Summer fashion gets a hot tropical flavour makeover

Palm print shift dress, �69; Olsen (
Palm print shift dress, �69; Olsen (
Share this article
Have your say

If you don’t have a plane ticket booked for the tropics, get some exotic escapism via your closet.

No need to be shy, heady heatwave days are your window of opportunity to be a little bolder with pattern.

“Don’t be afraid to experiment,” says Rachel Davis, stylist for TK Maxx’s Me. By Me. campaign.

“Try out new prints that you love and make you feel great. Have fun before the sun disappears!”

Time to go totally tropical and say ‘aloha’ to summer’s feel-good print.


One of the most contemporary ways to try out tropicals is with palm leaf prints. The bigger the palm, the bigger the statement.

Palm prints are usually planted on black or dark backgrounds, making them easier to pull off than traditional bright tropicals. Green palms on a white base will look crisp and fresh.

If you want to go a step further, try photographic-style prints of palm trees and pretend you’re sipping cocktails on a sandy beach.

STYLING TIP: “It’s all about proportions when you’re playing with print,” Davis advises. “If you go slouchy on top with your palms, keep the bottom half slim and tailored, or team a bold palm print skirt with a more fitted slimline top.”


The difference between country garden florals and tropical blooms is all about the colour palette. Opt for hot pinks, oranges and reds. For a tropical twist on florals, pick a bright background like tomato red or cobalt blue, splashed with bold, monochromatic 

Hothouse blooms need a large surface area to create the biggest impact, making maxi dresses the perfect canvas. If you prefer separates, try a pair of tropical trousers or culottes that you can wear dressed down with flat sandals, or glammed up with heels.

STYLING TIP: “If you’re petite, you can get away with a full-on print-on-print look,” Davis advises. “Go bold and make a statement. Work either a matchy-matchy print or a clash – I love stripes teamed with floral tropical prints.”


No longer the stuff of tourist shops, Hawaiian shirts have become a summer hit on the high street. Wear cropped and fitted for a more modern cut.

These prints are bold with a capital B. For a subtle hint of Hawaiian shirt, try a sleeveless blouse shape and wear buttoned up to the top to show off the print to the max.

Extend the hemline a few inches and try out a tropical print shirt dress. Pick out a black or navy base with bold florals for the ultimate figure flattery.

STYLING TIP: “Wear these tropicals with conviction – don’t do it by half,” suggests Davis. “If you’re not quite bold enough, pare down the tropicals on your top half, by wearing a dark colour on your bottom half

that tones in with the print.”