Beyond the Pashmina

 

How many times have you been at a gathering, trying to hold your pashmina on your shoulders to keep from freezing while juggling a glass of wine and plate of snacks?  Not only is it impossible, but there is no way to look poised and polished in the process.  Now, I love my pashminas but there has to be a better way to ward off the chill of air conditioning and still look stylish.  Fortunately, this year has introduced many options.

There is always the standby of a denim jacket for a casual event.  Last winter designers introduced the denim jacket for wear over formal evening wear but I draw the line on that concept.  Denim is a sporty, casual fabric so will be appropriate with a cotton dress or casual slacks ensemble.  I have a white denim jacket with little floral appliqué scattered randomly about.  The white and the appliqué make the jacket less sporty but I always keep the theme consistent.

Sweaters have become a wardrobe essential.  The shrugs and short cardigans are perfect for covering bare arms while keeping arms and hands free.  Slip on a shrug or cardigan and you can completely change the look of a dress or top.  Great versatility!

One of my favorite options is the wide variety of large scarves, wraps and a new item, the Ruana.  Pop on one of these and transform that little black dress or neutral outfit into a  stunning fashion  statement.

 

Forties Revisited

 

Do you remember watching old ‘40’s films with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dancing their way through the story?  Or, have you looked at pictures of your mother or grandmother and giggled at the funny clothes?  Well, they’re back!

Surprisingly, there is very little difference between the peplum dresses of 2012 and the ones of the 1940’s.  Now if you are lucky enough to have some of these dresses stashed away in a trunk, don’t get too excited about recycling unless you want to go vintage.  As you have guessed, there is enough style difference that the practiced eye will be able to distinguish between “new” and “old”.

Kate Middleton has been seen looking stylish in a peplum suit, which is most flattering for her hourglass figure.

If you are thinking of adding this new/old fashion to your wardrobe, the choices are seemingly endless. There is something becoming to most any body shape. I even found one dress shown among the peplum dresses that would be beautiful for an oval body shape.  Only a triangle will find it difficult to wear a peplum without accentuating her larger hips.

The white peplum dress with the short skirt would be perfect for a shapely hour glass or figure 8 with a small waist.  Notice how the shoulders balance the peplum, accentuating a small waist.  The other white dress with the added fabric at the hips would work beautifully for an inverted triangle.  This added width would balance slim hips with wider shoulders.

The pink sleeveless dress has a hint of a high peplum and would work well for a rectangle.  It just skims over the waist and draws attention toward the bust.  The turquoise dress is quite versatile and could be worn by an hour glass, figure 8, rectangle

 

Shoe Shock

 

This spring I have felt a bit like Alice wandering through Wonderland in seeing the  spring shoe collections.

Just when we thought shoes could not get more extreme, the spring collections prove us wrong.   Not only has this trend continued with women’s shoes, it has invaded the men’s market.  Who would have ever thought of seeing a man wearing lime green bucks?  What’s even more surprising is that Brooks Brothers, the icon of conservatism, is offering them!

Prada, the most consistent purveyor or extreme styles, has done it again.  Extending the racecar theme from their clothing line, they are embellishing high-heeled sandals with flames and featuring rocket-like tubes of lipstick on heels.  Quirky but fun if you are in the market to make such an investment.

Christian Louboutin is featuring men’s loafers covered with spikes and women’s heels with spikes on the toes.  These might come in handy if you are walking down a dark alley in an unsavory area of town but they don’t appear very user-friendly.  One definitely wouldn’t want to wear them to any meeting or event where you wish to be approachable!

For all of you who love the extreme and want to wear a conversation piece of footwear, make it work by letting that be the whole statement.  Understate everything else, showcasing the shoes.  You won’t need jewelry or large handbag.  Contrary to our usual principle of drawing the eye to your face for that first impression, your feet will take center stage.  In order to bring that attention back to you, you are going to have to be at your best, showing your most vibrant, bubbly personality.  These shoes are not for the quiet, retiring person who prefers to stay in the background!

Lime green bucks might be great fun for the advertising or artist type of man.  You might even pop in a lime pocket square to carry out the look if you have warm coloring.  For those of you with cool coloring, take a look at the raspberry and brown wingtips Cole Haan is offering.  If you find these a bit too obvious but want to express your individuality, try unique socks like  Jean Yves Thibaudet, world renown concert pianist.  His “uniform” is a tux so he wears red socks.  Above all be yourself.

“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of someone else.”  Judy Garland

 

Skirts Back in the Spotlight

 

Trend-setters in the fashion world are turning to skirts to make them cutting edge with fashionistas.  After seasons of skinny jeans and dresses, the skirt is poised to be the one item that will update a wardrobe.  To quote Marshall Cohen, chief analyst with the research firm NPD Group, “The skirt has become the new hot toy for women to play with in fashion.”

Stores are offering a plethora of style choices: flared minis, knife-pleated midis, below-the-knee pencil shapes and A-line.  Mix in prints of every description and you have choices beyond your wildest dream.

Skirts can be a great solution for those for whom it seems nearly impossible to find trousers that fit (translation:  90+% of women).  I like minis worn with tights  and think they look best on younger wearers.  A pencil skirt is a great choice for the oval or rectangle body shape.  Pair with an over blouse, sweater or tunic top and you are good to go.  Flared, pleated, or A-lines are great fashions for the triangle as well as inverted triangle.  A triangle wants to camouflage their wider hips while the inverted triangle is seeking to visually balance narrow hips with wider shoulders.  Fuller skirts are more flattering for most people when on a yolk to keep the waist area smooth.

A good rule of thumb is to keep either the top or bottom fitted.  An unfitted top worn over a full skirt makes one look more like a blob than a fashionista.

When choosing a skirt, think of various pairings with tops and jackets.  The fun of a skirt is its versatility.  See how many different looks you can make out of one garment.

Update with a Jacket

 

By now you are probably thinking about spring wardrobe and how to create a new look for this season.  If you have been reading my blogs for any time, you know that my motto is to go shopping in your own closet first.

If you have good basics, go for a jacket or sweater.  These will provide warmth for transitional weather in spring or icy air-conditioned room in summer.  It also gives a more polished look and adds interesting variety.

A jeans jacket is probably already hanging in your closet.  Of course you can wear it with jeans, but have you thought of adding a jeans jacket to you’re fun skirt or dress?  Pop up the collar and roll the sleeves one notch to add a little panache.   For a little more sophistication, choose one in a color.

Shrugs work really well with sleeveless dresses.  Or you can add a short, fitted sweater.   For a full skirt, keep it fitted to accentuate your waist.  You could wear either the shrug or sweater with other things for versatility.

If you are an oval or a rectangle, bypass the waist completely.   Proportion is key.  You want a one-third to two-thirds ratio.  The orange example would have the one-third at the top while the blue would have two-thirds at the top.  Sweaters or jackets that bypass the waist will look best worn with something close- fitting.

Start by evaluating your spring wardrobe with a fresh eye.  What jackets or sweaters might pair with what you already have.  Imagine other pieces might be fun.  Then decide what color works for you and will give you the most versatility.   When you actually go shopping, keep your goal in mind.  It is easy to get sidetracked and find that unbelievable item that you can’t live without —- but it goes with nothing in your closet!

Happy hunting!