Inside scoop: Trends to watch this fall

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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:

 

 

 

 

Oscar de la Renta: First Ladies’ First Choice

Five Decades of Style

Today’s column is by my friend Cindy Graff Cohen, a fan of fashion history and fine fabrics. She called me last week excited about a landmark fashion exhibit in Dallas: “Oscar de la Renta: Five Decades of Style.” It sounds lovely – a great combination of runway style, red carpet glamour, and historic moments!

Every so often, a major art museum hosts a retrospective of a great designer and if I can just get there, Nan lets me write about it. In this column, I’ve previously marveled at Cristobal Balenciaga’s sophisticated evening gowns at the DeYoung Museum of Art in San Francisco and Jean Paul Gaultier’s theatrical creations at the Dallas Museum of Art. However, this time the most exciting fashion exhibit anywhere this month is at a presidential library: the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum on the SMU campus.

“Oscar de la Renta: Five Decades of Style” is a dazzling collection of work by the designer who created gorgeous clothing for three First Ladies: Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton, and Laura Bush. The show features more than 60 outfits, including more than a dozen outfits worn by those three high-profile women.

When you think about the personal styles of each of these women, you kind of scratch your head and wonder how one designer could have clothed each so beautifully – and through such disparate fashion eras, from the big-shoulder ‘80s through this decade – yet de la Renta created just the right look for each president’s wife.

It all comes down to the designer’s approach to the individual client. “I have always felt my role as a designer is to do the best I can for a woman to make her look her best,” he says. “Fashion is only fashion once a woman puts it on.”

In the introductory video, Laura Bush describes what makes de la Renta’s designs so admired. “Oscar is the loveliest man,” she says, “and he really likes women!” The exhibit opens with two dresses she wore at the 2005 inauguration: the winter white wool boucle dress and matching coat for the ceremony and the silver silk sequined gown for the inaugural balls. “You can wear Oscar’s clothes over and over and I have,” she adds.

Two of Laura Bush’s ensembles for Inauguration Day 2005: silver sequined ball gown for evening and winter white wool boucle dress and matching coat for the swearing-in ceremony

Two of Laura Bush’s ensembles for Inauguration Day 2005: silver sequined ball gown for evening and winter white wool boucle dress and matching coat for the swearing-in ceremony

A real standout in the show is Jenna Bush’s wedding dress. I listened to a couple of little girls say it was their favorite dress there; they just stood and stared at it, kind of like me. “There was only one designer for Jenna to choose for her wedding dress,” Bush said in the video. Next to the gown is the blue silk suit that the proud mother of the bride wore to the 2008 wedding; on the other side is a graceful red de la Renta gown their other daughter, Barbara, wore to a UNICEF ball.

Left to right: Red evening gown worn by the Bushes’ daughter Barbara, Jenna Bush’s richly embroidered wedding gown, and the blue silk suit Laura Bush wore to Jenna’s wedding

Left to right: Red evening gown worn by the Bushes’ daughter Barbara, Jenna Bush’s richly embroidered wedding gown, and the blue silk suit Laura Bush wore to Jenna’s wedding

Some of de la Renta’s classic creations are timeless, such as the simple gold gown Hillary Clinton wore to an inaugural ball. Others, like Nancy Reagan’s almost comical big-plaid wool suit with a huge paisley bow tie, are best seen as period pieces of a strange fashion hiccup.

Nancy Reagan's suit: A blast from the past

Nancy Reagan’s suit: A blast from the past

Other de la Renta designs include a lavish pink silk gown with a train that singer Taylor Swift wore this year to the Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In a section of the exhibit featuring dresses worn by movie stars are a glittering silver gown worn by Sarah Jessica Parker and one of the gowns worn by Anne Hathaway when she co-hosted the

Taylor Swift's embroidered pink ball gown with train

Taylor Swift’s embroidered pink ball gown with train

Academy Awards. Vogue editor Anna Wintour also loaned a couple of her de la Renta outfits.

Although his exclusive ready-to-wear lines are worn by discerning women all over the world, he does have a gift for working with special clients, including Mercedes Bass, who sponsored this splendid exhibit. She loaned several of her own dresses, including two striking black and white Spanish-influenced gowns from 2006.

Mercedes Bass, exhibit sponsor, lent two stunning Spanish-influenced gowns

Mercedes Bass, exhibit sponsor, lent two stunning Spanish-influenced gowns

The designer, who was born in the Dominican Republic, launched his career in Madrid, where he trained at the Balenciaga studios – you can see how he was influenced by Spanish culture and art. Later he moved to Paris to work at couture design houses including Lanvin and Pierre Balmain. However he has lived in New York City since the 1960s and he became a U.S. citizen in 1969. Ever since, he certainly has done his part to keep America beautiful.

 

Oscar de la Renta: Five Decades of Style

Through Sunday, October 5

Tickets to George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum ($17)

can be purchased in advance at bushcenter.org

Southern Methodist University, Dallas

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!

Travel Season is Upon Us: Tips for Trips

lTravel brings some of life’s most wonderful moments and most memorable adventures. Travel can also dish out some of the most frustrating experiences ever.

I recently had an amazing trip to France and Italy. Thank goodness, it’s the amazing part that I am remembering now. I’ve nearly forgotten that British Airways told us that my husband could get on the overseas flight out of Chicago, but that I could not. Of course, it eventually worked out. The same bad karma must be the reason our luggage did not arrive in Nice, France.

It is so interesting that no matter how many times my luggage has been lost or delayed, I am still surprised and crestfallen when it happens. Ah… to be a member of the super-rich with private jets. It’s surely the way to go.

I was discussing travel challenges with the staff at Tres Mariposas recently and asked if they had gleaned any travel advice from our customers. Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Pack light. This is such a common bit of advice that it’s tiresome — and it’s so hard to follow. Yet it remains true. Just yesterday a client at Tres Mariposas shared that she returned from a fabulous river cruise. She said she took plenty of clothes, but ended up wearing two black and white outfits over and over, leaving much of what she took untouched. All of us who have over packed can relate to that story. Several of the tips below are how-to’s for “packing light.”

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  • Fool-proof plan. One customer recommends this clever method to balance what you are taking. 1) Lay everything you plan to take out on the bed. 2) Go to the bank for your trip money. 3) Go home and eliminate half of what is on the bed. 4) Go back to the bank and get more money. Get it? Take half the clothes and twice the money!
  • Limit your jewelry. Everyone seems to agree that the best thing to do is wear your favorite pieces of classic jewelry on departure, and simply do not take any additional fine jewelry with you. It’s just too much hassle and risk to worry about leaving good jewelry in hotel safes or having to carry it with you everywhere you go.
  • Shoes make the trip. What’s the crucial item around which to build your travel wardrobe? Shoes. Take one pair of your most comfortable shoes that will go with virtually everything, and one pair of “going-out” shoes. Take the right pair of comfortable shoes and your trip will be heavenly. Take the wrong pair and you’ll live to regret it. At Tres Mariposas, we carry a funky little line of shoes called Fly London. It has almost a cult following because the shoes are so comfy for travel.
  • Mix it up with scarves. Carmen, one of our fine jewelry mavens, recommends packing lots of different scarves. Keep wearing your favorite travel outfit, but change the scarf so you won’t get bored – and you’ll look different in the photos!
  • Be prepared. You may need to survive without luggage for a day or two or more. My disappointment of arriving in Nice without luggage was mitigated by the fact that, for once, I had the right back-up items in my carry-on. I had a change of clothes, extra underwear, basic toiletries and a bit of makeup.
  • Lighten your load as you go. A few customers say they set aside old underwear all year for trips and then just toss it as they travel, adding space in their suitcase for new purchases. When packing for Europe this last trip, I couldn’t decide about taking an extra pair of pants and a few extra t-shirts. So I took ones that were almost ready for Goodwill with the thought that I could leave them behind if space was tight. I did leave them, and told the hotel maid not to put them in Lost and Found.
  • Scent your clothes. Did you see this tip in the July InStyle magazine? Put a couple of scented mini candles in your luggage so your clothes don’t have that metallic cargo hold smell when you arrive. I haven’t tried it, but I’m going to.
  • Enroll in Global Entry. Global Entry participants speed through international customs and are automatically approved to use the fast TSA precheck security lanes in the States. Here, after you apply online, you have to go to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office at the Zaragoza International Bridge for an interview and fingerprinting. k

Frankly, I dreaded making the trek to Zaragoza Bridge and having to wait in bureaucratic lines. However, after my husband received his Global Entry card, I had no choice. I could just imagine him whisking through customs and me stuck in line! Turns out I had no need to worry: the process was super-fast and easy.

Fine Jewelry: Fasion Accessory or True Art?

 NewsletterOn my recent return flight from Italy, where we had vacationed after visiting my son in France, I was reading the international edition of the New York Times (May 15). An entire section of the issue was devoted to jewelry, which completely captured my attention for a chunk of that long trip.

One writer asked a good question: “Is jewelry art or accessory?”

“Throughout history, jewelry has been called personal adornment, a fancy way of saying it’s wearable,” was one answer. Yet the question remained: “is it art?”

When — or whether — fine jewelry will ever qualify as fine art remains hotly debated. Apparently some in the art world are reluctant to call jewelry art; maybe jewelry is too much of a commercial commodity for them.

Another theme in the Times section focused on the 21st-century trend of more and more successful women buying high-end jewelry for themselves. Women are not waiting for a man to buy them jewelry. Duh, I could have told them that. Or maybe, El Paso just has more successful women who are ahead of the curve.

With these thoughts fresh in mind, last weekend I attended a huge jewelry trade industry show in Las Vegas. The entire world of jewelry was in Vegas, with over 2,500 exhibitors from more than 22 countries, ranging from high-end to flea market.

The smaller, upper-end “Couture” show is always at the Wynn hotel. The giant JCK show is always at the Mandalay Bay convention hall, billed as “the jewelry industry’s premiere event.”  Believe me, for a portion of the sprawling JCK show, “flea market” is not an exaggeration.

Over two days we saw the latest awe-inspiring domestic and international designers and most sought-after trends. I can answer with a resounding yes, that some jewelry designers are truly artists in the highest sense of the word.

One of the greatest examples of art in the fine jewelry world is Carrera y Carrera from Spain, a company whose origin dates back to 1880. Carrera y Carrera’s identity is tied to sculpture and strong symbolic components related to the natural world. Each collection has a unique theme and each piece of jewelry tells a tale different that that what you expect at first glance. The newest collection, debuted in Las Vegas, is called, “Seda Imperial” – imperial silk.

An Eastern legend has it that 46 centuries ago, a Chinese princess named Liu-Tsu was forced, at age 14, to marry a barbaric Khan against her will for political reasons. In revenge, Liu-Tsu, who knew her shawl held the secret of Imperial Silk embroidery – the best guarded mystery of the Far East, unknown to other countries – threw it into the depths of the ocean. Amazingly, according to legend, the shawl made its way to Spain, along with the secret of Imperial Silk embroidery.

Over time, the shawl that Liu-Tsu was said to throw in the ocean became known as the Manila shawl, considered an adaptation between ancient Chinese tradition and Spanish emblems, thanks to the fusion of Eastern and Western culture.

The sculptor-jewelry artisans of Carrera y Carrera were inspired by the beautiful legend and struck by the similarity of embroidery and jewelry design. The creation of a Manila shawl requires the expert hands of an embroiderer who dedicates months of work to create a garment and adornment of incalculable value. Similarly, many months of meticulous work by master sculptors, gemologists, and goldsmiths are required to create Carrera y Carrera jewelry.

Carrera y Carrera has adapted the most characteristic images of the Manila shawl to the rings, bracelets, necklaces, and earrings in the Seda Imperial collection. Floral motifs inspired intricately detailed pieces that honor flowers with special meanings. The rose meant secrets, the lily denoted purity, the cherry blossom signified bravery, and the peony symbolized the empress.

The heron, or garza, is another motif of the Manila shawl. According to the ancient art of Feng Shui, the image of a heron is used to ward off negative energy. Carrera y Carrera artisans have depicted this powerful bird in rings, earrings, and pendants in yellow gold with diamonds and prasiolites, fancy stones in many shades of green.

Are these intricate, hand-crafted creations mere fashion accessories to accent an outfit – or are they art? You be the judge!imagephotoimage2

Gucci Museum in Florence Offers Look into Luxury

Gucci MuseoRegular readers of my column know that my life aside from Tres Mariposas is largely made up of chasing my adult children around the globe.

My son Creed will be in the south of France for two years, as an Air Force instructor for French pilots. I guess he deserves this cushy assignment after several hazardous deployments in Afghanistan. As soon as he announced his new destination, my husband booked flights and said,  “Yahoo, now we have an excuse to go to Europe!”

Creed was scheduled to be there February 1. Due to an Air Force glitch, he didn’t arrive in France until a few days before we landed on May 1. He and his wife were overwhelmed trying to find a place to live, being sent off to French aircraft training, and drowning in an all-French language environment. They were hardly in a position to play host.

Bottom line, we only saw Creed and his wife one delightful day. Not to worry, we decided to scoot on over to Italy to explore Tuscany. We will save the South of France for next year.

Tuscany, as many of you have experienced, was divine. While I had previously been to Italy, I had never spent time in the Tuscan hill towns and vineyards, nor hiked from village to village in Cinque Terre. It was truly heaven. The people, the scenery, and the food all exceeded my expectations.

While we made this primarily a countryside excursion, we did go into Florence for a day. Thank goodness for a fashion digression – Museo Gucci! The Gucci museum especially appealed to me because it was not a heavy, tedious museum experience. Opened in 2011, and housed in a 14th-century building in the Piazza della Signoria, the museum is fun and educational.

Gucci Mumeum 1

As a teenager, Guccio Gucci worked as a lift boy at the Savoy Hotel in London where he was fascinated by the elegance of the upper class guests. In1902 he returned to his hometown of Florence with an international vision and opened a workshop specializing in travel ware and accessories. In time Gucci products became a global fashion symbol for “Made in Italy.” It was fun to see Gucci suitcases and trunks with signature red and green stripes from the 1930s, Gucci picnic hampers, golf clubs, and a customized Gucci Cadillac for midcentury jet setters.

Gucci Cadillac

Today the Gucci brand encompasses the ultimate in style, including red-carpet dresses and elegant gowns such as the ones on exhibit at the museum. For example, an ostrich-feather number worn at the Academy Awards by Hilary Swank just oozes Gucci glam.

Gucci, Hilary Swank

Gucci was a pioneer in brand recognition, creating the GG symbol, the forerunner of the logo world we live in today. I recommend the museum to any Florence visitors – or just visit www.guccimuseo.com for an overview.

 

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!