesty). Loose culottes and sneakers complete the sexy-androgynous vibe. If you work in the creative field like publishing, this look is a winner.
What’s special about this wrap top apart from the flirty design, is the fabric. It’s thin and airy enough to layer under a structured button down in a more masculine shade of army green. And the subtle gold polka dots give it a vintage feel. Paired with on trend flared pants, it evokes a cool ‘70s vibe that’s perfect for a girl’s night out at your neighbourhood joint.
The Malaga is definitely a preppy staple, from the stripe & chevron design to the ruffled hem and cinched waist that drops to a perfect a-line. Originally meant to layer over a swimsuit, it can be used a myriad of ways. Over a long t-shirt or polo, over shorts or a fitted mini, or my version of a slick city outfit with textured leggings underneath and a white shirt and long vest on top to keep the whole look polished. Corporate wear with a twist.
On it’s own the Almansa has a modern cut, minimalist albeit draped with an unexpected knotted back. The print however is all bohemian bright florals set in a dark brown background giving it an earthy vibe. It’s the ideal beach dress, easy to wear, iron-free and fast-drying. The silky fabric makes it perfect for layering too, especially over a sheer top which keeps it from looking bulky. Slim flare pants solidify the look. Tip: wear it the other way around to highlight the knot design.
One of my favorite ways to style my long kimono is over pants and a loose tank top. I played around with prints for this shot pairing bright geometric shapes with classic stripes. Preppy and Boho in one sweet look pretty much sums up my personal style. The secret to mixing print on print is all in the color ways. Contrasting or complementary shades can both work but also pay attention to the size of the prints. Even the size of the stripes and design matter. Trust your eye. If it’s an eyesore, it probably is.
Enjoy styling your cover-ups and share with us how you do it!