Summertime, and the Livin’ Is Easy

Look for casual styles and colors from the beach and the ice cream shop


This summer, pet fashions are experiencing the re-birth of casual wear in a myriad of fun colors that reflect the long lazy days and warm moonlit nights.


“Dogs will probably breathe a big sigh and pant in relief to once again be wearing a cotton tank tops – and still be considered leaders of the fashion pack,” says Caroline Leedom of Ruff Ruff and Meow in Los Angeles, California.

“Yes summer is definitely going to be casual as opposed to very dressy,” says designer Cheryl Ng of FouFou Dog in Ontario , Canada . “Our summer line is all about functional clothes. I think the whole costume dressy theme is on the way out. Dog owners are looking for more functional and practical outfits to dress their dogs.”

Once again pet couture is following on human fashion trends and focusing on natural fabrics like cotton and highlighting colors such as pale gold, and rich cream and soft ice-cream shades. However, once again designers are adding to the fashion spectrum by placing their bets that everything pink will be hot sellers.

“Pink never goes out of style in the canine closet,” says Ng. “There’s just going to be more of it around than ever before. Baby pink is always a winner and this year we’ve added striped pink and coral shades to our collection. They are excellent colors for terry toweling tracksuits and hoodies.”

So get ready for , candy pink, rose pink, hot pink, coral, striped pink, prints in pink, tie-dyed pinks and floral pinks because as far as the pet set is concerned, pink is the new black – and its crossing gender barriers too…


“It’s definitely a winner and I don’t think its ever going to go away,” says Cynthia Waldenmaier of Hyde Bark Fashions in Cincinnati , Ohio .


“Flowers are definitely hot,” confirms Leedom. “Not to mention flower prints with a slew of new sayings like “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful” and “Southern Belle”.


“The latest new style is matching doggie and human tanks,” say Leedom. “People were just discovering this look last spring. And as summer approaches, this look is going to get even hotter.”

Once again doggy designs are hot on the trail of human fashions.


“We have styled our doggie tank tops were cut to look just like the wife beaters from the Fifties. The kind of thing James Dean or a young Marlon Brando would have worn,” explains Leedom.


Harness dresses and harness tank tops are also going to make a great impact on the latest trends because once again they combine function with fashion. Retailers are advised to stock up on this look and punt how fashion and function that be combined and work well together.


Another hot fashion trend taking off is coordinated separates allowing pet parents to add their own sense of fashion and style to what their pet wears.

Lara Alameddine of Little Lily in Los Angeles , California introduced her mix and match looks with her winter 2006 range and has carried forward the idea for her current Dream -Cruise Collection .

“ It’s all about building your dog’s wardrobe and dressing them as you would dress yourself,” explains Alameddine.“ For example, a basic skirt with three tops and a couple of belts can produce numerous combinations. The whole feel of the collection will be casual elegance.”

Alameddine is sticking closely to the color schemes punted by human fashion designers and the whole range focuses on what she describes as “soft shades you’d find at the beach.”

Tiki Beauzay of Gidget Gear by Tiki in Sarasota, Florida is also punting the mix and match look and combining solid colors with tie-dyed fabrics.

“Nylon mesh tie-dyed tops worn with nylon mesh pants in solid colors are going to be very trendy for spring. I think mesh fabric is great for the warmer weather. It’s allows pups to be cool but still offers sun protection.”

Beauzay, who has designed three tops in a tie-dyed explosion of turquoise and hot pink — a tank, a short-sleeved T-shirt and one with a bell sleeve, says that Hawaiian shirts are also going to be a popular item to transition into summer.

And in keeping with the casual leisure theme of the season, pajamas in cool cottons are going to be another wardrobe ‘must-have’.

Last year, the company launched their Sleepy Boyfriend pajamas in pale blue. They have repeated them for the coming season and have added matching Sleepy Girlfriend “jammies” in pale pink and white.

“I’m making them for people too and I will be most certainly wearing them to match my dog,” says Beauzay. “They’re great for casual evenings and of course slumber parties.”

Leedom is predicting that another hot item is the doggie bandana.


“More and more dogs are becoming fashionistas and that means larger breeds too. Doggie bandanas add a sense of fashion fun for all breeds irrespective of size. While our doggy “wristbands” have a definite Hip Hop influence. They are meant to be worn on just one paw – like the young boys do- not on all four paws- like Jane Fonda in a jazzercise class.”


Despite all the pastels and hues of pink, the camouflage look is going to be hot. Not only in traditional army greens but also in a beige, white and black combination. It’s a complete look when combined with matching collars, leashes and canvas carriers.


Despite the season certain parts of the country still experience their fair share of chilly and wet days and retailers would do well to stock up on some raincoats in pastel shades and also some ponchos.

“I thank Martha Stewart for keeping the poncho trend alive,” says Marilyn Hikida of Barking Baby in Los Angeles . Calif. “Ponchos in a soft cotton knit are perfect for cooler evenings and are a easy casual look for pups to wear.”

There’s a lot happening this season, and like all good boy scouts, retailers should be prepared!

  1. •Considering having a Summer Fashion Show to announce your latest fashions and styles with proceeds going to a local animal shelter.
  2. •Contact your local newspaper and set up a photo shoot with a dog wearing one of the latest styles that you are promoting teamed up with a matching carrier and other accessories such as a collar and leash.
  3. •Potted plants adorned with spring blooms are a quick and easy way to add a touch of color in store.
  4. •If there is an ice-cream store, nearby ask if they will distribute flyers offering a discount to patrons who visit your store to view your “ice-cream” colors for the season.
  5. •Keep an arrangement of fresh flowers at the register and hand one to customers to say “thank you” for purchasing.

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