Miami's Style Evolution: From Cheesy to Sexy

August 26, 2013 | by betsy f. perry | Style & Beauty

Illustration by Danny O'Leary  

Once wheels touch down at MIA and the whoosh of humidity and sunshine blast you into the parallel universe that is Miami, shed those navy blues, dump that boring LBD, and toss that black head-to-toe wardrobe—it’s time to find a new attitude. Where not that long ago our sense of style was labeled cheesy, it’s now officially sexy, and that’s because we’ve grown up. Look at the architecture, look at our economy, and look at our boutiques, such as The Webster and Alchemist. Miami is no poor, style-less stepsister to NYC; you have entered the tropic zone of bronzed, bare skin and string bikinis, and with curves too delicious to hide—think luscious Sofia to pale Gwyneth—we’re showing them off in Lycra—though now more upscale Alaïa on turf once monopolized by Leger. And why shouldn’t we enjoy the attention? It takes work (and some knives) to look this good.

“We celebrate and embrace our sexuality,” says 26-yearold Floridian and stylist Amanda Del Duca, the blogger behind, adding, “The 90-degree weather says dress any way you want as long as it’s sexy.” (Tuka Karpiel, owner of my favorite guilty-pleasure spa, confides, “My clients spend all day working out, so fashion for them is about shameless exposure at night.”) Following up on iconic Miami fashion moments—T-shirts under jackets à la Miami Vice and über-the-top Gianni Versace prints—what now works here might not work anywhere else—a sign
that “anywhere else” needs to change, not us.

When did women stop wanting to be noticed? We didn’t. Waltz into an NYC party in a Miami neon-yellow, ruffled BCBG number with bounce and swagger, and you’ll turn heads. (Though admittedly the Missoni bought for Art Basel was not age-appropriate; I blame it on mind-altering Miami mirrors that probably belong in a fun house.) As Laure Hériard Dubreuil, CEO and cofounder of The Webster, says, “We want bright colors and prints. Maybe we’re a bit loud in our choices, but even sitting at News Cafe, watching the models parade in tiny shorts and bathing suit tops is part of Miami’s charm.” Hériard Dubreuil, who worked for the legendary fashion house Balenciaga, caters to the Latin American, hip-hop, and wealthy-young-fashionista contingent, as well as the Miami Heat—even custom-ordering designer sneakers for Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, who, it should be noted, dress in Lanvin and Givenchy.

In a city where “business attire” means halter tops, bare midriffs, and stilettos, lunch is by the pool, and latenight cocktails are over a glass-covered one, our preference is dress to dazzle and ready to party—just in case there is one. We’re a 365-day fashion show celebrating curves, bosoms, and derrieres, and “bare minimum” is the price of admission. From the Design District to Bal Harbour and all of South Beach, take a look at our style—you can’t miss us, but honestly, who wants to just blend in anyway?

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