Nancy Sagar, public relations doyenne of Neiman Marcus, rushed into the tony Edge restaurant in the downtown Four Seasons hotel last week, minions and models following in her wake. I knew immediately that something was very wrong. Now Nancy and her staff dress in black, always black. It’s their uniform, and if they should one day find a darker shade of black, you can bet they will switch.
What was jarring was that over a lovely black ensemble Nancy had added a long jacket in swirls of colors. That’s right, colors! This could only foretell a major shift in spring fashion trends. To help the ladies who lunch begin to adapt their eye to the bright tropical hues, Sagar had put together an informal fashion presentation featuring some of the hottest spring trends.
There once was a concept in the fashion world called “country club colors.” These were muted shades that communicated old money and class. For you movie buffs, there’s a famous scene in the Robert Redford/Mia Farrow 1974 version of The Great Gatsby (truly a horrible film) where Gatsby opens his cavernous closets and throws dozens and dozens of silk shirts into Daisy’s arms. She proceeds to sob into them, so moved is she by all the different beautiful shades. Those were country club colors. Well, Hollywood is doing Gatsby again, this time starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan. The film (which from the trailer looks equally as nauseating as the Redford/Farrow disaster) is due out in May. I wonder if they will include that scene. Gatsby has clearly mastered the muted shades of the Long Island upper class, while today’s designers prefer sizzling, bright tones.
Here are some of Style Matters key spring fashion trends:
Silhouette: Basically this look has changed very little: skinny jeans, Capri or ankle length leggings topped with shirts that are a bit more boxy and relaxed this season. Flat sandals, a handbag in one of the new colors, a chunky necklace and off you go.
Color: Away with the muted dove grays, taupes, beiges and ecru (What color is that?) Save them for the Red Carpet… not! More actresses look washed out in those colors than I could count. (Amy Adams??? Looked like a dying swan.)
Instead, take a gander at lemon yellow, coral, orange, royal blues and forest greens. Mix them and match them… anything seems to go. Leggings look like citrus explosions. Personally I would suggest one hit of color, Stylish Reader. If you’re wearing lemon colored leggings, put on a top in a darker, more muted color such as black, navy or gray.
The one exception: White. White outfits raise eyebrows and cleaning bills, but they’re worth it. White is so sophisticated, on trend and easy to pick out in the morning.
Black and White: While this combo never goes out of style, it’s back with a vengeance this season. Branch out a little. Consider a spring jacket or trench coat in black and white. Go for patent leather black and white sandals. Black and white are classics like peanut butter and jelly.
Handbags: Sagar brought a whole grouping of handbags to the fashion show. I was blown away by all the colors. I’m used to matching my bag to my outfit, to my shoes. If you are like me, Stylish Reader, you can throw that concept away. Adding to the classic handbag colors of black, camel, brown and gray are bright blue, turquoise, and hot pink.
Step right up folks and meet your new classic colors. If you are hesitant about investing in a bag, go over to your nearest TJMaxx. They have a wonderful selection of the newest bags at very reasonable prices.
Jewelry: I don’t know about you, but I haven’t been wearing my belts as much as I used to. Instead, I am opting for chunky necklaces and wide cuffs. This look even has a name: “face framing.” The chunky necklace and oversized earrings do indeed frame the face and are a nice change from the dainty little lockets we wore all winter.
Other trends I just can’t bring myself to discuss on account of its too painful: Lace for everyday, knee-high gladiator sandals, mix and match prints (they never match) and very skimpy leather shorts.
Judie Schwartz, AKA Style Matters, is the co-author of two best-selling books on the best places to shop in Colorado. Called “A Fashion-Lover’s Guide to the Best Shopping in Denver and Beyond,” the books are available at stylematters.us. Schwartz presents image seminars to corporations on the importance of a business casual wardrobe and entertains conventioneers with talks on how to look great on a budget. She is also a wardrobe consultant. Schwartz has one husband, three children, no pets and small closets. She can be reached at:
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