The Modern Mix
By: Sharon Mosley
There’s one simple way to update your wardrobe this fall. Just throw your clothes on your closet floor and mix them all up. Well, maybe that’s taking things a bit too far, but fashion designers have come up with some new combinations this season that will definitely have an impact on how some of us put together our outfits every morning.
It’s an artful blend of prints and patterns that made the runways buzz with this modern fusion of contemporary style whipped up just in time for fall. Here are some of the latest ways to master the new mix:
— Mix assorted patterns in one color palette. Yes, this can be tricky, but follow the lead of designers like Marc Jacobs and Donna Karan who did some of the best “pattern on pattern” combos for fall. Jacobs teamed Fair Isle sweaters with checked skirts in soft grays and tans, while at DKNY, plaid jackets and skirts are layered over geometric-print sweaters in autumnal hues of gold and brown. The key to mixing such diverse prints is to make sure all the pieces blend in the same color family.
— Mix your textures. Another modern way to dress — pair “unlikely” fabrics with each other. In his fall lineup, designer Ralph Lauren takes lightweight floral chiffon dresses and layers chunky cardigan sweaters and menswear coats over them. The fall collection at Burberry Prorsum includes lacy see-through skirts teamed with leather and shearling aviator jackets.
Mixing matte and shiny textures is another mix-master trick. For evenings out, one of my favorite “go-to” outfits is a pair of dark jeans with a black, ruffled chiffon blouse over a black tank. In the fall, I add a shiny, black leather jacket and boots.
— Mix your styles. Think outside the fashion box and come up with your own way of combining clothes and accessories. I like to mix animal prints into my wardrobe. For summer, I layer black-and-white polka dots with black-and-white zebra prints; in fall and winter, I switch to leopard prints layered with accents of red. Roberto Cavalli’s fall collection plays up a mixture of animal prints layered with dramatic red coats — a definite inspiration for my own closet.
— Mix masculine with feminine. This is one of the best ways to update a “suit” for work. Many designers have incorporated menswear looks into their collections this year, bringing back the streamlined tailoring loved by minimalist fashion followers. Inject some feminine flair into these pieces with flirty shirts or soft skirts. A chiffon blouse with a tweed suit is always a “do” for office dressing.
— Mix your “eras.” Don’t be afraid to mix a few vintage pieces into your fall wardrobe. There’s still plenty of “granny grunge” out there from the ’90s to layer under a tailored jacket for more of a bohemian touch. One “funky” piece at a time, please. Wacky can quickly become tacky.
— Mix your accessories. This is one of the easiest ways to amp up the style factor in your wardrobe during any season of the year. This fall, a big trend statement for the young at heart is wearing pointy-toe shoes with ankle socks. Booties worn with patterned tights is another fashion favorite. One colorful handbag will also do wonders in dressing up your basics. And don’t forget those furry finishing touches showing up in abundance.
— Mix your metals. Metallics are one of the best ways to get the look of the new modern mix. Antique bronzes, smoky pewters and rich coppers all complement fall’s warmer color palette. Don’t be afraid to mix your metals when layering on necklaces, bangles and rings. Experiment with adding some antique jewelry with your newer pieces and pile it on. More is definitely better.
COPYRIGHT 2010 CREATORS.COM
The Dish on Denim for Fall
By: Sharon Mosley
Whether you’re a teenager planning your back-to-school wardrobe or a Mom checking out the latest trends in jeans, denim should be at the top of your shopping list. There are plenty of ways to put some “jeanius” in your fashion life this fall.
“Denim just gets stronger and stronger,” says Donald Johannesson, creative and design director for Dish Jeans Ltd, a Vancouver-based contemporary denim company. “For this fall, you’ll see it in every kind of garment you could imagine, from jeans to skirts to vests and jackets, shirts, dresses, even accessories, shoes and bags, in every wash variation possible, making it the pivotal fabric in building any wardrobe.”
You’ll also notice that it is no longer a “faux pas” to wear two denims together, says Johannesson. “Everywhere you turn, double and triple denim looks are being worn,” he adds. “It just makes a statement that this fabric has finally attained mass acceptance everywhere and highlights its versatility.”
So, what pieces does the denim guru suggest style-savvy women of all ages add to their wardrobes this season? Here are his top five picks:
— The Chambray Shirtdress. A casual style in lightweight chambray, the shirtdress is the perfect way to dress up denim this fall. In mini-lengths, it’s a great layering piece over tights, another must-have fall fashion statement. For even more layering possibilities over tanks and tees, scope out chambray in a denim shirt, too.
— Jeggings. Details count on denim this fall, and the skinny jeans or “jeggings” (jeans that look like leggings) are big on the list for trendsetters, especially when they have eye-catching designs details like zippers. Dish’s legging has ergonomic side seams that skim and slim the outer edge of the thigh, curving around the knee and slanting toward the front of the leg, ending in a long zipper opening that gives the legging extra pizzazz.
— Denim on denim. Once a fashion “don’t,” mixing denim pieces is this fall’s newest “do.” The way to pull it off seamlessly without overdoing it, according to Johannesson, is all a matter of degrees. “Remember to combine light shades with dark ones to avoid a monochromatic look,” he says. Check out layering pieces — including shirts, vests and skinny jeans — in varying shades of denim that blend colors together. One of my personal favorite combos: the dark vest over a lighter chambray shirt and teamed with medium-washed blue jeans.
— Flares with flair. The skinny jean may be a big hit, but this fall’s freshest jeans have got some flare to them. Choose from low-rise trousers or classic flares in figure-flattering fits. These are the denim pants that often will work for the office with a blazer or stylish blouse.
— Add some plaid. Give your denim a preppy twist with a plaid shirt. Dress up a sea of blue jeans or denim pencil skirts with plaid in a colorful combination, such as purple and teal — one of the season’s best trends. Johannesson suggests adding a feminine touch to plaid with a ruffled shirt, which tops off a denim skirt in a stylish dark wash for a sophisticated take on this menswear pattern.
COPYRIGHT 2010 CREATORS.COM
Taking a Gilt Trip: The Next Hot Things
By: Sharon Mosley
It’s official that summer is in full swing, but fall is not far behind! And that means thinking ahead about spiffing up your fall wardrobe. Alexandra Wilkis Wilson and Alexis Maybank, fashion insiders, style experts and founders of Gilt Groupe, are the perfect pair to offer tips and tricks for making your style as sizzling as the weather.
Gilt Groupe (www.gilt.com), a members-only online retailer, offers exclusive access to high-end designer goods at up to 70 percent off retail, including apparel for men, women and children, luxury accessories as well as home goods. With more than 2.5 million members, Gilt Groupe has established itself as a leader in the luxury e-retailer field.
What are some of the “hot items” you’re seeing right now that will translate into fall? Can you give us some ideas on how you see trendsetters putting these looks together, both casually and also for work?
Alexandra & Alexis: From soft florals to detailed jackets, fall fashion is all about modern femininity — think red lips and leather paired with velvet and lace. In addition to the romantic palettes and resurgence of menswear, what we love best for fall is the ability to mix and match. Whether pairing a turtleneck with a leather mini or graffiti-printed pants with a camel blazer, fall’s fashions combine elegance, grace and attitude lending to women not only great style, but great confidence as well.
What are your favorite “new” designers in ready-to-wear and also in accessories? Why are they your favorites, and what are some “hot” items from them?
A&A: At Gilt Groupe, we are committed to supporting the fashion industry as a whole, which is why we are delighted to share the development of “One’s to Watch,” a new series of sales highlighting up-and-coming designers. An exciting initiative not just for Gilt, “Ones to Watch” grants emerging designers a platform to showcase their line to a nationwide audience and members the exclusivity of getting acquainted with a new and buzz-worthy label.
Do you have any specific designers that you would recommend we watch?
Hot, young talent on the rise include Kelly Bergin, an LA-based designer who is bringing simple, easy-to-wear basics to an utterly chic level, and Myne, a new designer who’s not afraid of bold statements. These two also just so happen to be part of the latest “Ones to Watch” installment, which goes live Monday July 12 at noon on www.gilt.com. Other favorites include jewelry by DANNIJO, shoes by Mea Shadow and tees by Sophomore — all previous “Ones to Watch” contributors.
What trends would you suggest “hanging up” for right now as well as some “in’s” and “out’s”?
A&A: Keep: Floral dresses — Make these summer staples autumn-friendly by pairing with a structured blazer, leather jacket or a comfy, cranberry cardigan and booties with tights.
Get: Velvet — If you’re bold, go for jewel-toned velvet pants. If a little more demure, try a navy velvet vest or jacket.
Trash: Socks and Platforms — While we love the creativity, there are far too many cute ankle booties to carry this trend into fall.
COPYRIGHT 2010 CREATORS.COM
Cheap and Chic: Summer Bargains to Stock up on Now
By: Sharon Mosley
With summer sales in full swing, it’s time to step away from the grill and peek inside your closet. Don’t scream. Take deep breaths and take stock. Make a quick list of what you need to replace or add in your wardrobe. You may even want to take a fashion magazine with you to the beach to get some inspiration. Then take a day off to go shopping.
Now is the perfect time to find bargains galore. You can pick up the savings since stores have marked down their spring and summer merchandise. And remember style doesn’t have to be expensive. Cheap chic is very much “in style” these days. Here’s where to spend your money:
— Costume jewelry. There are lots of ways to add some fun to your wardrobe with a few new baubles. I mean, huge and plastic is all the rage now. Scope out giant cuff bracelets, disc necklaces, chandelier earrings and sparkling cocktail rings. Think about what you already own, especially in necklaces, so you can add more layers with new bargains you find.
— Shoes. Chunky high-heel sandals are another trendy fashion bargain that will continue to be around for fall. Check out summer sales on these shoes, especially those in darker colors that you can easily wear now and then team with tights later when the weather cools down.
— Denim. This year-round basic is always something you need to replenish in your closet, so why not pick up a pair of your favorite jeans if you can find them on sale. You may also want to experiment with a new cut (“jeggings” or slim-cut legging jeans are the newest look) or “wash” when they’re sale-priced.
— Legwear. Leggings also promise to be around this fall, and what better time than summer to stock up on a few new pairs in lightweight knits to layer under long tunic sweaters and skirts later. I personally prefer the softer knits of warmer seasons than the heavier ones offered during the cooler months.
— Printed dresses. Every summer wardrobe needs at least one. And one of this summer’s fashion favorites (and that of first lady Michelle Obama), the patterned dress — in a frilly silk, rayon or chiffon — is a great buy at bargain prices. Add some fun to your closet with a colorful floral print or a sophisticated geometric design.
— Outerwear. Whether it’s a hot pink trench coat or a shiny black patent parka, you know you can never have enough “cover-ups” to wear during the year. And if you can snatch them up for a deal, it is so much better. Choose a style that is “classic,” and you will be wearing your bargains forever.
— Handbags. Steer clear of the white ones on the sale table, and you’ll find styles that will get you through the toughest winter in style. Black or brown is your best bet in large satchel or hobo shapes, but colored bags are fun additions to your accessory wardrobe, too.
— Party clothes. Don’t skip the evening wear section of the store when you’re out shopping the sales this summer. Special occasion dressing often transcends the seasons, especially when it comes to dressy separates. A flippy, black chiffon skirt might be the perfect piece to layer under your favorite sequined tunic top for that office party in December. Think ahead and save your money for that little fur shrug you’ll want to buy during the holidays!
COPYRIGHT 2010 CREATORS.COM
Top Ten All-American Classics
By: Sharon Mosley
Want to get more bang from your fashion bucks? Then get back to the basics by investing in quality updated classics that will give you plenty of style. Getting dressed any time of the year will be a cinch. If you have a closet filled with the “core essentials,” then you can easily add some personality pieces and accessories. But first you’ve got to start building your wardrobe by laying the foundation.
Here are 10 All-American favorites to get you started:
— Jeans. Unless you are one of the few people that don’t like to wear jeans, this is one item that has been a classic fashion staple in most people’s wardrobe since the ’50s. Most of us grew up wearing them and still love wearing them today, even when we dress them up for a party. Re-evaluate your denim wardrobe every year. There are so many new styles and washes available that you may want to try several pairs. I usually buy two new pairs of jeans each season — one to wear with flats and a dressier pair to wear with heels.
— The jean jacket. Another denim classic. Fit is key here, however. Forego the “old” look of the boxier jackets and shop for more modern silhouettes that are fitted and not as shapeless. I also like jean jackets that are made with softer denim, so that they don’t feel stiff and uncomfortable.
— The tank top. Now more than ever, the tank top is one item that you can never have enough of in your wardrobe. It’s the quintessential layering piece. Wear them one on top of the other. Buy these in both long and short lengths and in a wide variety of colors.
— The T-shirt. Another fashion basic to buy in multiples. Nix the baggy, stretched-out and faded ones. Instead go for the fitted versions to wear alone or under jackets, shirts and blouses. I like to wear T-shirts in “thinner” fabrics when I wear them as a layering item; I wear heavier cottons or jersey ones when I wear them on their own.
— Menswear pants. Whether they’re flat-front cotton chinos or classic twill trousers, we all need a few pairs of “go-to” pants that are comfortable and will work with everything else in our wardrobes when we’re NOT wearing jeans. Stock up on these in neutral colors, and you will always have versatile options in your closet that you can rely on. My “neutral” is black, but gray, khaki, beige, white or cream are all great options.
— The pencil skirt. Gotta have at least one of these. And don’t worry if you don’t have great legs. These slim skirts look great in lengths that cover the knees. Wear them in the summer with strappy sandals and T-shirts. In winter, wear them with jackets, dark opaque tights and boots.
— The sheath dress. Think Audrey Hepburn and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” and you’ll get the reason why this little number has always exuded charm and style through the decades. Whether it’s in a sophisticated black or a colorful pop-art print, you can’t go wrong with having one of these fabulous finds hanging in your closet.
— The cashmere sweater. Buy these in solid colors, and you’ll have style for life. In a cardigan, they can be worn over a sleeveless dress in the summer. Or in a crew-neck version, they can be worn over jeans for a casual weekend look. Don’t underestimate these basics, which can instantly give your wardrobe a little touch of luxury for years.
— The classic blazer. A workhorse classic for your closet, this jacket is a must-have for professional wardrobes as well as casual ones. While the silhouettes will change from year to year, the more tailored, minimal blazers in streamlined shapes will be your best bets — they can easily transition from the office when worn with skirts and trousers to the weekend when tossed over jeans and T-shirts.
— The trench coat. My all-time favorite topper. It’s the classic coat that you can wear year-round — in waterproof fabrics for spring and summer and in heavier wools for winter. My collection includes a red silk one I wear during the holidays and a raincoat with a detachable fur lining I wear all year long.
COPYRIGHT 2010 CREATORS.COM
The Great Summer Kiss Off: Keep It Simple Style
By: Sharon Mosley
When summer heats up, it’s time to pare down our wardrobes to the bare essentials. Simple is best when it comes to beating the heat in style. Whether you’re cruising around the Greek isles or answering the phones in a high-rise office, it’s time to lose the fanny packs, the white tennis shoes and the concert T-shirts.
Instead, opt for these versatile summer basics that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion:
— The little black dress. Yes, even in summer, this classic can prove to be a winner. Dress it up for a gallery opening at the art museum with a chunky cuff bracelet and artsy earrings. Or dress it down for a casual movie date with a funky belt and jeweled wedge sandals. For one of the best new twists on the little black dress, check out designer Eliza Starbuck’s newest “universal, yet one-of-a-kind” version at www.youbrightyoungthings.com.
— The linen shirt. Another winner when it comes to simple summer style. This shirt can go to the office all ruffled down the front and layered over a slim pencil skirt. Or in a longer version, it can be worn over short black leggings with flip-flops for a Saturday morning at the farmers’ market. In tunic styles, these shirts make great swimsuit cover-ups, too. J.Jill has dozens of choices of linen shirts (www.jjill.com).
— White denim jeans. Dark denim may be your go-to item most of the year, but for summer, you can’t miss with these neutral must-have jeans. Whether they’re cropped cargo capris or long and lean trousers, white lightens everything up and goes with everything, too. You can banish those black pants for now. Stock up on Faded Glory white jeans at Wal-Mart for only $12. At these prices, you can buy several pairs.
— The tropical punch. Everyone needs something to brighten up their wardrobe for summer. You may not wear loud prints any other time of the year, but summer is one season when you do not need to be a shrinking violet. Instead, think colorful, huge hibiscus flowers in larger-than-life vibrant prints. Choose one statement piece and see your fashion life blossom. My favorite: Lily Pulitzer’s new vintage “ocean” prints in her Originals collection. (www.lillypulitzer.com)
— The bohemian dress. Summer is the time to let your inner free spirit loose, and the bohemian look is one way to channel that flower child inside with flowing chiffon dresses, skirts and tunics. Cool is the name of the game with this look. But do remember: When wearing clothes on the sheer side, just because it’s hot and humid and 100 degrees in the shade, does not mean you can literally show it ALL off. Critical coverage is still a must. Find some of the best boho looks at www.target.com.
— The long broomstick skirt. There’s just something about these “swishy” skirts that speak summer’s easy, breezy language. They’re perfect for those days or nights when you want a little more coverage and it’s too hot for pants. I have a black silk one that I have worn dozens of times with my favorite “off-the-shoulder” tops, flat, metallic gladiator sandals and long, dangly earrings. It’s one of those “go-to” outfits I love — and a great look for the Moody Blues concert I recently attended! (www.softsurroundings.com).
— A cardigan sweater. The matching “twinset” may be passe, but you can’t beat a lightweight version of this sweater for layering over sleeveless dresses or tank tops on summer evenings at the beach or chilly offices when the air conditioning is turned down low. This year, there are lots of updated variations on the classic cardigan theme from cocoon sweaters to shrugs. Browse the many selections at J.Crew (www.jcrew.com). Or check out the “cozy” cardigans at DKNY (www.dkny.com) for locations.
COPYRIGHT 2010 CREATORS.COM
In the Swim
By: Sharon Mosley
Love it or hate it. Swimsuit season is here. You can cover it all up or figure out a way to accentuate the positive and have a great time. Let’s face it, we all have figure flaws, so let’s figure out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to baring it all … well, almost!
“The first decision is whether to wear a one-piece or two-piece suit,” says Jill Martin, fashion expert and author of “Fashion for Dummies.”
“What you choose depends on what you’re comfortable in and what body part you want to show off or hide,” she says. “Get a one-piece suit if your belly is an area that you don’t feel comfortable revealing.”
Here are some of Martin’s tips for choosing a swimsuit that fits your body style:
— Small-busted. The bandeau top or triangle top looks great on you (and many suits now come with padding if you want an extra boost!). Also, a cute suit with ruffles on top helps accentuate the chest area. Any detail on top helps give the illusion that you’re more curvaceous. These tops are available in either a one-piece or two-piece style, so you can choose which look you prefer.
— Large-busted. If you have larger breasts and want to wear a two-piece suit, try ones that have more supportive straps. The bra-style bikini top is a very good choice for you as is the halter-top suit. These both flatter and support you in the chest area. If you prefer to wear a one-piece suit, look for one with straps that provide the support you’re looking for.
— Bottom-heavy. Play up your top in order to even out the proportions. Choose either a one-or two-piece suit with a top half that attracts all the attention. Separates — where the top has thicker straps or a colorful print and the bottom half is a dark solid that flatters and still matches the top — are always a good choice.
Or try a color block one-piece with lighter colors on the top and darker ones on the bottom. Avoid boy short bottoms, which emphasize and attract attention to your derriere. Accentuating your cleavage is a good way to divert attention from other areas.
— Short legs: Choose a suit that’s cut high at the hip to make your legs look longer. A plunging neckline also creates a more vertical look. Vertical stripes serve the same purpose.
— Long torso: Go for horizontal stripes. A two-piece suit breaks up your midsection. If you wear a one-piece, try one with cutouts, which break up your torso. And don’t be afraid to add splashes of color to keep eyes from looking at you in a straight up-and-down manner.
— Thick waist: If your hips and waist are about the same size, wear a two-piece suit with bright colors, so there’s a clear definition between your two halves. Choose bottoms that sit low on your hips (these add a lengthening effect), and try to find a suit that has some bows or other adornment at the hips to differentiate your hips and waist.
— Plus-sized. Dark colors are the best. A streamlined one-piece in a dark color makes you look longer and leaner. Try an interesting neckline, maybe one that’s deeper rather than rounder, as it creates more of an illusion of length and draws attention to your chest area.
— Cover-ups. Hey, we all need them at times. Martin suggests buying one of the most versatile cover-ups: a sarong. “The great thing about a sarong is that you can use it in several ways, depending on which parts you want to cover,” she says. “Tie it above your chest, like a bath towel, and it covers you entirely without being too hot or looking out-of-place. If you just want to cover your lower half, tie it at your waist. Sarongs are so easy to put on and take off. You can even use it to lie on at the beach when you take it off!”
COPYRIGHT 2010 CREATORS.COM
Summer in the City
BY SHARON MOSLEY
The girls from “Sex and the City” may have spent their summer in the desert, but what are us girls stuck in the hot city supposed to wear? We can definitely take some cues from the fashionable foursome in the latest “Sex and the City 2” movie, says Whitney Kessler, assistant editor of Stylesight (www.stylesight.com), a trend forecasting service.
“It’s possible to stay cool without showing a lot of skin,” says Kessler, who notes that the women of “SATC2” looked both modest and summery in maxi dresses, jumpsuits, caftans, harem pants, gauzy wraps and thin silk blazers. For covered looks that are still airy and appropriate for summer, she suggests sticking to thin woven fabrics and fits that pull away from the body. “Draped styles and trapeze cuts are ideal.”
The hot months are time to lighten up on all the fashion extras, too. “Accommodate changing weather conditions by choosing accessories that are both fashionable and functional,” she says. “Sun hats and sunglasses will allow for chic, easy transitions when the sun comes out, while summer wraps will warm the shoulders or neck if there’s an unexpected breeze.”
And rather than piling on accessories, look to eye-catching prints, patterns and interesting color combinations to add interest to low-key summer looks. “Mix solid colored separates to create unexpected color palettes,” Kessler advises, “or emphasize a garment’s dramatic silhouette by wearing it in a monochromatic ensemble. Bold large-scale prints are expressive enough on their own, and mixing small-scale patterns can result in looks that are fun and witty.”
Even Miranda took advantage of the new summer trends in the new movie, says Kessler.
“Each of the main characters has a signature look that reflects her personality, lifestyle and body type. Miranda’s style has come a long way. Most of her outfits in the film were simple, but had one or two exciting elements, like a geometric print or a pair of chandelier earrings. Her looks were very elegant and sophisticated, and probably the most realistic.”
Charlotte offers us another peek at dressing up our summer wardrobes, even if they reflect more of a “traditional” look. “More often than not, Charlotte’s silhouette highlighted her small waist and petite upper body,” notes Kessler. “In ‘SATC2,’ she wore plenty of full-skirted tea-length dresses with slim waists that hit at her natural waistline. Her wardrobe was very ’50s-inspired, often referencing Christian Dior’s ‘New Look.’ A few of her looks featured peplums, and achieved the same figure-flattering effect. As the most traditional and conservative of the group, Charlotte never wore anything that was avant-garde or risque.”
On the other end of the spectrum, Samantha’s clothes were sexy, daring and consistent with her over-the-top personality, says Kessler. “They were body-conscious and revealed a lot of skin. Many of the garments that Samantha wore featured cutouts and were heavily embellished.”
Carrie also took fashion risks, says the trend expert, but unlike Samantha’s, Carrie’s looks were daring in a way that was more offbeat than sexy. “Her wardrobe was based on the combination of high end with the low end, and witty mixes of casual soft-grunge items with formalwear.” In “SATC2,” Carrie’s signature pieces included novelty tees and tote bags, voluminous skirts, slim-fit jeans and fluid floor-length gowns. Several items that Carrie wore had accordion pleats, and many were layered.
Miranda wore several sheath dresses in the film, and they varied in pattern and neckline. Her look was very consistent throughout the movie, with her go-to outfit consisting of a simple sheath, a waist belt, high heels and statement jewelry.
So what are some of the hot new “must-haves” we city girls can put in our wardrobe this summer? Here are Kessler’s recommendations:
-The breezy jumpsuit
-The draped maxi dress
-The harem pant
-The sheath dress
-The head wrap
-The silk blazer
-The sturdy pump
-The tote bag
-The hobo bag
-The clutch bag
Top Ten Summer Trends from “Sex and the City 2”:
1. Flashy embellishments — sequins, beads, rhinestones, crystals, studs, spikes, etc.
3. Fabric draping, ruching and gathering
4. Floor-length hems
5. Bold color, particularly electric brights and saturated jewel tones
6. Patterned textiles — large-scale ethnic prints, exotic floral/nature prints, metallic pinstripes, linear brushstroke prints
7. Harem pant silhouettes
8. Strapless, halter and asymmetrical necklines
9. A defined natural waist
COPYRIGHT 2010 CREATORS.COM
Fashion Intervention for Dads and Grads: Top 10 Summer Trends for Men
By: Sharon Mosley
Think the man in your life might need a little fashion help this Father’s Day? Or do you need to buy a special graduation gift for your nephew? Or are you planning a vacation for you and your husband? And you know who will get to pack for both of you!
June is a great time to plan a fashion intervention for the guys. And Father’s Day, in particular, is the perfect occasion to help “upgrade” your man’s style through “strategic gift-giving,” according to fashion expert Tom Julian, author of the recently released “Nordstrom Guide to Men’s Everyday Dressing.”
“Consider thoughtful gifts that can make a marked difference in his everyday style,” says Julian. His top fashion choices include a lightweight cashmere-blend cardigan or a slim dress shirt in a bright gingham check.
Julian also notes that June is a great time to help new grads learn the in’s and out’s of business casual dressing and build a “workproof” outfit. “You can’t go wrong with a cotton oxford shirt, a pair of trim flat-front trousers and a lightweight hybrid blazer,” he says.
As defined by Julian, the “hybrid” jacket is a “catch-all” term for jackets that serve more than one purpose with multifunctional details, varying from smartphone pockets to convertible collars. He also suggests investing in polished accessories, such as burnished brown loafers or thin cotton ties in bold patterns to dress up a professional look.
And if you’re scoping out a gift for that traveling man, consider buying “wrinkle-free” pieces for carefree packing. Flat-front twill shorts and trim linen shirts are other great ways to be comfortable on vacation, yet stylish at the same time.
Another trendy shirt, according to Julian, is the utility shirt, which “can be worn for work or play and can double as outerwear for summer trips.”
But whether you’re buying a gift for your favorite man or you’re a guy who wants to spiff up your vacation wardrobe this summer, here are some of Julian’s key items to update any man’s closet:
— An unconstructed two-button blazer. Most likely in a cotton, it is to be worn as an outerwear piece or tailored jacket for casual office days.
— Cotton “slub” (textured cotton) T-shirt or polo shirt or V-neck pullover. “Think of this as an add-on to cotton pique polos or cotton pima T-shirt wardrobes,” says Julian.
— A five-pocket pant (not in denim), but in either cotton or cotton/Lycra or cotton/linen. “This pant is designed like a jean, but works very well for casual office days when worn with a woven shirt,” says Julian.
— The summer novelty “date night” shirt in a subtle pattern, such as a check with contrast collar, cuffs and novelty buttons. Colors tend to be more muted and sunset-inspired from apricot and melon to lilac and sky blue.
— Flat-front walk shorts in cotton (possibly a 7-inch inseam). No pleats, please guys.
— The expedition or field shirt with epaulettes and two patch pockets, which can be worn alone or as a shirt jacket layered over the cotton slub T-shirt.
— Dark dressy denim jeans. For a romantic getaway, Julian suggests pairing classic pieces like a white button-down shirt with the dark, slim jeans, which can become more formal with a distressed trench and tan buck shoes. It can be casual with a lightweight knit cardigan paired with driving mocs.
— Driving shoes without socks.
— Sunglasses (maybe updated aviators).
— Woven leather belt to wrap it all up and go with everything.
COPYRIGHT 2010 CREATORS.COM
Hats Off to You: Tips and Trends for Wearing Hats
By: Sharon Mosley
We stop and stare. Who is that wearing that hat? We think it must be somebody special. Indeed, hats have been crowning us with glory for thousands of years, ever since the first Phoenician women entered competitions for their glorious headpieces.
Today, celebrities know the glamorous power of the hat and the attention it creates. Just look at the toppers of Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Demi Moore, Beyonce Knowles and Harrison Ford — all of whom have been “hat dressed” by Ellen Colon-Lugo, the milliner for both the theatre and the couture fashion crowd. Her famous “Ellen Christine” hats have turned heads for over 30 years.
But you don’t have to be a movie star to look like somebody special in a hat, admits Colon-Lugo. “Truly, the only thing you need to wear a hat is a head,” she says, “and the best hat for you is the one that makes you smile.”
However, every face is different, so the milliner has a few tips for picking out the hat that is the most flattering. Here are her tips:
— Round faces should not wear round silhouettes, such as bowler hats.
— Long, narrow faces should not “do top hats.”
— Small, petite faces should not wear a brim that “turns you into a mushroom.”
When searching for the perfect hat — for those “see and be seen” A-list events (and not just that straw sun hat that you throw on before you hit the beach) — you should put your trust in the hands of an experienced milliner, according to the Ellen Christine designer, whose hats are available exclusively at her Chelsea boutique in New York. “I have customers who can wear showgirl headpieces and feel at ease,” she says. “Others are happy with a classic, contained shape.”
She also feels like your personal style should come through when wearing a hat … after all, you are making your own individual fashion statement. “The style that compliments you is the right style,” says Colon-Lugo, “not what the magazines say, or what your girlfriends say. As with clothing, the hat should fit the wearer.”
But there are always “trends” in fashion, she admits. And this year, the most popular hat trends are the classic favorites: the 1920s cloche is “a great shape, but not for all,” she says. “The fedora, stolen from men’s wear, always is hot as a look and stays classic,” she adds, “and it can rock the fashions of the season with diversity in proportion and color.”
The special occasion hat is another winner and appears at major social events like the recent Kentucky Derby; it will surely appear at the upcoming Veuve Clicquot’s Polo Classic in New York in June. “The picture hat has long been the definitive hat for many,” says Lugo-Colon, “with its crown, the large brim and the decorative touches. It will pop any outfit.” But, she says, these large hats do have one minor drawback: “It can get in the way of kissing your beau.”
Another big fashion trend on the hat social scene is the mini-headband called a “fascinator.” Colon-Lugo describes this new accessory as a “wisp of a feather or flower, with or without a veil that allows the non-hat wearer to leap across the void.”
But whatever hat you end up choosing to wear, one thing remains the same, according to the hat designer, especially if you have the good fortune to have a custom hat made for you. “Stay a bit classic,” says Colon-Lugo, “but remember the fun and excitement of the moment.”
And always begin by picking out your outfit first, she notes. Then shape your hat around your clothes. “A custom-made hat takes a little bit of time, a fitting or two and a lot of imagination, but imagination helps to make the magic of that one-of-a-kind piece that you can wear forever.”
COPYRIGHT 2010 CREATORS.COM
Pack It In
By: Sharon Mosley
Heading to the beach this summer? It’s never too early to start thinking about your packing “to-do” list. Put pencil to paper and come up with a plan. Get organized and create a vacation wardrobe with mix-and-match separates — plus a few great accessories — that will have you sipping margaritas when you reach paradise, not worrying about those fabulous gladiator sandals you left at home.
Here are some travel tips to help you start packing for your trip to Margaritaville:
— It sounds pretty basic, but unless you’ve been to your travel destination before, you need to do some homework. There’s no excuse not to “google” that out-of-the-way island that you plan to visit. And, of course, check the weather forecasts. You may need to stick in a sweater or two. I always call ahead to the hotel to make sure they have hair dryers, toiletries, etc. There’s no need to pack a bulky hair dryer if you don’t need it.
— Start a list. Weeks before I go on vacation, I often wake up in the middle of the night and make my mental lists. Now, I keep a notebook on the bedside table and jot down items to pack, even putting together outfits in my sleep. It works. Then I start putting things in my suitcase, so I don’t end up having to pack everything at the last minute. You can do a final edit later.
— Think outfits. This is the easiest way to make sure you don’t forget the white jeans that go with the black tunic that doubles as a swimsuit cover-up, etc. Plus, it’s always much easier to limit yourself to one or two neutral colors that you can mix and match. Black and white is my “go-to” color scheme, and it always seems to work.
— Pop in some color. If you’ve got your neutrals down in your basic pieces that you pack, then you can easily “pop” them with boldly colored accessories. I have a turquoise pashmina that works wonders with my black-and-white combos. Then I take some silver and turquoise jewelry that goes with every outfit. A crushable straw hat (Target has a great one in the “garden” section now) is another way to add some fun to your beach wardrobe and not take up valuable space.
— Limit your shoes. I know it’s tempting to take those fabulous Jimmy Choo high heels you just bought, but remember how much room shoes can take up in your suitcase. Stick to a pair of comfortable flats or sneakers that are comfortable for walking and maybe one pair of dressier shoes, like jeweled sandals, to wear at night. I need to have my Old Navy flip-flops. But don’t try to take a pair of shoes for every outfit. Been there, done that. And how much are we paying for the extra weight in our luggage? You shoe freaks out there … try to control yourself! After all, you’ll be barefooted most of the time, right?
— Dress for comfort: Cotton, linen, jersey. Think cotton sundresses, gauzy skirts, loose-fitting linen pants or shorts. Go easy on the stuff that wrinkles and choose ones that have Lycra blends. I’m a great fan of the “Travelers” collection at Chico’s. Everything can be rolled up and stuffed into your suitcase without worrying about what it will look like when you arrive in humidity-ville and you feel like a limp dishrag — at least you won’t look like one. Remember to make your clothes do double duty. That cotton tunic will come in handy as a swimsuit cover-up and can easily be dressed up with jeans for a casual evening for cocktails at the bar on the beach. I often pull on a long, gauzy skirt over my swimsuit and top it off with a lightweight cardigan sweater when I want to be a little more “dressed” for lunch by the pool.
— Layer, layer, layer. Yes, I know you’re headed to that tropical paradise and really don’t want to wear anything but your swimsuit (of course, there are some of us who would rather wear anything BUT a swimsuit), but if you’ll be in and out of restaurants and shops, you need to consider taking lots of lightweight “extras” to pull on and off, which will easily fit into a large tote bag. Beach towels do NOT make great cover-ups when you’re strolling down the beach. In fact, they are a definite what NOT to wear in Margaritaville.
COPYRIGHT 2010 CREATORS.COM
Address the Dress: Tips for Finding the Perfect Dress
By: Sharon Mosley
Dresses. They’re one-hit wonders. But for many of us who dress each day out of a closet brimming with separates, dresses can be intimidating. This season, however, fashion designers have addressed the dress in a whole new way by giving us instant comfort in stylish shifts, flowing maxis and elegant wraps. If you haven’t shopped for dresses in a few years, it may be time to rethink your wardrobe.
“If you’re trying to edit some of the chaos out of your life, it may just be worth taking another look at the practical benefits of one-piece dressing,” says Paula Reed, London fashion expert and author of “Style Clinic” (Collins Living, $27.95). “The right dress can add height, broaden your shoulders and skim your hips. You can vamp it up, play it down or simply enjoy the pure feminine pleasure in a swish of fabric or nipped-in waist.”
Here are Reed’s tips to putting yourself on the best-dressed list this spring and summer:
— Dresses can be tricky because they have to fit well in so many different spots: shoulders, waist, hips, bust and length. Here’s where label loyalty pays off. Try lots of different designers, and when you find one whose cut works for you, stick with it.
— Pear-shaped figures will benefit from the defining and smoothing effects of a sharp-shouldered, bias-cut style.
— A-lines are the best hip minimizers.
— The best necklines for large bosoms are the boat-neck, V-neck, keyhole or square. Avoid round necks, high necks or turtlenecks. Reverse and shawl collars are also slimming and lengthening. Stick to fitted, body-skimming silhouettes, and at all costs, avoid crossover styles that cut your bosom in two.
— A curvy figure looks best in fabrics that drape rather than cling. Never leave your waist undefined. Even the subtlest curve at the waist will look better than a boxy drop from the shoulder that will only add width.
— An hourglass shape with a full skirt and nipped-in waist will give boyish figures some feminine oomph.
— A tailored, waisted shift will subtly shape a boyish frame.
— A curvy figure will stop traffic in a wrap dress.
— Heavy arms can be disguised by slim (not tight) three-quarter length sleeves.
— Empire waists lengthen petite frames.
— An all-over print keeps the eye moving and disguises a multitude of figure faults.
— In the fitting room, make sure you can sit down, cross your legs, bend over and reach up without pinching or squeezing (which will make you look bigger than you are) or exposing more than you want to.
— For work, keep dresses simple. A tailored shape is best in most office situations. Shirtdresses and A-lines are great options. If you need to cover up, consider a jacket that echoes the lines of the dress or a sleek cardigan. Invest in the best dress you can afford. An ill-fitting tailored shift looks bad on everybody.
— When buying dresses to wear on the weekend, quantity wins out over quality. Between beach days, lunch with the girls, country weekends and city shopping trips, it’s good to have options and be able to wear, trash and move on.
— For evening, the little black dress is everyone’s favorite option, but it isn’t the only one. Check out other colors and prints. Go for lingerie details, such as lace trims and chiffon layers.
COPYRIGHT 2010 CREATORS.COM
Adding Art to a Room, No Hammer Necessary
By: Rose Bennett Gilbert
Q: We have such a small living room (12 feet by 13 feet). I don’t know what to hang on the walls. Anything I put up might make it look crowded, but my husband says that it’s too “minimalist” when bare. What do you suggest?
A: Your husband’s maxim about minimalism carries truth. Less is often just less. Accessories exist to add color and interest to our environments. Hence, we expect to find works of art in every room. But that doesn’t mean they can only be hung on a wall.
Here’s colorful proof. The pictured smallish living room features a lineup of glowing glass bottles and graceful branches, eloquent substitutes for the usual wall-hung works of art. Flanked by a pair of lamps made from old bottles, the collection seems to float lightly across the top of the narrow chest, used behind the sofa in place of the narrow table you usually find there.
Simple as it is, the arrangement comes as a surprise — why didn’t I think of that! It’s also visually transparent enough to keep the small space from looking overstuffed. To quote Jean Nayar, author of “Real-Life Decor” (the book from Filipacchi Publishing where we found this photo), the gleaming bottles and whimsical accents also give “personality to a bare wall.”
Q: What can you learn from a designer show house?
A: Details! This is high season for show houses, so go if there’s one within driving distance. And be sure to take a small notebook for jotting down decorative details and ideas — the little secrets that design pros develop and cherish as a way to give flair to their individual work.
Here are jottings from the notebook I recently used to purloin tidbits from the elegant Mansion in May designer show house (in Harding Township, N.J., through May 31, www.mansioninmay.com). The biennial fundraiser raises a whopping million or so for Morristown Memorial Hospital and gins up any number of priceless little decorating tips to wit:
— How to handle a fireplace out of season: Fill it with dozens of fat pillar candles on a tray. Stack up round logs with cut ends facing forward. Group three tall, fat red urns inside the opening. Stack up pristine white birch logs.
— How’s your overhead? Decorative ceiling ideas worth a crick in the neck included:
Garden trellis mounted flat against the ceiling and painted white (janetsimoninc.com). Glossy and elegant (and expensive!) waxed Venetian plaster (creativewallcoverings.com). A 110-inch movie screen that lowers from the ceiling into a home theatre/family room at the touch of a button (interchangetechav.com). Metallics — gold and silver leaf or aluminum paint — applied overhead. An antique, wooden plaster’s ladder hung over the kitchen work island to hold pots and pans.
— Nods to Nature: Chunks of tree roots topped with glass for cocktail tables (kennethdavis.net). A potager, a kitchen garden laid out formally and planted with edibles to be donated to a food pantry (Susan Cohan Gardens).
— Whimsies: Giant antique lanterns hung on block-and-tackle from a tree limb over an outdoor dining table (backtonature.net). A carpenter’s workbench, refinished as a many-drawer divider in a kitchen/sitting room (currendesign.com). Desk made of half-inch glass wedged into a narrow window alcove in the attic.
COPYRIGHT 2010 CREATORS.COM.