Fashion trend-setters during Spring Fashion Week 2013 were treated to some insight into what the trend followers will be lusting after even before snow crocuses peek up through the soil. Aside from fabrics, silhouettes and hemlines, color is always an important consideration. Pantone, the global authority on color for half a century, announced the color of 2013 to be a radiant, jewel-toned emerald, promoting balance and harmony. In New York City, there was so much geometric black and white on the runway, it was said to look like a cross between pop art, a checker board and the Indy 500 flag. Here are five practical picks selected by two local fashion professionals, dress shop owner Sarah Shaw and personal image consultant Susan Smith, for the looks most likely to make it off the runway and into our shopping bags for the upcoming season.
Classic shirt dresses
What a relief. Could any daytime look be more normal, more universally wearable and more comfortable than a crisp, cotton shirtwaist dress? Think Doris Day and Rock Hudson. Tie a small vintage square scarf at the neck for fun. What makes this 50's standard bearer into a modern look? A full skirt that falls above the knee and a pair of espadrille wedges. The best possible fabric is important, as there's nothing ladylike about see-through fabric. Orla Kiely's shirt dresses are belted, have a white Peter Pan collar and a three-masted schooner motif. Jason Wu, Victoria Beckham and Tory Burch favor floral prints.
Anyone who watched January's Golden Globe Awards will know what we mean: a bit of well-toned belly, bust, back or shoulder blade here and a strategically placed cut-out there. Emily Blunt did it beautifully in Michael Kors. Check out Roberto Cavalli, Versace, Carven, Vivienne Westwood, Saint Laurent, Elie Saab, Emilio Pucci and Gucci for inspiration. Even Kate Middleton's beloved Issa has slashed a slice with her scissors. Cut-outs are appearing in daywear, in knitwear and even in outerwear. Be prepared for some celebrity wardrobe malfunctions in the spotlight this year.
Black and white
While Pantone issues the fashion color report each season, our North Bay fashionistas report that black and white is huge this spring. It dominated the runways in London, Milan, Paris and New York. Remember that to be really on trend, more than black or white, it's black and white. Geometrics, bold stripes and even psychedelics are hot. And yes, there's plenty of room for a feminine and delicate lacy number. You'll find these in department stores from brands like BCBGMaxAzria, in consignment and vintage shops or even inside your own closet.
They're big, they're bold and they're not just in black and white. They're as wide as a deck chair or an old-fashioned ice cream shop awning. They're mixed with polka dots and they come in sequined numbers, too. Among the most sophisticated is this gown by Oscar de la Renta. Everyone has been talking about the Michael Kors collection, featuring more stripes than seen on the walls at the Museum of Modern Art.
This spring's wallpaper-like prints are sweet, and our experts predict you will see lots of them. They feature the Pantone Spring 2013 Palette colors, the top 10 colors that experts have chosen and clothing designers have experimented with. Imagine a high-ceilinged guest room in a Victorian bed and breakfast. 'Dusk Blue' is reminiscent of the room's Chinoiserie floral wallpaper. An 'African Violet' plant is in bloom upon the window sill. 'Nectarine' and 'Lemon Zest' fruits are placed in a bowl on the dresser. There's a 'Poppy Red' hand-stitched quilt upon the bed and guest towels in 'Linen.' Print-patterned Robert Graham shirts with contrasting cuffs and collars channel the wallpaper look. You'll also find it in one of ASOS's top 10 dresses for spring at $66.84 and in a strawberry print shirt dress at $795 with cardigan from Red Valentino at Neiman Marcus.
About Sarah Shaw and Susan Smith:
After running a boutique in downtown Sonoma and a shoe store called Fetish, Sarah opened Sarah Shaw in Pacific Heights in 1999. She has amassed a dedicated following of Marin-based customers over the years who are accustomed to finding "just the right dress" for special occasions within Sarah's carefully curated clothing collection. This spring will mark Sarah's first anniversary as a jewelry designer; she is now working on her spring collection to be sold at trunk shows and online. Susan Smith is president of A Sense of Style, a personal image consultancy which has styled wardrobes for dozens of men and women throughout the Bay Area. Susan's clients range from judges to job-seekers and Marin mothers to Silicon startup executives. Susan builds a workable wardrobe by understanding a client's personal requirements, considering lifestyle and budget, and working first with what's in the closet before thinking about what's in the stores.
Laurie JM Farr is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. A transplanted New Yorker, she has traveled throughout the world as the Big Apple's official tourism representative. She served as organizer for three Royal Visits to America. As an international relocation consultant, Laurie assisted more than 400 families with overseas moves and is a proud mother of two, thoroughly bi-cultural children. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.
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