Of the Cuff is down south for a few days; South Beach in Miami, specifically. The difference in style here is remarkable, though not surprising. Men’s fashion in D.C. tends to center on the New England ethic: stylish but understated, essentially the modified Anglophile look.
Miami? South Beach? Not so much. Here, the Latino and Mediterranean aesthetics rules. The focus is on creating a balance between fitted and loose clothing and an appreciation for heat and humidity. The fabrics are lighter, both in material and color, and the cuts are more casual, but still detailed. For men, I ‘ve seen a lot of untucked shirts with squared off hems – a very clean look – and one that is not at all sloppy. Longer pant legs seem to proliferate here as well. Since I’ve seen more sandals and low profile Pumas, this length works very well and gives movement to the pant leg without it bunching up on the shoe.
Big sunglasses from big designers are in for both men and women and I have also seen a lot of man bags. Tailored shorts with a longer leg seem to be popular and Lacoste tennis shirts are everywhere. These are very nice shirts because the fine cotton material and trim tailoring give it a dressy feel without being too formal.
I think that description, “dressy but not too formal,” really says it all for South Beach. Of course, there are certainly some folks down here who are off the charts, what else would you expect? But there is a definite sense of style and attention to detail that is just different from the northern states. When the sun goes down and dinner time rolls around, head over to Lincoln Road, a pedestrianized mall filled with restaurants, shopping and art galleries. Don’t rush over for an early dinner though, nothing really gets going until 8:00 p.m. (20:00). Here, you will see a nice cross section of locals and tourists heading off to enjoy the evening. For many people, this is when the good duds come out and out in the restaurants, bars and clubs you will see a little bit of everything. Head down to Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue and you may see more than you bargained for. But at the end of it all, the picture above captures the best essence of Miami formal. Beautiful suit, great sandals; time for a mojito.