How 7 Fashion Insiders Dress for the Holidays in Warm Climates

When you live somewhere warm, holiday dressing is challenging! But that doesn't make it any less fun.

By: Tara Gonzalez

As someone who could not have been more displeased with the unseasonably warm Christmas we had in NYC last year and the year before that, I dont think celebrating the holidays on the West Coast or on vacation sounds ideal. Like most people who choose to live on the East Coast, I feel particularly excited for the shift in seasons and see the holidays as an opportunity to justify being extra cozy inside under blankets drinking hot chocolate and thinking about Christmas 24/7.

In my mind, the cold and the festive spirit go hand in hand. But the holiday season is worldwide, and not everyone lives in a place that requires wearing multiple jackets to do anything outside. To see how people in warmer climates keep the holiday spirit alive (in style), I spoke with seven designers who live everywhere from Los Angeles to Colombia on how they celebrate and, most important, what they wear. They all pretty unanimously agree the sun doesn’t change how they view the season and that all you really need is a little sparkle (or a few diamonds).

 

Shelley Sanders, The Last Line 

Los Angeles

How do you keep the holiday spirit alive since it’s not very winter-y where you’re based?

SS: “We decorate our house almost immediately when the calendar turns to December. With three children, you have to have fun with the holidays, no matter the temperature! I love the lights on Beverly Drive and, of course, Santa and [his] sleigh crossing Wilshire in Beverly Hills, they’re iconic in their own right and fun. It’s a part of my childhood and now for my kiddos, too. We open the sunroof and my kids look at all the pretty lights and, of course, hope to catch a glimpse of Santa and [his] sleigh. For me, I look forward to getting a little more ‘dressed’ for the season, which typically means more diamonds—who would complain about that?”

What is your ideal warm-weather holiday look?

SS: “I love velvet, and it feels very holiday, whether it’s a pump or a great dress. I also love suiting (preferably vintage), but a sleek tuxedo trouser with a heel is always a winner for me.”

Styling tips for someone celebrating the holidays in a sunny place?

SS: “Embrace it! I find coats and gloves so annoying when you actually need them. Our temp drops (just not bundle-up low), and I love that I’m still able to wear winter pieces comfortably without the freeze factor and that I can add in some extra jewels for more sparklemakes the season feel special and fun!”

 

Kalani and Oleema Miller, MIKOH

Hawaii

How do you keep the holiday spirit alive since it’s not very winter-y where you’re based?

KM: “The holiday season has always been a big deal in our family; none of my siblings have ever missed a Christmas being together. I love everything about the holiday season, from picking out a tree and putting up the lights, to listening to Christmas tunes and making mulled wine (which is my latest obsession)! I think the holiday spirit is alive no matter where you celebrate, so long as you’re surrounded by the ones you love and thankful for what you have. We like starting new traditions as well as carrying on old ones. Last year, we celebrated in Hawaii with Christmas Eve at Oleema’s house and then Christmas Day at my house—it was perfect.”

What's your ideal warm-weather holiday look?

KM: “Since we are doing Christmas in Hawaii again this year, we’ll definitely be sticking to bikinis. I love wearing something red to celebrate the holidays, like the MIKOH Jamaica Top, which is sporty yet still feminine with tie details on the shoulders. I’ll also mix in a style like our Mahina One Piece in Polynesia, because it’s the perfect tropical print for Hawaii. I pair these suits with some vintage Levi cutoffs and polarized sunglasses by either Celine, Salt Eyewear, or Ray-Ban. My favorite thing about spending the holidays in Hawaii is the casual vibe—no shoes, no problem!”

OM: “Even though we spend the holidays in the tropics, I always find a way to incorporate a bit of cheer into my wardrobe in honor of my favorite season. You can never go wrong with adding some metallics, festive colors, embroidery, or nods of what you would be wearing in the colder parts of the world. I tend to go for reds, dark greens, and warm whites from our collection in the sweeter, more feminine styles like the Loihi Bandeau Top or the Nusa Dua Top. These work perfectly layered under an easy throw-on style like our Cannes Tunic.”

Styling tips for someone celebrating the holidays in a sunny place?

OM: “Last year, I hosted Christmas Eve for the first time in my new home and wore the sweetest bright red dress by March 11, complete with embroidery and an oversized pom—it was perfect for the occasion. I’m hosting again this year and plan to wear something with metallic accents. In Hawaii, dressing is all about being easy and casual, so I love incorporating this concept but with a more polished twist during the holidays.

 

Alana Pallister, I Am Gia

Australia

What is your ideal warm-weather holiday look?

AP: “My ideal look for an Australian summer is all-white everything. I’m all for a structured corset worn with a good pair of PVC pants.”

Styling tips for someone celebrating the holidays in a sunny place?

AP: “Dare to be different! This summer I’m all about sheer tops, structured corsets, and loud prints. If I had to style one of our GIA babes for a night out this holiday season, I would dress her in our Sirius Set.”

 

Mónica Holguín, Pepa Pombo

Colombia

How do you keep the holiday spirit alive since it’s not very winter-y where you’re based?

MH: “It's more a matter of attitude. The holiday spirit is in the heart; we live it as if we were anywhere else in the world—with imagination, illumination, and color.”

What is your ideal warm-weather holiday look?

MH: “I like to find balance between my style and comfort. I prefer dresses that define the waist and are midi or ankle-length. I like to combine colors, but I also really like black, as its timeless and always elegant.”

Styling tips for someone celebrating the holidays in a sunny place?

MH: “Every woman is unique and should know their body in order to create a style of their own. I love when women emphasize their femininity, when they stay true to themselves and are faithful to their style. The loyalty to themselves is their best style.”

 

Jacquie Aiche, Jacquie Aiche

Los Angeles

How do you keep the holiday spirit alive since it’s not very winter-y where you’re based?

JA: “With my jewelry. The weather doesn’t change here, but the vibe does. There’s a shift from bikinis and body chains to sweaters and gemstones, and I love celebrating that in my designs.”

What is your ideal warm-weather holiday look?

JA: “I’ve always been a denim shorts and kaftan kinda girl. If I’m dressing it up, it’s all about the winter goddess vibes. I love a long floral dress or a ruffled miniskirt with a tank.”

Styling tips for someone celebrating the holidays in a sunny place?

JA: “Layering up is essential for winter holidays. When the heat is high, you should screw the sweaters and layer yourself in diamonds and gold. Deck yourself out, pair with denim and a comfy tee, and you’re all set, baby.”

 

Pip Edwards and Claire Tregoning, P.E NATION

Australia

How do you keep the holiday spirit alive since it’s not very winter-y where you’re based?

PE: “The holiday season in Australia revolves around the warmth, so there are lots of long lunches, lazy days at the beach, and outdoor activities. Christmas carols are done outdoors under the stars, and BBQs are a quintessential way to celebrate with friends and family during the holiday period. Instead of open fires and eggnog, Christmas is all about the sun, the beach, that stay feeling and being by the sea—with margaritas and Bloody Marys in hand.”

What is your ideal warm-weather holiday look?

CT: “Depending on the occasion, some kind of French linen from MamaPapa, or if I’m running around with the kids, something casual and comfortable like the P.E Nation Throw in the Towel Tank with the Riseball Legging.”

Styling tips for someone celebrating the holidays in a sunny place?

PE: “Wear a bikini at all times, and interchange your outfit with a trusty pair of denim shorts and fun summer shirt like one from double rainbow. A white tee is a must too. And if you don’t wear a bikini all the time, pack your favorite crop to wear back with your denim.”

 

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