Sunday, April 28, 2013

Madame Surveys the Trends for You

Spring has taken her good old time settling in this year. Even here in Houston, where April is usually the loveliest of months, we are going from a high of 83 to a high of 65 in a day. Dressing is a physical and mental challenge to be sure.

Nevertheless I see Trends unfolding around me— in the stores, leaping out from the pages of magazines and illuminating laptops and iPads. The tricky part about predicting trends is one sets oneself on a mountaintop to survey the season. There's no guarantee the trends I see from my lofty perch will make it to the top. And sometimes a trend lands squarely on the summit from outer space (or most likely the streets). That being said:

NEON   There are summer brights, and then there's neon. Never found in nature (neon tetras aside), neon is not just for traffic cones anymore. From nail polish to the whole nine yards, neon is everywhere. A skinny neon belt or neon clutch is not embracing this trend. If you're doing neon, go big. As sure as I'm sitting on my mountain top this too shall passe. Have fun while it glows.

Nanette (Lepore) loves neon

DENIM   Summer's trendy denim is the skinny leg (cropped or rolled at the skinny cuff) or modified boyfriend (be sure the waist and hip fit to flatter). Gone are the wide legs and boot cuts of winter. Washes may still be dark (flattering and versatile), but look for softer, lightweight fabrications. Colored denim is huge and fits in with the neon/color blocking trends as well. White jeans always say Summer. You may need to go up a size as nothing is worse than a too-tight pair. Oh and buy white now before they are MIA.

Add a top, please
Let's call them Andre and George,
as in Androgynously Gorgeous

BOHO    Summer is always going to evoke the flower child in all of us. Make sure your Boho is age appropriate. If you were there, or could have been, forego the Woodstock-era. Go bohemian instead with timeless  folkloric or ethnic looks. In other words, channel Frida Kahlo classic not Stevie Nicks hippy.

Frida si...
Stevie not so much

CHAMBRAY   Chambray the way to go home? The blue chambray shirt is such a staple now it can be called the summer denim jacket. I have to admit, it's instant cool and the easiest friend to a pair of colored or patterned skinny pants. It's a bathing suit cover up. Tie it at the waist with a long skirt. I buy mine in the boys' department at Target.

Thirteen bucks and right on Target

GROWN-UP RUFFLES These are not your grandma's ruffles or even Holly Hobbie's. We are talking lusciously sophisticated, sculptural ruffles that are best left to the masters such as Gucci, Chloe and Balenciaga. Be wary of cheap, mass-market knockoffs else your ruffles might have ridges.

Gucci's got it
Dotty at Rucci... but the dark
underwear has me seeing red
MORE HANGERS-ON: This trend-spotter spots spots. (I just like writing that). Polka dots are not overdone yet, from itty-bitty dottted swiss dots to dinner-plate sized circles.  Print mixing may remain an art form better left to the pros or those who throw caution to the winds. When it's done right, respecting colors and tonality, it can be fresh and modern. LaceNautical stripes. Just be wary of lace AND nautical stripes (see below). Also still on stage are the modern textile miracle, photo prints (also see below). For the feet, espadrilles, wedges and ballet flats will still take you where you need to go, comfortably and in style.  

Picture this...

NEVER-SAY-NEVER DEPARTMENT: Synthetic jersey turns respectable. Arnel and Banlon are blasts from the past, but that type of material is turning up again in dresses and tops, especially those sporting those interesting photo prints. It's a great fabric to travel with as it truly never wrinkles. Synthetics are not recommended for travel to Dubai, however, as they do not breathe.

BLACK AND WHITE Always chic, this summer's black and white has Marc Jacobs to thank. His very graphic looks for Louis Vuitton stand out. 2013 black and white is a cerebral no-brainer.

Black and whites makes its Marc

DROPPING OFF THE CLIFF: peplums and the high-low hemline. They always were a little silly— the peplum in a surprisingly flattering way. The high-low hemline is just odd. "Ladies, let's show off your knees, the most universally unflattering area on a woman's body!" We can at least be grateful the style was always short in front, longer in back and not the other way around.

Pretty peplum people

BEWARE THE MIX-MASHER: Step carefully when it comes to mixing trends (neon with sheer, stripes with lace). Like a good affair, you're better embracing one love at a time.

 As always, anything unflattering is never for you.

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