By Carimé Lane
Currently, some resort wear trends are being generated by a new force: the pandemic. Others are dictated by resort life, millennials, unique merchandise and the seasons, according to retailers interviewed for this article.
Michele Johnson, retail manager at Mission Point Resort on Mackinac Island in Michigan, said athleisure has been the most successful resort apparel trend of late. Lolë (a Canadian athleisure line guests gravitate towards for day-to-night looks) and Free Fly (a line of more casual bamboo athleisure wear) are the best-selling brands. Johnson said guests mix and match the pieces from the two brands.
“I think people are looking for comfort, quality, and the opportunity to transition from casual to a little bit dressier,” Johnson said.
Another top seller at Mission Point are soft, lightweight sweatshirts (available in both hooded and quarter zip styles) featuring the area’s signature Adirondack chairs. Many pair this sweatshirt with Free Fly black or grey leggings for a “super casual look,” Johnson said. The trending accessory at Mission Point are ponchos. They’re made with light merino wool, come in various styles and colors, and pair well with athleisure wear.
Alexandria B. Carl, resort retail director and buyer at The Shops At The Hotel Hershey in Pennsylvania, has also witnessed a shift towards athleisure apparel. “With so many people working from home due to the pandemic, we’ve seen a significant shift in apparel trends since March,” Carl said.
“Customers are seeking out fashion-forward pieces that are cozy, soft and easy-to-wear.”
Feel-good colors are also a major trend-of-the-moment, Carl said. “People are forgoing their ‘business black’ for something a little more fun. Bright shades are everywhere, and it looks like that trend will continue through Fall.”
Accessory-wise, Carl said, “The 1990s are back with a vengeance!” and Millennials are the ones driving this trend.
“Chain necklaces, chunky boots, thick headbands and fanny packs are all making a huge comeback,” said Carl. “Prepare to see more butterfly hair clips and bucket bags – these throwback pieces will be sticking around for now.”
Rachel Elvgren, retail head buyer at Tommy’s Folly Boutique of Cape May Resorts in New Jersey, said their top apparel resort trends are day-to-night wearable dresses. “We saw a huge demand for easy dresses this July and August,” said Elvgren. Elvgren credited this trend to ladies looking to wear a dress without feeling too dressed up. She said customers are also gravitating towards smaller accessories that are more wearable for “the more casual life.”
In Florida, at the Plantation on Crystal River, Paul Cross, director of operations and buyer, said the trends at his dive and outfitter shops (totaling approximately 1,000-square-feet) tend towards everything outdoors, including manatee-themed merchandise and diving, fishing, and performance gear. This includes everything from kids’ manatee pajamas to ladies’ turtle performance gear tights. Cross said these are hot sellers because the Plantation is outdoor-centered, so “our guests want to re-live their experience and memories every time they wear their clothing bought from the Plantation.”
By far, the most popular accessories trend at the Plantation are manatee earrings and necklaces. That’s because they are one-of-a-kind pieces that can be found at very few places in Crystal River, Cross said.
Natalie Hadler, owner of Crater Lake Resort & Store in Fort Klamath, Ore., reported that ballcap/trucker hats fly off the shelves.
Hadler said they “absolutely cannot keep enough” of these hats in stock, with some customers purchasing multiple hats. Hadler said customers pick up these hats partly because they need them for their vacation in nature. But it’s not only that: it’s also because of the unique and fun styles they carry. When customers enter the store, they say “Wow, you guys have really cool hats,” Hadler said. These hats include very unique one-of-kind leather patch hats that say ‘Crater Lake’ made by an artist in Shasta, and state-orientated hunting or fishing hats. Hadler said women’s hats have been very popular this summer. These feature fun, colorful designs with a fuzzy overlay of mountains, she explained.
Don Sikorski, director of the Shops at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, which stretch over 130,000-square-feet, said his shops feature merchandise anywhere from The North Face to Victoria’s Secret. Luxury items from brands including Lux Bond & Green, Sephora, and the Luxury Boutique are favored by guests. “These types of accessories are certainly popular and may be a result of folks looking for something special for a loved one, themselves or to pick up before dinner during a weekend getaway at Mohegan Sun,” Sikorski said.