So you’re off to Miami, and you want to look your best. Good news: So do I! Although I’ve never been there myself, I’ve spent the last five years talking to my friends who live there and visiting their Instagram pages.
Let me tell you something about the city of Miami: It’s hot and humid, but it’s also populated by thousands of people with great style who are not afraid to push boundaries. That’s why, when it comes to making fashion choices in Miami, your number one priority should be ensuring that you have access to oxygenated air and/or a changing room. But what if you forgot your portable air tank? What if all the dressing rooms are being used? Then what will happen?!
You don’t have to worry about any of that though—not on my watch! In this article, my goal is simple: To help ensure that anyone with a trip planned for Miami feels confident and prepared as they embark on their journey into the unknown. So sit back, relax, and let’s talk about how you’re going to look totally adorable on vacation without overheating or chafing.
The 5 Miami Must-Haves
There are five must-have items for your trip to Miami.
Bring a maxi dress. The floor-length dress is perfect for any occasion, whether you’re headed to an art gallery or brunch with friends. And don’t be afraid of bold patterns: they’ll make the look pop even more, especially in South Beach.
Pack shorts and a top. Shorts are essential, but not always easy to rock: you don’t want them too short or too tight, lest you get mistaken for a tourist (or worse). Play it safe with a pair of mid-length shorts that hit right above the knee and are loose enough to walk comfortably in while keeping their shape. And opt for muted colors—like khaki—that won’t stand out from the rest of your outfit but still add interest.
Include wide leg pants or trousers. It’s important to have at least one pair of pants on hand if the weather turns cold or rainy during your stay, so bring some stylish wide leg trousers that can be dressed up with heels for dinner out or down with flats and a casual blouse for exploring Wynwood on foot.
Make sure you have a little jacket! A lightweight jacket will come in handy on windy days by the water, as well as keep off any unwanted stares from locals that may see it as disrespectful attire when strolling past other beachgoers who aren’t wearing cover ups like yourself (and yes – they do exist!). Don’t forget about bringing along swimwear either; being prepared means being able to enjoy yourself!!
1. Maxi Dress
A maxi dress is an amazingly versatile article of clothing. The best part about a maxi dress is that you look put together, but you don’t feel like you’re walking around in a suit of armor. Maxi dresses are great for any occasion. A trip to the beach? A day spent shopping in South Beach with your friends? Meeting your significant other’s parents for the first time? No problem! Throw on a maxi dress and you’re ready to go.
Are you going to a beach wedding during your time in Miami? Great! Wear a maxi dress! It will be comfortable, cover up any areas that may be exposing too much skin, and you can easily shed layers as the evening goes on. You can wear it again and again while in Miami because it will always be appropriate. It also works well if you want to try some of the amazing seafood restaurants in Miami. You don’t want to be weighed down by tight jeans or uncomfortable shoes when trying out local cuisine!
When you’ve had enough of the city and want to hit up South Beach, be sure to pack your beachwear. A good pair of shorts or swimsuit is a must-have. If you plan on being in the water a lot, consider bringing multiple swimsuits so they can dry out before it’s time to wear them again. Flip flops are an easy option for shoes by the pool or on the sand, while sunglasses and a hat will protect you from harmful rays and keeping your hair safe with minimal effort. You may also want a beach bag or backpack that can hold all your essentials, like sunscreen, towels, and water. To avoid walking down Ocean Drive in just a bathing suit, have a cover up ready for when you’re getting food or going back to your hotel.
3. Shorts and a Top
- Shorts and a Top
For summer weather, wearing both shorts and a top is an obvious choice. For the top, think of something light and airy that is made or cotton or linen so that you aren’t too hot when the sun is at its height. For the length, keep in mind what you’re most comfortable wearing as well as where you’ll be spending your time—are you meeting up with friends for drinks at night? Or are you just going for a walk in the morning? What’s appropriate for any given situation is usually enough: don’t go too short if it doesn’t feel right to you!
As for shorts, just make sure they are comfortable! Make sure to check that they aren’t too tight on your legs (no sausage legs please!) and make sure to choose a fabric that won’t stick to your body when it gets humid. Also consider how easy it will be to move around in them—you don’t want something impossible to walk in if you’ll be doing some sightseeing during your vacation.
If shorts aren’t really your thing, there are other options that can achieve a similar look:
- Short skirts are great if you still want the look of shorts but prefer something that covers up more of your legs or isn’t quite as casual.
- Short rompers and jumpsuits can also be ideal because they have all of the benefits of wearing a dress without all of the extra smoothing out!
4. Wide Leg Pants or Trousers
Wide leg pants, trousers or wide leg trousers are the perfect alternative to a traditional jean. They drape nicely on the body and provide room for airflow, which is needed if you plan on walking in Miami. Wide-leg pants are similar to a culotte style pant and can often be found with an elastic waistband.
Wide-leg pants come in all different lengths and fabrics, but my personal favorite is a linen and rayon blend, pictured above. The fabric is thick enough that it does not feel see through (a common issue with linen), but the blend provides for plenty of airflow around the legs. Linen fabrics are also available in an array of colors including neutrals like navy or khaki as well as bright colors like red and orange!
5. Little Jacket
A jacket is a crucial element of any outfit, regardless of the season. A jacket doesn’t just keep you warm when it gets chilly, but it can also dress up an outfit in a way that no accessory can. This means that even if you don’t think you’ll need one, it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. Also, something light and easy to carry (like a denim or leather jacket) is much easier to schlep around than something heavy or bulky like a puffer coat.
These are the only things you need to wear while in Miami.
There is really only one item of clothing you need in Miami (and it goes for any other warm-weather location, too): the maxi dress/skirt/short.
Maxi dresses are simultaneously laid back, elegant and sophisticated; they also offer a lot of coverage and can be dressed up or down for different occasions.
Maxi skirts are fantastic for the same reasons, but if you’re petite like me and maxis overwhelm your frame, go with a short skirt instead—just don’t go any shorter than mid-thigh.
Shorts are also super easy to wear in hot weather because they’re versatile and offer great ventilation. You can do denim shorts, flowy linen shorts, or even leather shorts if you’re up for it. Just keep them at least knee length (or mid-thigh) to avoid looking like you’re going clubbing on The Jersey Shore (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
Of course, if you’re hitting the beach, then swimwear is pretty much mandatory.
The bottom line is that Miami is a mix of cultures, and your outfits should reflect these. Dress up for dinner or brunch if you want to be fancy, but you can also wear more comfortable, casual clothes during the day when exploring the city. If you’re planning on hitting South Beach and going clubbing with friends, don’t forget your bathing suit!