When I think of spring, I think of flirty little dresses like the ones Jane Fonda wore in Barefoot in the Park. So when something called tribal chic hit the runway this season in the form of wild prints and ponchos made of masses of exotic feathers, followed by Goddess gowns, gladiator sandals and models in slinky Asian florals replete with obis, it raised an excellent question: what does this mean in terms of every day life?
Can anyone explain those ads featuring Madonna in a gold python Versace trench coat? Is this something that you could really wear in line at Starbucks? The eternal question of how to go from the reel world of glamorous celebrity fashion spreads and red carpet moments to the real world, is the basis for my fashion column. Hopefully you’ll find this to be a useful guide for translating over-the-top trends into your own hip yet wearable look.
The good news is that there’s plenty of wonderful alternatives to every outrageous designer trend. If an oversized African print isn’t your cup of tea and clunky wooden jewelry interferes with your email load, don’t worry, you’ve got options.
Safari jackets are timeless with simple lines that flatter all shapes. Cropped and fitted or slim and belted, they come in a wide range of colors like this cute one by Cynthia Rowley. It’s a great way to update a slim pair of dark jeans or an A-line skirt for work.
As for Asian inspiration, wearing an obi is not something a lot of women are going to do willingly. The runway’s heightened version of anything, including the cinched waist, should always be taken with a grain of salt. You can easily infuse your wardrobe with an Asian flair by slipping into one of this season’s pretty sheer floral dresses.
Designers like Nanette Lepore (at right) and Rebecca Taylor (first picture at top) offer some of the prettiest versions of the flirty little dress. To find your nearest store check nanettelepore.com and rebeccataylor.com. It may also be time to replace your trusty trench with a lovely floral coat.
This one (left) by Tracy Reese offers the perfect way to wear floaty chiffon dresses out at night and is sturdy enough to pair with capris or jeans on the weekend. You can find her wonderful collection at tracyreese.com.
And just when it seemed that the Trojan look was for … well the Trojans, Oprah featured designer Tory Burch recently as the next big thing and the crowd went wild.
Elevating the Greek tunic to a classic by infusing it with sophisticated embellishments, Burch offers updated cuts to flatter every woman’s body.
This pale one shown, is the gold standard of tunics, but they also come in a variety of shades and fabrics and you can browse her entire collection at www.toryltd.com. Even if you’re on a limited budget, versions of the laid back tunic top can be found everywhere from the Gap to your local yoga boutique.
Don’t forget to accessorize
It’s also worth mentioning that one of the quickest ways to get into the swing of spring is by switching out your current accessories for the latest and greatest.
This season’s hottest offerings include aviator sunglasses, fedoras, layered strands of turquoise beads, handmade wedge sandals, crocheted boleros and metallic leather handbags like this practical yet fabulous copper leather bag by Sigerson Morrison.
If you’re going to splurge on one thing, a luxurious accessory is always the way to go. It updates everything from jeans to your favorite little black dress.
Keep in mind that in the real world of deadlines and mornings when you have only minutes to get out the door, time matters. Models who look casually tousled in the pages of Vogue, got that way after the world’s top hair and makeup artists spent intensive hours working their magic. This is one of the main reasons to opt for a stylish but practical mix and match wardrobe, outfits that are flattering and easy to wear even on fat days, and an easy to maintain beauty regime.
As Elycia Ruben and Rita Mauceri, the authors of the forthcoming book, Frumpy to Foxy in Fifteen Minutes Flat told me during our recent interview “Being foxy doesn’t mean being fussy or fancy. Looking great can mean wearing jeans, a layered tee set, sandals or sneakers. Women are ready to have foxy be defined in a way that fits into their lifestyle. It doesn’t mean spending a lot.”
Remember, fashion advice is a lot like dating advice. In the end, you have to follow your heart.
If you feel confident and good about yourself, you’ll look great no matter what you’re wearing or who you’re with.