Animal prints continue to be popular so I thought I would share an article I read by fashion editor Teri Agin.
“In recent years stores have been replete with animal prints: blouses, shoes, and handbags. These timeless, abstract prints – such as leopard, tiger and snakeskin patterns – are neutral and versatile enough to be combined with black, brown, red and even purple.
I happen to love animal prints because the designs look lush and urbane – absolutely perfect for women of all ages. Even the cheapest T-shirt top or scarf in a leopard print packs a punch and imparts a bold accent.
But take care when donning these jungle patterns. Go easy, with simpler jewelry. In clothes, stick with smaller patterns that won’t make you look thick.
Every gal should have a pair of animal-print pumps and a handbag – just don’t wear them together. Handbagheaven.com is one retailer that offers many affordable animal-print bags, which are much fresher than standard black or brown purses.
Animal prints are one of those novelties that women are enthusiastic about, and they always sell out quickly every season,” says Edward Wilkerson, designer for women’s label Lafayette 148. To keep the “call of the wild” look fresh, a “zebra” pony-skin jacket and a leopard-printed silk blouse can be worn with a pencil skirt. “We keep them looking new with colors, like a tiger print against a fuchsia background or leopard with cobalt blue,” Wilkinson says.”
Beryl’s comments: I thought you would enjoy this article, as we have not discussed animal-prints for spring. I don’t think animal prints are for everyone. Having just an accent, perhaps a scarf, shoes or bag could work for most people. When you move to a blouse or jacket, watch the scale of the print and color contrast. A zebra print will only work if the wearer has strong coloring and a strong presence. Animal prints are quite forceful and can easily overpower a small person or someone with a quiet, reserved personality. Use the “blink” test when choosing whether this is a look for you. Standing in front of the mirror, close your eyes for a few moments then open them quickly and observe what you see first. If you see you first then recognize that you are wearing an animal print, it probably will work. If you see the print first, it is too strong.
In a business setting, choosing just an accent piece can give the punch you are looking for without taking over the entire look. A handbag, scarf or shoes can serve as just the right accent .
With fall officially here, I am getting fashion magazines featuring new fall clothes that are arriving in the stores. I was really disappointed to see Vogue flooding the pages with plaids in every iteration. It
looked more like a magazine for lumberjacks to choose their wardrobes to transition into cooler weather! The lumberjack look has a place–think hunting, cutting trees and many hardy outdoor activities. Fashion for every day is a bit of a stretch.
Plaids give an outdoor image. The larger the plaid, the more masculine it looks. Plaids work very well for the person with a square jaw when appropriately sized to your features but they are not flattering for rounded features. Most of the garments that I noticed would have been appropriate for a Bohemian look but not serious daily wear. I can’t imagine wearing these selections to work unless you work in a very casual setting.
There were a number of various sized check as well. I mean like one often sees in an Italian restaurant in red. Do you want to look like the tablecloth in a pizza restaurant? Even if the check is black and white, it still reminds you of a tablecloth! Carolina Herrera, known for her beautiful refined, feminine clothing, featured an evening dress in about a 1″ black and white check. Wouldn’t you feel more appropriate at a picnic?
You will be happy to know that there are many other choices to help you choose the right look for you. Wisely, the buyers for the stores chose more wearable pieces that do not represent the extreme choices of Vogue. Lets here it for the buyers!
Images from Saks.
Polka dots and stripes are in abundance on the fashion scene. All polka dots and stripes are not created equal. Let’s look at them more closely and see which iteration might have a place in your spring wardrobe.
Polka dots just shout “fun”. Their shape reminds you of balloons and balls. When I took classes at UCLA my professor said polka dots were frivolous. I have come to the conclusion that tiny polka dots with little space between are, indeed, frivolous while larger polka dots with more space between them have much more stability. These polka dots are still fun but become less frivolous.
Stripes in women’s fashion are often horizontal, projecting a serene message. Think of a landscape with the many horizontal lines. Turn the stripes into a diagonal, and they project an active, dynamic image. Picture the contrast between the serene field and jagged mountains. Vertical stripes project an erect, soldier-like image. Men’s pinstripe suits have a formal, business persona.
This diagonal stripe incorporates several different design features. This dress is not for the quiet, shy person. She must be dynamic!
When stripes are used in women’s fashion, they can vary in width as well. The wider the stripe, the more impact it makes. I noticed the first stripes that appeared in the fashion cycle this year were in black and white. This contrast is dramatic to begin with so a very wide stripe in black and white can only be pulled off by a wearer with a lot of attitude. By softening the color palette, a wide stripe loses much of its drama. Today, I was looking at a new magazine picturing a soft pink and white, wide horizontal stripe. It was perfect for the blonde, feminine model. Black and white would have completely overpowered her.
With polka dots, varied colors become more frivolous and whimsical. If your facial structure has lots of angles or your brows are straight, stripes will be excellent for you. If you face is soft with lots of rounded lines, polka dots will be your friend. If you have a combination of rounded and straight lines, you can wear either print.
Have fun choosing the size and shape that best says YOU!
Need some guidance in choosing the best stripes or polka dots for you? That’s what we are here for. Beryl@StyleWithAplomb.com or 404-428-2527.
With temperatures hovering around freezing in the daytime and dropping to the teens at night, my focus is keeping toasty warm. Who would have thought that the humble Yak could come to the rescue!
Yaks are natives of Tibet and are essential to the nomadic herdsmen. They are in between the size of a goat and a cow with all of the sure-footed ability of mountain goats. Their coats are designed to protect them from the bitter cold of the Himalayan winters making the discovery of using their soft wool under coat for clothing an ideal solution to keep people warm.
Sportswear designer Kora has discovered yak wool is warmer than merino wool. It is more breathable, odor resistant, and transports water vapor most effectively—perfect for underwear and winter sports clothing. Outdoor Retailers founder, Michael Klinwort, discovered the advantage of using Yak while on a winter excursion to the Himalayan region. He supports the local herdsmen in exchange for them providing him with wool. Yak shed their wool each spring and the locals collect it to be used for clothing. Sounds perfect to me!
Several designers are using Yak wool in their sweater collections. Some use blends with cashmere or other wools. Yaks are dark in coloring so most of the garments you will find are darker. Some of the lighter colors are blended with other wools.
The only down side is that Yak is generally more expensive than woolen garments but then, so is cashmere!
Do You have the Perfect Dress for that special Holiday Party?
How would you like to have a dress that just says “YOU” and makes you look and feel fabulous? I have had the privilege of working with Atlanta designer, Joseph Plata, who provides just that. His collection offers some off-the-rack and many choices for custom.
If the dress is not in your size or you prefer a different color, he will make one just for you. How perfect is that? The great news is that his prices are affordable despite the fact that he uses excellent fabrics
from New York suppliers who also are suppliers for top designers. You will meet his small team of seamstresses and watch them turn out beautiful work.
Last week we had an invitation to a party stating dressy casual or cocktail dress. The host is a friend but we knew almost no one in attendance. I decided to wear navy slim trousers and a dressy blouse that Joseph had made for me. When we arrived, I discovered that the choice struck exactly the right note. The trousers fit me beautifully and the blouse is truly unique, resulting in many compliments. We will all have many invitations so I wanted to share a sampling of some of Joseph’s creations.
You can reach Joseph at 404-404-351-4004. His workshop is at 2025 Peachtree Road, Suite B. That is in the Darlington right across from Piedmont Hospital. If you would like for me to meet you there to help with color and selection, just call and we can arrange a time. There is no charge for this.
Each season the big question is, “What pieces can I add to my wardrobe to fashionably step into the new season?”
I want to share some recent suggestions of Teri Agins, New York fashion Columnist.
Military Jackets: This is the season to add a fitted navy military jacket complete with brass buttons, braid and military details for the perfect update for your favor jeans. This jacket needs to be sculpted to your body but it will add a snappy upgrade for tailored slacks and other separates as well.
Tired of the traditional basic sheath dress? This simple addition will transform that sheath from basic to dramatic. You will find bell sleeves on not only dresses but sweaters and jackets. Let the bell sleeve add a note of drama when you make a sweeping hand gesture.
Pumpkin: This is not just for Halloween. If you have noted that a bright pumpkin color is cropping up more and more, it’s not your imagination. This bright color is once again on the popular list this fall. Orange is not an easy color to wear so choose wisely. If you have cool toned skin, orange will tend to turn your face into a pumpkin color. It can be beautiful on the person with warm toned skin. Consider trying other shades of orange such as peach, apricot, or coral to find the right complement for your coloring.
Boots with stacked heels: After years of stilettos, take a break with one of the many boot selections featuring sturdy stacked heels. These will be a more casual look so will work best pants or sporty outfit. Your feet will love you for it!
Choose one or two of these suggestions and – Voila! – you have a whole fresh look for the fall/winter.
New York, Paris and Milan fashion weeks have given us a peek into what designers want us to wear in spring of 2017. Fortunately, we don’t have to wait until spring to update our fall/winter wardrobes. Stores already have some of the future trends for you to buy this fall. This week we have chosen some of these new trends that you may want to add to your fall/winter wardrobe .
As usual, the runways were filled with designs that push the limit.
Gucci lead other labels as the trendsetter. This bold style by Gucci reminds me of playing dress-up as a little girl. For a little girl of 4 or 5, more is always better! Need I mention the sunglasses? This pink plaid jacket could be a nice wardrobe addition but will be best on the lady with enough presence and scale to carry the large scale of the plaid and the jacket collar. Plaid is always sporty – the larger the plaid, the more sporty while a small plaid is more refined. A blouse collar is best when it mirrors the shape of the jacket collar. Otherwise, the lines conflict with each other.
Trousers with a high waist and wide legs are in stores now. It gives a refreshing break from the skinny jeans and will be excellent for a triangle build. Cropped pants and wide legs will not be as flattering if you do not have long legs. Straight trousers will give you a visually longer leg line.
Do you remember the exaggerated shoulders from the ‘80’s? They’re back! Just look at the Gucci plaid jacket.
Stores are presenting a wide selection of jumpsuits for fall. You will have many choices for evening but there are some very attractive styles for daytime. Jumpsuits are quick and easy but fit can be tricky. Not only do you have the usual challenges with fitting through the hips, rise, and waist but you also need to consider fit through the back and bust as well as not being long or short waisted. Some alterations can be done but they might get costly.
Check out the stores for your favorite new trend to update your wardrobe. Be sure to choose the one that looks fabulous on you!
Images from Saks.
Peek-a-boo clothing has become mainstream. We are all familiar with the frontal exposure—sometimes entering X rated zones! Recently designers have been exploring more unexpected cut-out areas. Little peeks of the midriff, side of the waist and in the back. Anything unexpected adds drama to a garment and these sneak peeks certainly do—usually in a tasteful way. Our challenge is to show them off to their best advantage–while flattering us.
I tried on a garment a year or two ago with a side cutout done in a sheer fabric. The design was quite nice, adding an interesting element. Unfortunately, my mature waist is not that of a 20-year old and the cutout revealed an unattractive bulge instead of a charming peek at a slim waist. Oh well! I did nothing for the garment and it surely didn’t do anything for me!
One key component to make these peeks work– choosing the right bra. Straps are not intended to be visible. I think yoga clothing has sort of lowered the bar with allowing a bra to show. Many yoga outfits have a nice support bra that can be worn alone for practice or covered by a top with a deep plunge in the back revealing the yoga bra top. In this case, the bra is intended to be worn when performing yoga while the top adds a bit more cover. Great idea for yoga but not for street wear.
Lingerie manufacturers are creating a variety of bras that offer proper support while hiding discreetly behind the dress when cut-outs are used. One of the most versatile bras is the one with straps that change strap configurations. When crossed, they are hidden when worn with deeply cut armholes. No need for constantly pushing the straps back under a high armhole as it has slipped into a comfortable spot. (Remember that undergarments are called that for a reason. They are to be worn “under” and unseen.) I have never tried the invisible bra but it seems to work.
Literature that I have read suggests that the self-stick will last for about 50 wearings. Victoria Secret seems to have a very wide range of attractive bras or you probably have your own favorite shop.
Add a little drama and wear the new cut-out look with Aplomb! No undies visible!
If you loved the idea of resale shopping, let’s look at a more traditional way to add new pieces to your wardrobe at a fraction of the original cost. Shopping final seasonal markdowns! My favorite store for shopping final sales is Saks for several reasons.
First, Saks carries a wide selection of good quality clothing. They have the high-end designers on the top floor—Armani, Escada, Chanel and dozens more with new designers and less expensive labels on the bottom floor. I have come to prefer the bottom floor. Along with more traditional labels like Eileen Fisher, one can find Hugo Boss, Elie Tahari and Peserico, a new Italian label which has become one of my all-time favorites. I discovered this label a few years ago when I found a dress by Peserico while consignment shopping with Cyndi. You can imagine my delight when I discovered that Saks is now carrying the label. The best part of this label is that the pants actually fit me! When you find a label with styles you love and the clothes fit, you have just hit a home run!
Secondly, Saks has the best sales that I have found. At the very end of the season, they mark down a final time resulting in generally a 75% saving. If the store does not have your size in something that you love, it is often available at another store. I have found dresses that were originally in the $400 range for about $100. Unlike some stores that bring in lower quality merchandise for a final sale, I have never found anything on the sale rack that is not a familiar label carried by Saks.
As I mentioned, pants are a real problem for me so I was thrilled to find some casual pants that fit! I found a pair of capris and two pair of walking shorts that have become my go-to casual wear. One trick I learned the hard way is to always take a critical back view when trying something on. This is especially true with pants. I have experienced coming home with a new treasure only to examine the back view and find that it pulls where it should not and cannot be corrected. Good fit needs to include all angles and a treasure is not a treasure if it doesn’t fit.
Oddly enough, this end of summer sale included some sweaters. I found a very French looking striped sweater to breathe new life into my fall/winter look. I also was able to add a couple of blouses so that some past season treasures can now be retired. I wear the Ellie Tahari with my new taupe and white capris but I tuck in the bottom. It is a cute look with the bottom ruffle just covering the waistband. The other top will even take me into fall and winter because of the sleeves.
Each of the items I added can be worn with a variety of things I already have and will either replace something that is getting tired or add variety. Each item is a very good quality so can be an active part of my wardrobe for the next few years.
It may be too late to take advantage of this season’s sales but you can keep some of these ideas in mind when next season’s sales start. Choose main staples from higher quality labels and add trendy, one-season items from less expensive stores. This will give you fresh, fun clothes and keep your budget in check!
We have been reading discouraging news from retail stores recently. Macy’s announced that they will be closing a number of stores, the Neiman Marcus group which includes Bergdorf Goodman, posted a 71.6% decline in second fiscal-quarter sales over a year ago. Not good news. Saks parent company Hudson’sBay Company, however, posted strong fourth-quarter earnings more than double those of a year ago. Saks strategy of adding new designers to bring a fresh note to their designer options seems to be working.
This year Saks invited new, unknown designers to participate in a competition where each one submitted a sampling of their collections hoping to be chosen in the fall
line-up. Three hundred designers participated and through a process of elimination, two lucky new labels were chosen. Saks director of merchandising, Tracy Margoies, wants to add creative, new designs that have not appeared in large stores. Saks will mentor the designers with the hopes that these designers fresh, new looks will add exciting buzz to their next collection.
Vetta, a new label designed by Cara Bartlett and Vanessa van Zyl, offer five neutral pieces that can be interchanged to make 30 outfits. Roberta Einer, from London has a colorful “Barbie Doll” collection. The collections each have a different, youthful vibe that will hopefully draw in new shoppers. Based on comparative sales, Saks strategy seems to be working so far.
Another advantage of unknown labels, their prices are much more affordable than popular, established labels such as Armani, Akris or St. Johns. It is also exciting to see young talents be chosen to be mentored by the best. How fun to get to watch them soar!