Watching runway shows really is a lot of fun, even if they all do tend to rather blur together by the time we’ve sat through four weeks of them. The styles we see on the runway are exciting and with many I can just imagine how well specific friends might look in different items. There’s just one really big problem: what we see on the runway is not what ends up in stores. Fashion week shows do not present finished products. Instead, what we see on the runways are designer’s samples, 3D versions of their sketchbooks if you will, to give store buyers an idea of what the designer would like to put on their shelves the following season. Buyers today sit through shows with note pads jotting down looks and then telling designers what changes they need before they can actually place an order. Sometimes the changes are small (changing the size of a pocket, or the plunge of a neckline), and other times the changes are so severe one can hardly tell any resemblance to the original garment. What shows up in stores months later rarely looks like what we saw on the runway.
This dichotomy between runway and reality is one reason we rely on stylists and magazine editorials. Sure, we know what styles are trending, but what is actually available for one to pull together in their wardrobe? One might spend untold hours wandering through the racks at stores and still not be sure what might work, and who has that kind of time in the first place? So, I asked the stylists at Nativa Creative Team (Allyson Brooks and Lila Sierra) to help us find real looks that are on trend, flexible, attractive, and appropriate for women in the Midwest that we might compare to runway trends. Brooke Hovermale of LModelz modeled the results for us, with Danelle French doing makeup and Anthony Perez styling hair. Here are four looks we think will work well for this spring:
Let there be no question about it, white is absolutely huge this season and the number of all-white looks we saw on the runways was almost blinding at times. Blinding, in fact, is the biggest problem I have with head-to-toe white looks; wear these out in the sunlight and anyone standing near you needs to shield their eyes through any means necessary! Even though these BCBG Max Azria slacks are technically off white, they are still quite reflective out in the sun. Unless one desires to attract small aircraft searching for a place to land, you do well to mix the white with a print such as this fun look from Banana Republic. In case you can’t quite tell, those are yellow high-heeled shoes against the dark blue. Add a gold chain from The Toggery and one has a very sporty and fun look that can work for most any occasion.
More white? Yes, we just couldn’t escape it! Especially with the Easter and Passover holidays this month, store shelves are brimming with white dresses of every kind. What’s especially on trend, as seen in the Ralph Lauren runway look, are simple sleeveless dresses that hit about mid-thigh; short enough to be on trend, but still long enough to wear to morning mass, or brunch with your grandmother. We especially like the embroidered look from Azulu, though, because it gives some texture to the look with a Spanish design that is subtle enough to not distract from the style. Again, we paired the dress with a gold necklace. Gold is another strong trend for both spring and fall fashions, but can be overwhelming if applied to heavily. A simple knot necklace like this is the perfect touch to stay on trend without being gaudy.
Polka dots are another trend in great abundance this spring, and they appear in just about every size imaginable! While we most often saw them in black and white combinations, as with the Dolce & Gabbana look shown at left, they do come against colored backgrounds in several separate pieces. Polka dots are another one of those design elements that is best served in small doses. Even when extremely small, head-to-toe dots are too busy for most people. In a worst-case-scenario, I once witnessed an executive leave a conversation because the red/white polka dot dress worn by the woman with whom he was talking hurt his eyes after a few minutes! This yellow/white combination from Pleione is a little easier on the eyes, especially when mixed with dark blue slacks and the red modified tux-style jacket. One style note here: I asked Brooke to leave the blouse untucked in back over stylist Lila Sierra’s objection. If one is younger, the untucked look is the stronger trend. Yes, tucked is neater and more professional, so one might want to consider the circumstances in deciding what to do with the shirt tail. Just don’t be alarmed when you see several people sporting the untucked look this season.
What goes with all the white we’re seeing this spring? Why, black of course! Here is where one may want to use some caution. Chances are there are already several black and white pieces in your closet that can be paired successfully, especially for more formal looks. The runway look from Rachel Roy’s resort collection is a perfect example, though, of a casual look one can create with styles that don’t require lubrication to get in and out of the pants. Azulu’s black harem pants are fuller at the waist, where one wants some give, and still have that tapered look. Zippers at the side are the big difference here, giving one the ability to dress without getting a foot lodged. I like the sleeveless top from Zara because of its simplicity and its flexibility. Toss the right jacket over this look and one is ready to go out for the night, but as shown here, it is perfect day wear for just about any occasion.
Granted, there are still a whole truck load of styles we didn’t have time and space to address, but hopefully this is sufficient to at least get one through the next couple of months. I’ll have more spring favorites on my web site early next week and we’ll continue here with more suggestions for your summer activities in June! My thanks again to Brooke of LModelz, Danelle French, Anthony Perez, the Nativa Creative Team of Allyson Brooks and Lila Sierra, and photography assistant Katherine Franson for all their help.