Ahoy, There! How to Wear the Nautical Look
You don't have to set sail to wear one of the hottest styles of summer. We're talking nautical.
The look seems to make a comeback every summer — with no plans of going out of style.
READ: Your Ultimate Summer Beauty Guide
“The nautical trend has always had its cache since the ‘20s and even before,” says Isham Sardouk, chief creative officer at Stylesight. “It’s more popular now because the cruise/resort collections are expanding and we see growth in this segment as people are traveling more and taking exotic holidays.”
“The nautical look is synonymous with European sophistication and its elements will always work with denim, making a casual outfit look elegant,” he adds.
Want to know how to wear nautical-inspired couture without looking too costumey? Find out how from several fashion experts below:
Keep it Simple
It's not Halloween yet, so don't turn your outfit into a costume. “It’s always important, no matter what trend one decides to adapt, to simply use just one strong detail and then break it up with other pieces that are neutral in style or in color,” explains Sardouk. “If you go for a nautical striped spring coat, then simply opt for denim, flat sandals and a white cashmere sweater. Just have one piece and the rest should be put together as a canvas to amplify that detail.” For a quick, seemingly effortless outfit wear a striped blazer and a shirt with dark washed or white jeans.
Don't Forget Stripes
“When it comes to the nautical trend, focus on stripes,” explains fashion model Jaimie Hilfiger. “This season, big and bold stripes are the way to go. Dare to make a statement and wear jumbo stripes instead of your run-of-the-mill mini ones."
The Do's and Don'ts of Wearing Stripes
Stylists say the key to wearing stripes is all based on how the cut and shape of the garment. When in doubt, stick to more figure-flattering diagonal or vertical stripes and stay away from jumbo horizontal ones that lay flat on the areas you’d prefer to conceal.
If stripes aren't your thing, you can still rock a nautical look. Take a page out of actress Olivia Wilde's book. She chose to wear a flowing navy blue and white polka dot dress with a matching scarf, which can easily take you from the office to happy hour. Cinch your waist with a skinny belt to make your waist appear smaller.
Change things up by incorporating other hues. “Add not-so-nautical colors, like mustard or turquoise, to mix up the palate,” says stylist Amy Hirt of ModCloth.com.
Going sailor chic isn’t just about stripes or bright colors — you can get the same look by adding a simple accessory. “Nautical accessories are the way to go,” says celebrity stylist Anthony Henderson. Some ways you can Think nautical-themed jewels, such as an anchor chain.
To give your nautical-inspired outfit a bit of pinup flair, consider wearing high-waisted shorts. You can keep it classic with denim or you can take New York City-based stylist Sara Cooper’s advice and add some color. “Bright shorts add a great pop of color for summer," she says. "Pair it with a simple white tee and sandals for an easy daytime look or layered with a striped jacket for a head-to-toe nautical style." Cooper likes Moschino’s sailor shorts as they feature anchor-embossed buttons.
Pay Attention to Fabrics
Nautical-themed prints are always popular in the summertime because they incorporate breathable fabrics, like cotton and seersucker, which help to beat the heat. And if you’re looking for some inspiration on how to wear either this season, take a cue from a Hollywood icon. “Think of Audrey Hepburn,” she says. “Sure, you could go all out with a red, white and blue sailboat ensemble, but for a simple look try a crisp, striped top with boyfriend jeans and a comfortable loafer.” You can also add simple nautical touches to your other cotton ensembles with rope accessories, ocean-inspired jewelry or striped wedges.
Dress Like a Duchess
If there’s one current star Hilfiger is getting inspiration from, it's a certain member of the British royal family who’s been spotted adding nautical features to her couture. “Kate Middleton pulls off this look effortlessly and makes it work because she only wears one nautical themed piece and then pairs it with basic accessories,” she says.
Hit the Beach
A nautical bikini can give your beachwear a touch of glamour. “The navy and white print is a killer combo with a bronzed beach body,” says Cooper. “It also looks great with denim cutoffs or any white cover up, allowing you to rock the nautical look in a classic and timeless way.” Don’t forget to finish your look with seasonal, yet sexy beachy waves. Cooper recommends Ted Baker’s bikinis to made heads turn while hitting the waves.