headerAnimal prints have become a classic trend, which means they are always in style. However, in some seasons these prints mimicking the markings of wild animals are more popular than other seasons. This fall and winter, animal prints are super popular. 

Why do women like them so much? These fabrics have a strong graphic identity, and some women even say they feel empowered when they wear animal prints.  Grrrr…..Hear me roar!

Animal prints are also so easy to wear, because they are like neutrals. Think about it: this season’s animal prints feature variations of browns, beiges, greys, and blacks.  

But wait, what about zebra prints? They’re not brown and beige – they’re black and white. Alas, although I am a lifelong lover of zebra prints, the zebra is just not popular this year. In fact, even when I see them, they look wrong somehow right now.

Right now, animal prints that have darker, neutral backgrounds are in. White and black zebra prints and orange and black tiger prints are not (sorry, El Paso High Tigers).

Here are a few tips on how to wear animal prints this fall and winter, along with a run-down of what’s hot and what’s not:

  • A little goes a long way.  It’s fantastic to have an animal print blouse, pants, scarf, and handbag in your closet.  Just don’t wear them all at once.  One at a time, please.
  • Done right, a pop of bright color, such as in a handbag, looks great with an animal print.
  • Do accessorize with animal prints: handbags, shoes, and scarves add some of the best touches.
Animal prints are all classics, but some seasons some are more popular than others.

Animal prints are all classics, but some seasons some are more popular than others.

Leopard Top Under a Fur Vest

Leopard Top Under a Fur Vest

MORE LOOKS

A New York Travelogue

1Last week we went to the Coterie apparel market at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York.  Self-described as “a premier global marketplace that bridges apparel and accessories designers to the international Who’s Who of Retailers,” this is the largest show of the year. It is so huge that it’s really hard to describe just how many vendors and buyers attend.

It is always held after the official New York Fashion Week.  Fashion Week is full of runway shows meant to impress celebrities and the press. The following week, it’s time to get down to the business of fashion.

For Tres Mariposas buyers, this September trip includes a couple of days at the huge convention center show and a couple of days dashing to showrooms from one end of Manhattan to the other – Seventh Avenue, Soho, and Midtown. Market is not all glamour. For instance, the Meat Packing District of Manhattan is now a “cool” fashion district.  That means riding up a nasty, grungy freight elevator to see the Rag & Bone showroom.

The Coterie is miles and miles of designer booths displaying their lines for the Spring 2014 season.  Clover Canyon is one of the most popular vendors due to their innovative mixing of prints and fabulous bright colors.

The Coterie is miles and miles of designer booths displaying their lines for the Spring 2014 season. Clover Canyon is one of the most popular vendors due to their innovative mixing of prints and fabulous bright colors.

Herve Leger, king of body conscious dresses, has an amazing showroom.

Herve Leger, king of body conscious dresses, has an amazing showroom.

The “Edit” show was a small, exclusive segregated area within the giant Coterie venue.  Vendors and buyers had to go through a rigorous vetting process.  Whew!  Tres Mariposas passed inspection.  Most of all I enjoyed the colorful sophisticated displays at the entry to Edit.

The “Edit” show was a small, exclusive segregated area within the giant Coterie venue. Vendors and buyers had to go through a rigorous vetting process. Whew! Tres Mariposas passed inspection. Most of all I enjoyed the colorful sophisticated displays at the entry to Edit.

Sometimes it’s hard to get work done because of the distraction of amazingly entertaining visual displays!  Alice and Olivia is a line full of young creativity.

Sometimes it’s hard to get work done because of the distraction of amazingly entertaining visual displays! Alice and Olivia is a line full of young creativity.

The fringe trend isn’t stopping anytime soon.  Go ahead and splurge.

The fringe trend isn’t stopping anytime soon. Go ahead and splurge.

A TRES customer, KC Nelson, happened to be in New York also.  Our contemporary buyer Gesuina Legaspy (right) and KC are excited to discover they have the same phone covers.

A TRES customer, KC Nelson, happened to be in New York also. Our contemporary buyer Gesuina Legaspy (right) and KC are excited to discover they have the same phone covers.

Jonathan Simkhai is a relatively new designer we discovered.  He started working in a boutique when he was 14.  A few good people helped him along the way and he’s making it in the fashion world – not easy to do.  This photo is in his showroom.  He was adorable to visit with.

Jonathan Simkhai is a relatively new designer we discovered. He started working in a boutique when he was 14. A few good people helped him along the way and he’s making it in the fashion world – not easy to do. This photo is in his showroom. He was adorable to visit with.

Our trusty travel agent, Priceline, put us at the very wonderful One UN Plaza Millennium Hotel.  Our 35th-floor rooms had a magnificent view of the East River and the city as well as the United Nations complex. Each morning when I got up I opened the curtains and felt exhilarated because it was so stunning, as you can see by this view from my window. Before going to bed at night, I marveled at the city lights reflecting in the river. Speaking of New York rivers, we all remember US Airways pilot “Sully” Sullenberger, the “Hero of the Hudson.” He executed that emergency water landing after his plane was disabled, saving every passenger and crew member. When I see that murky river water, I am in awe of that safe landing and admire Captain Sullenberger’s skills even more. I’m also proud of my son Creed, an Air Force pilot – he now shares a distinction with the hero: they both have received the Jabara Award from their shared alma mater, the U.S. Air Force Academy. Creed thought he was in mighty fine company to get the same award as Sully.

Our trusty travel agent, Priceline, put us at the very wonderful One UN Plaza Millennium Hotel. Our 35th-floor rooms had a magnificent view of the East River and the city as well as the United Nations complex. Each morning when I got up I opened the curtains and felt exhilarated because it was so stunning, as you can see by this view from my window. Before going to bed at night, I marveled at the city lights reflecting in the river.
Speaking of New York rivers, we all remember US Airways pilot “Sully” Sullenberger, the “Hero of the Hudson.” He executed that emergency water landing after his plane was disabled, saving every passenger and crew member. When I see that murky river water, I am in awe of that safe landing and admire Captain Sullenberger’s skills even more.
I’m also proud of my son Creed, an Air Force pilot – he now shares a distinction with the hero: they both have received the Jabara Award from their shared alma mater, the U.S. Air Force Academy. Creed thought he was in mighty fine company to get the same award as Sully.

Inside scoop: Trends to watch this fall

Untitled-1_Cover

To stay ahead in the retail industry, owners of all kinds of stores work to keep up with the latest new products in their field. No matter what you’re selling, you need to stay apprised of trends in your niche – and be ready to tell your customers about them.

In the world of fashion, new trends are what inspire us and keep our jobs fun. We are always curious about what’s coming down the pipeline from Parisian runway to Dallas showrooms, from visionary couture to reasonably priced ready-to-wear.

It’s not enough to just name a trend to a customer; we retailers need to understand that trend and know how a new trend can make a customer look great. I can’t speak for retailers in other industries, but in the fashion world, we often watch presentations by designers who talk about new trends and then share it among ourselves in the store. 

Last week, two of our younger “fashionistas” held a fall trend presentation for the staff and it was excellent. We’d love to share their fall 2014 recommendations with you.

Fall 2014 Trends List

Chunky Knits: Fall’s favorite sweater can be dressed up or down. Heavy knits paired with J Brand skinny jeans and booties are an effortless yet chic way to wear this trend. For the more fashion forward: pair your chunky knit sweaters with dressier pieces like pencil skirts and kitten heels.   

Shades of Grey: Grey is the new neutral. Worn monochromatic or paired with blush, black, or white separates, grey is becoming a staple in contemporary style. This fall we’re seeing everything in grey: handbags, shoes, tops, and, of course, denim. Grey is a color storm that should not be taken lightly. Fall Trend Inspiration Board

The New Pant: The choice for fall pants styles all depend on the consumer. Thanks to the vast difference between our trendy jogger pants and the classic skinny, your pant game can go either way. The main focus on the pant trend is to keep in mind proportion and body type.

Fringe: The one word that describes this trend is IMPACT. From bags to cardigans, fringe is the overstated accessory that every it-girl has her hand in. Depending on your level of comfort in the trend, it can be as subtle as a fringed cardigan or as dramatic as a cropped fringe vest or fringed cross-body bag. Fall Trend Gray/Knits

Shoulder Bags: Shoulder bags used to be classified as ladylike quilted bags. This season the shoulder bag is also offered with tomboy qualities. Spacious and easy to tug around, the shoulder bag is giving the backpack a run for its money.Fall Trend Grey, Texture, Shoulder Bag

Stacked Rings: The trick is to create your own unique look. Mixing metals and pairing gold, silver, and rose gold together can be gorgeous and so distinctive. The one rule is balance. Be creative!Fall Trend Stacked Rings

Statement Earrings: While certainly dramatic, these decadent baubles are also festive and elegant. Statement earrings offer a modern way to energize just about any look imaginable. For the more fashion-forward, an ear cuff is the way to go.

Fall Trend Statement Earrings

Chunky Heels/Booties: Fall’s favorite shoe offers major elevation along with a reassuring sense of stability. Rag and Bone booties return season after season and project that sort of off-duty cool that iconic fashion models carry off so well – and yet are as comfortable as flats.  Fall Trend Stacked HeelMore looks here:

 

 

 

 

FEMAP Gala Brings Evening Gown Glamour

FEMAPThe Friends of FEMAP (Federación Mexicana de Asociaciones Privadas) Annual Gala is one of the most successful El Paso social events due to passionate support on both sides of the border.  This year’s gala will be September 26 at the El Paso Convention Center.  I can’t wait to see how the amazing volunteers turn the Convention Center into a Brazillian Carnival Extravaganza.  It promises to be a color explosion.

FEMAP has an amazing track record in its mission to raise the quality of life among people living in poverty.  Over the years, the group has raised funds to develop and run many life-saving services in Juarez, including two full-service inpatient hospitals and a nursing school. They have implemented numerous community-based programs to promote health, children and adolescent’s emotional and physical development, and economic growth through a micro-finance program. 

I have always marveled at FEMAP’s gritty determination to serve.  Adolpho Telles, president of the FEMAP Foundation board, describes his first visit six years ago to the neonatal intensive care unit and seeing blanket-covered wooden fruit boxes with lights to keep babies warm because the unit’s equipment couldn’t keep up with the number of patients.

In addition to its annual fundraising efforts, FEMAP leaders are conducting a capital campaign to raise $15 million to add hospital rooms and help build a new facility for the School of Nursing in Juarez. Generous and compassionate people in El Paso and Juarez have continued to donate money and services to keep up.

Last week, Tres Mariposas hosted a Pre-FEMAP Gala cocktails and dress viewing party and donated 15 percent of sales to FEMAP’S capital campaign.  It was fun to witness the energy, excitement, and merriment of FEMAP supporters. We had quite a lively time: ladies having so much fun trying on special dresses and best friends goading each other on to experiment with new styles.

Some women went for some of this year’s special occasion trends, such as fabulous laces, ruffle backs, exposed zippers, illusion sides or back. Emerald green is a hot color this year and some of our ladies looked fabulous in today’s neutral lighter colors. Other women were drop-dead gorgeous in red. It was interesting that I heard several women say they just really feel the most comfortable in black – and they looked great, too.

By the way, no need to drive home after dancing all night at the FEMAP Gala. The Double Tree Hotel nearby the Convention Center is offering a special rate so you can stay the night.

9th Annual Friends of FEMAP International Gala

Friday, September 26, 2014, 7:00 p.m.

El Paso Convention Center

$150 per person
$1,750 table for ten

915.544.4151

Portions of the ticket cost are tax deductible

www.femap.org

CLICK TO SEE THE GOWNS!

 

 

Fringe Benefits: A Trend That Works Everywhere

fRING

Fringe, as a fashion trend at least, is no longer on the fringe.  Fringe is front and center and seriously chic on sweaters, handbags, boots, blouses, everything possible.

If fringe makes you think of Pocahontas or Great Gatsby-style flapper dresses, give your brain an update. Today, fringe is a refreshing option that is fun, edgy, and stylish with a luxe vibe. It’s luxurious because it’s purely ornamental. Fringe can also be tactile and sexy: there’s nothing quite like the sensuous feel of long fringe running through your fingers.

I’m thinking that this is one trend that will stay a while. Elegant tasseled earrings have a certain classic feel to them. I predict that women will continue to adore the fringed handbags and scarves we’re seeing in the stores these days. Fringed tops and ponchos have a universality that can work for anyone -  any and all body shapes.

What I like about this do-able trend:

  • You can go all out, over-the-top fringed,  or wear it in an understated way.
  • Motion!  Fringe sways and moves.
  • Fringe works on nearly everything:  dresses, blouses, handbags, scarves, shoes, jewelry.
  • You can add a few fringe pieces to your wardrobe and you have an instant update.

     

 

And They Just Said No: A Look At Trends In Shoes

Untitled-2Last week while in San Diego, I dined at the California chic JRDN restaurant at the Tower 23 Hotel on Pacific Beach. It was Saturday night and the gorgeous fashionistas were out in styles worthy of the runway.  And they were all wearing mile-high platform shoes.

I was immediately reminded of the fashion industry’s recent efforts to roll out a new shoe trend – a trend that has absolutely flopped!

For the last year or two fashion magazines, trend prognosticators, and the shoe industry have touted fashion’s new pointy-toed, single sole shoes. This was the way of the future, the only way, they said. Anything else was out!

Granted, these single-sole towering heels with pointed toes are more feminine that the heavier platforms. Tell me this shoe isn’t down right sexy:single sole

A shoe like this spiked heel with rivets is transformative. It can completely transform a reserved, usually conservatively dressed lady of average height into a tall, stunning woman brimming with feminine power.  Wow!  You just can’t imagine what these shoes can do for you.

And guess what?  Some women have been elated and moved into the new pointed single-sole styles right away. They are fine with going back to the shoes of the past made new again. They want a shoe  that looks elegant while carrying that sexy va-va-voom impact.

Guess what else?  A whole bunch of other women did not want to negotiate those spiked heels again and push their toes into a point.  They spoke with their pocket books and just said no.

The last few years of shoe trends have spoiled women and they want to stay spoiled.  Women have had platform and wedge shoes with thick soles, which give the benefit of extra height, without the discomfort of a drastic incline that feels like you’re standing on your tippy toes.

Last month when we were in New York, we saw the new shoe collections at Tory Burch and Stuart Weitzman. At each showroom I said, “Wow, the last few markets you have shown a lot of pointy shoes, but I’m seeing mostly wedges and platforms for next season. What happened to the big push toward pointy?” I didn’t get a straight answer. platform

It wasn’t a topic they didn’t want to talk about.  Hmm…avoiding my question.  No one wanted to admit that the shoe industry pushed a new style, but many, many women weren’t having it.

What were shoe designers thinking? For one, they know that what makes fashion’s heart beat is change.  Trends typically move to something that hasn’t been around in a while, and it’s called new. Fashion runs in cycles. After all, how can the shoe industry possibly sell more and more shoes each business quarter if the same old styles stay “in?” Women want what’s new, not the same old thing. We get that. 

But in this case, the shoe designers underestimated the popularity of the more comfortable platform, which looks like it could be with us for a while. Heeled platform

However, women still benefit this season because they can make their own choices. Enjoy two upcoming options in stores: platform wedges or sexy pointy toe shoes!

The Cyclical World of Fashion: Trends Come and Go

   Have you ever stood in your closet and held up something on a hanger and asked yourself that age-old question: “Is this still in?”

Most women want to wear what is in style, what’s “in,” and love going shopping to see what’s new. Yet we complain when trends change too fast. No wonder one of the burning questions of all time is “What do women want?”

Fashion silhouettes, prints, and colors constantly change. Something new is introduced; it is eventually worn by many women; and finally it is discarded for a new style.

Typically whatever has been out the longest is what will be in next. It might seem like holding onto your old stuff would be the solution. The catch is that when a silhouette, for instance, comes back, it may have distinctly new features.

Some elements actually do stay rather consistent, such as proportions. Wide, flowy, loose tops are generally accompanied by tight pants or a tight skirt, and more form fitting tops are generally worn with wider, looser pants or a full skirt. Wide and blousy from top to bottom isn’t very attractive; a woman can look like the Michelin man. And a too-skinny top with skinny bottoms can evoke Popeye’s girlfriend Olive Oyl.

As an example of the cyclical nature of fashion, let’s look at the evolution of pants over the last fifty years.

Bell-bottomed pants were bold and daring when they arrived on the scene in the late ‘60s. Radical hippies, who had no doubt just been thrown out of their establishment parents’ homes, dared to wear them.60's Wide Leg Polyester

Eventually they were mainstream – and those parents were wearing bell bottoms! So again it was time to moan and groan when a change came along.

The 1980s brought shoulder pads (wide on top) and narrower pants. Remember stirrup pants? After stirrup pants came designer jeans. Oh, gasp! Why would anyone pay those prices to look like a celebrity? The silhouette was still narrow. Oh, how I loved my Escada jeans.

Next a transition began to boot-cut pants. I remember the angst with each of these changes. “Only a tall, skinny model could look good in those!”

But, oh, how our tune had changed when boot cut was on its way out. Boot cut was considered the most flattering. How dare anyone think women might move to a different silhouette?

The painful transition began to skinnier pants. Skinny jeans were daring about seven years ago. Now? Mainstream. The skinnier pant trend led to the skinniest of all – leggings.Pants, Skinny

Guess what? We are on the cusp of another transition. You guessed it. What comes after skinny? Wide again. Last year and again this year, wide, print, palazzo-style pants have been popular. They are an alternative to the maxi-dress.Palazzo Pants

This year’s version of an “only for a tall skinny model” style are the banded-ankle pants, which are blousier and fuller and then tight at the ankle. But sure enough, they are becoming a bit more mainstream as our eyes get used to this version of wider pants. A trend that is creating a few gasps right now is the return of the midriff-baring tops – which go with wider pants.Pants, banded, Joie

The “bottom” line: In its own weird way, fashion is predictable. We know that change is a constant, so embrace the changes and enjoy!

One necklace to take you from ordinary to outstanding

deepa gurnani 3Women love, love, love necklaces. For many centuries women have loved wearing necklaces and the 21st century is no different.

Look at all the necklaces in your jewelry box. If you’re curious, you can categorize them by the traditional lengths: the chokers (16 inches long), the “princess necklaces” (18 to 20 inches long), the “matinee necklaces” (22 to 23 inches long), and, of course, the “opera necklaces” (30 to 35 inches long).lulu frost 1Now look to see if you have any of this spring’s hottest necklaces – the “bib necklace.” It’s a funny label, but it gets its name because it sits higher on your neck and it can have the shape of a baby’s bib. It’s close to your neck, but can have added rows of beads down the front or other jewels cascading down from the neck. 

Bib necklaces are often ornately jeweled and a bit over the top.  It’s that over-the-top quality that makes it a perfect accessory for otherwise simple, clean outfits. This season, it’s the accessory that takes an ordinary outfit to an outstanding look.

Bib necklace 2 To create a fascinating and fun outfit, you only need pants, a simple top, and an amazing bib necklace.

If a statement necklace like this feels a little intimidating at first, get out of your comfort zone by first wearing a bib necklace with a black t-shirt. As you get more confident, wear a bib necklace with bright colors and try it with a crazy printed maxi dress. Then wear one on bare skin such as with an evening dress for ultimate impact. It’s wonderful how these necklaces can flatter your face and your figure.deepa gurnani 2Pair your bib necklace with simple earrings if you are the understated type.  Mix it with elaborate earrings if you want a more gypsy-glam look. However you wear it or whatever you wear it with, enjoy this spring’s hottest trend!

Not for the gym: Two athletic-inspired trends

TresWeb

In previous columns this spring, we’ve talked about how mesh fabrics and perforated materials – two athletic-influenced trends – are adding great new texture to spring fashions.

Today, let’s see how athletic styles are influencing two of this year’s new silhouettes. It’s wonderful when new silhouettes enter the fashion scene. Well, mostly wonderful. It’s fresh and interesting, but most of us hesitate a bit before taking a risk on something new. That’s the way it will likely be with these new looks that are part of the trend toward athletic influences on fashion.

Pants with banded hems

One of these great new trends: loose pants ending in knit bands at the bottom of the legs. This style may be inspired by those fleece gym pants of old, but this is far from workout wear. These new pants are in luxurious silks, drapey charmeuse, or soft linens.

It’s funny – it seems like new silhouettes always start in black, then move to other solid colors and then prints. Watch this trend evolve in that way. Fashion is always about change. That’s what we love about it. We’ve been in a tight skinny pants trend for a few years. So this trend, of course, is looser, more fluid and relaxed.

At Tres Mariposas, the new banded-bottom pants are selling quite well to El Paso fashionistas. One question often asked is, “What kind of shoes do I wear with these new pants?” Good news is that either high or low heels work. Strappy high shoes will make the look sexier, more feminine, and dressier. Just as workable are flat sandals for a casual look.

Fashion sweatshirts

Ah…the comfort of a sweatshirt translated to cutting edge fashion. Hip lines like Rag and Bone, Helmet Lang, and 10 Crosby are all about sweatshirts for the cool and casual. And they aren’t like your old hoodies you wear for jogging. These styles still have the athletic sweatshirt’s comfortable raglan sleeves and round neck, but the comparison stops there.

The sweatshirt gym staple has been restyled and reinvented in rich fabrics like cashmere, silk, and lace. Many of these stylish tops even have leather trim details. Wear them with dressy banded-bottom pants, of course. But also with skinny pants, sleek skirts, or your most flattering jeans.

Give these new athletic-inspired silhouettes a chance – you might just fall in love with the comfort and the fresh new styles!