iStyle: Miami Nice

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The tailored styles and vivid colours of the latest Orlebar Brown collection take their inspiration from Florida’s sunny South Beach, says Lee Holmes

Up until fairly recently the varieties of swimwear for the fashion conscious gentleman were a bone of contention because of the somewhat limited styles available.

The ubiquitous board short only ever really worked well on the archetypal surfer dude, while donning a pair of shapeless and voluminous gaudily-printed swim shorts looked like the last hurrah of a man fast approaching middle age. The other alternative – skimpy trunks – are for Tom Daley doppelgänger only; these trunks do little for your dignity and leave even less to the imagination.

Thankfully, the dearth of swimwear options changed for the better in 2007 with the launch of Orlebar Brown; here were pairs of practically perfect tailored swim shorts that actually looked good on whatever man wore them, proving that the cut of a short was crucial to those of us with less than perfectly toned abs.

The success of the brand continues to this day with an expanding range which now includes T-shirts, polos and chinos, while this summer the collection takes as its inspiration the hot, humid and diverse Florida city that is Miami. Admittedly, this South Beach playground may seem like a strange choice for such a wholesome brand as it is a city that hasn’t always fared well in the public consciousness; in Brian De Palma’s Scarface, Michelle Pfeiffer’s portrayal of the beautiful yet damned Elvira Hancock held an unwelcome mirror up to the city’s troubled times.

So, it’s a relief to see that the brand has looked even further back to the glamorous 1950s when Miami was still a city full of hope and optimism. As you would expect, the architecture of the earlier Art Deco period has its part to play too, adorning key pieces of the collection such as classic Bull Dog shorts and T-shirts. Using the bright pops of colour and sunny skies of Ocean Drive this is blue-sky thinking at its most literal: indeed the timeless elegance of Miami in this period is a fitting tribute to this tasteful brand.

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