surf style

What is the Surf Style

13 July, 2020

The surf-style woman is…

  • Chill, natural, spontaneous, happy
  • Loves nature
  • Loves sport
  • She is basic (dont need a lot of garments, cothes, accesories…)

What’s surf style?

Fashion and personal style are often associated with freedom and contact with nature, especially the sea.

Origins of surf style

When Europeans began to colonize Hawaii, many aspects of native Hawaiian culture, including surfing, were oppressed and discouraged. Surfing was dismissed as frivolous, but when Waikiki began to open up as a tourist destination, people began trying it out for themselves and realizing how fun and freeing surfing could be.

  • 1960: Surf fashion was generally loose, casual, and simple. These characteristics started to define a stereotype that it’s on our mind even today: the typical surfer from California, tanned and always relaxed. In this Decade, surf style spreads in the popular culture also thanks to music and cinema: Elvis Presley in “Blue Hawaii”, The Beach Boys with album cover “Surfin’ Safari”, “The Endless Summer” a documentary about two surfers travelling the world, looking for the perfect wave.
  • 1970: Surf style meets “free love” movement, introducing trippy prints and colours. Prints and designs from regions like Oaxaca, Mexico also had an influence on designers. These local designs eventually made their way onto accessories in surf shops.
  • 1990s-today: there was a clear crossover between surf brands and skate brands. It’s here that brands that were born for sport intentions, like Quicksilver, Billabong, Reef, started to spread in the everyday style. Everyone in their life has bought a swimsuit, a beanie or flip-flops from one of these brands! Today the surf style, especially the hawaiian shirt is part of our everyday wardrobe and can be styled in different and creative ways, also mixing it with classic garments.

What Represent best the Surf Style

As we already said, surf style is all about freedom: loose and relaxed fits are a must, as well as colours and prints. The funniest thing about this style is that it adapts to everyone; whether you’re a boy or a girl, the style is almost the same, you could actually switch clothing with your boyfriend! It’s true that maybe when you mention this style, all you can think about is young girls and boys, tanned on the beach, but, if you really think about it, you can wear a colourful shirt and a pair of straight denim in your mid 50s and look cooler than ever.

Must-haves of Surf Style

  • Denim shorts:
    denim shorts surf style
    Bermuda are the best ones, better is they have ripped off parts or edges. The fit must be loose and comfy, high-waisted and quite flared on thighs.

  • Graphic t-shirt/sweater:
    graphic tshirt surf style
    What’s comfier than a 100% cotton t-shirt, regular fit with a nice and colourful print on it? Important thing is that the print is not all over the fabric but it must be just a logo, a funny illustration or quote, usually located in the centre of the t-shirt.

  • Hawaiian shirt:
    Hawaiian shirt
    It’s the key item for this style. The fit again is relaxed and quite oversize, and the most important things are colours and prints. Bright colours, such as red, orange, yellow, blue, green for the background and tropical flowers, palm trees, birds, exotic fruit as graphic elements for the prints. Here’s a tip: tie the shirt on the waist and it will be perfect!

  • Printed kimono:
    printed kimono
    It’s the more feminine adaptation of the hawaiian shirt, so the rules for colours and prints are the same, the fit is loose, and they are always quite long, often under the knee. It’s the perfect garment to give that feeling of freedom and summer vibe to your style.

  • Macramé top:
  • It comes from the contact with the hippie culture and adds to the style a touch of romantic and feminine vibe and, at the same time, it’s a reference to the handmade. The fit is better straight, not too tight but not too wide.

  • Printed skirts (maxi or mini) and pants:
patchwork pants
printed skirt

Traditional hippie garments, must be adapted to this style with the same prints as the hawaiian shirts. The skirt can be mini for younger girls and maxi (the length can go from the ankle to the feet) for older women who want to cover their legs and don’t feel comfortable with shorts. The fit both for skirt and pants is wide and loose.

  • Knit pieces
  • Comfy clothes are a must of this style: cardigans or jumpers or actually knit shorts or trousers, dresses are a great selection in case of doubts.


    • Panama hat: the typical hat you wear at the beach, that can shelter you both from the sun and the wind
    • Sunglasses: of course sunglasses are a must-have when you are in the sun, but after the contamination of the “free love” movement they become a fashion accessory. Big, decorated and coloured. With retro vibes, sporty ones…
    • Sandals: better if they are leather sandals, tied around the ankle and the calf. For the laziest ones: colourful and printed flip-flops!
    • Necklaces, bracelets: made with wooden beads, shells and pendants and of course colourful. The key word is overlaying: put a lot of them ones on another and don’t be afraid of mixing colours and styles.
    • Straw bags: from the beaches to everyday life, the straw bags come back in our wardrobes every summer. For this style, it’s better to have them small, cross body, to contain just the essentials, to live your life free of material objects.


    Vibrant colours: spread joy and make you think about summer, holidays. Dark colours. Black is a NO
    Ripped denim: they give that feeling of diy, casual garments that were typical of the first surfers.

    Tight/skinny denim: no one is really relaxed wearing tight jeans!

    Macramé and transparency: to make this style more feminine (but not too much!) add a macramé texture, better if handmade. Plain fabrics: no to one colour, plain garments, they are boring and surf style is all about fun
    Natural fabrics (cotton, linen): related to the issue of sustainability. To be in contact with nature you must respect it. Polyester and synthetic fabrics: unless it’s recycled and helps cleaning up our oceans.



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