Printed pants: The Next Big Thing

Nan’s sister came to town and the first thing she did was buy printed pants!

Nan’s sister came to town and the first thing she did was buy printed pants!

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Women are continuing to wear slacks this season, but you’ll find nothing ho-hum or boring about the next big trend in pants. For spring and summer, it’s all about the print.

Printed pants are fun, playful, and a great change of pace from those everyday black pants. Today’s popular prints range from dots and animal prints to florals and graphic patterns.

Print pants are one of those trends that can look fantastically chic. Or, when the look is not executed well, they can be a “Fashion Don’t.”

A few tips for wearing printed pants:

  • Wide-leg print pants in flowy fabrics are wonderful for social occasions. Just be sure you don’t wear them too short. This pant needs to fall below the ankle, not above.
  • Big floral or graphic patterns can be beautiful on wide, palazzo style pants. However, on more tailored pants or jeans, choose small- or medium-sized prints.
  • Keep the rest of the outfit simple. Pair print pants with a beautiful sold soft silky shirt in a neutral shade. Likewise, don’t choose an overly patterned handbag or distracting jewelry. Let the print of the pants be the star.
  • You’ll see prints against all hues of backgrounds. A rule of thumb here is that a dark background for print pants will be more slimming.

I was glad to have my sister from Amarillo in town last week. As usual, she wanted to come into Tres Mariposas to look around. She went right for the printed pants and looked great in a variety of graphics.

The next time you’re shopping, give print pants a try. You might be surprised what an impact they can make on your spring-time look!

Spring cleaning for your closet: Organizing Tips

Does your closet look like this?

Does your closet look like this?

Spring has sprung! Temperatures are rising and women are pulling out cute spring-ish fashions and even some summer-ish styles to stay cool during our warm afternoons. With Daylight Savings Time in place, I feel like we are well on our way to cocktails on the patio and dinners on the deck. Summer is around the corner!

We are also just a few days away from Easter Sunday and in Passover, two more milestones for the season, and everyone’s just loving getting together with family and friends for the holidays.

What does all this mean to your wardrobe? It’s time for the old closet switcheroo! Here are my Top Ten Tips for organizing for spring 2013 – along with notes on a worthy cause that might motivate you to tackle this task right away.

  1. Get out your supplies: a stepladder to reach high shelves, clear plastic bags for storage, extra hangers, and a notepad for your spring shopping list.
  2. Start with the golden rule of closet organizing: If you haven’t worn it in a year or it doesn’t fit you well, get rid of it. Donate it to someone who will wear it and be glad to have it. When you come across things you’re on the fence about, go ahead and donate. You know you’ll be glad you did. Start building a pile for donations.
  3. Next, pull out your “keeper” winter jackets, pants, sweaters, and tops that you won’t wear again until next fall. Put aside your fur coats to take to storage. Check out all those fall and winter clothes that need to be laundered or dry-cleaned before you put them away for the season. Start the washing machine and make a dry cleaning pile.
  4. Put plastic bags over the pieces that are ready and haul them to your guestroom closet, your under-bed storage boxes, or wherever you move your out-of-season clothes.
  5. Leave transition-type clothes in the closet for another couple of months, such as long-sleeve knit tops. You can cull those out in May.
  6. Now move to the spring/summer things currently hanging in your out-of-season closet. Take a hard look at the outfits and try them on if necessary. Begin the “keep or donate” sorting piles for those spring items.
  7. Then put the “keepers” in your current season closet. People have different ways of organizing their closets. I like to group jackets, pants, skirts, jeans, dresses and tops separately. Then I hang them from lightest colors to darkest.
  8. Move on to shoes and handbags. Go through the same season-switching process: evaluate and sort.
  9. Once your spring things are hanging up or shelved, look for wardrobe gaps and make a shopping list. Maybe you need colorful new tops to update basic outfits. Maybe you need something special for an upcoming wedding. Maybe you have some great evening shoes and would love to have a dress to go with them.
  10. Pack up the piles to dry clean or donate and enjoy your new closet!

Now, about that worthy cause: I’m sure you are familiar with the YWCA’s innovative Sara McKnight Transitional Living Center. This nationally acclaimed program provides housing to homeless women (and their children) who are working to get back on their feet. The TLC has a terrific track record for changing women’s lives.

Some women come to the TLC with very, very few possessions. The center continually needs gently used clothing and accessories to give them both wardrobe basics and appropriate ensembles for interviewing and working. For years Tres Mariposas has invited women to drop off nice clothing for these women at our Westside store (5857 North Mesa Street in Century Plaza). We’ll even mail you tax-deductible donation receipts.

This year, the Center needs about $1,350 to upgrade their security system. At Tres Mariposas, our goal is to collect 1,350 pieces of gently used clothing and accessories for the TLC – and then we will match that with a  $1,350 donation for the TLC security system.

We hope to complete the clothing collection campaign by April 25, the YWCA’s annual fundraising luncheon, and to give them our check that day. Suze Orman, the financial guru known for helping women achieve financial independence, is speaking at the luncheon; it should be an excellent presentation.

I’ll update you on the campaign next month as we get closer to our deadline. Meanwhile, tackle your closet and donate your clothes!

Shoe Organization.  Closet Nirvana!

Shoe Organization. Closet Nirvana!

 

Don't forget the jewelry too!

Don’t forget the jewelry too!

 

Fashion Forecast: Notes from New York Market

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As I wrote last week, I’ve been to market in New York City twice this spring; our second trip took us to the annual spring Fashion Coterie at Jacob Javits Convention Center.   This is a huge show of women’s apparel from some 5,000 exhibitors spread out over a half a million square feet. With about 20,000 buyers and other industry attendees, this is a busy place during its three-day run every February.

The fashion industry categorizes apparel according to price point, with labels starting at mass market (or budget) and moving up through moderate, private label (a department store brand such as Charter Club at Macy’s), contemporary, better, secondary lines (such as Marc by Marc Jacobs), bridge, designer, and lastly, couture. The Coterie offers clothes in the better, bridge, and designer categories.

We like to shop the Coterie because of its incredible variety of designers, all vying to become the next big thing. Unless you are a real industry insider or a “Women’s Wear Daily” reporter or something, you will have never heard of the vast majority of the exhibitors filling the shared showrooms and major spaces.

What we want to do is discover the best of these new names while keeping the well-known designers our customers love. That’s what I like about the whole buying process – that combination of fresh and familiar, talent search and tradition.

We also like the Coterie because it provides a great preview of trends, both new and continuing. Here are some pieces and places that caught my.

 

Studded leather accessories, such as this geometrically interesting bag, continue even bigger going forward.

Studded leather accessories, such as this geometrically interesting bag, continue even bigger going forward.

 

Ippolita offers a more delicate version of a cuff bracelet: rows of different hammered silver bangles stacked for a rich look.

Ippolita offers a more delicate version of a cuff bracelet: rows of different hammered silver bangles stacked for a rich look.

 

It's the season of the wrist. Some women are giving in to cuff mania and enjoying a wide variety of statement bracelets.

It’s the season of the wrist. Some women are giving in to cuff mania and enjoying a wide variety of statement bracelets.

 

As we saw at the Kate Spade showroom, pointy-toe pumps are on their way back. After all the platforms of recent years, feminine single-sole shoes are gaining in popularity.

As we saw at the Kate Spade showroom, pointy-toe pumps are on their way back. After all the platforms of recent years, feminine single-sole shoes are gaining in popularity.

 

Alice and Olivia is one of the hottest lines around. Their show space at the Coterie was buzzing.

Alice and Olivia is one of the hottest lines around. Their show space at the Coterie was buzzing.

 

Thousands of people pour through the entrance into the massive Jacob Javits Center each day during the Coterie show.

Thousands of people pour through the entrance into the massive Jacob Javits Center each day during the Coterie show.

 

 

 

 

Fresh and fun: Trip Diary in Pictures


On a busman’s holiday: Shopping at Bergdorf Goodman and admiring their incredible Japanese Hanging Gardens display

Luxury Showroom: Escada makes a beautiful dress and it was a pleasure to visit their fabulous showroom.

As you know from my previous columns about market trips, a buying consultant previews all the lines, keeps abreast of trends, analyzes what is selling well in stores, and saves us a lot of time at market. For the last two decades, we have working with one of the premier New York buying consultants, a woman who came to totally understand what El Paso women liked to wear and who expertly shepherded our showroom buying.

Well, this consultant recently retired, so now we’re working with another highly recommended consultant.

Model at the Red Valentino Showroom: This line is for our feminine customers who love ribbons and ruffles.

Studying the style: Bobbie Baldridge and Monica Armendariz debate the merits of a dress at Escada

Our get-to-know-you trip was so fun! She wanted us to see some fabulous, fresh new lines from designers who were closing off their orders before our long-planned trip for the Coterie show a week later. The European designers she knew were particularly innovative and appealing. Their order deadlines were upon us so we had to work fast.

Throughout our exciting tour, the consultant kept watching how our lead buyer Bobby Baldridge, our longtime sales guru Monica Armendariz, and I reacted to each new line. She gauged our responses to quickly learn about our different customers, from sophisticated chic to free-spirited and stylish.

Watch our store’s inventory starting next fall as we bring in classics as well as introduce new designers to the border region!

Sneak Preveiw: Gorgeous dresses from Tadashi to try on at Tres Mariposas this fall

Writing an order: Nan Napier and Bobby Baldridge working hard to get every detail

Stripes: Around and around we go!

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“Never, ever wear horizontal stripes.” Have you ever heard that old fashion mandate? “Stripes going around your body make you look fat.” Huh?

Well, guess what: not only has that style myth been disproven scientifically, it’s also contrary to one of the hottest trends around right now. We’re seeing horizontal stripes everywhere, and on all sizes of women.

If you want scientific proof, a few years ago, a psychology prof at the University of York in England and an expert in perceptions, published a whole paper on the stripe phenomenon in a scientific journal that studied “biological vision.”

He analyzed how experimental subjects perceived women of the same sizes wearing vertical and horizontal stripes. It turns out that women wearing horizontal stripes appeared thinner, not heavier. It was the vertical lines that added visual pounds. And in fact, horizontal stripes help women appear taller, as well. Interesting!

In all my long and glorious career in fashion, women would never wear horizontal stripes.  Thank goodness that over the last couple of years, stripes have been so fashionable that women have been willing to break that rule – and finding that horizontal stripes can be not only fun, but also flattering.

From fashion show runways and city streets to offices and schools, horizontal stripes continue to be a major fashion trend for 2013 for women of all ages and shapes. Black and white stripes, multi-colored stripes, variations of stripe directions in one dress: you’ll see some great pieces in stores right now to tempt you to give stripes a chance.

Try a top, a dress, or even just an accessory, like the Kate Spade purse shown here. Just in case you are still hesitant to break that old horizontal stripe rule, here are some great photos of outfits to prove the point!