Dressing to the Nines – Part II


Last week we began looking at the list of nine items Neiman Marcus had selected as their top nine looks for the spring season.  The first four items were: pink, one-shoulder dressing, snakeskin and statement shoes.  This week we will complete the list.

RUFFLES come in every size, configuration and fabric.  This season handbags even feature ruffles.  Mark Jacobs has a large bag with slight ruffles on the flap while a bag designed by Valentino features what appears to be a rose in soft leather ruffles covering the entire front of the bag.  Clothing ranges from multiple rows of tiny ruffles to something simple with just an accent of pleated ruffles.  They can be tiered or cut on the bias.  Most anyone can find something that will work, even if you are the all out sporty type who just wants a touch of femininity.  The key will be to choose the scale and intensity of the ruffle that harmonizes with your body scale

Dressing to the Nines


As you know, Neiman Marcus chooses their top fashion trends for the coming seasons.  This year they have chosen nine looks for spring.

  1. Pink
  2. One-shoulder dressing
  3. Snakeskin accessories
  4. Statement shoes
  5. Ruffles
  6. Carryalls
  7. Colorful cardigans
  8. Graphics
  9. Bold jewelry

Let’s look at each item on the list and see if this could add an updated punch to your wardrobe.

PINK has been featured several times over the last few years, but this year is emphasizing hot pinks.  Jewelry, handbags, belts and shoes in hot pink are being shown in many fashion magazines.  Clothing is shown in blush tones as well as the hot pink.  You probably have some pink in your closet so you might be able to pop it by adding a belt, a snappy pair of shoes, or a blouse.  If your coloring is toasted (warm) try coral as your “pink”.   The warmer tone will give the same light, feminine effect as hot pink but will work much better with your warm coloring.

ONE-SHOULDER dresses and tops are a new style being shown in all the fashion publications.  This is a look with some real pizzazz but is not that easy to wear.  Consider what undergarment you are going to wear with it.  You certainly don’t want straps showing but most ladies need some support.    Before buying this new trend, try it on with the proper undergarment, look at the back as well as the front and then decide if this is a look for you.

SNAKESKIN ACCESSORIES add a lot of versatility to your accessory wardrobe.  Because snakeskin has a range of colors, it can be worn with a wider range of clothing colors than a solid color.  It can also go fairly dressy and fairly casual, offering many occasions where it can be worn.  One thing to keep in mind is pattern.  Since the snakeskin is a pattern itself, be careful when pairing it with a patterned garment that it harmonizes and doesn’t “fight” with the garment.

STATEMENT SHOES are still a big fashion item.   Extremely high heels and platforms are widely featured as well as more variations of the high vamp.   Many of the vamps extend several inches above the ankle.   This is definitely a trendy look so I would be surprised if it sustains for many more seasons. Sprained ankles and damaged feet are often a very real byproduct.  I always wonder how much fun is it to dance with someone who is a head shorter?  All joking aside, the high vamps really shorten the leg so; unless you have very long legs, take time to assess the proportions when considering some of these styles.  I know that many ladies love their Jimmy Choos and Louboutins but, these designers do have less trendy shoes in their lines, so might it be wiser to choose a great classic style that will carry you through another season without looking dated?


We will discuss the last five items in next week’s blog.  Don’t forget to first shop in your closet for those forgotten items that will launch you right into the spring season!

What is Style?

Jacqueline de Ribes: contessa, designer, fashion icon, on the International Best Dressed List for many years.

I just reread a book that I first read some twenty years ago when it was fresh off the press titled The Power of Style. The authors spent four years researching archives of such publications as Vogue, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Town and Country as well rare book shops to amass a collection of a hundred stylish women. They narrowed this list down to just fourteen ladies. Curiously, neither movie stars nor royalty were included. So what seemed to be the common denominator that resulted in these fourteen women being selected? People have different opinions about what constitutes style. For example, Jacqueline de Ribes was quoted to say, “Style is what makes you different,” while Givenchy advised, “With style, you must stay as you are.” Coco Chanel, probably the greatest lady of style of the twentieth-century, commented that “Fashion changes – style remains.” Let’s look at some of the ladies who were chosen. Elsie de Wolfe is known as the first interior decorator, transforming the dark, somber interiors of the 1920’s into light and cheerful rooms filled with Chintz. She came from a middle class background and was, in her own words, “ugly”. At about the age of twenty, she spent time in Scotland with relatives complete her education and being introduced to society. After discarding her drab school uniform to be fitted with appropriate dresses, she discovered that the lovely, soft colors of her new dresses in silk, linen and cashmere transformed her appearance and revealed a delightful figure. She decided that she need never again be ugly. Elsie de Wolfe was a gifted interior designer and an adept businesswoman but she perfected her style by recognizing who she was and what colors and styles best complimented her. Her focus was on her positive attributes and never seemed to go back and dwell on those she did not possess.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Jacqueline Kennedy Oanssis was also one of the fourteen women featured. She had an incredible sense of style. In looking over photos of her clothing during the campaign and the time she served as First Lady, it was easy to see that each garment was designed for the same person. She had a skeletal line (her bone structure was prominent) so she selected designs that looked like sculptures, beautifully complimenting her line. She was a reserved, private person and her clothes reflected this – nothing flamboyant but refined and elegant. I don’t believe I have ever seen a photo where she was not appropriately dressed for the occasion. It is evident that she understood her own personal style and remained true to it. The book also included ladies like Diana Vreeland, fashion editor for Harper’s Bazaar and later Vogue, Coco Chanel, and the Duchess of Windsor. Some ladies were great beauties, others not. Some came from common, disadvantaged backgrounds, others from wealth.

Diana Vreeland

All of them had excellent social skills but I think what truly gave them style, is that each woman knew who she was and built upon that knowledge. Some, like Elsie de Wolfe, accepted that she was not a beauty but emphasized those attributes that were outstanding. Each lady, recognized her “personal style” and made the most of it, thus, each was chosen as an icon of style during the twentieth century. Now, let’s look at the seeming contradictory statements defining style from the first of this article – “Style is what makes you different” and “With style, you must stay as you are.” If you know your individual style, you will be uniquely you, having a different style than others while at the same time, staying true to who you are. Thus, the quote from Coco Chanel rings true, “Fashion changes – style remains.”