03/13/2014 01:26 EDT | Updated 05/13/2014 05:59 EDT

Miami's spring fashion: Mix of relaxed, revealing trends like crop tops, sheer fabrics

AVENTURA, Fla. - Miami's fashion trends are relaxed and revealing this spring: Crop tops (best worn by those with great abs) and lightweight, sheer fabrics in soft pastel colours and floral prints.

You could blame the local beaches-and-boating lifestyle, with its emphasis on fit bodies. True Miami fashion will always include showing some skin and showing off your figure.

But fashion-conscious shoppers even in places without Miami's steamy weather will be seeing the bare-midriff crop tops this season. Wide leg pants are also coming into vogue as they can transition from day to night and from work to play. They also provide comfort (not to mention room for the occasional breeze, especially along the beach). Prints are also emerging — everything from floral patterns to exotic designs on footwear inspired by crocodile and snakeskin.

One popular destination for South Florida's many international shoppers (often seasonal residents who come here to escape the cold elsewhere), is Aventura Mall just north of Miami. Exotic prints and bright colours are showing up at high-end stores there such as REDValentino and Emilio Pucci, while floral prints and pastel colours are on display at Banana Republic. More on-trend styles are being seen at budget-friendly Forever 21.

"Oftentimes those lines are blurred, so they really influence that merchandise mix that we see down here and what's selling," said Anabel Llopis, senior director of sales and marketing at Aventura Mall. "For us, spring is like an eight-month season. Spring, summer, resort ... all of that kind of blends in with another."


Orange and pinks and purples can be seen on summer dresses and blouses. And the pastels aren't just for the ladies.

"Men in South Florida are not afraid to wear prints or colour," said Llopis. It's not unusual to see men here wearing pink Bermuda shorts or ties in playful prints.

Danielle Alitennsi, 30, was shopping for cool prints and silk shorts, along with loose blouses and neoprene dresses. "Those are really cool," said Alitennsi, a Brazilian who lives in Miami and who is a designer herself of baby and children's clothes.


The colorful and feminine silhouettes on display at Aventura appealed to Anneka Johnson, 33, a visitor from Estonia. "I like when women wear dresses and not too much makeup," said Johnson, wearing a bright pink dress and sandals. "Some countries where girls look like boys, they don't wear very often dresses." She liked what she was seeing at the mall "because everything is just so feminine."

Comfortable and sheer fabrics also have a big presence this season, as seen at a DKNY fashion show at the mall. The show, highlighting the line's 25th anniversary, included athletic-inspired clothing, from jersey dresses in feminine cuts and pastel colours to slouchy pants in asymmetrical shapes.


Pastel clutches and strappy sandals for everyday wear are among the fashion trends in Miami this season, as are sheer tops and sneakers with heels or exotic prints.

"It's more exciting in Miami," said Lucille Abecassis, 62, a former fashion industry professional who's now an event organizer for older adults. She recently purchased a light sweater in an almost sheer fabric at H&M. It's an on-point trend this season — even though Abecassis says she doesn't follow trends.

Which may be a trend itself in Miami. "You can have somebody walking in a bikini on the sidewalk and then someone in a jacket," she said of Miami's eclectic fashion. "But it's wonderful. Nobody is judging anybody and everyone is doing what they want. So nothing is too crazy or too safe."