The '70s look gets a new-wave spin SURF WEAR RIDES AGAIN

May 26, 1994|By Dail Willis | Dail Willis,Ocean City Bureau of The Sun

Ocean City -- If you want to look hot for summer, plan on going by the board -- the surfboard. That surfing look is the wave to catch for beach style.

And the style this year is retro redux. Shorts and T-shirts are still in -- they may never go out, say seasoned fashion observers in this resort city. But the vintage styles that spiced haute couture earlier this season have stamped beach standards too: bandana-print and polka-dot bikinis for women, wide-stripe shirts for men.

"Kids are very big now into what the '70s were," says Chauncey Rhodes, owner of Chauncey's Surf Shop (formerly Hanley's).

Mr. Rhodes says the '70s look has a slightly urbanized, updated spin this time around, and the hottest label going is Stussy, the clothing line created by surfer Shawn Stussy in Huntington Beach, Calif.

"Stussy's into that urban look -- the earth tones and colors, industrial-looking logos," says Mr. Rhodes.

Surfing shops in Ocean City are the primary retailer of men's clothing, a lot of which is worn by women. "Girls love to wear guys' surf shirts," says Mr. Rhodes, himself a surfer.

Although Mr. Rhodes and others agree that the general fashion wave moves from California to the East Coast, they also say Ocean City is a good place for trend-spotting.

"You can't use the Boardwalk as a barometer, but Ocean City is very fashion-forward," says Salty Selt, co-owner of the Endless Summer surf shops on Coastal Highway.

The 1970s are definitely the influence this year, Mr. Selt says. But don't think your old moldy clogs are going to cut it out here, because the look has a definite new edge.

"Some of it's retro with a BIG twist," he says. "We were wearing bell bottoms back then, but they weren't size 44."

Like Mr. Rhodes, Mr. Selt sells Stussy and describes it as "red hot."

For women who want to put on a dress now and then -- just for a change from the boyfriend's Stussy shirt -- there are retro looks in women's dress shops.

"The '70s are definitely in -- platform sandals, bibs, chokers, long straight hair parted in the middle," says Susan Burnham, co-owner of Raggamuffin, a women's clothing store on First Street. "There's a grungy spin to it with all the vintage clothing, that Goodwill look."

"It's very '70s," concurs Kim Sutherland, assistant manager at South Moon Under, a women's clothing store on Coastal Highway. "And there's that 'waif-wear,' " she adds, picking up a tiny flowered shirt suitable only for the Kate Moss types who can skip the underwire without penalty.

But the redux 1970s fashion is kinder this time around than it was the last, because it doesn't demand total conformity. Skirts can be any length, waif-wear is strictly optional and there's plenty of room for individuality.

@4 "This year, anything goes," says Ms. Sutherland.

ON THE COVER

Fashions: Baseball hats, $23.95. On her: navy sweat shirt, $40.95. On him: sunglasses, $49.95, denim shorts, $44.95, all by Stussy. His maroon T-shirt, $17.95, by Blunt.

Surfboard by Black Label, $359.

All clothes provided by Chauncey's Surf Shop, 2908 Philadelphia Ave., Ocean City.

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