It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what constitutes Cape Town style since the city is so culturally diverse. But what is indeed clear is that Capetonians are adept at combining local influences with international trends to form their own unique style. Here, we take a look at the most distinct items worn by locals in Cape Town.
Boasting a subtropical climate, Cape Town is populated with trendy beachfront bars, cafés and restaurants, so expect to see lots of denim cut-offs, ripped jeans, cotton shorts, camis and T-shirts (especially slogan or picture tees) paired with flip-flops like Havaianas, sandals, sneakers or short boots.
During the colder months (April to August), Cape Town is lashed with heavy rains and biting-cold winds, so Capetonians love to layer up with long-sleeve tees, jerseys (cardigans), jackets or coats — although, it should always look stylish, not ridiculous. Riding boots, Hunters and Uggs are popular footwear choices to keep out the cold, while scarves and beanies are a must to keep warm (and your hair in place).
If your wardrobe contains many vintage pieces, you’ll fit right in as Cape Town fashionistas love to wear retro clothing sourced from their mothers’ closets or second-hand shops like Second Time Around. However, don’t wear vintage from head to toe! You’ll want to pair a lovely vintage blouse with a pair of skinny jeans and heels, or Granddad’s hat with a dress shirt, pants and lace-ups.
Beachwear is all about comfort and style with a bohemian flair, so flowy kaftans, beach dresses and sexy playsuits in light fabrics are all the rage. Get any of these in vibrant prints and throw on a flower crown or peak cap and you’ll be right on-trend for your next trip to Camps Bay.
Capetonians are crazy for sneakers. Nike, Adidas, Converse — you name it, they’ve got it. Name brand sneakers in a solid color or white are preferable and can be styled with almost any outfit.
African-inspired prints and fabrics in bright colors are hugely popular across the country and are found in local high-end designer boutiques like Merchants on Long, and in low-end stores like Mr Price. African prints are seen in practically all clothing, from dresses to accessories.
Accessories make the outfit, so complete your ensemble with either one accessory or as many as possible to truly shine as Cape Town fashionistas do. Capetonians never leave the house without their designer shades so be sure to get yourself a pair of Wayfarers, Ray-Bans or mirror shades. At a music festival or beach party, shades and hats are essential items, as well as layered bracelets and a necklace.