The Islander encapsulates a family of styles inspired by year-long sunshine, sand and sea, and a carefree attitude to life. While you find most Islanders actually living in beach towns and rivieras, many people living in cities follow the style too. Particularly in summer, the Islander style becomes popular for its lack of fuss and the feeling it gives of being transported to a sunny resort.
AN ISLANDER’S PROFILE
Men in this archetype yearn for destinations like the French Riviera, Hawai’i, Bora Bora, the Maldives, and Boracay – places that never require putting on anything more than a shirt and some linen pants. With a propensity to slip into sloppy territory, a formal attire to them may amount to an unlined blazer and open shirt collars, paired with chinos and loafers. Since the Islander is found all over the world from coastal Europe to the islands of the Pacific, the archetype is expressed through the cultural prisms of each region.
In general, the Islander builds his wardrobe around tees, shorts, and slip-on footwear: anything that is easy to put on and take off, and light fabrics that help with the heat. If he accessorises, it tends to be pieces that reflect island cultures such as cowry shell, colourful coral beads, and woven bracelets. Stylish sunglasses are obviously a must!
In the European beach havens like Cannes or Marbella, the style is perhaps the most formal of all, featuring seersucker suits, woven hats, light-coloured linen shirt and shorts, with espadrilles on the feet. It’s not hard to find nautical themes as well, manifesting in Breton shirts popularised by the ever-tanned Pablo Picasso. Call it resort chic, or Riviera cool. In the Pacific Islands the style tends to be louder – favouring floral prints and bright colours. In tropical South East Asia the style carries a heavy emphasis on tank tops and boardshorts paired with flip-flops, mimicking the surfer dudes of the western coasts of Australia and California.
WHO IS IT FOR?
If you live in a warm climate and love the sun, this style is definitely something to consider. While it can be muted down, more often than not the style calls for warm colours that reflect the vivacity of island life. Also, it is easy to slip from looking stylishly summery to looking sloppy. Baggy tees and boardshorts may be marketed as beach gear, but the rules of fit should still apply here.
TIPS TO GET YOU STARTED
Keep it light, but keep it tight. The only way to make the Islander style work is to put actual effort in it. A tank top, some boardshorts, and some flip-flops thrown absent-mindedly together aren’t going to give you that stylish oomph. “Baggy” is never good, so make sure the stuff you wear fits. Go for pastels, light earthy colours, and lightweight materials. Don’t shy from patterns and prints, but keep them either on top or on the bottom of your outfit. Since so much of the Islander style is rather revealing, find a look that fits your body type. If you’re heavy in the midriff, put on a looser-fitting (not baggy) shirt and avoid horizontal stripes.
BRANDS TO EXPLORE
- Orlebar Brown
- Michael Kors
- Tommy Bahamas
- Club Monaco