So you’ve seen them splashed across the pages of InStyle and Lucky magazine, but honestly, how does one REALLY wear the new trends?
It’s easy to get caught up in thinking something is really fun, but when it comes time to actually wear it or incorporate it into your wardrobe, especially for business, you haven’t a clue where to begin!!
I have two things to say about trends…
1. Just because it’s a trend or being worn by the size 0 celeb of the week doesn’t mean it will translate well in real life. Instead, use the look as inspiration instead of trying to emulate the look.
2. Don’t opt out of a look because of preconceived ideas or thoughts you may have about not being able to pull it off. You can go into a store and try it on for free…it costs you nothing just to give it a go! You may come away from the fitting room with a new look that works well for you!
Working with the trends of each season means that you have to ferret out the ideas that will work for you. You certainly don’t have to try every trend out there. Just pick one or two and go for it!
But, you must avoid the biggest mistake people make when going for a “look”…they think if one item of the outfit follows a trend then ALL the items should match.
This tends to make your outfit look more like a costume. It’s like wearing that preppy sailor top with khaki’s and boat shoes (ahoy matey!) versus wearing that same preppy sailor top with dark wash denim and strappy platform sandals (ahhh, refreshing!).
Here is a list of many of the trends that are being shown for spring/summer 2009 and my thoughts on how to wear it for business, or whether or not you should ditch it and move on:
TRENDS TO TRY:
Floral Patterns: Very wearable as a top cute shift style dress worn under a jacket or cardigan. I’ve also seen bold jewelry pieces like necklaces and rings that would be very versatile in updating more than one outfit in your closet.
This trend give the wearer a pop of color and a feeling that summer is here…hurray!
Safari: Yes, it’s not the first time we’ve seen safari looks for spring, and it won’t be the last! The fitted cut and belted style of many of these pieces is perfect for showing off your waist, which we all love! So cute when paired with neutrals or crisp white and accented with animal skin or other interesting textures like a chunky belt or hammered metal cuff.
Beware of anything with too many pockets and strange placement of zippers as they can add visual bulk in areas you don’t want it. Try wearing a belted safari jacket for summer with a simple khaki pencil skirt and python patterned shoes. Very business appropriate, but so hot!
If you want a piece of the safari look but don’t want to look like The Crocodile Hunter, an easy way to get in on the action is by toting an animal skin-inspired handbag or shoes. That one accent can liven up your outfit without causing a stampede.
Ruffles: Now so much more sophisticated than when this trend first started last year! Ruffles are making an appearance on jacket collars and cuffs, as the neck or hemline on tops and even in delightful layers on dresses and skirts. I say they’re a “do”, as long as you follow a few guidelines:
1. Avoid too many large ruffles at once as they can add bulk.
2. Avoid wearing them in pastel colors or the look gets too girly and
3. Pair them with sleek or chunky accessories to counterbalance the sweetness. For business situations, pair ruffles with a structured item such as wearing a tiered ruffle skirt or dress with a structured jacket.
Boyfriend Cardigans: So this trend isn’t really new, but it still has legs. You technically could swipe a sweater from your significant other, but the most flattering are those made for women that fit in the shoulders, and that are made of smooth cotton or cashmere. The real deal you swipe will probably drag at the shoulders and just look frumpy.
Try pairing yours with a collared shirt, pencil or a-line skirt and using a skinny belt to show off your waist. It also looks very fresh over a soft or structured dress for business situations.
Long Vests: Another menswear inspired item now playing prominently for spring is the long button down vest. A natural extension of the shorter vests that have been popular for about a year, this version that hits at the hip (or longer) can be a little trickier to wear but worth it when done right. Try wearing one in much the same way as you would the boyfriend cardigan mentioned above.
For a more casual look, wear it open over a tank or t-shirt with skinny jeans, but for business try it over a gathered skirt and belted. Look for one in a neutral color than can blend seamlessly into your existing wardrobe, and that has a few interesting details like an unusual collar treatment or interesting seaming.
Stacked Jewelry: A great way to spice up a simple outfit is by stacking on some bracelets or necklaces for visual impact. The latest trend in jewelry only requires that when you stack your pieces, be sure that they have some relation to each other and are not just a random bunch of things you’re wearing in vain to get the stacked effect. For example, wear a gold cuff and bangles with gold and white beads and a white enamel bangle.
Around your neck you can layer differing lengths of pearls interspersed with gold chains. For the best effect, wear the stacked bracelets with either a short sleeve or bracelet length top so that they don’t get caught underneath your sleeve and just look messy.
For stacked necklaces, wear them against a top that lays flat to your body, not a collared shirt, or there will be too much going on around your face and you’ll lose the entire impact of what you’re trying to achieve.
Bib & Other Statement Necklaces: So hot right now! Again, another way to take a simple outfit up three notches is to wear a bib style or other statement necklace. Since bib necklaces tend to lay flat against your chest, it’s okay to layer them on with a tee under a jacket.
Another great look is to wear them out over a buttoned up shirt. Be sure to keep your earrings simple, either plain hoops, studs or no earrings at all.
TRENDS TO CONSIDER:
Gladiator/Cage Sandals: Only for the super adventurous these sandals are sure to make a statement when worn in a business situation…it just depends on what kind of statement you’re trying to make! Now, if you’re in a much more creative field then you should get away with trying these, just pair with a more conservative dress or skirt and they will add a little rocker vibe to your outfit without going completely overboard.
For those who do want to try it in a more conservative environment, look for stiletto versions that give you lots of strappyness without the zippers, bulk and platform heels. They’re a little less come hither and a little more wearable.
Pastels: Depending on the color, pastels can be tricky. Many women don’t have the skin tone to pull these off near their face, but if you really love them, I would suggest you try them in a handbag or shoes. If you insist on wearing actual articles of pastel clothing cool blues and soft minty greens are good choices for most people but avoid too much pink or purple or you’ll look like an Easter egg.
For the same reason you should never ever wear pastels head to toe (which means absolutely NO suits in pastel colors)! If you find a pastel dress you love give it a little bite by pairing it with neutral chunky platform sandals or bold/funky accessories.
Skinny Jeans: If you have the right proportions, skinny jeans can be amazing. By right proportions I do not mean that you have to be a size 2, I mean that you must have balance between your top half and your bottom.
Unfortunately bottom heavy women cannot wear this trend well. Skinny jeans are fun for more business casual events when worn in crisp white or dark wash, and paired with a hip length top layered under a structured jacket. For shoes to wear with skinny jeans the two best options are tucking them into tall boots, or wearing them with heels for a little more retro look.
Slouchy Hobo Bags: Personally I love hobo bags, but the new slouchy versions leave me a little concerned that using them in a business situation will just look sloppy and not on trend at all. If you find one that isn’t super slouchy it may be okay, but if in doubt, leave it for date night or weekends.
TRENDS TO LEAVE ALONE:
Jumpsuits: Unless you’re the lead singer in a hot rock & roll band, this is a trend better left to the catwalk. Jumpsuits are just too 80’s (does anyone remember them as vividly as I do from the first time around?) and certainly have no place in a business atmosphere.
You still want to give them a try? Find one in a shorts version and wear it on long summer weekends…and for those who are into drama, pair it with gladiator sandals!
Neon: Leave this trend to the teeny-boppers. Hot neon pink and Day-Glo green do nothing to help your skin look healthy, and these kinds of colors are so distracting that anything you say in conversation will be lost!
Distressed Denim: Leave this sloppy looking trend alone. Holes in the knees and ragged edges are hardly appropriate for anyone over the age of 22…and even then I’m being kind. This look screams young Hollywood starlet or “I just finished renovating my house while wearing these jeans”.
Cropped Trousers/Harem Pants: Leave this trend back in the 80’s where it belongs. There are just too many things that can go wrong with this look that making it look right is nearly impossible!
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