Going on vacation to the tropics? Dressing alternatives for hot weather holidays

The Associated Press ~ staff The News
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MIAMI - Pity the warm-weather fashionista in winter.
Sure, it's hard to feel sympathy for the celebrities, trendsetters and snowbirds who gather for the holidays in Miami, where a cold day is considered around 15 C. It's the same story in Las Vegas and resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico.
But what about those holiday-season traditions - like shearling boots and puffy winter coats? Don't the jet-setters miss them?
Never fear, there are alternatives. The Associated Press chose tropics-worthy looks that can be substituted for their cold-weather cousins. We solicited advice from stylists and fashion editors on how to wear them:
SCARF
Instead of cashmere scarves, choose a silk or cotton version that can be worn over long flowing layers. Leopard prints are also very stylish right now.
"I personally always bring scarves with me," said Michelle McCool, fashion director at Cosmopolitan magazine. "I use it as a pareo if I am at the beach ... I use it with everything. If I am cold in the airplane, I use it as a blanket."
McCool, a Miami native, said Echo scarves are a good choice.
SWEATER DRESS
Switch out that sweater dress for a maxi or mini in a floaty fabric. Materials matter here, and so does a light colour. Black, seemingly the staple colour anywhere else, can look out of place at a resort.
If you to go for the hip, unique look, Taylor Tomasi Hill, style and accessories director at Marie Claire, said to buy a silk slip and pair it with a long cardigan and belt. Wear the look with a masculine shoe, like a tough high heeled bootie.
"Because of the cardigan, I honestly think women of all ages can wear it," she said.
PUFFY COAT
Substitute the thick nylon jacket - think of those quilted ones on the cover of all those catalogues - for a lightweight pea coat. Tara Swennen, stylist to stars like Kristen Stewart, suggests black, plaid or even tan.
"A great red pea coat would be fantastic for the holidays," she said.
Also, crop jackets in tweed or brocade are nice. They go with anything from jeans to skirts, she said.
"They are great for just that reason, they can really go from day to night," Swennen said.
Swennen picks Chanel or Rebecca Taylor, but Forever 21 also has a lot of styles for less money.
BOOTS
Trade in Uggs for motorcycle boots. McCool suggests boots by Frye. "They are like dark brown motorcycle boots, very thin leather. It's almost a little country," she said.
Swennen says boots are all the rage this season, even in hot weather.
"I personally love the over-the-knee look," Swennen said. Her picks? Aldo and Sergio Rossi.
ACCESSORIES
Chunky statement necklaces are the new way to accessorize any outfit. Next season it's bangles. So forget about adding flare to outfits with embellished sweaters.
You can add a nice colourful or crystal chunky necklace to black clothes or even on top of colours. Put one on with a T-shirt and jeans and you'll look good, said Tomasi Hill. She says she even wears the same necklace repeatedly with her black and white T-shirts.
But McCool advises against wearing them everyday. Reserve it for special occasions because they are heavy and it really does make a statement, she said.
"I think it shows that she's fashion forward and bit of a risk taker," McCool said.
LEGGINGS
Who can live without a good pair of leggings, even in the heat? This season it's sequins and lace. They can be worn with a longer T-shirt or jacket.
"I'd say that the legging is a wardrobe staple and it's a great alternative to a pair of jeans," McCool said. There are some good ones in the collection of Rodarte for Target.
Tomasi Hill says leather shorts are even better than leggings, especially in the heat.
But no matter what, don't be a slave to trends, cautions stylist Phillip Bloch.
"The trick is always let the trend be how you would wear the trend," he said. "I believe if you just do one ... if the rest of your outfit is age-appropriate you can use the trend as an accessory."

Organizations: The Associated Press, Cosmopolitan magazine

Geographic location: MIAMI, Las Vegas, Caribbean Mexico Uggs

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