Finding the Camel Connection
By: Sharon Mosley
This fall, you can lighten up girls! Get over the black hump and jump on board the camel craze. After being grounded in a desert of preppy boredom, the buttery tan color has returned to become the most sophisticated neutral to hit the fall runways. And the good news? Camel goes with everything! From denim to black to gray, a touch of camel will instantly take you out of the dry fashion zone and into a refreshing new oasis.
Here’s how to make the camel connection:
— Find the perfect camel coat. You know you’re tired of that black coat you’ve worn for the past five years. You’re thinking of replacing it with yet another black “go-with-everything” coat, but why not invest in a camel-colored topper? The camel coat has long been associated with elegant glamour — a la Lauren Bacall, Lauren Hutton and the other Lauren, Ralph. So, you know you can’t go wrong.
Here are lots of versions of the camel coat this fall: long maxi wraps at Aquascutum, shiny leather coats at Prada, leather-trimmed lapels at Hermes and capes at Ferragamo. If a wool coat is too heavy, a camel-colored trench is another classic that never seems to go out of style; it fits perfectly into the military trend commanding attention this season.
— Find a great camel blazer. You can find cropped versions or longer versions. This may be one of the most versatile pieces you can put on your fall fashion shopping list. Layer it over a black pencil skirt and bow blouse for the office or over a black turtleneck and jeans for the weekend. Or be adventurous and toss it over a cocktail dress for a special evening out.
— Find an edgy camel suit. Sometimes it pays to buy two pieces that “match.” (Not to worry: “matching” is not a bad word anymore!) Then you have an actual “suit” to wear to work, and you can easily “take apart” the pieces and mix and match them with other things in your wardrobe. Whether it’s a pantsuit or a skirt suit, the camel suit, especially with the belted jacket, is a fresh new way to put a modern spin on your professional work clothes.
— Find a great pair of camel pants. Choose from two different styles: the flowing wide-leg trousers (think Katharine Hepburn) or the cropped, straight-leg styles (think Audrey Hepburn). These classic silhouettes are versatile enough to team with short jackets or longer coats.
— Shorts anyone? If you really want to stretch the fashion boundaries, then there are plenty of ways to “shorten” the road to standing out in camel. There are suede shorts galore from pricey ones at Ferragamo to less expensive ones at Kenneth Cole. Take your pick and pair with tights and knee-high boots.
— Find a fabulous camel sweater. Another one of the season’s trends — the chunky knit sweater — gets even more appeal when it’s done in the latest neutral. Stella McCartney made big news in Paris when she paraded her sexy, oversized, honey-colored button-front cardigans down the fall runways on models wearing nothing underneath them. Worn like tunic dresses, New York designer Michael Kors draped huge cowl-neck camel sweaters on models for his fall runway show.
— Find a gorgeous camel dress. Little black dress, move over. Shift dresses in solid camel are the way to go. Wear them with bare legs and camel-colored heels or boots. Top them off with animal-print coats or matching camel capes.
— Complete the camel connection with accessories. From nude pull-on ankle boots to chic slip-on caramel alligator loafers to luggage-colored clutches and hobo satchels, designers are making the camel connection with the finishing touches, too. Complete with gold jewelry accents: large cuffs, pendant necklaces and drop earrings.
— Add more color. Since camel acts as a stylish neutral backdrop, you can wear it head-to-toe this fall or add a punch of another neutral: gray is a favorite, denim always works, but red and animal prints are other ways to give this perennial classic even more glamour.
Sharon Mosley is a former fashion editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock and executive director of the Fashion Editors and Reporters Association. To find out more about Sharon Mosley and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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