Hibiscus is a large, showy flower. See it on hair clips, purses, jewelry, camisoles and miniskirts. Diane von Furstenberg even has a lipstick named after the blossom.

"In their most basic sense, flowers are representative of things -- people we've loved, places we've been, places we'd like to be. They transport us on rainy days to warmer places," says Cammie Copps, co-owner of Warrenton, Va., florist Like Water for Tulips. "The hibiscus is quintessential tropical paradise." Don the bloom and suddenly you're drinking a mai tai at a pig roast instead of coffee on your commute.

The hibiscus is also this season's stripe, according to Kimberly Aylward, spokeswoman for catalogue merchant Garnet Hill. "People are tired of stripes." Plus, "it's very happy, retro and cool," she says. "It makes you think of jams and Billabong and Australian surf things. It has a built-in sense of coolness."

-- Janelle Erlichman Diamond

Faded floral printed top, $48 at Anthropologie.Hawaiian hibiscus hair clip, $10 at fredflare.com. Diane von Furstenberg lipstick in hibiscus, $18 at sephora.com. Moo Roo Lucy's Lunchbox purse, $590 at mooroo.com.Mod 8 hibiscus thong in petunia pink, apricot and lime, $54 at garnethill.com.

Mother-of-pearl flower pendant necklace, $38 at Banana Republic. ABS belted skirt, $162 at Saks Fifth Avenue. Fiji water, $1.69 at area grocers. Two-piece Liz Claiborne bathing suit, $80 at major department stores.