Archive | July, 2008

Aloha

6 Jul

I just got off the plane from a trip to Hawaii where I had the privilege of being a bride’s maid in a friend’s wedding. The first time I saw my friend after she and her fiance moved to Honolulu, she had told me that she had tossed so many things from her wardrobe when she left the mainland. Why? Because it’s HOT in Hawaii. I silently gasped that she gave away nearly 15 pair of designer denim. But that’s the truth of it…it’s just hot and humid and this is the main determinant of wardrobe choices.

While I was in Hawaii this week, I too became a minimalist.  I didn’t want to put on make-up for fear it would melt off.  I barely wanted to touch my hair as it was a futile venture in the high humidity.  Did I walk around like an eyesore with naked eyes and frizzy hair?

No.  I just adjusted my definition of chic from city to island.  I brought dresses and dazzling thongs and flip flops. I brushed on a little shimmer to my cheeks (if I wasn’t on the beach) and pulled my hair back into a slick pony tail.  I even let it go and see what the humidity would do to it…and it wasn’t so bad!

My point is two-fold.

First:  Personal style and image is defined by many factors; a main one being location. You have no choice but to adjust to environment lest you be uncomfortable and cranky.  Other friends in attendance who put jeans on immediately regretted it. Find stylish and comfortable, fashion-forward options that are appropriate for your environment. Even career clothes are different in Hawaii.  Guys wear “aloha” shirts and khakis. Suits would be the death of them.  Women wear fabulous dresses, skirts, and open-toed shoes (no pointy heels in sight!).

Second:  Elegant and fashionable can (and should) be simple and minimal. I kept it clean and without too much adornment in my day to day wardrobe in Honolulu.  Pull back the hair, dab a bit of bronzer on your cheeks and put on our brightest colored dress.  Quick easy choices for the fashionable and smart woman of the islands.  I wouldn’t recommend grass skirts and coconut bras unless you’re part of the Polynesian Culture Center.  But certainly, when in Rome….do as the Islanders do and don a flower or palm tree in your patterns.   I did.