My love affair with tiki began by accident when I was doing some research about an artist named Shag who had done a cover for the Brian Setzer Orchestra. Noted here that at the time I was indulging in rockabilly, which led me to the discovery of big band, swing and the desire to rock vintage inspired fashions. Since then I have visited a few bars, downed strong alcoholic drinks from festive mugs [a couple of which were subsequently pirated] and become enamored by the aesthetics of tiki art. There is a decisively strong tropical tone that conjures images of a relaxing life filled with fresh fruits, pristine beaches and intriguing natives who worship strange deities. Tiki is its own subculture filled with people who boast kitschy collections and throw luaus complete with BBQ and plenty of “Hawaiian print” clothes. While most of these things are perceived as harmless, there is a difference between appreciating a culture and appropriating it, so be aware of what you wear least you be offensive because you dressed up as a race and are unaware of why that is not cool.
PINUP COUTURE: NETTI DRESS
A popular style of this notable pinup label, the Netti Dress is described as being cute and not too formal with a fit that compliments a variety of body shapes. Made from a comfortable stretch cotton poplin, this popular dress features a fabric design exclusive to Pinup Couture and bright orange accents in the form of a belt, adjustable straps and trim across the fitted bodice. Though meant for warmer weather, a pair of opaque tights in teal, kitten heel boots and a navy blue cardigan are all you need to transform it into appropriate fall fashion.
DEADLY DAMES: MALIBU TIKI DRESS
Channeling the classic Hawaiian dresses of the 1940s, the Malibu Tiki Dress has a fully built-in bullet bust with padding and is made from rich stretch satin. The bright blue is accented by huge pink flowers and dark blue leaves which enhance details such as the matching bolero, tulip skirt, adjustable straps and side tie.
PINUP GIRL CLOTHING: MAI TAI WRAP DRESS
A sophisticated way to wear a bold floral print is a wrap dress, and the flattering rayon of this Mai Tai Wrap Dress is lightweight with a slight crepe texture, and therefor it drapes beautifully on the body. The classic cut is emphasized with black piping, quarter sleeves and side pockets, while the color certainly coordinates with those that are associated with the Autumn season.
DIXIEFRIED: TIKI TWIST
Dixiefried does it again – Tiki Twist is a purist vintage reproduction with modern comfort in mind. The twist-front bodice is engineered to compliment any bust size, the back is smocked with elastic and the straps are adjustable to provide the best fit for every body. The skirt has a classic “tulip” shaped hem and is gathered sarong-style to create a faux wrap silhouette that shows just the right amount of leg. Though the print in the image above is sold out, it also comes in three others that are currently available – Red and Orange, Gold Tiki and Yellow Banana.
SOURPUSS: TIKI BANGLE BRACELETS
Tired of scouring antique stores for Bakelite bangle bracelets only to leave empty handed and feeling discouraged? Sourpuss has the remedy to cure your blues in the form of four festive vintage-inspired Tiki Bangle Bracelets that are etched with tiki faces and come in fabulous fall colors.
SOURPUSS: TIKI LULU PURSE
Mixing tiki with vintage kitsch is made easy with this bamboo handle purse, which features a green tiki print on black background, removable flower and magnetic snap closure.
Of course to have the full tiki experience, one must imbibe alcohol filled drinks, though the good news is that one is usually enough to have you feeling like you basking in the sun on an isolated beach. Here are a few generic recipes to help get you started.
- 1 1/2 oz light rum
- 1 oz dark rum
- 3/4 oz triple sec
- 1/2 oz amaretto
- 1 oz orange juice
- 1 0z pineapple juice
- 1/4 oz lime juices
Add rum, triple sec, amaretto and juices into a cocktail shaker with shaved or cracked ice. Shake and strain into an Old Fashioned glass, then top with soda and a splash of grenadine; garnish with a flag.
- 1 1/2 oz gin
- 1 oz lemon juice
- 1/4 oz triple sec
- 1/2 oz cherry brandy
- 2 0z club soda
Add gin, triple sec and lemon juice to ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake well and strain into tiki muck or Collins glass, then top with soda. Float brandy on top, then garnish with cherry and a lemon slice.
- 1 oz fresh lime juice
- 1 oz fresh lemon juice
- 2 oz orange juice
- 2 oz light rum
- 2 oz dark rum
Pour juices and rum into a pitcher filled with ice, then add slices of orange, lemon and pineapple. Stir until the mixture becomes frosty, then fill up your favorite tiki mug with the brew. Top with triple sec and grenadine; garnish with sprig of mint.
- 1/2 oz Bacardi 151
- 1 oz light rum
- 1 oz dark rum
- 1 oz lime juice
- 1 oz pineapple juice
- 1 0z orange juice
Combine everything but the 151 into a cocktail shaker with ice, shake well and then strain into a tall tiki mug. Float the 151 on top and garnish with fresh fruit or mint sprig.