Rolling down Beach Avenue on my cruiser in historic Cape May, New Jersey, I couldn’t help but slow down and dreamily admire the fine architecture and interesting homes that lined the streets. Said to be one of the oldest vacation destinations in the United States, the city of Cape May, which lies on the southernmost tip of New Jersey where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, is in its entirety a National Historic Landmark precisely due to this collection of colorful and quirky Victorian homes that date back to the late 1800s.
In the midst of checking out the ensembles of beachgoers and stealthily admiring the details of the pink bed-and-breakfasts, I started to realize that the two had a lot in common. Those who appreciate a well-made home, embellished with shoreside eccentricities and bright colors, also love a finely-made piece of clothing that can’t be found elsewhere and contain unique charms. If you’re looking for your newest beach gem – outfit, that is – use the same home whimsicalities you look for when you’re roaming the neighborhood.
1. A colorful Victorian is equal to a vibrant dress. Back home, you’re probably surrounded by whites, grays, and yellows – all neutral colors that are a fine fit for a classic neighborhood. But shoreside boroughs are like wild animals – these are never the colors of choice. Instead, owners choose to stand out by painting in turquoise, magenta, cobalt, and indigo. Get a little luxuriant with your summer wardrobe picks too – instead of opting for your classic colors, think outside the box and invest in the colors made for summer.
2. A well-stocked garden is akin to a brimming outfit. When you see shoreside homes worth rolling the windows down for, are they white Colonials with bushes lining the walkway or are they periwinkle mansions with gardens packed full of flowers, bushes, gnomes, wind chimes, and animals? I’m betting the latter. Rules run slim in summer fashion as well, so take advantage of it. Instead of omitting those funky accessories, go for it and pile on the bracelets, the new summer wedges, the designer bag, and the colorful dress. Pack your outfit full of all the beautiful pieces that match – don’t be shy and don’t be modest.
3. An offbeat home is kindred to an uncommon outfit. Cape May communities are no golf court colonies – instead, people make the most in trying to differentiate themselves from their neighbors, making for some colorful and customized homes where one will never be like the other. When choosing your ensembles for your shoreside days, don’t bother following the most recent trends to a T, but instead, get creative and customize so that you too can create something (or find something) that’s one of a kind.
4. A finely-detailed roof is the same as your best accessories. You’ll never see these million-dollar-plus beach homes with a hair out of place – or a brick, that is. Instead, every bit of these classic Victorians is customized to the highest degree and no detail is omitted. Details are what separates the fair from the fantastic. Accessories, the details of the home, are not to be forgotten either and invest in posh, grandiose pieces in shoes, earrings, necklaces, bags and bracelets because people always notice.
5. A misshapen home is similar to an angled dress. Building space is limited, which is why architects get artsy with their angles and makes homes fit and make sense in ways that often end up to be beautiful and distinguished. Get creative with your angles too – don’t have a closet full of all empire-waist dresses, but instead hold a collection of wrap dresses, cropped shirts and maxi skirts, high-neck dresses, and A-lines.