Posts tagged ‘Trendspotting’

Turning Japanese

Let me tell you a story about a very special dress. We first met at Bendel’s in September of 2004. Uncharacteristically, I was armed with a flush checking account – alas, if only I could graduate every spring – and ready to buy. I left the store excited about my purchase, but certainly not aware that I had just embarked on a lifelong love affair with kimono sleeves (more on that later).

Mizz Von F herself, wearing a variation of my dress at her Fall 2004 show

Mizz Von F herself, wearing a variation of my dress at her Fall 2004 show

Four years have passed, and my dress has lived the kind of life that most of the other clothes in my closet can only dream about. It’s been to jazz clubs, school dances, birthday parties, and at least one European discotheque. It’s also been on many a SoHo shopping date with my favorite jeans, and things have gotten serious between the two of them. Whenever I put it on, no matter how tired/bloated/antisocial I might have been  just a few minutes earlier, I instantly feel sexy, confident, and ready to take on the world. (And to those who think fashion is frivolous, I ask: isn’t there REAL value in anything that can make someone feel that way?)

Unfortunately, my story has a bittersweet ending – Frost’s sentiment that “nothing gold can stay” can be applied not only to springtime and Edenic paradise, but also to 100% silk garments. A half-dozen trips to the tailor have prolonged the life of my dress, but with each new patch I feel it weakening. Soon it’s going to be time to say goodbye and mourn the loss of such a valued member of my wardrobe. In the meantime, I’ve been desperately scouring the new generation of bold-sleeved tops and dresses to fill the gap.

Top contenders are this rich, grownup hippie look from DKNY, this racy but sweet off-the-shoulder number from Geren Ford, and this simple but elegant jersey dress from saint grace. I’m also obsessed with this peacock jacket from last season’s Elizabeth and James collection, but I got greedy waiting for the sale prices to drop and it’s sold out everywhere now. Not surprising that the Olsens often incorporate this sort of dramatic look into their line, seeing as Mary-Kate is one of the kimono sleeve’s staunchest advocates. No one loves M.-K. O. more than I do (seriously, NO ONE DOES), and with this particular trend, sometimes she totally rocks it. But other times … well, let’s just say that only someone over 5’10” could wear that without looking like a pygmy. Another victory for the tall girls!

On a completely unrelated note: tell me these are not the ugliest shoes you’ve ever seen. Seriously, I know “Fit Flops” are all the rage right now, but if the choice is between hanging on to my cellulite and wearing those sins against shoe-manity, I’ll stick with the former. Although, they’re so morbidly fascinating that I can’t stop looking at them, so I guess that counts for something.


August 12, 2008 at 5:04 PM 2 comments

Vegas Trendspotting: Art School Confidential

Fashion, of course, has always been influenced heavily by art – most (if not all) of the masters, including the late, great Yves Saint Laurent and the industry’s current roi, Marc Jacobs, have been avid collectors. And still it has been a pleasant surprise, over the past few seasons, to see that inspiration show up not just in an abstract sense, but directly ON the clothes. Ombre, Mondrian circles,  and delicate brush-stroked fabrics were all over the spring runways- see Chloe, Marni – and I am happy to report that, in the coming months, this trend will extend to accessories. In Vegas, we came across darling paint-splattered ballets (a la Pollock), cheery Gaugin-esque floral detailing, and – most notably – an abundance of tie-dye.

If you’re the creative type, we encourage you to get out an old white t-shirt and be, well, creative. If not, don’t worry – you can get the look with a modern, colorblocked pair of flats, like these bold beauties from Lovely People.

Great colors + sexy cutouts = a winning shoe!

Great colors + sexy cutouts = a winning shoe!

August 5, 2008 at 7:46 PM Leave a comment

Vegas Trendspotting: All Holed Up

Last week, my Barefoot Tess colleagues and I attended the WSA collections in Las Vegas. Vegas shows are a mecca for any shoe-loving girl (imagine endless hallways filled with the new spring lines from pretty much every designer under the sun). Part of the fun is getting to see what’s going to be huge at this time next year – trend-wise, we always encounter the good, the bad, and the very, very ugly. Thankfully, the balance tipped the right way this time, and over the next few days, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite new styles with you.

First off: perforated skins. After many seasons of patent, it was refreshing to see leather finally getting a new treatment. The great thing about the “perf” look is that it can go in so many directions – super girly (a la this Dior hobo), a little bit edgy (Prada aviators, anyone?), or simply classic (LOVE this Giorgio Brato bag). Come winter, I’ll be sporting this lovely fabric take on the trend from Mayle with ubernarrow stirrup pants, a modern bubble ring and minimal makeup to achieve an unfussy but chic aesthetic. Still, if you’re dying to explore this new texture right now, I’d suggest working these darling (and bestselling) Corso Como “Floral” flats into your rotation.

August 4, 2008 at 4:19 PM Leave a comment

The Long and ‘Short’ of It

Admit it, you sometimes get the feeling that you’re too cool for your own good, and vastly underappreciated for it (I think this happens to all of us). I’ve experienced frustration at my own positively prophetic taste at least three times in recent years.

1) When the song “Paper Planes” by M.I.A, my ringback tone since last August, suddenly became incredibly popular this past spring, after I had spent months enduring boneheaded questions like “Why does that weird Bollywood-sounding music start to play whenever I call you?”

2) When high-school gals all across the great U.S. of A. started proclaiming their love for Michael Cera following the successes of Superbad and Juno. Yes, I joined the facebook group “I’d let Michael Cera get me pregnant any day,” but I wasn’t happy about it. Where were all these screaming tweens when the brilliant “Arrested Development” was getting canceled due to low ratings?

3) When shorts went from relative obscurity to being splashed across the runways a few springs ago. Suddenly every major women’s magazine was extolling the versatility of the trend – “Wear them to the ballgame with a cute tee, or to the club with a sexy chiffon blouse!” To which my seething reply was always, “Well, yeah. Tell me something I don’t know.”

You see, back in the day when the offerings in the shorts department were essentially limited to matronly khakis from J. Crew or sloppy D.I.Y. cutoffs, I was something of a conscientuous objector, searching far and wide for the rare pair that was chic and fashion-forward. I have always considered my legs to be my best feature, and nothing highlights them quite like this classic summer staple.

Of course, once I got over the fact that the fashion industry had seemingly annexed my personal style, I was grateful to discover that, for the first time, there were so many great options available. As a tall girl, I avoid anything that is expressly labeled “hotpant,” because my thighs are so long that, even in a modest cut, I wind up flashing a lot of skin. Therefore, to maintain some sense of propriety (particularly in the daytime), you can’t go wrong in a cuffed short with an easier fit, like the loose, linen styles that have been omnipresent this summer. I have a feeling I’d wear these Theorys pretty much every day. I also like the relaxed look of Bebe’s offering in black twill.

However, if you’ve got the goods and are still set on showing a lot of leg in “hoochie shorts,” at least keep the look PG-13 by opting for a pair in, ahem, angelic white. These fun, blinged-out Matthew Williamsons are currently marked down about 50%.

July 14, 2008 at 6:17 PM Leave a comment

Bold Moves

I know, I know, flowers are huge right now. Surveying Dries Van Noten’s clashing blooms, Stella McCartney’s dainty liberty prints, and D&G’s patchwork floral frocks, it seems like every designer wants us to take some time to stop and smell the roses. 

Personally, I find this look a bit difficult to pull off – there’s just something incongrous about a 6-footer sporting such intentionally precious clothing. As my prep school roommate (and fellow tall girl) once said, whilst surveying a schoolroom full of pink and green, “If you’re over 5’10” and wearing Lilly Pulitzer, you’re going to look like you’ve outgrown the dress no matter how thin you are.”

That said, there are plenty of trends out there that are uniquely well-suited to the vertically-gifted. I was thrilled to come across a spate of statement necklaces (see 3.1 Philip Lim , Tory Burch) on the fall runways, mainly because I’m ready to give my arms a break and put my bangles in storage for a few seasons, but also because I know these baubles – which would swallow a more petite frame – will be perfectly in proportion on me.  I’ll be saving up for this stunning piece from tuleste market, but I also love Herve Van Der Straeten’s Drop Circle Collar. If, like Ms. Burch, you’re on a mission to resurrect the geode from its fate as a science museum attraction, look no further than this multicolored dangler from perennial favorite CC Skye.

Heavy metal from tuleste market

Heavy metal from tuleste market

I suggest letting your jewelry take center stage against a backdrop of basic (but not boring) black. This simple sheath from Susana Monaco has the perfect high neckline (so no need for constant readjustments) as well as a sexy open back to complement, but not distract from, your bold gems.  Pair with a classic but geometically-interesting flat sandal, like the Mistral by Bernardo, one of my all-time favorite designers.

After all, given the choice between “sweet” and “striking,” who wouldn’t choose the latter?

July 12, 2008 at 6:31 PM 1 comment

"Barefoot" Tess blogs about life, fashion, footwear, and the perks and pains of being model-tall.


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