In JuneTravis Wedgeworth, an audio engineer in Dallas, flew to Hawaii with his new bride for his honeymoon. As it was a festive vacation, 32-year-old Wedgeworth wanted clothes that were particularly “bright and eye-catching,” as he said. He certainly found one: a high wattage hula girl pattern cabana suit by Toronto-based swimwear brand Bather.
A cabana suit (also known as a “matching set” or “two-piece set”) is a combo that consists of shorts, often with amazing patterns, the same as shirts (usually short-sleeved camp collar numbers). Mr. Wedgeworth’s version caught the eye of many and made a stranger on the beach stop him and said, “I love your clothes. Where did you get them?”
If many fans of his set want to procure their cabana suits, they will find plenty of options throughout the budget range this summer. Fast fashion labels like Shein and Boohooman offer a set of polyester stripes for as low as $ 25. This is a conservative way to step into the trend. At the end of the extravagant spectrum, Versace sells coordinated starfish-inspired silk shorts and sleeveless shirts for a total of $ 1,720, while Dior collaborates with artist Kenny Schaff on a cartoon playcard print. We offer matching shirts and shorts. A total price tag of $ 3,400.
For converts, cabana suits are a wearable embodiment of summer’s frivolity. Alain Richard Catalina, 34, a professional dancer and choreographer in Los Angeles who recently wore a cheerful pink floral set, said: Shane wore subtle white sneakers while on vacation in Las Vegas.
While they may look like a novel Instagram feed, cabana suits date back to the mid-20th century. Companies like swimwear pioneers Janssen have sold these simple ready-to-wear combinations as resort wear. If you look inside out the influential men’s style magazine “Apparel Arts” at the time, you’ll see an ad for a tanned man relaxing by the pool as a set.
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Kyle Kaminsky, the founder of swimwear brand Bather, was inspired by the vintage Janssen set to expand into cabana suits. For several years, his brand had been active in business with patterned camp collar shirts, and Mr. Kaminsky was trying to take advantage of his customers’ explicit interest in patterns. He revived the idea of a retro-ish cabana suit, but did not limit his interpretation to tame stripes. The bazaar offers a creative combo showing a roaring tiger and a three-armed hula girl. As he said, “it definitely stands out in the pool.”
For some, only the most visible motifs throughout the resort will work. Nordstrom designer and new concept SVP Sam Lobban called for one of the most popular designs, a monogram combo with Versace’s fascinating silk set and the Fendi logo. He said these cheerful and vacation-ready numbers have a “romantic Miami escape atmosphere”, even if you’re not more adventurous than your own backyard.
About a year ago, London pajamas label Desmond & Dempsey started offering cabana sets and now accounts for 20% of sales. The brand sells shorts and tops separately, but co-founder Molly Goddard says that large print items such as worm-eyed fox monkeys and camouflage-style reptiles are best purchased as a two-piece set. It says it’s common.
The secret to the success of these yelling cabana suits may be their ability to pop on Instagram. Catalina of Los Angeles not only wore a punchy pink set by the pool, but also posted a photo of herself wearing it and collected many approved fire emojis. And when Mr. Wedgeworth’s wife uploaded a shot of the couple, many of the comments stuck to his matching set. “My wife is getting more feedback than she was on her honeymoon because of her shit outfit,” Wedgeworth said.
“Everyone wants to stand out,” said a recent Instagram account, creative director of Icecream at the Billionaire Boys Club, a New York brand that sells floating ice cream cones and cabana sets adorned with enthusiastic dollar signs. Joseph Au said. Not specifically designed with social media in mind, his branded kaleidoscopic set certainly pops out when viewed on a mobile phone.
Write to Jacob Gallagher Jacob.Gallagher@wsj.com
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