a day in paradise: the tropical trend

Upon opening my mailbox this afternoon, I discovered this vibrantly colored coupon — immediately catching my eye in a stack of plain white envelopes and black and white advertisements boasting going-out-of-business sales. The bright hibiscus flowers and bouncing pineapple images that graced the cover made me instantly yearn to be by the ocean, getting pleasantly sunburnt. Too bad the TPC traffic this week turns a quick trip to the beach into an hour-long gridlock. No thanks.

So instead I did the next best thing — stirred up a glass of Crystal Light lemonade, sprayed on some tanning oil, and dragged my beach chair out into my backyard to catch some sun. All the while doing a bit of online shopping on my laptop and bookmarking tropical shorts and blouses from the new island-print trend.

Here’s some pieces I covet the most… (Just a side note, this tropical style is a pretty bold trend — quite the opposite of the sherberty pastels of spring — so it’s not for the meek. Also, stick to just one Hawaiian-patterned piece per outfit to avoid the dreaded Tacky Tourist Syndrome. Oh and no straw hats and socks-with-sandals allowed).

Bahama Bralets: These tops would be just lovely with some neutral jeans or even a bold white (high-waisted would be great). Just don’t pair them with denim cutoffs or you’ll risk looking more exotic dancer than exotic islander.

From left: Oasis pineapple print top, Delia’s bandeau, JETS by Jessika Allen halter, and zippered Topshop top

“Salt, Sand, and Sun” Shorts: Resembling the classic Hawaiian print board shorts from every surf movie ever, these updated shorts are more sophisticated than surf-bum thanks to pretty patterns and chic materials. They’re perfect paired with a simple tee, or even a chambray button-down. Just don’t try to fancy them up too much — they’re meant for play.

From left: Oasis, Topshop, Topshop, and Stella McCartney

Luau Jewelry: For those who want only a touch of tropical, these playful baubles are perfection.

From left: Betsey Johnson necklace, Juicy Couture pineapple studs, Marc Jacobs citrus slice ring, and J Crew bangles

These picks are sure to put you in the island state of mind.

And finally, I tried the trend out for myself with a tropical sundress from Target, a bold tangerine J Crew cardigan, and a J Crew chain-link necklace and H&M satchel to add some earth tones:

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