|Retro Perspective; Baby, It's Hot Outside|
|Written by Ami Thomas|
Since last we met, Spring has Sprung and we are faced with the age-old dilemma of looking cool by the pool. We're going to get our affairs in order now, while we still have time, and there won't be a better looking crowd to be found!
First things first, and nothing comes before the perfect Bathing Suit. If it's inspiration you're wanting, look no further than Esther Williams. As if looking gorgeous both in and out of the water isn't enough, she also has her very own line of swimsuits, styled after those show-stoppers she wore in her films.
We don’t happen to believe that less is more in the case of a bathing suit, we think some things should be left to the imagination. We also know that a one-piece suit is just as alluring as the teeniest bikini, so if the maillot is more your speed, you've nothing to fear as a Retrophile—the playsuit style swimsuits are ideal for soaking up the sea and sun without feeling shy.
Both Stop Staring Clothing and MyBabyJo have good selections of both styles, in solids and retro-inspired prints. The simpler the suit, the more accessories required, such as hats, wrap skirts or big button earrings.
For the gentlemen, we'd prefer the Speedos be left in the cabana, and he sport something more like Cary Grant in To Catch A Thief. A nice suit for a fellow is reminiscent of a pair of tennis shorts—shorter than the Bermuda style, but not so tiny as to look uncomfortable.
If he prefers a little more modesty, the longer length "board short" is perfectly acceptable and looks "vintage surf" with a Tiki print shirt or terry cloth t-shirt—think of Moondoggie in Gidget, or early Beach Boys.
The Sixties Surf bum look is quite dashing for the younger set, and a nice change of pace from the current trends. Though Kahuna—Cliff Robertson in the original Gidget—referred to himself as a surf bum, he still managed a neat haircut and shave. The term "bum" has quite different connotations these days.
Next up, Accessories. Hats, earrings, bangles, and of course, the Right Shoes. Even sitting by the pool, you'll want to look pulled together, and the right jewelry is just the thing. Being a fan of the one-piece suit, I also choose a slimming solid color and go for large, button-style earrings in a complimentary color. Try to avoid heavy beads or choker style necklaces, they'll be hot and too overpowering.
Poolside is one of the few places that flip flops are acceptable in public. Since the flip flop has become de rigueur daily wear for trendsters, the variety available these days is amazing. The espadrille is making a big comeback and goes nicely with a wrap skirt and big hat, if you're hitting the café on the way.
When I head poolside or Oceanside, I often have to keep my eyes on two children who move fast, so I usually opt for the flat sandal if they're with me, in case they make a quick getaway and I have to give chase. Other Moms have doubtless found the same works for them.
For daily trips to the Swim Club, we wear the flip flops, zippered cover-ups in terry cloth, and we have monogrammed towels which match our suits. These towels I found at Pottery Barn Teen, and have a real Retro Surf feel to them. Having them monogrammed insures they'll make it home each day. They are not cheap, but large and plush and the selection is fairly large. This year, they also have Tote Bags that coordinate and have sturdy rubber bottoms, like sneaker tread. These can also be monogrammed. A lot of similar catalog/online retailers like Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel are showing very Retro inspired collections for the Summer.
In addition to some stylish lounge chairs, I've seen some coolers with more than a nod to the old aluminum ones of the Fifties. Of course, a well-stocked picnic basket is always appropriate and always retro. Pool and Seaside snack bars tend to be high on price and low on quality, so it makes sense to bring your own.
As with anything else, the Retrophile knows all too well, that you must always be at your best. Whether it be the neighborhood pool or the Seaside resort, there is never an excuse to look or behave as anything other than every inch the Golden Era Movie Star.