Archive for April, 2011

April 10, 2011

The Dilemma of Wearing Stripes – It’s Just Not Black and White…

Stripey!

Early in the last century a very young and forward thinking Coco Chanel saw fishermen at Deauville in their striped jerseys and was inspired by their simplicity and comfort.  These stripey jerseys have been making fashion news from time to time ever since.  This season stripes are definitely having a huge moment, thanks in no small part to Miuccia Prada who has done it boldly. 

I simply love the fun, sporty appeal that stripes have.  But I am ever so weary of the hard and fast rule that beleaguers stripes, especially horizontal ones.  That is, of course, NOT to wear them – as they make you look fat.   Boooooo!!!!!!  That’s no fun, at all!!!  Yes, the wrong stripes on the wrong portions of one’s anatomy are not going to be terribly flattering.  In some cases they can be down right disastrous.  But in my humble opinion there is a stripe out there for every body.  And this is THE season to get your hands on one!

How *does* one wear them?  Taking our cues from the great Prada outfit above, it’s clearly about being well placed and well spaced.  So yes, we must step away from the wide single width bumble bee-ish stripes of our childhood rugby shirts – even some of Miuccia’s runway looks with these were a miss on any but the slender models in the show.  Instead let us look at just what fun visual tricks one can play when you start mixing it up.    

For overall appeal the traditional fishermen jersey stripe top or sweater (like number one above) with a pattern of a very narrow line with a wider line is actually pretty good on most figures, as is the very close together, equally-sized stripes.   The key with these is to watch overall proportion of the top itself –if you feel you have a very wide derriere you probably do not want the top to embrace it in stripes.      

Not convinced?  Try some cleverly engineered stripes ala Prada.  Look at your body and decide what needs to be played up, or perhaps down, and select accordingly.  Balance your torso by emphasizing shoulders using stripes that start at chest level – as in number two, or a visual hour-glass trick can be created with stripe placement as in number four.  You can also crib off of Prada’s use of different colors to emphasize/deemphasize your figure.  You can also go with a more subtle look by keeping stripes tonal instead of the more bold contrasts of dark with light.  While I am just showing dark/white mixes (yes, I am *such* a traditionalist) there are a whole bunch of terrific colorful options out there this season that should be great fun and look great too.

Still not sold?  Then start moving the little darlings around completely.  Try diagonals, like number three, or mix the directions up completely like in number five.  I like what Anna Scholz has come up with for the plus-sized among us in number six, she took the fabric and placed it both horizontally and vertically – creating a little visual special effect that is very flattering and still has that original chic vibe going. 

Now if you try on a plethora of stripes and are STILL not in love with how you look in what you have found, but are still craving your stripe moment, get thee to the accessories and shoe departments – there are some super-cute options that will get you at least a taste of the trend.  I found a striped scarf that has a sort of English/rugby sporty thing going and I have a black and white narrow striped scarf that is oh-so-French, and both are really fun.   In any event I think this is a must-try trend – girly or sporty, bold or subtle, a little or a lot, there is something out there for all of us!

April 6, 2011

Getting Catty

Catty

One of the things I love about fashion is that every few seasons our old favorites become new again – sometimes the same, sometimes with a fresh perspective.  This season we are definitely seeing a bunch of old favorites.  One favorite that never really goes out of style, but definitely is having a moment is the Cat Eye shape for sunglasses.  After many seasons of big oversized round glasses stealing the scene, we are transitioning from looking buggy to looking catty.   

I have always loved Cat Eye sunglasses.  My very first pair of “designer” sunglasses were Vuarnet Skilynx shades back in the eighties – I was simply too cool at nineteen with my big hair and my Vuarnets.  So began my love affair with the Cat.

As I have evolved and refined my love for incorporating retro fashion into my every day I have stayed true to this silhouette – adding to my collection every few years as a really great pair presents itself.  Back in the late nineties when I bought my first true roadster I had to get a pair to go with it, of course.  I nabbed a great pair of oversized black ones embellished with crystals when bling got big.  And this past fall Juicy put out a pair that mixed the retro professor look with the cat eye in an awesome oversized shape and tortoise/spot color that I couldn’t resist. 

This season nearly every big designer has at least one pair out.  Some of my favorities: D&G’s Vaurnet-esque version in a marbled grey or a brown stripe, Valentino’s crystal trimmed beauties, and several really great ones by Tom Ford (ahhh, the man knows his shades…)  But, being a girl who loves her classics, I am craving a pair by Chanel – traditional in black with the trademark camellias adorning the temples.   

There are so many great choices nearly everyone is going to find a shape, size and color combination that will flatter and look fabulous.  Pick a decade: thirties, fifties, sixties, eighties and have a blast!

Donning a pair of Cat Eyes makes me feel instantly sexy and flirty.  The look is feminine yet powerful.  There is something about these babies that makes you feel the need to ever-so-slowly slide them down your nose and peer over them, looking up through your eyelashes at some helpless man – Meeee-Yowwww….

April 2, 2011

Rising above or falling…flat?

 

Flatforms

Since the fall runway shows I have been in high anticipation of getting my hands on one of the latest trends for the Spring 2011 season – the raised flat sandal.   These sandals, rather bulkily dubbed “Flatforms”, have a high platform or block heel with a relatively low-pitched foot.  Seen at Fendi, Prada, Philip Lim, Marni and others, they received raves from folks who were over the sky high, ankle breakers of recent seasons – editors, models…. and me!

I love the look and the idea of high heels, but my feet, knees and back are just not on board.  So I jump at any chance to get the height of heels without the tottering, painful side effects.  In fact just last season, thanks to my ever-so-stylish hairdresser, I found a gorgeous pair of snakeskin strappy platform sandals from Stuart Weitzman that sported a three inch heel, but with a two inch platform.  They are simply fab and left me craving more.

Now that the much anticipated runway to retail transition has happened I have to admit to more than a little bit of disappointment.  There are some sensational choices at Saks and Net-A-Porter from Marni, Lanvin, and other wonderful designers, and shopbop.com even has a whole spread with some very on-trend cool choices.  However, the more affordable choices at retailers like Nordstrom and Bloomingdales were pretty limited and not all that exciting.  While I do love an unusual and quirky shoe and I am in complete lust with the darling pair from Marni featured above, I am not $800 in lust (!!!)…yet.   

Granted, raised flats are going to be an acquired taste and tricky to wear well so I can see why retailers have trepidations.  Some look a little too editorial (which is a nice way of saying “bizarre”) and some are clearly not going to be flattering.  But these sandals are going to play terrific supporting roles with several of spring’s big trends – maxi dresses, 70’s revival, color blocking, and wide leg trousers. 

How to make them work?  The height and visual weight of these heels will balance the volume of material that a maxi dress or wide leg especially well.  I also think that a neutral leather color would do a nifty leg-lengthening trick when worn with city shorts.  If you aren’t ready for the boldness that Fendi and Philip Lim 3.1 went for, there are some good modified espadrille, block heeled and clog styles from several designers that will work equally well with maxis and other 70’s inspired looks.

I love the possibilities that raised flats present so I am determined!  I will keep looking and hope that mainstream fashion catches up.  Either that or that the fashion-bargain god smiles upon me and those adorable Marnis end up on sale!

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