A Brief Guide to Resortcore, The Official Uniform of Summer 2021
Five brands making clothes that are suitable for your next exotic getaway.
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For better or worse, social media has changed the way we vacation. We post photos from exciting and exclusive locales in hopes of clearly communicating to our followers that we have very good taste in all things — including, of course, our attire.
We wouldn’t show up on the crystalline shores of Bora Bora or at a verdant eco resort in Costa Rica wearing the same fits we bust out for Sunday fun days back home. We are now more than ever turning to high-end resort wear, which has a storied history that dates all the way back to the interwar period, when socialites, royals and celebrities would travel to warm climates to relax but also to be photographed for newspapers and magazines. With social media, everyone is a celebrity of sorts.
And while there have been countless resort wear brands catering to women for decades, there have been very few men’s brands devoted strictly to the art of lounging in a tropical locale. There were cookie-cutter department-store brands like Tommy Bahama, and there were the loungewear lines of high-end fashion houses, but it was only recently that anyone managed to combine the luxury and comfort in a way that felt quite right for the kind of trips we’re talking about here.
Now, thanks to a crop of new labels, you can branch out into what we’re dubbing resortcore. What is resortcore? Any outfit that is built on comfy, lightweight fabrics, ornate geometric patterns, matching top-and-bottom sets and visual motifs (exotic animals, palm trees, etc.) that scream “don’t bother me, I’m vacationing.” The founders of SMR Days, a British brand making resort wear based on traditional Indian designs and techniques, tell InsideHook via email, “Everything struck us as too fashion or too conservative, nothing [felt] effortless and easy but with a twist of style.”
In 2021, resort wear has also found a home away from the beach. Walk around any major U.S. city and you’re sure to see men rocking fits that in years past would evoke images of a Lebowski-esque burnout.
“People are more willing to experiment due to increasingly informal work attire and a breaking down of the traditional office space,” says Michael Sard, one of the co-founders of Tombolo. “Small brands like ours are empowered by services like Shopify to stand out by telling their story through the product itself, and that leads to some more outlandish and free-spirited concepts.”
Desmond & Dempsey is a luxury “pyjama” company that very much recognizes the overlap between being cozy in bed and balling out across the four corners of the earth. “We know from our customers that one of the main reasons they buy [our products] is to take them away on holiday with them. They’re lightweight, and the styles are easy to throw on to head to the beach, for example” says co-founder Joel Jeffrey.
“Luxury is now all about the experience,” he continues, “and your room, campsite, cabin or suite becomes your sanctuary whilst you’re away.” As Sard tells it “Vacation is in the eye of the wearer. You don’t need to get on a plane to chart your escape. Anything that helps airlift you into a better mood is a form of leisure and escapism.”
More than ever, vacation is as much a state of mind as it is a physical location. Finally, there are brands making the kind of clothes that’ll help you get there. These are some of our favorites.
Based on artisanal Indian designs, SMR Days launched in 2020 with the goal of creating worldly designs that can be worn comfortably anywhere on the globe. Versatile and unique but not in your face, they nailed the concept of elegant nonchalance.
With their original artwork and distinct vintage-inspired silhouettes, Tombolo is anything but self serious. The NYC company makes pieces that will have people asking where you shop.
Desmond & Dempsey
A pyjama-first company that also makes clothes that’ll work poolside or in a lodge. Great attention to detail, really great patterns and really, really comfortable — they’re meant to be slept in, after all.
Swedish based resort wear that fully embraces the beauty of terry cloth (but not exclusively). They do a spot-on job of providing simple options in great colors and interesting patterns and textures.
The company is based in London, but the garments are made in Turkey. They make breezy, loose-fitting overshirts with subtle patterns.
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