Stylish and reasonably priced, the breezy sarong is the Swiss Army knife of summer fashion.
CHIC & EASY | A sarong—the Malay word for covering—is a large rectangle of airy fabric common in warm climates as the cornerstone of a wardrobe to keep you cool yet covered up. These versatile pieces of cloth can be worn as skirts, dresses, tops and scarves.
The sarong’s adaptability makes it the pocketknife of any great summer ensemble, and particularly useful in Vancouver where the climate is unpredictable. My go-to sarong is a neutral navy with a white floral print that matches just about any outfit. Every day I tuck it in my purse to wear as a scarf if the weather turns cool, or swap for my jeans as a skirt if the weather gets hot.
A Few More Things A Sarong Can Do
My sarong also doubles nicely as a picnic blanket and beach towel. The North American idea of the beach towel needs to be seriously rethought. A big fluffy towel may feel nice coming out of the water, but cotton takes an eternity to dry, holds onto sand and hogs too much space in the washer and dryer. Typically sarongs are made of rayon, a material that dries quickly, washes well, holds its colour and doesn’t wrinkle easily. And because sarongs are lighter than beach towels and pack up smaller than a paperback novel, there is room for more than one in your beach bag.
While you can find plenty of sarongs at local ethnic import shops and online priced at less than $20 (my favourite I snatched for just $4.99 at a sample sale), most of the long sarongs I have found at bathing suit boutiques such as Splash Swim and Cruise and Swim Co. are priced at $30 and up.—Natasha Irvine