Miami Style: Loud, Proud and Stand Out In a Crowd

by Chris on December 8, 2010

Tight and bright, with sky-high heels and as much glamour as you can handle. That’s Miami style in a nutshell. A look at the fashion, design and people-watching I saw at Art Basel South Beach.

travels, Miami, Miami Fl

The nail salon technician looked at the bottoms of my feet in disgust.

“These are so dry,” she said, wrinkling her nose. “They need some work.”

I winced, but I knew she was right. Since moving to chilly Seattle last June, I had changed my grooming habits – and not for the better. Flaky, unpolished toes and fingernails, scrubby eyebrows, shaggy hair: Adopting Seattle’s laid-back attitude had turned me into a Sasquatch.

That kind of dishevelment would never fly in Miami. During my weekend visit, I found the image-conscious city to be the polar opposite of my new Northwest home, in almost every way. Miamians love to stand out in a crowd, and nearly everything about the city, from the clothing choices to the restaurant menus to the architecture, reflects that ethos.

Miami, travels, Dash boutique, the store from the Kardashians Take Miami, South Beach, Miami Fl

First, the clothing. No surprise that the Kardashians and their Dash boutique fit in so well here. The prevalent style is tight and bright, for both men and women. Lined with palm trees, Lincoln Avenue is South Beach’s promenade – and everyone does their best to stand out and show off. And if you’re going to  zip down to the beach,  than a Vespa is your only choice (shirt optional).

Miami, travels, Shirtless in South Beach, Miami Fl

I could spend hours dissecting Miami footwear. Flip flops and jeweled sandals rule the daytime on beachy Ocean Drive, but at night and at events, everyone puts on their highest heels. Never have I seen so many red-soled Christian Louboutins in one place. For the women striding through the galleries and sidewalk cafes on sky-high shoes: Aren’t you in pain? How do you do it? (My feet hurt after three nights wearing two-inch heels).

Miami, travels, Art Deco style, South Beach, Miami Fl

Maybe the flamboyant attire is simply a way to compete with the eye-candy architecture. The curves and angles of South Beach’s Art Deco architecture have justly been named a national treasure, and even the newest properties know better than to mess with a good thing. Just as white is the perfect color to show off a tan, the most striking buildings stand snowy stark against the bright blue sky. Palm trees provide the perfect accent. Sexy, sexy.

Miami, travels, Viceroy lobby, Miami, Fl

Pretty people in pretty buildings need perfect places to perch. Enter Miami design. Furniture here makes a statement, whether it be royal opulent or modern sleek. Miami hotels invented the poolside cabana, daybed and lounge scene that’s been adopted at luxury resorts around the world. The newer hotels popping up downtown and on the north end of South Beach outdo themselves with lobbyscapes that promise a weekend of decadence. (That’s Edge national editor/blogger Michael K. Lavers lounging in the Viceroy Miami lobby).

Miami, travels, Lincoln Avenue, South Beach, Miami Fl

Now that I’m back in Seattle, I’ve ditched the high-heeled sandals for a pair of cozy boots, and it may be months before my pink polished toes see the sunlight. Sunglasses have been retired as the winter rains have begun. But I find that I’m taking a few extra minutes on my hair and reaching for my lipstick more often. And maybe this weekend, I’ll bust out my high holiday heels. Because we could all use a little bit of Miami style in our lives.

Miami, travels, Tempo Miami, A Rock Resort, Miami Fl

Photo by Michael K. Lavers

Thanks to  Tempo Miami, A Rock Resort for sponsoring my trip and stay in Miami. More Art Basel posts to come!


| Chris Gray Faust is a veteran journalist, travel expert, social media butterfly - and editrix of this site. Like what you read? Check out her writing, editing and social media services.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Judy Wells December 8, 2010 at 1:17 pm

As I recall, moss was growing between my toes when I returned to Florida after 7 years in the Northwest.


Chris December 10, 2010 at 10:47 am

Judy, I’m starting to feel mossy myself. On the plus side, the damp weather should keep my skin wrinkle-free! 🙂


Andy Hayes December 10, 2010 at 2:41 am

So, will we be seeing you zipping around West Seattle on a Vespa? 🙂


Chris December 10, 2010 at 10:46 am

Too rainy to get a Vespa here! 🙂


Gray December 12, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Oh my gosh, I feel this way every time I go to Las Vegas. What laughingly passes for “Fashion” in Vermont is basically NO fashion (when you live in a state with 6 months of bitter cold and snow, comfort and practicality are more important than being fashionable), and we wear very little makeup compared to women in major metropolitan areas. When I go to Vegas, I sometimes feel invisible, because I’m not wearing high heels and mini skirts and enough makeup to scrape off with a trowel. (Plus everything on my body is “organic”, which is very unusual there!) I love both Vegas and Miami, but I’m not going to change who I am that drastically just so I fit in. Maybe if I lived there, I’d find myself gradually adapting, but for just a visit–who cares?


Chris December 12, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Gray – Seattle and Vermont seem very simpatico, as far as comfy clothes and minimum makeup are concerned. I wouldn’t want to live in the image-conscious world of Vegas and Miami all the time. But I want to be able to glam it up if needed! So I’ll probably always keep a LBD (little black dress) in my closet somewhere)….And I am going to keep my toes polished! 🙂


Lesley December 17, 2010 at 2:18 am

Hi, love the Art Deco picture from South Beach. Would you like to share it on my Art Deco site, and get a link back to your blog? You can enter your submission here – its very easy, and you can get comments there too. Don’t worry, I’ll change the URL to a clickable link, when I approve the submission.
All the best


LisaTeeNYC December 28, 2010 at 5:28 pm

In Miami next week. Thanks!


Jenni Bennett July 28, 2011 at 1:05 pm

I just went to Miami for the first time in June and I couldn’t BELIEVE how decked-out everyone was! Dressed to the nine’s in 95 degree weather – unbelievable! I was extremely disappointed in the hospitality overall, but the nightlife definitely lived up to the hype!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: