Tropical print dresses spell summer fun -- from fast-talking women of early Hollywood screwball comedies and film noir -- to Jimmy Buffet's Margharitaville.
These cheerful fabrics have been perennial popular in summer clothes for women and men for about 80 years.
Bright colors, easy fit, and lightweight sweat-wicking fabrics, such as cotton, are characteristic of the South Seas Island theme in womens summer clothing.
The original fabrics that inspired today's tropical print dresses and Alhoa shirts were the floral kimono fabrics of Japan and vibrantly hued silks from China.
These exotic fabrics has been circulating for some time among Westerners in the South Seas islands and French Indochina, now the countries of Southeast Asia.
Polynesian-inspired fabrics for men's shirts were a hit as soon as they hit the Honolulu tourist scene in the 1930s.
Some accounts credit dry goods merchant Ellery Chun with the invention of this light-hearted aloha shirt look.
Chun took a shirt worn by cane workers and cattle ranchers and made it up in an Asian floral fabric, the story goes.
Another source says Chun merely popularized a style that had been around for some time.
Edith Head turned the Asian floral textiles into iconic women's wear by 1936.
Dorothy Lamour wowed movie-goers in a exotic sarong in the Jungle Princess. Tropical print dresses were born.
New York's fashion industry wasn’t far behind, cashing in with a typhoon of swimsuits and other hot-weather fashions.
The craze for South Seas fabrics was in full swing by 1941. On May 18, the New York Herald ran an ad proclaiming that tropical prints "definitely herald spring."
The presence of American boys in the South Seas throughout World War II and beyond could only strengthen the nation's taste for exotic ideas from the East.
Even boys' boxer shorts were being sold in South-Seas inspired fabrics in the 1950s.
Barely a news season passes when one reporter or another does not proclaim that tropical print dresses, Hawaiian shirts, and other vivid clothing is a hot new trend.
You know better. This is a fashion style that is as much fun as it is enduring.
Bird print fabric dresses in pretty colors and casual outfits in lightweight fabrics are the latest spin on this perennial favorite.
Cotton seersucker fabric has served generations of people as cool and cooling summer clothing since ancient times. Shorts, shirts, suits, dresses, and even bathrobes are sought in this popular fabric.
Silk is appropriate for womens summer clothing if the fabric is filmy and lightweight.
Dresses, blouses, silk suiting and silk blends, such as cotton linen, may be added to your warm-weather wardrobe.
Nautical style has a fascinating history. Find out how you can achieve this look buying separates on sale.
In summary, tropical print dresses are a surefire hit for chic womens summer clothing. A tropical print blouse can add pizzazz to a business suit, and bold florals are a recurring theme for swim suits.