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Malibu’s style file

From the canyons to the beaches, Malibu made a splash this summer–especially on the fashion front. While Hollywood hipsters make their way down Melrose sporting nose rings, tattoos and basic black, ocean lovers operated on a different wave length with a style all their own.

Dressed in a flowing, flowery frock and well-worn cowboy boots, Leslie Clark of Topanga describes her look as “hippie chic.”

For Lilly Harfouche, it’s strictly bohemian. “I go for a lot of mixes–denim dresses and mini skirts,” she explains. “Malibu has a very personal style–very active. What we worry about is: Can we wear it to the beach?”

On the sand, sexy one-piece swimsuits with cutouts were all the rage, and for those lucky enough to wear them–racy thong bikinis.

At Surfrider Beach, one look never goes out of style and neither do the names. O’Neil and Quicksilver are favorites as well as black and Day-Glo wetsuits, colorful jams and baggies to go with the most important accessory of all–a well-waxed board.

Tommy Bahama is another name to know, and almost everything has a beach theme. You’d find shirts with sailboats, hibiscus, hula dancers and ’50s style pin-up girls, printed flip-flops, fish knapsacks and even Bird of Paradise and bamboo silk ties.

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“Anything Hawaiian was huge,” says Sue Moreno.

Aside from prints, wide-leg drawstring pants and matching pastel tops sell right away. “One hundred percent silk or rayon really wears well and it doesn’t wrinkle,” notes Moreno. ” Look at how cute these are for older ladies,” she says pointing out a comfy looking two-piece. “You know, not everyone can wear a size two.”

At Indiana Joan’s, there are lightweight ankle-length dresses, batik-style sarongs, camouflage shorts and platform sandals along with accent pieces like glittery hoop earrings, tear drops and bangles.

“We sold a lot of body jewelry,” says Kelly Karpan. “Things like toe rings and crystal tattoos that you stick on your belly button.”

Some Malibu merchants carry current trends right out of MTV. Madonna’s western style is still hanging on with big buckled cowboy belts, low-rise pants, tummy baring tops and rhinestone tees. Sadly, some retro styles won’t fade away like goggle-sized Shaft sunglasses and Superfly shades.

At Malibu Lifestyles, the look is classic.

“We carry soft casual clothing and choose colors for every season. This summer it was rose, yellow and pistachio,” said Alex Andrews. “Men also go in for a little color, but it’s a nice, easy style with linen, terry cloth and cotton.”

Jeans are among the flat-out favorites. “Malibu is all about jeans,” says Joanne Tsang. “I wear jeans and T-shirts all the time. You can add a little jewelry and even a romantic top–anything as long as it’s cool and chic.”

If you want to look cool and chic, it’s not too late and you’ll find many summer styles on sale. After that, get ready to get out those UGGS because the rest of the season is sure to fly by and those autumn leaves are right around the corner.

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