Shots fired in Paradise!
Just when I had dug my toes in the sand and gotten comfortable…..shots were fired in Paradise! Did you hear them? There is a battle going on in Paradise and your wardrobe closet and wallet are the battle grounds! You may think from reading that I have had a few too many Mai Tai’s but it is true and at least for now I am completely sober on this warm, Sunny and beautiful tropical Florida Friday.
A battle has begun on a number of fronts between what has long been considered a tropical staple in the clothing, decor, restaurants and other areas known as Tommy Bahama and that group of Gypsies in the Palace known as Margaritaville. It started slow with restaurants. Tommy Bahama had only a handful of restaurants and Margaritaville also started slowly in Major cities. While Tommy Bahama concentrated on well know resort cities where it could incorporate both the clothing and signature food, Margaritaville went to major cities and included a gift shop in their restaurants selling everything from bumper stickers to beer coozies.
A few years ago Tommy Bahama atarted to expand their clothing retail operation and restaurants to include more resort cities so people could enjoy the clothing line, home decor, and signature menu while visiting some of their favorite tropical locations. Margaritaville also began to expand to what could be considered “port cities” known for their boating culture and warm beaches during season. Margaritaville also opened a hotel and began dabbling in the Hard Rock Cafe and Hotel path. While Margaritaville was known mostly for their T-shirts and Jimmy Buffet inspired souvenirs, they never really crossed into what could be considered the luxury market that Tommy Bahama has held the crown to for so long.
This is where the battle has begun. recently Margaritaville has begun selling “luxury” clothing and footwear in resort gift shops and hotels, online and in major retailers. Silk and linen camp shirts much like Tommy Bahama’s well known embroidered camp shirts began springing up in Florida recently. As for the shirts the prices are comparable to Tommy Bahama shirts and clothing you are already familiar with. They have Jimmy Buffet inspired sayings and graphics on the back. On the linen shirts they are partially embroidered and partially screen printed like some of Tommy Bahama’s recent releases. They come in almost every tropical color and size.There are Margaritaville baseball hats in the Tommy Bahama style, pants, socks and most recently footwear. The footwear is luxury based much like Tommy Bahama’s and made with leather, linen and other tropical style materials. They use the basket weave and woven leather style to accent their footwear and most is adorned with the familiar Margaritaville logo on the top and possibly a pattern on the sole. For short trips or for looks around town these sandals are great. But for function on the beach stick with Olukai’s. Much Like Tommy Bahama’s footwear these sandals and shoes are not made for long walks through resort towns or for getting wet from the ocean or sand in them. They are strictly fashion wear. Where the difference between Tommy Bahama footwear and Margaritaville footwear comes in is you will rarely find Tommy Bahama footwear at a famous footwear or outlet store near you. Yet it seems Margaritaville chose this as a strategy to get their footwear on the market quicker. Almost every famous footwear and outlet shoe store we have been in carries some sort of recent release from Margaritaville. MAke your own assumptions about quality from there. We admit we have a pair of Margaritaville sandals in our closet from a Famous Footwear and got them back in our experimental days where we went on a quest for the perfect flip flop. But they rarely get used because of the functionality issues.
You will also begin to see the Margaritaville logo on everything from Margarita makers which you would expect to seasonings and Tervis tumbler bar ware now much like Tommy Bahama. These can be found at almost every Bed Bath and Beyond these days it seems or at Tommy Bahama and Margaritaville stores.
So choose your side or enjoy both. For us it is hard to see Margaritaville as anything more than Parrothead wear for tailgating and getting comfortable in case we find ourselves asleep in a hammock somewhere, Mai Tai in hand. Tommy Bahama for us still has more of an upscale island vibe while still being extremely comfortable and looking classy.