I am Natalie Lim Suarez. I'm a model based in NYC, as well as the creator of the blog Natalie Off Duty where I share stories of my life and personal style through fashion photography and writing. NatalieOffDuty.com has been live for over thirteen years now. It's where I have transitioned my career from modelling into working with brands on a whole new level creatively, and as myself completely. It's been my form of self-expression and expansion for me. I like to also tie in the performing arts into my work, like singing and dance. Every day, I am creating and I am so grateful for it.
You photographed the Sommer Swim edit in the Hamptons. Can you give us the insider guide to...
What to do
I love evening swims in the ocean in Amagansett. The beaches here are quiet and there is so much green and lush to soak in. I think The Hamptons is best seen on a bicycle.
Where to eat
Lunch at Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton. It's such an elegant boutique hotel with an all-white design with pops of color inside. I love sitting out on the porch. The veranda makes you feel at home. Plus, there's a great pool for really hot days!
Where to stay
The Reform Club in Amagansett is so beautiful and where I shot this story! I've spent weekends here and it's the absolute best. It sits on a residential street so it's amazing to just hop on one of the hotel's beach cruisers and explore the little side streets you wouldn't normally drive through. There are hammocks, a huge lawn to lay across in, and a gorgeous rose garden. It's just steps from the main area of restaurants and shopping. It's such a special spot.
What to wear
With my classic Sommer Swim in the Hamptons, I love to bring an oversized white shirt to toss over my shoulders, a baseball cap, and a cool pair of black goggle sunglasses. It's fun to give my minimal luxe swimwear a little bit of an All-American, preppy style that feels so Hamptons to me. The matching sarongs to my printed suits are also just amazing and the best beach coverup.
The best spot for a sunset cocktail
The Crow's Nest in Montauk. There's a little beach behind the restaurant, where you can sit and sip your cocktail at sunset time. It's picture perfect with a very elevated and bohemian feel. This place never gets old!
The best day spa for some Après-sun R&R
Gurney's Montauk is my favourite place to unwind. Get a massage and take a dip in the indoor pool overlooking the ocean. I also love weekends at Gurney's Montauk! You're right on the beach so you never have to leave the resort.
You juggle many different hats in your career. Where do you look to or what actions do you take to feel creatively inspired for each new project?
At the end of the day, I want to feel like the best version of myself and so I make decisions based on that. And I like to have a challenge creatively that allows me to go beyond boundaries and think outside the box. Working with great people is also a must. It's so fulfilling when you have great relationships and a great team. Also, I am all about taking down time to rest and reconnect with just yourself which means putting down your phone and being present. I feel you have to have balance in life to get things done.
What are your greatest career highlights/achievements so far?
I am so grateful to work with my sister Dylana. We have created our own content since day one and continue to evolve and grow. I loved having our Sephora sister's ad campaign run in stores all over the country and even here in Times Square. That was a major pinch-me moment. To grow together personally and professionally has been such a gift. I really love design and have worked on some amazing product partnerships as well, one being my clothing collection at Macy's. It's a retailer where you can also find our fragrance, Natalie Dylana Eau de Parfum. I'm excited about what's to come next!
Who or what inspires your own sense of style?
I'm really inspired by the places I go and I love adapting to my surroundings with style yet completely making it my own.
What are some of your favourite summer trends of the season, and how /where could you see yourself wearing them?
I am all about a visor and baseball hat. I wear it to the beach, I wear it on my bicycle, and I love it for running errands. It's the best sun protection and adds a cool, down-to-earth feel to any look.
What are three essential items you pack for a summer vacation?
I love an oversize white shirt to throw over a bikini, a straw/leather bag that I will wear everywhere, and a really great SPF.
Your best advice to others wanting to mix and match colours and prints would be?
I am all about mixing and matching! I think with swimwear, you can have fun with it. Mix and match and go for a really simple pair of sunglasses, and classic jewellery. There are no rules with swim. Just wear what you feel most comfortable and free in because that's really what it's all about.
Which pieces from Sommer Swim's Summer "22 RESORT WEAR collection are you most drawn to? Where do you see yourself wearing these?
The Lumi Sarong Wrap Skirt is a piece I'll wear by the pool, and also to dinner with a cute kitten heel. It's such a versatile piece. I'd even wrap it as a tube top with a high-waisted linen trouser and belt! I am also so drawn to the Uma Bralette Top and Hana Cheeky Bottom in Rum. The shape is perfect and I love the fit of the bottoms. I would wear it with an oversized shirt, or a navy cardigan around my shoulder on chilly nights.