Saturday, September 29, 2012

Down Low: Fall/ Winter 2012

When you mention winter clothes, most people think boots, pants, and heavy coats.  Even in warmer climates, it's boots and coats.  Fashion designers this years have apparently decided that your legs don't get cold.  There are still boots out, and pants, but it appears that the ladylike silhouette of Mad Men and the rockabilly trend have taken over winter.
Ladies who love clothing with an actual waist, as opposed the shapeless sacks we've been seeing, you're in luck.  Belts, dresses with waists, pencil skirts, peplums... it all centers around showing off the feminine waist. 
Belts, as you've seen, are one of my favorite accessories.  Use a leather one, a cloth one, tie on a scarf as one, and BAM, a less than shapely outfit fit right and looks good. Proud of your waistline? Buckle a belt around it.  Don't care for your waist, but love your bust? Put a belt just under the bust.  Pants keep falling down?  put on a belt and tuck your shirt in to show off the belt.  Verdict: Unless you truly don't like your torso, or have other issues with belts, get a few.  While skinny belts are technically the hot thing, any belt (excluding the overly wide corset belt) is your friend.  This "trend" has never really wavered, even in the era of the potato sack.  I'd say stick with the classics and subdued version of the hot new trend, or you run the risk of looking like a teenybopper.
I also love a dress with a waist.  It looks good on damn near everyone, from the skinny toothpick to the heavily overweight.  Even if it's only the dress that has a waist, that create the illusion of the wearer having more of a waist.  A potato sack dress does very few people any favors.  Verdict: Enjoy this trend.  It is one of the very few in recent years that is nearly universally flattering.  Stick with the waist height that looks best on you (empire, natural waist, dropped waist) and you're in like Flynn.  I also believe this one may stick around a while, as a backlash against the shapeless dresses of the past several years.
Pencil skirts, straight skirts, wiggles skirts: whatever your preferred variety is, these are very "in" right now.  These cause the same waist effect that a good dress with a waist does.  Verdict: There's a reason these are considered classics.  Get at least one (preferably as a suit.)  Don't go too high in the leg (it turns into a skanky ho mini) or too long (sister wife or 1980s reject.)  Ideally, you want it to land within a couple inches either direction of the knee.  Also beware of frou frou detailing or detailing that would instantly date it.  You want a classic look.
Peplums are also back in. These also fall into the waisted category, and can be very figure flattering on many figures.  This is a very ladylike silhouette.  Verdict: This one comes down to personal taste.  It is a VERY feminine cut, so if you generally dress more tomboyish or avoid the romantic looks, I'd give this one a miss.  If you do go for it, the trend should be around for at least a year.  Just beware the overexaggerated peplum and the one in a very stiff material, as both of these can cast you toward fashion victim territory and make your hips appear ginormous.
For those of you that mostly wear pants, you're almost SOL.  There are a few trends I was able to dig up, but they seem to have taken a backseat to the skirt and dress this winter.  From what I've seen, the skinny/ cigarette pant trend has no intention of slowing down or going away.  This winter, it's colorful skinny jeans, cigarette/ stovepipe pants in nearly any color of the rainbow, and patterned pants.  (Translation: if you live in boot cut or wide leg pants, like I do, you're screwed.)
If you loved the skinny jean sensation this past year, you're in luck. Now they come in more colors and a couple variations of skinny.  You can even get them in patterns!  Verdict: This one's a matter of personal taste.  If you like skinnies, enjoy this trend, it shows no signs of going anywhere.  Stay away from the overly trendy colors (neon green leopard print is a bad idea) and don't get the leggings style to wear as pants. LEGGINGS ARE NOT PANTS.
Cigarette pants and stovepipe pants are back in season, too.  Unfortunately, it appears that the fashion gods have decree that this shall exist only in slacks, not jeans, for whatever reason.  Remember, this is the season of Audrey Hepburn and Mad Men, so of course we aren't entertaining your silly warmth ideas. Verdict: A cigarette or stovepipe pant can look good on nearly any figure, depending on the top it is paired with.  Beware that these are both meant to be ankle pants, so bunching around the ankles isn't good. 
If you like colorful, patterned pants, this is your season!  Brocade, prints, and true colors are all big things. Verdict: If you decide to partake in this trend, be very careful.  The colorful pants thing shows no signs of slowing down, but it can turn into a very dated look in the near future.  I'd avoid the wild patterns and brocade on the pants.  This one is nearly impossible to do right; you either look like a fashion victim, like a 60 year old woman at the opera, or like an '80s reject.

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