Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Elementary, My Dear Elle

A plethora of peplums

Far from withering after the defection of their top fashion editor, Nina Garcia, Elle magazine has emerged intact and on point in their coverage of fash with dash. They actually gave us several pages in the February issue of really useful information— how to wear four key silhouettes of Spring 2012.

They are:
the peplum top
the knife-pleat skirt
the boxy jacket 
the maxi skirt 

This is news you can take to the store or your closet. I will share what I've learned without subjecting you to photos of tempting $2,095 Marc Jacobs handbags or those items labeled "price upon request"
Add some pep
The peplum hasn't made a real appearance since the '50s. As a stand alone blouse or jacket the peplum makes a flip fashion statement that is more flattering than one might expect.

Key to the look:
DO wear with an elongated pencil skirt or slim pants
DON'T wear with a maxi skirt or shorts
DO carry a classic lady-like bag (in a bright color)
DON'T wear with a backpack
DO wear with a wedge, platform or ankle strap shoe
DON'T wear with a kitten heel
(lady-like bag but tough shoe— who knew?)
ALWAYS pair with a rhinestone collar
(uh-oh— shopping trip)

Sharp as a knife
The knife-pleat skirt is another lady-like look from the archives. Keep it simple, for the most part. You can kill two fashion birds by making it a knife-pleat maxi skirt, but different keys will apply.

Key to the look:
DO wear a simple, long sleeve blouse or classic cardigan
DON'T wear a ruffled blouse or tiered tank
DO carry a lady-like Kelly, bowler or doctor bag
(that lady-like bag is already getting some use)
DON'T lug a messenger bag
DO wear a simple pump, ballet flat or Oxford shoe
DON'T sport a platform heel
ALWAYS pair with statement earrings

Think inside the box
The boxy jacket is probably in your wardrobe already in the form of your well-loved jean jacket or motorcycle jacket. The newest ones are— yet again— reminiscent of the '50s.

Key to the look:
DO wear with short, high-waisted shorts (uh...maybe not) or skinny ankle jeans
DON'T wear with a knee-length circle skirt or flared pants
DO tote a tote or hobo bag
DON'T wear a long shoulder-strap or Kelly bag
DO wear a bootie, chunky heel or sneaker
DON'T wear those ballet flats
ALWAYS pair with a soft blouse underneath
To the max
The maxi skirt swept in a season or two ago and appears to have staying power. Pick your own era or foreign nation to emulate.

Key to the look:
DO wear a Western button-down, t-shirt or motorcycle jacket
DON'T wear a bow blouse
(Little House on the Prairie is not the idea)
DO carry a clutch, cross-body or hobo bag
(Hobos and motorcycles are both showing up often this spring)
DON'T carry your Kelly bag
DO wear a cowboy-shaped shoe or gladiator sandal
DON'T wear a Mary Jane or ballet flat
ALWAYS wear with a statement belt*

*ALLWAYS IN FASHION urges you never throw away a belt unless it's just plain worn out as belt styles come and go in and out of fashion. They really take up little space and truly are an item for which you can "shop your closet".

There you have it. It would seem that Opposites Attract and one should Do the Unexpected. I'm going to feel quite frumpy at times as I wear ballet flats with almost everything. Perhaps I will be energized to switch handbags more often.

Thanks to Elle for sharing. I should have these keys memorized by the time the doors open to Spring 2012.


  1. B R I L L I A N T!!!!!!!!!!!! THANKS AGAIN

  2. Whew, lots to learn! But very helpful info, thanks. I do wear my boxy jean jacket with almost everything, so I have broken lots of rules already. : >

  3. LOVE this info! Thanks so much, it's super helpful! I've already copied it in my style journal for future reference. :)