New York Fashion Week Launches Spring

 

Letterman Jackets. Back to school.
Letterman Jackets. Back to school.

It’s that time of year again! Designers through-out the globe are ready to show their visions of how we should look for the upcoming season. New York was last week then on to Milan and Paris.

New York was much more abuzz with social media than what models were wearing. It was all about creating excitement with sets and technology broadcasting the show out on Instagram . As you might imagine, the younger designers, seemed to shine the brightest in their execution of technology to promote their fresh, new designs.

There were many trends. It seemed each report that I reviewed, had a slightly different list. Since this show was just New York, there will no doubt be some differences and some consolidation what is truly going to be the new trend.

Sleeves and longer length. It's a home run!
Sleeves and longer length. It’s a home run!

Bomber Jackets or school letter jackets appear in the traditional styles to be worn casually with jeans or made of the same fabric as slacks for a more sophisticated casual look. If you are a sporty type, this could be a fun look to wear. If you are elegant, dramatic, or feminine, it probably won’t work.

0400089180233_247x329Off the Shoulder is popular with many designers. We have not seen this look for some time so it is fun and fresh.   The key will be to wear the right bra. A no-bra look only works at the beach so good support and no straps visible are key.

I noticed focus on two colors. Orange is back in the spotlight again, ranging from bright orange to a salmon. These are usually best worn if you have warm-toned coloring. Orange is also a very strong color, making it memorable. You won’t be choosing orange for your basic to wear frequently.   The other emerging color trend was described by one reporter as “murky”.     This dress in Bordeaux is a perfect example .

The new "murky" colors.
The new “murky” colors.

Good news for most everyone!   Sleeves are coming back.   How long has it been since you have seen sleeves on a dress? It is also the missing component in clothing that I hear the most complaints about. Some collections went to extremes with old- fashioned mutton-leg styles. Yes, this was even pre-Downton Abbey!   Other collections offered some very creative ways to cover part of the arm such as the off-shoulder and the charming little stylized cap sleeve of the orange dress.

Versatile, wear-ever skirt in longer length.
Versatile, wear-ever skirt in longer length.

The last new trend will be welcome to most everyone over 30. Longer skirts! It is exciting to think of choosing a new dress without having to strategize how to cover 6” of thigh and still look professional.   Since longer skirts can look dowdy, look at yourself in the mirror from all angles and take a selfie. If it doesn’t seem to be your ideal length, longer skirts can always be shortened. Sometimes just below the knee is a good length and sometimes longer. We each have our “sweet spot” for the skirt length that looks best so don’t think you have to take it as-is!  

A Look at Feet this Spring

Sales are virtually over. Enter spring!

Utilitarian look.
Utilitarian look.

My mailbox brings new looks on a daily basis. The shoes have especially intrigued me this spring. What woman doesn’t love shoes?   I surely fall into that category but it is not without its challenges.   I wear a narrow width which is more and more difficult to find.   Fortunately, Marmi in Lenox Square, carries a nice array of narrow and wide widths at prices that don’t require a bank loan!

What has struck me this spring is that so many shoe styles have a heavy, utilitarian look.   They might be the perfect choice for traveling in Europe where you know you will be walking 20 miles each day but not the best complement for a pretty spring dress. The weekend Wall Street Journal featured a “slip dress” as a new look. Of course, these dresses have been seen for several seasons as a novelty look but have never quite made it to the mainstream.

Oxford.  Good look for masculine suit or slack look.
Oxford. Good look for masculine suit or slack look.

By definition, a slip dress is of satin with lace trim looking just like a traditional slip from years gone by. What I found incongruous was they were paired with oxfords! How does that work? Why not choose strappy sandals to support the delicate, feminine look of the slip dress?

If you want to add visual weight to your feet, this is a way to do it.
If you want to add visual weight to your feet, this is a way to do it.

The sandal pictured, with the heavy heel needs to be worn with something heavy. The wide straps, thick platform and bulky heel add visual weight to one’s feet. These would never work for a petite person or one with delicate bone structure. Neither would the Mary Janes. They would probably be great walking shoes or utilitarian every-day run to the store, take the kids to the park kind of shoe. Utilitarian is the perfect word to describe them.   There is no way these shoes can be dressed up to meet a friend for lunch or dinner.

Practical Mary Jane.  Not much style but utilitarian.
Practical Mary Jane. Not much style but utilitarian.

Notice how the pointed toes add visual leg length.   The sling back pump would work for many people. A mid-heel is a wearable heel height while still looking dressy. This style will be sturdy enough to complement a suit or light enough to wear with a dress. One advantage of a sling back is that they offer a great fit for those challenged by trying to fit a narrow heel.

Dressy and versatile.  Works with suits or dresses.
Dressy and versatile. Works with suits or dresses.

Almost everyone needs at least one pair of comfortable, every day shoes. That may be one of the first shoes you add to your wardrobe. Next, I would suggest a shoe that will give you the greatest flexibility in ways you can wear it. To get the greatest mileage for your investment, I suggest choosing a shoe that will go with a wide variety of outfits in your wardrobe. That way, you always have the right pair of shoes to go with different outfits.   This practice has an added bonus of providing a little budget left over to add something fun and playful when you find it!

Thoughtfully selecting your shoes helps keep within a budget and helps avoid one of those panic times when you don’t have the right pair of shoes to make the outfit work!

Adventure in Ecuador

 

Morning ride in the volcano.
Morning ride in the volcano.

Ecuador was not on my list of top ten places I most wanted to visit. In fact, it didn’t even come close. However, we have just returned from a fascinating ten days in Ecuador.

As many of you know, my brother-in-law, Bill, passed away in November and my husband is handling his estate. Bill was a brilliant engineer but left his career to explore other interests for which he was passionate. Being the one brother who was unmarried, he slipped into the role of caring for his widowed mother before he could realize his dream. When she passed away in 2007, Bill finally had the opportunity to follow his dream of organic farming. His search took him from the southeast to Ecuador where he discovered the beautiful Pululahua Geobotanic Reserve. This area, located about a two-hour drive northwest from Quito, is actually a live volcano! Happily for all concerned, it has not erupted in over 2500 years. High up in the Andes, it is home to eleven families farming their plots of land nestled down in the mouth of the volcanic crater. A number of expats have settled there as well. Astrid is Austrian and conducts riding excursions for guests. Alex, retired from Canada, is Czech and roasts organic wild coffee beans.

Looking down on the Pululahua crater from the top.  We stayed in the shadowed are in the lower part of the photo.
Looking down on the Pululahua crater from the top. We stayed in the shadowed area in the lower part of the photo.

An ambassador for Ecuador chose the volcano for his home base. We were delighted to get to know him at a luncheon in Bill’s honor. He spoke of being posted to several European countries and Chili as ambassador for Ecuador. He is also a writer, having published a book recounting local legends of this unique community.

Little Renata with her new pony and parents, Renato and Paola.
Little Renata with her new pony and parents, Renato and Paola.

Renato and his wife Paola own Pululahua Hostal where they host a continual stream of guests from all over the world. Renato guides tours into the jungle for bird watchers and sometimes even guides guests to the Galapagos. Just to throw in a bit of trivia, Ecuador has more species of birds than any other country in the world. We saw some truly extraordinary examples.

We stayed in one of the cottages at the Hostal and had the pleasure of communal dining with guests from multiple countries around the world. Bill had lived at the hostal for extended periods of time. I’m sure he enjoyed long conversations with Renato, also an engineer who speaks fluent English.IMG_1425

Amid daily trip to Quito to take care of the administration of Bill’s affairs, we found time for a ride one beautiful sunny morning, to experience traditional shopping in the local market and an occasional meal in a local restaurant.

Yep!  It is definitely on the equator!
Yep! It is definitely on the equator!

One must not forget the museum where we learned how shrunken heads are made! You never know when you will need such information!

Ecuador is truly a hidden treasure.   We were on the equator at about 9000 feet elevation. The weather doesn’t change from season to season but at that altitude, it was cool.   Evenings required a light wrap. The good news is that there were no mosquitoes or other pesky bugs. We were amazed at how reasonably priced everything was.

 

We are both so glad that this destination moved, by necessity, up on our list of “must do” destinations.