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!

Clean your closet and donate to YWCA: A win-win

Closet-BlastIt’s that time of year again for the great seasonal closet switcheroo. If you still haven’t switched from your winter wardrobe to your spring and summer clothes, don’t delay. I like to think of the middle of March as your annual wardrobe-switching deadline, so make this your weekend to get to work.

We’ve already enjoyed some gorgeous summery spring days. The last thing you want to do on a bright warm morning is scrounge around tweedy jackets, cashmere sweaters, and leather pants as you look for something light to wear.

The drill is the same as every seasonal change. Sort through your winter clothes before you store them in your out-of-season closet or drawers or wherever you stash them until fall. Make four piles: items that need to be cleaned before storage, items ready to store, a very few transitional winter items that can stay in your closet for a little longer in case it gets chilly, and items that you are ready to give away.

This closet changeover may be a bit tedious, but it’s really therapeutic — and philanthropic! A friend once wished for a closet large enough to hold all of her clothes so she wouldn’t have to do seasonal changes. I disagree. While a gigantic closet sounds great in theory, I think it’s good to be forced to look at your wardrobe at least twice a year. It gets you in the mood for the new season and makes you confront the clothes you should get rid of.

As you consider what clothing to give away, just think about how you’re making space for new clothes that are on trend for this year!

It doesn’t matter if you are giving away something because it doesn’t fit, it’s no longer your taste, or you just can’t bring yourself to wear it one more time. You are entitled to your own rationale, which could be no reason at all – no one needs to justify or explain.

But I can give you one good reason to cull out what you’re not wearing any more, or rather 1300 reasons. The staff at Tres Mariposas is once again collecting women’s and children’s clothes for the YWCA’s acclaimed Sara McKnight Transitional Living Center, with a goal of 1300 items by April 16.

In addition, for every item donated up to 1,300 items, Tres Mariposas will contribute a dollar to go toward an urgent need the center staff has identified for the children living at the TLC: activity uniforms.

Think of all the great activities you might have enjoyed growing up – Camp Fire Girls or Girl Scouts, girls’ soccer or volleyball. Now think of the children who can’t take part in out-of-school activities, such as team sports or Boy Scouts, because they cannot afford the uniforms required for participation.

You can help Tres Mariposas raise $1,300 to purchase these activity uniforms for the children staying at the center. Together we can help children experiencing homelessness in our community have some fun after school!

Especially needed are almost new or gently used women’s clothing for job interviews and office work. However, think about what any woman might need, especially if she had to leave a bad domestic situation in the middle of the night without packing or if she has been homeless with little more than the clothes on her back.

The women who live temporarily at the center while they get back on their feet receive shelter, safety, job training, independent living skills, and help with child care. These women appreciate what all of us appreciate. They need skirts and slacks that fit, attractive tops and jackets, jewelry, watches, purses, and even nice pajamas.

This year, we’re also collecting children’s clothes. If you have kids or grandchildren, you know they outgrow their outfits long before their outfits wear out. It would be great if you can donate gently used boys’ or girls’ clothes for any age, from babies to teenagers. These kids need sweaters and coats, too.

You may already have activity uniforms that your kids aren’t using – things like Girl Scout blouses, Boy Scout shirts, basketball shorts, football pads and pants, baseball pants. With our donation, which will be presented at the YWCA Luncheon on April 17, the Transitional Living Center can buy the special team jersey or shirts needed so these kids won’t be prevented from taking part because they didn’t have the right uniform.

The collection campaign brings a win-win situation: you get a closet organized for spring and the TLC gets 1,300 items of clothing and $1,300 for children’s after-school program uniforms!

Question of the season: What do women want?

Men ask me this all the time, Sigmund Freud asked it, and probably every great thinker since Socrates asked it. What do women want? What in the world can a guy give a girl that she will be sure to like?

Successful gift giving can be a challenge for men. Women don’t hide it well when they are less than thrilled with a gift.

At the Tres Mariposas Men’s Night this week, I decided to ask a few of the men there about this issue. Here’s what they say about gifts that have won the hearts of the women in their lives.

 

Dr. Bruce Applebaum_2

Dr. Bruce Applebaum:  “My most successful gift was a puppy when my wife and I got engaged — an adorable German Shepherd.  I haven’t been as successful in other categories of gifts!”

 

Jesus Canaba2Jesus Canaba:  “The best gift I’ve ever given was a watch.  Why did she love it so much?  Because of the little diamonds.  She was really into diamonds.”

 

Gene Carrejo2Gene Carrejo: “Jewelry from Ippolita.  She wears the earrings and necklaces all the time!”

Howard Smith2Howard Smith:   “Jewelry is always a winner.  Women just love bling.”

Michael Zimprich2Michael Zimprich:  “I’m planning for my most successful gift to be the one I’m going to give her next week.  I can’t divulge what it is of course, or it will spoil the surprise.  I try to get things she would not buy for herself – luxury and higher end items.  Christmas means a lot to her so I try to get her something nice she’s been wanting.  Guys sometimes forget until the last minute.  I try to watch and listen all year when I’m out shopping with her and then I go back.”

I like Michael’s perspective; sometimes I think women just want to be listened to! And there’s a message here for women here in our community – your men are trying hard to please you, so keep your smile on no matter what you receive Christmas morning. Remember, you can invariably exchange it if you need to!

 

Fall Bestsellers: The Customers Have Spoken

As you probably know, the fashion cycle has a rhythm all its own. New style trends emerge each season, and retailers have to predict months in advance what they think will sell in their own stores. As buyers, we do our best to guess which items are going to be big winners for the season.  Which looks and outfits will our customers desire the most?

Right about now, mid-October, retailers are finally seeing what trends customers are responding to with the most enthusiasm. It’s interesting — bestsellers at Tres Mariposas invariably reflect the bestsellers emerging with other retailers across the country. Our tastes on the Border are in line with national trends.

Here are a few early winners for this fall:

Jacquard Pattern Jeans

DSC03762-2

Why it works? Texture!

Fashion is all about texture – and everyone needs jeans in her wardrobe.  These are basically textured jeans! The term jacquard refers to fabric with a pattern woven into it.  Your interesting fact of the day: French inventor Joseph Marie Jacquard invented the first loom for these intricate patterns in 1801.

Fit and Flare Dresses and Skirts

DSC03775-2Why it works?  Figure flattering!

Not all of us look fantastic in straight pencil skirts.  The fit and flare style is fitted at the waist and then flares out into flirty fullness at the hem.  It’s been a classic since the 1950s.  Every skirt and dress in this style that we’ve received at Tres Mariposas seems to fly out the door.  Women must be hungry for something feminine and flattering.

 

 

Motorcycle Jackets

DSC03763-2

Why it works?  Instantly ups your cool factor.

Every girl needs a bit of racy biker machismo now and then. The motorcycle jacket in black leather and other fabrications has been cool since James Dean. Wear it over everything in your wardrobe.  Add boots and you are set for the season.

Fur Vests

DSC03770-1

Why it works?  Makes the outfit.

New design techniques and technology have morphed furs into garments almost as lightweight as sweaters. These are not your grandmother’s mink coats. Friendly to El Paso’s climate, fur vests are great for casual lifestyles.

We may very well see other bestsellers emerge as the season goes on, but these four trends have already taken El Paso by storm. The customer has spoken!

 

Dressing for the decades: What to wear at gala

Elegance in Navy

Elegance in Navy

It’s almost time for one of the major fixtures on our community’s fall social and philanthropic calendar: the Annual Friends of FEMAP Gala.

As many locals here know, FEMAP (Federacion Mexicana de Empresas y Asociaciones Privadas) is a nongovernmental nonprofit organization serving future and expectant mothers in Ciudad Juárez. FEMAP founder Guadalupe Arizpe De la Vega wanted to make family planning and prenatal care accessible to women living in poverty and has worked side-by-side with many El Pasoans, including longtime leaders Adair Margo, Mary Ann Dodson, and Dr. Jack Heydemann, to make this goal a reality.

What started out as a two-room clinic named Clinica de la Familia became the beloved Hospital de la Familia, where thousands of babies have been born since 1976. I have been a serious supporter of FEMAP since I visited that hospital in Juarez years ago. I was amazed at the medical services provided with such limited resources.

Today FEMAP has two full-service inpatient hospitals, a nursing school, community-based health programs helping children and teenagers develop emotionally and physically, and a micro-finance program. It’s a good cause and hundreds of people from both sides of the Border are expected to attend the benefit ball at the Judson Williams Civic Center this Friday, September 20.

Anna Aleman, executive director of the FEMAP Foundation, tells me that this year’s theme is “Decades: 1973-2013” to celebrate FEMAP’s four decades of service and the Foundation’s two decades of fundraising.

In 1973, when Guadalupe founded FEMAP, disco was king and everyone was doing the Hustle under mirror balls and strobe lights. So for this anniversary year, the gala’s entertainment will start with ‘70s disco tunes and work its way up through hits of the past to the present, while celebrating each decade of the organization’s milestones.

So, naturally, women are asking me how they should dress for this themed party but still be elegant and stylish. Good question! Here are some thoughts on the questions I’m hearing:

  •  Length? Either cocktail length or long ball gowns are appropriate. Both are in fashion. Choose the length that makes you feel the most fabulous.
  • Color? Navy blue is by far the most up-to-date color for evening wear this year. It is so trite to say it’s the new black.  Ok I won’t say it.  In addition to navy, burgundy and teal are great evening colors.
  • Details? One of this season’s top trends is the return of lace and illusion – sheer fabrics to cover a little but still tease.
  • Jewelry? Less jewels on the dress itself – not so much in sequins or beading.  More drama in colored stone necklaces, earrings and bracelets. Think sapphire or blue topaz

I hear that some tickets are still available for the gala! Call 544-4151 or visit www.femap.org

 

Fall Fashion Trends, Part 2

As I wrote last week, we are all gearing up for fall. This week, we have a few more trends for you to watch for as you shop. Check out the big September issues of the leading fashion magazines and you will see some wonderful examples of what’s hot this season.

Sometimes people wonder what retail buyers do – when they’re not at market actually buying! Besides placing orders for what they project will sell well, our buyers at Tres Mariposas, are  also responsible for educating our staff about the clothing they saw at market and why they think our customers will be drawn to some of the new styles.

Our contemporary buyer, Gesuina Legaspy, identified some interesting directions that designers are taking this season:

Keep up with the latest trends.  Follow our Tres G.A.L. on Instagram. http://instagram.com/tres_gal#

Keep up with the latest trends. Follow our Tres G.A.L. on Instagram. http://instagram.com/tres_gal#

 

1. Leather Detailing: Leather is always big for fall but now you’re seeing it show up in new places. It’s about the details this year. Leather accents can be found on collars, sleeves, and even peplums. You’ll still find plenty of leather jackets and pants, but watch for some distinctive details.

2. Mini Statements:  After years of big handbags, the tide is turning. Purses are downsizing. Once oversized bags are giving way to minis that still can provide a big impact. Luxury handbag designers are having fun with these smaller accessories that can add a lot of personality and style to an outfit.

3. Popular Purple: Mulberry, plum, and dark saturated purple hues are a major trend color this fall. Stylists are mixing and matching purple with other colors, both neutral and bold. No matter what shade you favor, purple is a gorgeous jewel tone that conveys elegance, creativity, romance, and luxury.

4. Retro Flare: Call it fit and flare – it’s a lady-like silhouette with a close-fitting bodice and a softly flared-out skirt. Cinched at the waist, these dresses create a flattering fit for almost any size. This is one of those styles that accentuate the positive!

5. Mixed Media: You can see so many variations on this trend, which can include novel ways of combining fabrics, styles, and looks. For instance, mixed media can be a fun way to play with textiles, such as combining cashmere with chiffon, leather with ponte knit, or wool with silk. It could be a dress that looks prim and proper in front and sexy in the back or an outfit mixing a vintage look with cutting edge details. It’s all about versatility and individuality.

Enjoy shopping for fall – cooler weather is right around the corner!

Preview Top Trends for Fall

Keep up with the latest trends.  Follow our Tres G.A.L. on Instagram. http://instagram.com/tres_gal#

Keep up with the latest trends. Follow our Tres G.A.L. on Instagram. http://instagram.com/tres_gal#

 

Each season our buyers at Tres Mariposas present a trend seminar for our staff so they will be up to date on the latest.  Last week, our wonderful contemporary buyer, Gesuina Legaspy, gave us a fun preview of what’s going to be hot this fall. I’ll share half of her top ten trends for fall 2013 this week and the other half next week. I’ll also give you an inside look at Gesuina’s “trend board,” a typical presentation tool used by both designers and buyers.

Here are Gesuina’s predictions for what will be popular this fall:

  1. Rocker Chic: Think black leather jackets and studs galore. You don’t have to be a serious rock-and-roller to get into this tough, yet sophisticated look – but you might feel like one after you put on an updated motorcycle jacket!

    Rocker Chic

    Rocker Chic

  2. Digital Print (or exploded print):  Lots of designers use photography as an inspiration for their designs, but now textile designers are reproducing actual photographs in their prints for fabric. It’s a trend we call digital print. Think of photos of all kinds of things – landscapes, buildings, faces, whatever — reproduced on dresses, scarves, and even pants. Digital print is innovative and fresh.
    Digital Print

    Digital Print

     

  3. Jungle Fever: Animal prints never go away, and this season python and leopard prints will be big. You’ll also see some accessories with fur from animals that you won’t find in the jungle. Watch for calf hair and pony hair on handbags, wallets, and even coats.

    Jungle Fever

    Jungle Fever

  4. Navy, the New Black: Navy blue is THE color for fall. It’s both classic and neutral and you can mix it with just about anything. This rich dark shade is the go-to color this season, night or day. Wearing navy with black is a sophisticated trend that started in Europe. Some people might wonder about mixing the two colors, but you can just tell them, “It’s a very European look.”

    Navy is the New Black

    Navy is the New Black

  5. Illusion Additions: Feminine “illusion” necklines and sleeves — made of sheer fabrics that cover but don’t conceal — have been an ongoing trend, especially popular in wedding dresses and evening wear. Illusion designs leave something to the imagination and can be very flattering. Designers use fabrications such as mesh, tulle, and lace for these designs. What’s new this seasons is the use of illusion fabrics in panels on the side of pants and dresses.

    Illusion

    Illusion

So here we have five very different trends to watch; tune in next week for the rest!

Step into Tres Mariposas or check out more of Gesuina’s Instagram to learn more about the newest fashions!

 

My Charmed Life

Have you ever thought of your jewelry box or jewelry collection as representing your life story? A biography in a box if you will.

I just finished reading “My Charmed Life: Rocky Romances, Precious Family Connections and Searching for a Band of Gold,” by Beth Bernstein. In this new book, Beth recounts that her fascination with jewelry began at a very young age. She grew up to work in the jewelry industry.

“I believed in wholeheartedly in the transformative power of jewelry – how it made me feel more regal and glamorous, changing me from a shy, ordinary girl into a shimmering princess from a faraway land,” she writes. She says she hopes her book “will appeal to women who have fallen in love, felt loss, learned to start over again and have been transformed by the enchanting power of jewelry.”

As she came into midlife, she realized that her life was a collection of memories represented by various pieces of jewelry. “All of the precious keepsakes in my jewelry box reveal part of my history: not just material possessions but sparkling memories that link together the family, friends and romances that inspired me to write this book,” she writes.

In a recent interview in “Accent” magazine, Beth reports that since her book was published, many women have written her about what their jewelry means to them and, sometimes, what jewelry meant to their mothers. In a way, mothers and daughters have shared jewelry boxes, after daughters inherit important pieces, for instance.

“Almost everyone who wrote mentioned the relevance certain pieces have to significant moments in their lives: the exciting time they got their ears pierced or the magical moment they were first given jewelry by a buy,” she writes. “Women have told me about the pain of selling their jewelry after a divorce, the joy of receiving their engagement ring, the bittersweet memories conjured up by their mom’s charm bracelet.”

I think most of us can relate to the emotional significance of jewelry. One of my favorite pieces of jewelry is a crystal cross that belonged to my mother. My mother and I shared a love of crosses. Although it is not an expensive piece, I always get compliments when I wear it. And I always love saying, “It was my mother’s.”

I must confess that as the book continues, Beth gets a little heavy on the portion of the subtitle, “Searching for a Band of Gold.” I couldn’t keep up with the descriptions of all the gorgeous Adonis-like boyfriends. It became a little repetitive that decade after decade; the author was so focused on finding a husband. I read on though, sure that by the end of the book Mr. Right would have appeared to put a ring on her finger. Not so!

Instead, Beth finds redemption in another way – a way many women eventually find peace of mind – that she is content as herself, without Prince Charming. This breakthrough comes when Beth realizes that she can purchase her own jewelry. Life doesn’t have to be about waiting for a man to serve up life to you on a platter or in this case, in a jewelry box. As the book jacket says, “she realizes that the brightest gems are the ones you give yourself, and finds freedom she never thought possible.”

Wise words for today’s women. Give this exercise a try: go through your jewelry box and look for those pieces that carry memories of people, places, and events. You might even think about buying special pieces to give to your loved ones so that they will carry on happy memories of you! "My Charmed Life"