Crazy for cobalt: Go for the blue

I have mentioned recently that we are in a trend cycle where color is the No. 1 element.

What a great stroke of luck! Color is the easiest way to make a statement, whether it’s changing the paint color on an accent wall or adding a colorful scarf to an outfit.

One day last week when I was reviewing new spring merchandise that had arrived at Tres Mariposas, I was overwhelmed with the amount of vivid cobalt blue and royal blue. Beautiful!

Cobalt is a flattering medium blue that works really well as a stand-alone solid or mixed with different shades of greens, aquas or corals and even tan or black. For a clean, crisp look to carry you through all of spring and summer, go for cobalt blue and white.

I recommend a cobalt handbag, a dash of cobalt in a scarf, a cobalt silk blouse, cobalt jeans and, of course, a little cobalt blue in just the right jewelry.

Some of my favorite models – Mary Lee Hughes, Emily Mouland and Aradne Lechuga – were at Tres Mariposas last week, helping us with the very successful and fun El Paso Pro-Musica High Tea fundraiser at the store. The two tried on some pieces in cobalt blue and they look great in them. You will, too!

Wear what you like, what looks good on you

Slim, trim jeans in bright, bold colorsAre short skirts in? Yes.

Are long skirts in? Yes.

Are muted pastels in? Yes.

Are bold neon colors in? Yes.

You get the drift.

Today women’s fashion trends are spun out so fast that dozens of trends, even contradictory ones, are whirling around at the same time.

With so many different themes and styles, fashion becomes a blur and then no trend stands out.

Why are trends important? Throughout fashion history, from ancient Egypt to 21st-century El Paso, women have watched what other women wear. I can’t speak for Egyptian empresses, but I know that here, we don’t want to wear the same ol’ thing year after year. We want to be up-to-date.

In the past, fashion’s “mandates” were very distinctive. When I started in this business, the most often-asked question was, “What will be this season’s hemline length?” No one wanted to be caught with her skirt long when it was supposed to be short.

Then there were trends like big broad shoulders or low, belly-baring jeans. Women devoured the trend of the moment – even when it didn’t look good on them.

Today, there are still trends, but they tend to evolve and not be set in stone. Fashion insiders are no longer able to deem something a must-have. Women are more likely to choose styles that flatter them while retaining an au currant look.

So even if we think we need some fashion direction, that clearly defined direction is not so clear anymore. What should women do?

The answer: “Wear what we like.”

Wear what you enjoy, what looks good on you. Keep an eye on evolving trends that give you a current edge and freshness – and then pick and choose outfits within those styles that suit you. Some of the key trends right now include:

• Graphic black and whites

• Slim, trim pants

• Soft outfit completers like cardigans or ponchos instead of hard-edged blazers

• Peekaboo details including open backs, envelope backs and cut-out detailing

• Color blocking, especially zingy in handbags

• Stripes – bold and thin, vertical and horizontal

• Emerald green or mint green

I’ve written about this last trend before: Emerald green is the Pantone Color Institute’s 2013 Color of the Year. It’s interesting how this company, known for providing standardized colors to graphic designers, interior designers, fashion designers, and other professionals, has capitalized on the trend blur.

Pantone filled the void created by too many trends by stepping in and proclaiming a single color of the year. Last year, you may remember, it was tangerine orange. If women are going to choose styles that are flattering or that fit their personality instead of ones that are decreed, then color trends become more important.

The Pantone Institute studies cultural trends and moods and picks a color that hasn’t been “in” for a while, otherwise it can’t be new; and that fits the psyche of the moment. Greens are being described as the color of growth in 2013, the color of well being, balance and harmony, and the color of jewels and money.

While Pantone has decreed a strong emerald green as the color of the moment, I would say the fashion industry’s darling color this spring is a bright mint green. I think emerald will emerge more as we go into fall 2013.

The bottom line when it comes to following trends is fashion liberation. With all the options out there, pick a few new styles or themes that are flattering for you and enjoy.

Trends aren’t quite what they used to be. Neither are women. Hear us roar. Watch us have fun. Let freedom reign!