A Latina Owned Fashion Business Finds Inspiration at the Beach

Sometimes a better view makes for better business productivity.

In increasing numbers, working remotely has become the norm for many business owners and employees. As a small business owner myself, I initially found it very challenging at the beginning of the pandemic. It was not easy to unbind myself from the parameters I had always worked within. There was a sense of guilt not working from a traditional office space in New York City and not having in person conversations with customers and employees. I felt that I needed to be working in the same way I had for the previous 29 years of my career. It was all I had ever known and it seemed like the only way.

As the days went by, little by little I figured out how to run a fashion business from my home. It wasn’t easy. The first steps involved the technology and the tools to be successful. Of course everyone learned how to use Zoom to speak to clients, partners, and employees. I also needed to have dress forms for fitting, rolling racks and shelving space to house a large influx of more sample garments and approval submits from my manufacturers. My home was now my main office space and showroom to work from. As my business started to grow, the next step was hiring an assistant to help manage the work load, and trying to set some boundaries separating work from home life. As the middle of the second year of the pandemic came around, that feeling of being stir crazy set in. It felt like the movie “Groundhog Day”, the same routine every day within the same walls every day.  I needed to allow myself a get-away for my own mental sanity. I began to understand that I really could work remotely from almost any location if I gave it a bit of planning. This allowed me to improve my work from home situation so that I didn’t feel trapped within the 4 walls of my home. I literally could have a work from anywhere outlook.

This leads me to my most recent work retreat, Playa del Carmen and Playacar, a beautiful tropical beach get away to escape a cold and dreary New England winter. Temperatures were forecast to be in the eighties so I packed accordingly but left plenty of room in my suitcase to shop for fun new trending looks from the beaches of Mexico! Upon arriving to my all inclusive resort and unpacking,  I walked down the path to see the beach. I’ve never seen waters so turquoise! This was going to be a beautiful week to mentally cleanse, refresh my soul, go hiking and boating, explore and yes, work.

While there, with my business hat on, it was a perfect time to also see what was trending in the world of beach fashion. Yes, there is such a thing. Trends happen even in beach wear from colors and details, to fabrics and prints so let’s take a look at some of the highlights of the week.

Check out some of the top fashion and accessory trends from the sandy beaches and turquoise waters of the Riviera Maya.

Summer whites are always appropriate. The temperatures are so hot here that loose, gauzy, open weave fabrics are a must for breathability and quick drying qualities. Mexico does white in its own special way accented with colorful embroideries and trims. You can’t go wrong with summer whites as a base color to layer to start with.

Multicolor embroideries and mini pom poms  add fun pops of color to tops. Many pieces do double duty as swim cover-ups or casual on the town looks. Traditional Mexican tiered skirts never go out of style here either. Paired with trending crop tops, they create chic and modern ensembles.

Vibrant colors are everywhere in Play del Carmen

If you just can’t get enough of bright colors, then Mexico is the place for you. Color abounds everywhere! You may think it a bit odd to have layering items here in this warm weather tropical getaway, but it can get a bit chilly in the evenings. A few items for layering like sweater knit ponchos and lightweight long sleeve sweaters are great for cool evenings. Chunky colorful floral and sand dollar embroideries add a whimsical touch.

Earthy neutrals are another option

If softer, muted colors are more your style, these natural tones of olive, terra cotta, maize and robin’s egg blue are a flattering alternative. These earthy hues are great neutrals that  work well together or if you prefer a hint of color, add some bright accessories (like the fun cowboy hat accessorizing this buttercup yellow swim cover-up). Maxi dresses are also wonderfully versatile pieces that can be worn as beach cover-ups or dressy evening outfits.

Prints are an individual reflection of your personality

If you’re partial to prints, Mexico is a great place to show off the individuality that prints can bring to the table. My double duty caftan on the left serves as both a beach cover-up and also a dress when fully buttoned up. The tile print is a nod to Mexico’s heritage and the cute neon orange tassles are very on trend. The one shoulder loose fit top is show stopping in a ’70’s inspired print in vivid colors and the soft tie dye floral cover-up is a casual look that could go right over denim jeans as well. Different strokes for different folks.

Top 3 Takeaway Trends for Fashion

  1. Colors palettes vary from crisp summer whites to natural earth tones to vibrant Mexican jewel tones.
  2. The versatility of items that can work as both beach cover-up or ready to wear dressing. This makes packing a breeze when clothing can do double duty.
  3. Colorful accents to express a beachy vibe.

I’m no shrinking violet when it comes to wearing over the top fashion looks, but hats are challenging for me on an everyday basis.  That’s why I find them so fun to accessorize with  in a beach environment. They naturally feel  like an extension of the easy breezy tropical life.  A great reason to wear a hat when in Mexico is that it will shield your eyes and sensitive skin from dangerous ultraviolet rays.

Express yourself in fun new trending hat styles

So…let’s talk about hats! There were just so many to choose from. Some of the newest trends were straw hats coated in subtle metallic sprays of gold, silver or rose gold. I also saw a lot of novelty bands around the base of brimmed hats utilizing mixes of fringe, lace, pearls, beads, feathers and found objects. This gave them a bit of a “scavenged” but well put together look – very beachcomber in feel.

My other absolute favorite hat trend was the trucker cap loaded with traditional Mexican chunky embroidery on the front. This ended up being my go-to hat for boating and hiking expeditiona as I could easily secure it with a my ponytail poking out of the adjustable back strap lock or use the lock to attach to my tote bag. This made it easy for me to always have some protection from the sun but also make sure I wasn’t going to lose it or leave it behind somewhere.

An accessorized visit to Tulum in my trucker cap.


Bright, colorful and fashionable handmade bags

Everyone needs a bag to finish off an outfitAn outfit would just not be complete without a fabulous bag and you’re going to need one anyway to gather up all your essentials for an afternoon at the beach. These fun finds from Mexico will add some spice to your wardrobe. Whether it’s a clutch, tote or shoulder bag, any one of them will transform an easy t-shirt and jeans into a whole new look. Can you imagine them with a head to toe white outfit as well! How incredible!

Add a pom charm or tassel to your neutral bag for a bit of color

The same color trends in fashion also apply when it comes to accessories. If you like your looks more neutral, natural straw and raffia bags feel perfectly at home in tropical beach locales. These accessories will pair well with anything in your wardrobe. You can add a colorful tasseled felt charm to personalize your look.

Ready for dinner with my parents, check out these 2 fun bag trends that really make the natural straw bag a stand-out look. My sister has an adorable circle bag that can be work like this with the round handles or it has a second detachable strap that gives it a more modern look. The joke was that it doubles as a tortilla warmer. And I absolutely adore my new bag. It’s so unique! It utilizes a very traditional straw handbag, but adds a ’70’s macrame touch. We both accessorized our bags with pom-pom tasseled charms. They look so good on the neutral straw color.

It’s all “in the bag” with these fun straw styles my sister and I scouted out in Mexico

Personalize it when it comes to buying gifts for friends and family

I even found a small business that could customize these cute rope handle bags with a sequin applique of my choice. From different colored hearts and stars, I was able to get a couple of cute bags made to give as gifts to my girlfriends at home in wintery New York.

No shopping is ever complete without checking out the wares of individual sellers walking the beaches and streets to sell trinkets. This may be one of my favorite things. I love meeting some of the women who do this in the hot weather, covered head to toe to protect themselves from the sun. I try to have some conversation with them, me with the little bit of Spanish I know and they with the bit of English they know. I don’t know how they survive the hot days in the sun. When they’re not busy trying to make a sale, they work diligently along with family members to produce these items and then walk for hours selling their goods for bargain prices. Some of the trinkets have so much labor involved in them. I would feel guilty trying to negotiate a better price. It’s a tough way to make a living as an entrepreneur and I give them a lot of credit. I always like to peruse the items looking for something different or a new idea that I can use to inspire my fashion design business.

This season, I saw quite a lot of neon colors being used in braiding and beading. You’ll be able to buy lots of authentic Mexican gifts for your friends and family back home from these vendors. I’m always looking for headbands, hair pins, scrunchies, bracelets, necklaces and handbags.

Beach vendor, Estephanie, has lots of great accessories to select from

Top 3 Takeaway Trends for Accessories

1. Hats are not only trendy but practical for beating the heat and protection from the sun. New updates include novelty band trims and the trucker cap

2. Bags are a staple for toting items to the beach or dressing up an outfit. No matter if you choose a colorful or neutral bag, an authentic tasseled charm goes a long way in dressing up your bag. Even bags like to accessorize!

3. Browse through fashion boutiques and individual vendors to find that special something that is unique. You never know what you will find that no one else has. Accessories that are one of a kind, hand made, or custom made lend authenticity to the tropical vibe of Mexico’s beach lifestyle.

Related content:

The Business of Fashion Week Is Back with Latino Fashion Designers [Video]

Fashion Designers of Latin America, Bringing Dreams to the Runway [Video]

Latino Fashion Designer Willfredo Gerardo’s Cutting Edge Business [Video]


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