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Ibiza style and dressing for the White Island17th June 2023

When we go on holiday it’s only natural that we might want to look like a native of wherever we are. So how do you dress to look the part in Ibiza?

I’ve lived in Ibiza for around 17 years and the style has always been what’s called moda adlib. While this essentially translates into the kind of bohemian or hippy chic we’re all familiar with — floaty dresses often white, cowboy boots, turquoise jewellery, for example — moda adlib is more about anything goes.

Ibiza style often looks the way it does because it’s rooted in the era of the 1960s and 70s when the first bohemians and hippies arrived on the island. But they were certainly not trying to create a uniform style. Exactly the opposite.

It’s all about having your own style. Which is very cool.


Liberated by Ibiza

I grew up in the US and spent most of my childhood between Amarillo Texas, an eccentric town that’s home to the surreal Cadillac Ranch, commissioned by my Great-Uncle Stanley and bohemian Boulder, Colorado. So moving to the island was, for me, a bit like coming home. I felt I was meeting the same kind of freaks as I’d grown up with and it was freeing.

Especially since I’d been working in Paris as a model for several years before I arrived here. In Paris, I always felt like I had to dress up and put on make-up just to go down the street to the store.

Dressing up in Ibiza is just impractical. For instance, if you wear high heels you’re going to sink into the sand on your way to a beach club or hobble on the cobbles of Ibiza Old Town. Much better to wear sandals, trainers or go barefoot.

Unlike most other resorts, you’re more comfortable in Ibiza if you don’t make any effort. It’s all about dressing to your real identity and never feeling judged.


The lady and the lord

Just to give you some idea of how things are in Ibiza, there’s a woman I see all the time who’s always dressed up to the nines at 11am. Even if she’s just going to buy a loaf of bread. You can see that she just loves to dress the way she does.

Then there’s this English lord. If you saw him on the street you’d think he was a homeless person. But he actually owns lots of property in England and Ibiza. You can just see he’s so happy because he can dress however he wants and carry his straw bag with pride.

Seeing these two, and many other colourful characters, always makes me smile. They’re inspiring. 


Sourcing Ibiza style

If I want something nice to wear to a party I always go to Dora Herbst Ibiza Fashion or Piluca Bayarri.

Dora came to the island around 50 years ago from Germany to become a surrealist painter. When she first arrived, she was hanging out with Pink Floyd and all kinds of legends from that wild era.

In the beginning, Dora wasn’t a designer. She began making her own clothes because she couldn’t find what she wanted. People would see her in one of her dresses and ask where she got it from. When she said she’d made it herself, they asked if she could make one for them too.

Nowadays, Dora has a gorgeous little boutique at Marina Botafoch on the opposite side of the bay from Ibiza Town next to Restaurante Il Giardinetto. She still makes dresses out of beautiful material by hand in her apartment as well as coats, jackets and cool accessories.

Dora also has an online store so you can arrive in Ibiza dressed in one of her creations.

Piluca’s designs are also flamboyant and colourful, and you can feel the “Spanish” in her designs. Her dresses are what I’d call a kind of hippy flamenco style, and the all white ones are pure class. Like Dora, she makes her beautiful clothes on the island by hand and she also has an online store.

When I’m on the beach or by the pool, I only ever wear a tanga or a string. Along with everyone else who lives here. I buy mine from the legendary Janne Ibiza. She was the island’s first GoGo dancer in the island’s first club, Lola’s.

Janne’s website tells the fascinating story of how she came to Ibiza and started making tangas in 1970. It suggests that she may even have invented the tanga: 

Janne may well have been one of the creators of the tanga, which many think comes from Brazil. She made her first tanga for a character called Juan Carlos who used to roll up his shorts to get a buttock tan. Janne designed him a brief and the fad soon caught on. Juan Carlos went to Rio de Janeiro in 1972 and showed off his tanga on Copacabana beach but lo and behold the Brazilians weren’t impressed. He was arrested and thrown into jail. Go to the same beach now and you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who’s NOT wearing a tanga.

Today Janne makes and sells her swimwear in Formentera after having sold her unique pieces directly on the beach Ses Salinas for the past 50 years. She also has an online store.  

So, if you want to get a head start on your eclectic Ibiza style, you can. But it might be more fun to decide when you get here and go moda adlib all the way.


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