We’re nearly through the biannual sartorial merry-go-round that is the Fashion Week season – can you imagine dressing for that? (Kudos to my friends who do it with such aplomb.) But let us imagine, for one fleeting minute, we live somewhere with a sub-tropical climate. Where summer lasts nearly all year and frost (let alone snow) is but a vague concept.
Rebecca Hanson [above, in Halston Heritage dress and hat by Making Waves] lives this life. Having grown up in Bermuda, she moved to the UK for school and worked in London for several years. In 2012, she moved back to Bermuda (why wouldn’t you?) to start up her company TABS selling authentic Bermuda shorts in a fabulous rainbow of colours – thus combining her twin aims: to start her business and “embrace island life…and now my husband!” You can follow her on Instagram (tabs_bermudashorts); Twitter @TABS_BDA and Facebook (TABS.BermudaShorts).
But how do you dress when sunshine and tropical temperatures are the norm? We asked the super-chic (and very inspiring) Rebecca to share her secrets…
Tell us more about TABS
Everyone has heard of Bermuda Shorts, but no Bermudian has ever stepped up and said what ‘The Authentic Bermuda Shorts’ are. So I decided to show the world what Bermuda Shorts are really made of! TABS was launched on Bermuda Day – May 24th – last year. A year on, we have 14 Bermuda inspired shorts, belts and traditional socks and sell our product internationally via the online store and the leading local men’s department store A.S. Cooper’s. It’s an exciting time for Bermuda Shorts as we have seen them take centre stage on the 2014 catwalks and at the Winter Olympics (!).
What’s the typical Bermudan look?
Bright, colourful and put together. Bermudians like to make an impression.
What are the main differences between the way women dress in the UK versus Bermuda?
In London you commute in a sea of black, in Bermuda it’s a kaleidoscope of colour! In London there’s a carelessness to the way people dress; that Kate Moss ‘This old thing? I just threw it on and look gorgeous’ thing. In Bermuda, women take time over their appearance and are proud of it. The attitude is more ‘Damn straight: I look fine!’
Does style change from one neighbourhood to another (as you’d see, for example, in the differences between the way women dress in London and Chester. Or, indeed, Hoxton and Chelsea)?
Bermuda is only 21 square miles, so there isn’t too much variation. The only time you see a real divide is during the public holiday Cup Match, a.k.a the most awesome holiday ever. During this annual cricket match, everyone from St.George’s wears light and dark blue and everyone from the competing parish of Somerset wears red and blue. For the entire month of July locals wear their ‘colours’ to support their team.
Any big no-go’s when it comes to sartorial attire?
Although we are relaxed, we are big on tradition and are conservative in some ways. For instance, you couldn’t stroll into town in your bikini top like you can on some islands, and you’re not allowed to wear swimwear on public transport; here, the bikini and skimpy outfits are for the beach and boat. For men, it’s a no go to wear your Bermuda Shorts too short. There was a law back in the 1960s where policemen would hand out tickets if your shorts were more then 6 inches above the knee!
Has your style changed since you returned to Bermuda?
I definitely wear more colour in Bermuda and a lot less clothes! Umbrella? What umbrella?
What do women wear to dress up?
Friday night is a the biggest night out here, so most women go straight from work and just throw on some heels.
And on a relaxed Saturday?
Bikini, cutoffs and RayBans.
Is there a Bermudan ‘uniform’?
Yes! Bermuda is known for its Bermuda Shorts and your will see businessmen all over town proudly wearing brightly-coloured shorts and knee-high socks. Pharrell wore the look to the 2014 Oscars… although he missed the socks!
Where do you like to shop?
Reid Street and Front Street are our two main shopping areas and Atelerie is a great boutique on Reid Street. The look is much more preppy here with lots of people wearing Lilly Pulitzer and Vineyard Vines. But personally I try and fight against the preppy look and mix their colourful prints with a fedora and some chunky jewellery.
Get the look
Any favourite local brands?
My brand TABS specialises in traditional Bermuda Shorts and each colour is matched to something on the island – from the blue of Paradise Lakes to the hot pink of the oleander flower, there is whole lot of Bermuda inside every pair! Dana Cooper has colourful printed wraps and ponchos that are perfect for the beach. There are also some great local jewellery designers like Alexandra Mosher and Rebecca Little. The rum cake is pretty fantastic as well!
Top: Necklace by Alexandra Mosher, rings by Rebecca Little; Bottom: red top – French Connection, floral trousers – Zara, jewellery – Rebecca Little
Get the look…
Is there more or less pressure to look good in Bermuda?
More! It is such a small island you can never be incognito. For instance, I went to the store last Sunday and bumped into my mother in law, ex boyfriend and a work colleague… Thank goodness for big sunglasses!
Is there a particular beauty ‘look’?
Because there is a big beach/boat scene most women go for a more ‘natural’ look… a.k.a semi permanent makeup, Brazilian blow dries, shellac nails, laser treatment, eyelash tinting, spray tan…. you get the picture!
Do women wear more or less make-up than they do in the UK?
Less. Anything heavy will just melt off!
Is it madly body-conscious, given the weather?
During the winter everyone tends to work out and put their time in at the gym, come summer, you’re having too much fun to think about hitting the gym!
Wearing jewellery by Rebecca Little and hat by Goorin Bros
Any brilliant beauty brands you swear by?
What is the Bermudan woman’s attitude to the body?
Mayonnaise on everything. And if you got it, shake it! We love to dance especially to Soca and Reggae so the more T&A the better!
With thanks to Gavin Howarth for the TABS photos