Turn Up the Volume

 

 

It may be comfortable but is not flattring!
It may be comfortable but is not flattering!

If you are a little weary of skinny jeans and slim, tailored slacks, you will welcome the volume look. Designers, always searching for the “outside the box” look, not to mention designs to entice you to buy new clothes, have jumped on the volume bandwagon.

The volume look is tricky to wear and have it be flattering. Many people choose over-sized clothing to try to hide extra pounds or to be “comfortable”.  In truth, oversized clothes usually make you look sloppy and heavier than you are.

Let’s look at some examples of how to wear this look with aplomb!

Without one portion of the look fitting closely to the body, it visually adds pounds and looks unkempt. This full black skirt and loose white top is a perfect example. The full skirt would work with a fitted top and I would prefer it worn with heels to add height. This would be especially good for a triangle build.

Could make a fun statement for the right build.
Could make a fun statement for the right build.

The white shift dress would hide the lack of waist definition for a rectangle build. It will be best worn by a tall, slender person with long legs and a slender build. The splashes of color giving a vertical detail adds visual height. I would shorten the hem slightly to show more of those long legs.

Carolina Herrera designed this black and white jumpsuit. This is a bit of a departure from her traditionally refined creations. The wide stripes draw attention to width but the closely fit top helps with balance. This, too, would work nicely on someone with a small waist with wider hips.

Add some drama!
Add some drama!

There is no way you could make a quiet entrance with this dramatic black and white and you would have to have a strong personality to pull it off. Another thing I noticed, is that all the pants with this look appear to touch the floor. From a practical point of view, the bottom would get soiled in one wearing and would be impossible to clean. To wear them much shorter would ruin the look.

The volume look is not one of my favorites. It will be flattering for very few people but if you are one of them, have some fun with a new addition to your spring/summer look!

Images from Saks

Shoes Take the Spotlight in 2017

 

Let's go dancing!
Let’s go dancing!

Our grandmothers would be aghast seeing today’s shoes! If you have ever gone through old pictures and broken out in gales of laughter seeing the styles from the flapper era and before, you can understand why. Long gone are the days when anyone in the “grandma” category wore only a lace-up oxford with a sturdy 2” heel. Times have changed and women have become passionate about their shoes!

Combat Boot
Combat Boot

When my daughter was about 20 she used her last dime to buy a pair of black pumps with uniquely designed high heels – a very fashion forward concept at that time. When she called me to tell me that her car had been stolen, she was far more upset that the shoes were in the back seat than the loss of her car! Fortunately, the car was retrieved a few days later and more importantly, the shoes remained safely in the back seat.

Ready for a long walk?
Ready for a long walk?

Manolo, Louboutin, and Jimmy Choo lead the way to awaken client’s lust for new, off the charts designs, accompanied by matching price tags. By 2017, there are dozens of designers joining the trio.

This needs just the right dress.
This needs just the right dress.

This is great news for retailers. Clothing manufacturers have struggled for several years to make a profit but the popularity of designer purses helped fill the gap. Shoes have now replaced purses as the favorite added accessory. I appreciate many of these artful creations on other people but I still don’t get combat boots! If having one or more pair of these designs on your bucket list, go for it.Extreme business Just remember that you need to be able to wear them (how could they be comfortable?) and whatever you wear with them, must be subtle and allow the shoe to take center stage!

 

Key Pieces to Update Your Fall Wardrobe

 

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.

Sculpted military jacket.
Sculpted military jacket.

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.

Bell Sleeves:

Bell-sleeves add drama.
Bell-sleeves add drama.

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 is back in the spotlight.
Pumpkin is back in the spotlight.

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:0400092826719_247x329 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.

 

As Seen on the Runways

 

405New 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.

Wide-legged, high waisted trousers.
Wide-legged, high waisted trousers.

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.

Have some fun with a jumpsuit.
Have some fun with a jumpsuit.

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.

Catch the Buzz with New Designers at Saks

 

Vetta's Collection
Vetta’s Collection

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. RE_063_large 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

Roberta Einer
Roberta Einer

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.RE_091_large

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!

Color Blocking on Steroids!

 

The wearer will need a strong presence and coloring.
The wearer will need a strong presence and coloring.

You probably have something with color blocking detail in your closet from past seasons.  This trend has gone the way of all popular trends but designers, always searching for something new, are now introducing “print blocking”.   Fashion rule has traditionally turned up its nose at mixing prints but this trend is defying those old “no-no’s” from your mother.   Men have been combining patterns for several years and executing it tastefully for the most part. For example, wearing a striped suit with a striped shirt in a much smaller scale and different color intensity, plain tie and a print pocket square. The new print-blocking in women’s wear moves far beyond this understated example. Designers are pairing multiple different patterns and colors together for more of a “Little House on the Prairie” look. In other words, you made it out of scraps of fabric being saved for a quilt.

You will need to be more of a creative dresser to pull off this look. Traditional, romantic, elegant or dramatic types will probably not find this a look that work for them. It might look like fun in the store but once home nestled in your closet with styles that really reflect your signature look, it will shout that it doesn’t belong!

Busy but prints inter-relate well.
Busy but prints relate well to create harmony in the pattern.

As fashion director Roopal Patel at Saks admitted, “It can be overwhelming. You’re drawing a lot of attention to yourself.” That said, neither is this one of those garments that you can wear over and over by changing accessories to create a different look. Everyone will remember when you last wore it!  These very busy multi-print garments need to be paired with neutral accessories, allowing relief to the eye from all the busy-ness.

The examples shown are more subtle than what one might find at Anthropology. The dress with the flaired skirt is a combination of only two patterns, well coordinated with each other. The skirt detail adds another point of interest so further pattern would have probably been too much.

Well coordinated prints with simple style.
Well coordinated prints with simple style.

The simple sheath uses more pattern detail for this very simple design. Neither dress needs jewelry. Both could be worn to the office and would be appropriate for a professional office setting. The patterned top by Etro is very busy. This might be better paired with neutral slacks or skirt. A bold personality and strong coloring is a must to pull this off.

Accessories jump into the print-blocking arena as well. This beautiful Ferragamo bag is a statement by itself. To choose something like this, it must be the whole focus. This is definitely not the “take everywhere” handbag many of us rely on. This bag will be beautiful with a solid, neutral outfit and neutral shoes allowing it to take center stage. That look will bring tons of compliments!

Let this dramatic purse be the main attraction.
Let this dramatic purse be the main attraction.

Pattern blocking doesn’t resonate with me as I find it too busy.   I do think the handbag is beautiful but personally would not make that kind of investment in an accessory that had such limited versatility.

You will be seeing more print blocking in stores.   If you love the look, pick the one you truly love and enjoy! This will probably not be a staple in your closet to enjoy for several seasons.

Bracelets: Accent or Drama?

 

Iris Apfel: Dramatic at 93.
Iris Apfel: Dramatic at 93.

Bracelets come in all sizes, shapes, colors and materials. Do you want to be conservative and wear just one for accent or do you want to make a dramatic statement?

Teri Agins, fashion journalist for the WSJ, writes a weekly column responding to reader’s questions. Last week a reader wrote that she had received an assortment of oversized bracelets from her aunt ranging from faux ivory to carved cinnabar, ones with bangles and others with stones inset.   I loved Teri’s advice and wanted to share it with you since combining bracelets is a popular fashion statement today.

Casual and creative.
Casual and creative.

Teri points out that earrings frame your face but bracelets make a bolder statement and draw attention each time you gesture, wave, or point. It will be more interesting to decorate one arm with a combination of colors, sizes and shapes. This makes for some drama simages-2o choose what works with your personality.   Teri suggests that twin jeweled cuffs on each arm worn with a long-sleeved dark fitted sweater, paired

with wide-legged pants or a sleek midi skirt nearly always works.   Don’t add a necklace. Let the bracelets be the focus.More drama.

Diamond tennis bracelets generally stand alone but for special effect you can pair them with various gold bangles.  A large, gold watch may be paired with thick and thin gold chain links and bangles but your everyday watch is a functional piece to be worn alone. For more ideas, check out looks worn by Coco Chanel. She put together amazing combinations and pulled them off beautifully.

Iris Apfel
Iris Apfel

Style maven, Iris Apfel, above, is one of the few women who can wear multiple bracelets, necklaces and other jewelry and not look like a clown.   This 93-year old New York socialite has a style of her own. Look her up on Pinterest.com to enjoy her unique style. I can’t imagine it working for much of anyone else but what fun to see her being herself!

 

Buying a trend? Give it an expiration date.

397749_EC250_1063_002_100_0000_Light-Princetown-crocodile-slipperAll designers hope to have that new hot item that everyone wants to own. One of the big winners this fall is Gucci’s leather, backless loafers lined with brown fur. For whatever reason, these shoes, priced at nearly $1000, flew off the shelves and now have a wait-list.

True, not many of us have a budget to even consider buying something so obviously trendy  but we are all faced with the dilemma of choosing that one-season item that will be great fun, add the right updated note, and not fall into the category of “What was I thinking?” This weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal featured an excellent article with suggestions on choosing wisely.0400088296764_247x329

“Any time a designer hits the right balance and makes a piece that’s coveted by women globally, there’s a real emotional response,” said Roopal Patel, fashion director at Saks. The key is to find that “IT” item that you absolutely love, then get it early before it becomes ubiquitous.   Ms. Patel suggests moving away from it a bit after it has become really popular so you don’t find yourself in a room with several other ladies wearing the same item.   Bring it back at an unexpected moment where you are wearing it by yourself.

2153935_Light_PinkStylist Tabitha Simmons says she never gets rid of once-trendy pieces but she introduces them back into her wardrobe paired her way – never wearing what resembles a costume.   If you absolutely love a trendy piece, something about it speaks to you. The key is to choose items reflect your personal style. By combining a new trend with some of your existing pieces, you have updated your look without letting it “speak too loudly”.0400087472470_247x329

Another way to enjoy a new trendy item is to choose that one hot new item as the single accent for an existing basics look. One stylist to some of the movie stars, suggested choosing a trendy fringe bag to accent a basic button-up shirt with leather leggings and flats. How simple is that?

0400087622928_247x329Each season brings trends that are hits and ones that fade away as distant memories. When you decide to buy something that you know will only be “in” for a season, have an expiration date in mind. The article suggested March, 2016 for the Gucci loafers.   No doubt the fur will be tired and dirty by that time and you will be ready to say good-by. These may fall into the “What was I thinking?” category.

Enduring Brands: High Hopes for New Winners

 

 

Classic Birkin
Classic Birkin

Hermés – The most sought after handbag. The caché of owning a Berkin or Kelly handbag by Hermés is most women’s dream of having “made it”! Each was named for the celebrity whose name became synonymous with their favorite handbag.

Several years ago, I found a beautiful copy of the Kelly bag in a specialty shop in Florence, Italy. Instead of costing several thousands, it was a few hundred so I succumbed. That year while we were skiing in Vail, I was carrying the bag when we went to dinner. The hostess took one look at my bag, trying to be as subtle as possible, commented on what a beautiful bag I was carrying. I just smiled and thanked her while basking in the deception.   There is something about why these bags are the most sought after in the world.

New Octagone Hermés bag.
New Octagone Hermés bag.

Now, Hermés has just introduced the Octogone Bag in Epsom Calfskin, hoping it will become equally desired.   The Octagon has a bit more boyish styling, sporting a simple shape resembling a throat lozenge with a sporty striped woven strap. Previous new designs, though lovely, have not been able to match the allure of the Berkin or Kelly. With more casual attire becoming the norm worldwide, the Octagone might just become the new “It” bag!

Classic Chanel pump.
Classic Chanel pump.

Chanel – Classic tan low-heeled pumps with black contrast. These shoes have been copied by other shoe manufacturers for years. In an era where the higher the heel and the more unusual the shape seem to be the order of the day, Chanel reintroduces this classic with minor changes. The heel is slightly lower and a bit thicker and there is a sling back instead of being a classic pump. This shoe is not designed to be worn with the traditional Chanel tweed suit or with anything too delicate. It is recommended that one pair it with modern denim and oversized sweaters. The lower heel and sling back do indicate a more casual look but I think the shoes would work very well for the office. What could be better than shoes that look attractive and you can actually walk in them?

New sling back Chanel.
New sling back Chanel.

If past history is any indicator, you won’t miss out if these are over your budget or if you need a more specialized size. This new Chanel classic will most likely endure for a long time so you wait for copies to come out with wider choices of sizing at greatly reduced prices.

 

 

The Early Birds get the (worms) CLOTHES!

 

0400086979286_ASTL_247x329New fall clothes arriving in department stores may just provide the perfect opportunity for you to grab your favorite new look while supplies last. “Pre-fall” collections are arriving now and are sort of an easy transition into the full fall collections. Pre-fall clothing is usually less trendy and more classic—exactly what many shoppers want. The more trendy versions of what appeared on the runway will arrive later. Unfortunately for the customer, the pre-fall collections often sell out and will no longer be available.

This blog features some of the new pre-fall trends that you might want to add to your fall wardrobe.

Longer Culottes.  Saks
Longer Culottes. Saks

Culottes and wide-legged trousers complete the new high waist style. These fuller cuts just wouldn’t work with a lower waist cut. Culottes come and go in fashion but when they are “in” they offer a fun, updated look. Generally, culottes are not becoming to someone who does not have long legs but wide legged trousers really flatter the wider hips of a triangle.  These trouser can be perfect to give a longer leg look if they almost touch the floor.  Some of these trousers are being shown a few inches above the floor worn with boots.  It may be a style but visually stops the eye at the bottom of the trousers, making the leg appear that much shorter.

Add a classic skirt that you love. It could be leopard print, plaid, a bright color or neutral. The style, pencil or flair, should flatter your figure. This can become the go-to skirt for fall and winter. You should be able to top it with a variety of blouses, sweaters, or combinations to give huge versatility.

Subtle plaid wear-with-everything skirt.  Saks
Subtle plaid wear-with-everything skirt. Saks

A perfect go-everywhere dress will transition from daytime to evening. It can be worn with a jacket for a professional image, top with a sweater for more casual, or add scarves or jewelry to give an entirely different vibe.

Boots remain a huge fashion trend. The only problem is that they are expensive. I have selected a wear-with-everything , wear-everywhere pair with a wedge heel. These are quite dressy but not so high you can’t walk in them. They could be worn under wide-legged trousers, with culottes or dresses.

Versatile boot.  Saks
Versatile boot. Saks

Finally, I discovered this convertible long to short jacket that can go over most everything. The short version will be perfect with wide culottes or trousers or could be worn over something straight. The longer version adds a polished finish for straight skirts,

Creative long to short jacket.  Saks
Creative long to short jacket. Saks

trousers or dresses.

Summer purchases for fall are only successful if you need them and love them. The great fun of new clothes is how it makes you feel each time you put it on!