Although it’s a year-round summer locale, what to wear in Miami varies from neighborhood to neighborhood. Of course, you’ll need the essentials like a swimsuit and flip-flops, but don’t think the beach is an entirely casual affair. Some of South Beach’s swanky lounges are strict when it comes to dress code, meaning that sandals are a quick denial at the door.
For a while, Miami was associated with flashy fashion a la Versace (think tight, shiny, and way too short) and barely-there bikinis hailing from Brazil. Over the past decade, however, Miami has started to shine as a fashion capital in its own right; outdoor shopping centers sport designer flagships from the likes of Fendi and Hermes. But this is just one side to the many faces of Miami. Apart from annual events like Art Basel and society parties, most Miamians aren’t decked out in designer wear. Miami clothing mixes New York City-appropriate basics with tropical touches for a look that doesn’t take itself too seriously—since this is a beach town, after all.
What to Wear in Miami
If you want to blend in with Miami’s more fashionable crowd, you’ll need to throw a few key pieces into your travel wardrobe. Here’s the lowdown on what to wear in Miami.
This one is obvious, but you’ll want a look that’s equal parts practical and stylish (that is, if you actually want to wear it in the water). Bandeau bikini tops are not only perfect for sunbathing (sans tan lines), but they can also double as an equally chic ensemble when paired with a high-waisted skirt for strolls around town.
Flip-flops are a Miami clothing essential, easily switching shifts from the spa to the shore. Opt for a slim pair that look equally as appropriate with skinny jeans as they do with swimwear. It’s no surprise that with Miami’s ever-growing Brazilian population, Havaianas are a top pick. Plus, they have tons of customizable styles and colors for men and women on their website.
Miami is in the Sunshine State, so don’t forget to bring a pair of sunnies to shield your eyes from the blinding rays on the beach. Wayfarer sunglasses are one style that never seem to go out of fashion.
Denim shorts aren’t reserved just for summer. Throw on a high-waisted pair with a cute crop top and you have a stylish year-round ensemble that’s just as suitable for the beach as it is for a bar.
While sandals and sneakers will do the trick during the day, most women don a pair of heels as soon as the sun sets. You don’t need to sport five-inch stilettos to fit in; in fact, even a funky pair of high-heeled clogs will help dress up your ensemble.
Miami has something in common with New York: Totes are replacing purses as people pack everything they may need for a day out on the town. You can’t go wrong with a straw bag that seamlessly switches from a morning at the beach to an afternoon of shopping. For something even more practical, this mesh bag is waterproof too.
The right dress can make or break your day out on the town. Bandage dresses still reign supreme at nightclubs but are a quick giveaway that you’re a tourist. Instead, bring a wrap dress that is breezy enough for daytime, but still party appropriate at night when paired with edgy accessories and sleek, over-the-knee boots.
Give your cover-up a stylish upgrade with a Grecian-inspired tunic dress that looks perfectly in place lounging poolside at one of Miami’s glamorous hotels.
Finding the right straw hat is never an easy task, but you can’t beat a classic wide brim that has just the right amount of structure to shield you from the strong heat. Guys, embrace Miami by donning a classic Havana Hat.
While the Miami weather is typically quite balmy, temperatures can cool down in the evenings, especially in the winter months. Pack a statement-making jacket (leather always does the trick) that’ll help take your look from day to night, plus keep you warm when Miami has one of its rare cold spells. For men, a stylish bomber jacket like this is the perfect transition piece for a night on the town.
More from SmarterTravel:
- Miami Travel Guide
- 7 Best Hotels in Miami
- 8 Best Cheap Hotels in Miami
- 9 Best Miami Beachfront Hotels
- 9 Fun Things to Do in Miami
- 8 Must-See Miami Attractions
- 9 Best Beaches in Miami
- 10 Best Restaurants in Miami
- The Best Cheap Eats in Miami
- Where to Find the Best Cuban Food in Miami
- What to Pack for Miami
—Original reporting by Lane Nieset