There are some universal truths to a New England beach Vacation – the weather is unpredicatable so pack lightweight rain gear (because it will be warm humid rain) and dress in layers (because temperatures drop at night). Martha’s Vineyard style tends towards casual, classy and colorful. Get the lowdown on Martha’s Vineyard fashion so you can get the look right for your Martha’s Vineyard vacation.
Martha’s Vineyard Style: The Lowdown
Here are general guidelines to create your own Martha’s Vineyard style:
- Dress in layers because the weather can change drastically.
- Pack lightweight rain gear.
- Go classic, such as a blue and white color combo.
- You can never go wrong with the color white.
- Choose natural fabrics like linen and cotton for clothes; cork for shoes; wicker and straw for bags.
- Alternatively, your active gear is best with the performance fabrics that have been developed.
- Like any New England beach vacation, people tend to wear lots of stripes thanks to the nautical connection.
- Leave the monogrammed bags at home. As far as designer goods are concerned, when you know, you know. No need for the ID to be shown.
Yet, Martha’s Vineyard fashion is different from other types of New England vacations such as, for example, Nantucket. Martha’s Vineyard fashion tends towards casual but classy. Think light airy fabrics for dresses and tops and lots of boho chic.
Nantucket is definitely more preppy – after all Nantucket Red is a red that fades to a pinky red. Technically you can only buy Nantucket Red clothes at one store in Nantucket. Everything else is Nantucket Fred (a portmanteau of fraud and red).
There is definitely a colorful edge to Martha’s Vineyard style too – you only need to look at how popular Vineyard Vines and Lilly Pulitzer are.
What To Wear on a Martha’s Vineyard Vacation
You’ll spend your days in casual summer clothes and your evenings in slightly nicer summer clothes. Martha’s Vineyard is casual – there’s no fashion scene as you would get in the Hamptons or St Tropez.
Activities you will need to pack for on Martha’s Vineyard include day activities like beach days or heading out for brunch on the weekends. You’ll also want to pack stuff for any sports that you will play like tennis, cycling, kayaking etc. Or, simply heading out into town for an ice cream in the afternoon or a snoop through the Martha’s Vineyard shops.
Activities to plan for in the evenings include dinner in the restaurants, dinner on the beach while sunset viewing, a clambake on the beach or being invited to someone’s house for dinner/barbeque.
Martha’s Vineyard Style: Evenings Out
People dress nicely but still casual for evenings out.
The snootiest restaurants tend to be in Edgartown with Charlotte Inn probably taking top awards. They ask you to dress for the elegant surroundings which for men means jackets. Jackets are optional for L’etoile in Edgartown.
For women, dressing nicely for evenings means a summer dress, a maxi dress, a romper etc. Stick to nice sandals for your feet. No stillettos or anything ‘extra’. Leave the glitz at home.
You want to be fun and flirty. Not remind Thurston Howell III about the Vegas stripper he might have bonked after a celebratory dinner.
For a sunset viewing or a beach clambake, make sure to dress in layers and bring something warm for lingering after the sun goes down.
1. Roller Rabbit Women’s Ombre Skye Clutch 2. Cashmere Dress Topper Poncho 3. Madewell Women’s Long Sleeve Striped Whisper Tissue Tee 4. Roller Rabbit Women’s Ibera Dress 5. Jack Rogers Women’s Lauren Mid Wedge 6. Roller Rabbit Women’s Marble Lois Dress 7. Paige Women’s Skyline Ankle Skinny Jeans 8. Paige Women’s Tabea Dress White 9. Grace Block Heel Sandal by Charleston Shoe Co. 10. Roller Rabbit Women’s Cotton Dipson Scarf
Some thoughts on the above products:
- Martha’s Vineyard Fashion has a lot of boho casual a la Anthropologie. My favourite store in Edgartown, Katydid, has a pared down version a la the Indian prints of Roller Rabbit whereas the Chilmark look is more Johnny Was California cool (check out Pandora’s Box in Menemsha).
- The casual dress topper (I got mine from Katydid) comes in a bunch of colors and is a super versatile piece. You can style in many different ways from scarf to poncho.
- A tissue-thin long sleeve is not too much on a chilly beach and also keeps those pesky mosquitoes away
- Shoes from the Charleston Shoe Company (also located on the main street in Edgartown) is anther amazing purchase. They can be dressed up and dressed down AND thrown in the wash to clean.
Martha’s Vineyard Style: Women’s Beach Day
For the beach or the pool, you’ll need a nice tote. Add flip flops, sunglasses, a straw hat and a cover up and you’re good for the day.
The sun can be fierce especially on South Beach which is perfectly positioned to get the sun all day. Make sure you have plenty of sunscreen. We love the Coolibar brand which has inbuilt sunscreen protection in their clothes and the polarised sunglasses that Maui Jim make.
1. Coolibar UPF 50+ Women’s Avery Raffia Fedora 2. Melissa Odabash Pareo/ Sardegna Bikini 3. Maui Jim Hanapaa Square Sunglasses 4. Coolibar UPF 50+ Oceanside Tunic Dress 5. Vineyard Vines Shell Tankini Top & Bikini Bottom 6. Vineyard Vines Triangle Top 7. Havaianas Women’s Flip Flop Sandals 8. Lands’ End Open Top Canvas Tote Bag 9. Okabashi Maui Flip Flop Sandals
Martha’s Vineyard Style: Daytime Looks
Meeting friends for brunch at a restaurant on Martha’s Vineyard after a big night out? Or, ack, the boyfriend’s relatives?
Luckily, daytime looks are likewise comfortable and casual. People are in shorts and tee shirts.
Lots of women wear dresses because they are so simple to throw on but still looks like you made an effort. Then, throw your hair back with a headband and put on some fashion sunglasses to block out the sun from your bleary eyes, and try to channel Jackie O.
Whatever you wear, keep it light and breezy.
1. Vineyard Vines Women’s White Cap Striped Dress 2. Madewell Embroidered Apron Ruffle Dress 3. Floral Romper 4. Johnny Was Women’s Tank Dress 5. J.Crew Off-The-Shoulder Striped Peasant Dress 6. Jack Rogers Women’s Hamptons Sandal 7. Sylvia Straw Dome Crossbody Bag 8. Lilly Pulitzer Knotted Headband 9. Kate Spade New York Kiya Square Sunglasses
Martha’s Vineyard Fashion: Kid’s Clothes
When my kids were little, they lived in Black Dog clothes. They are super sturdy and wash well. Although my husband has a black dog teeshirts and sweatshirts, I’ve never felt the need to advertise where I spend my summers. Their shoes were crocs or sneakers.
Nowadays, my teens live in Vineyard Vines clothes. Their shoes vary between flip flops, sneakers, crocs or Keen for water sports.
As a parent, when the kids are little you can insist on wearing sunscreen, rash guards and sun hats. My kids generally could never keep sunglasses on their faces. As teens, you can only but ask that they take care of their skin in the sun.
In the evenings, my kids live in sweatshirts and shorts then and now.. Most restaurants are fairly casual. The Charlotte Inn doesn’t even let kids under the age of 12 so no need to worry about them looking elegant.
1. Roller Rabbit Girls Capellini Lorelei Dress 2. Vineyard Vines Girl’s Pull on Shorts 3. Coolibar Kids’ Surfs Up Bucket Hat 4. Coolibar Girl’s Seacoast Swim Cover-Up Dress 5. Tommy Bahama Girls’ Rashguard Swimsuit 6. Vineyard Vines Girl’s Floral Flamingos Knit Romper 7. Keen Unisex-Child Seacamp II 8. Crocs Kids’ Classic Clog 9. Havaianas Kid’s Top Flip Flop
1. Vineyard Vines Boys’ Swim Rashguard 2. Vilebrequin Boy’s Moorea Swim Trunks 3. Tommy Bahama Boys’ Rashguard and Trunks Swimsuit Set 4. Vineyard Vines Boys’ Saltwater 1/2-zip Pullover 5. Tommy Bahama Kids’ Pullover Hoodie Swimwear Cover Up 6. Life is Good Boys’ Crusher Homebuoy 7. Keen Unisex-Child Seacamp II 8. Crocs Kids’ Classic Clog 9. UV Skinz Boys Adjustable Bucket Hat
Martha’s Vineyard Fashion: July 4th Weekend
For July 4th weekend bring out your red, white and blue outfits for full-fledged Americana in Edgartown with the parade and fireworks.
Everyone is fairly casual but classy on a Martha’s Vineyard vacation. No need to wear a flag shirt to express how true blue you are. You’ll need a sweatshirt and/or trousers for the evening fireworks on the beach though because it will get chilly.
1. Johnny Was Women’s Tunic 2. Vineyard Vines Stripe Tie-Front Shirt 3.Gingham Tunic Top 4. Lilly Pulitzer Women’s Buttercup Shorts 5. PAIGE Jimmy Jimmy Shorts 6. Life is Good Women’sV-Neck Graphic T-Shirt 7. Coolibar UPF 50+ Women’s Café Ruche Pants 8. Seabrook Cork Wedge Slide Sandal by Charleston Shoe Co 9. Life is Good Chill Cap Baseball Hat 10. Free People Women’s Movement Tie Dye Believer Sweatshirt Bonus! Handheld Small American Flags on Stick
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