Thursday, September 27, 2012

Up Top: Fall/ Winter 2012

For winter, there are two camps in the fashion world.  There are the OMIGODILOVEIT types, for those who adore tights, boots, covering up, and layers.  Then there are the BRINGSUMMERBACK types, who live in sandals and tanks and only begrudgingly put on winter clothes to save themselves from frostbite.  Personally, I'm a winter person, even though I HATE the cold with a passion. The ability to wear more than a layer of thin cotton without sweating like a latex fetishist charms me.
There are multiple hot ticket items out for this winter.  I'll try to split them into categories, but some'll sit in multiple categories.
Call Attention To The Neck
Bow neck blouses.  Collars. Detachable collars. Huge scarves. Pendants.  These are all big right now.  If you want something to hang around your neck to show it off or cover it up, you're in luck.
Bow neck blouses seem to be a spin off of the retro/ rockabilly/ Mad Men fad goin on right now.  They tend to come back into style fairly often, especially when it gets cool enough that something at your neck doesn't smother you.  This style tends to look better in silk or an equally flowy material.  A bow at the neck in a stiff cotton makes you look like someone's pampered Persian cat.  Verdict:  If you like the feel of silky material and bows, I'd say go for it.  In the right material and cut, this style is relatively seasonless and would look good on nearly anybody, depending on where the neckline hits.  This is also a relatively timeless fashion unlikely to look dated in the near future, if you get a simple version.  I recommend a style akin to one of these: here or here.
Collars always come back around this time of year, to help protect against wind and cold. Turtlenecks and peter pan/ straight seam collars seem to be having a moment in the sun right now, with every conceivable variation of either one available, from extremely ornate or fur lined to simplistic school uniform collars.  Dickies are are enjoying a resurgence, both the turtleneck and collar versions.  If you do decide to get in on the ornate collar trend, I would suggest leaving the front open or otherwise leaving at least partial view of the neck, otherwise it could get a bit stuffy looking. Verdict: Beware that collared and high necked shirts do not look equally good on all people.  A large bust looks overwhelming with a high neckline, and drawing attention to the neck can draw attention to issues some people have with skin there.  If you can pull of a collar, stick with subdued detailing and leave the metal tips, wild patterns, and heavily ornate collars to those who can afford to indulge in a 3 week trend.  If you opt for the detachable collar (almost a necklace, really), be careful choosing it. A ringmail or pearl collar may look awesome now, but will look very dated very soon.
Collar necklaces are the mutant offspring between the detachable collar and a choker. They come in almost as many metals and materials as there are stars in the sky, as well as any price point, from Claire's to Bergdorf Goodman. Verdict: I'd say shy away from them, these are likely to be a flash in the pan trend.
Scarves come back every year, presumably for those folks where it gets cold enough for a scarf for something other than fashion.  This year, designers are pushing scarves that would double as a bed sheet or a sarong. Big and fluffy or chunky seem to be the MO this year.  As y'all've seen, I own 5 million and one scarves. I love scarves.  It's an easy way to dress up an outfit, an adjustable belt, and any other fashion accessory you might need in one length on fabric.  Verdict: Scarves never go out of fashion. Ever.  Indulge all you want in this trend, with one caveat:  if it doubles as a waterbed sheet, it's too big.
Pendants: personally, I'm ecstatic these are coming back in fashion.  I love a pendant necklace, mostly because they offer a focal point and keep themselves in place.  Verdict: Go for it.  At the right length and scale, any woman can wear a pendant necklace, even those not so proud of their neck.

Go Big
This appears to be the year of raiding other people's closets.  Boyfriend clothing, gramma's closet, and Dad's plaid are all equally enamored.
Want to instantly expand your wardrobe, look OMGFASHYUN, and turn on your local male (husband, boyfriend, guy friend, etc)?  Steal his clothes.  Wear his blazer with the sleeves rolled up, wear his button ups untucked over straight leg jeans, and steal his sweaters. Verdict: The slightly oversized look is really big.  It's also really comfortable and the boyfriend trend doesn't appear to be going anywhere soon.
Remember how gramma always wore oversized sweaters, coats, tweed and you pitied her but secretly wished you could get away with oversized?  This year, you can.  Buy that sweater a size or 2 too big and look suddenly fashionable.  Remember that too big coat hiding in the closet? Have fun.  Verdict: There's a fine line between fashionable and bag lady/ gramma.  Be careful.  Stick with only one oversized item per outfit, and if you think it looks sloppy, it probably is.  A belt would probably go a long way to making it better, though.  This idea is great for those growing or shrinking, especially teenagers or those losing weight.
Who can forget Dad's hideous golf pants or lumberjack shirts?  Steal that idea.  Plaid is in and it's everywhere.  Then again, it comes back in every winter.  This winter, it looks like they want you to steal Dad's lumberjack shirt, belt it, and wear it as a dress or tunic.  Verdict:  This one comes down to personal taste.  Don't let it overwhelm you and stay away from day-glo.
Puffer coats are back, and I don't mean short ones.  This season, puffer coats are knee length or longer, and belted for that fresh squeezed Pillsbury doughboy effect. Verdict: If you truly need a puffer coat for warmth this might be an ok idea, but a more streamlined coat looks better on pretty much every female body.

With all of the new stuff that comes in every season, there are certain things that never really go out of fashion.  If you get one of these, make it a classic cut, a classic color, and get  good quality, so you can wear it for years to come.
Trench coats and peacoats are back.  Well, they would be, if they had ever left.  Verdict:  If you don't have a classic trench coat (short or long), get one.  Trust me.  There's reason these weather proof coats have been popular since before Humphrey Bogart.  The peacoat is a golden winter standard for a reason, but is a bit more personal taste driven.  In either case, stay classic and shy away from overly trendy patterns, colors, and textures. (Put down that day glo plaid peacoat.)
Tweed is back, too, for jackets, except it never left either. Verdict: if you like tweed, get it.  Again, stay away from overly trendy colors and shapes, and opt for a classic.
Blazers never left the room.  The style availability  has expanded (shrunken, fitted, boyfriend) and for the first time in quite a  while, they come in any color you could want.  They're another easy way to class up an outfit and make it look like you give a damn, even if you don't.  Verdict: Don't go overly trendy, and get quality.

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