Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Spring Trend Report

Even though it's January, the recent warm snap has gotten the Kiffen thinking of spring - and with most retailers bringing out the first of the spring merchandise , it's the perfect time to start planning your warm weather wardrobe. Here are some of the Kiffen's favorite trends to help you get started:

White and Pale Neutrals: This color palette was all over the runways. White is the color for spring, with buff and cafe au lait not too far behind. Think natural, wheaty or oatmeal tones for everything from wispy little dresses to structured skinny suits.

Warning: check the color against your skin tone in natural light before you buy; the right shades can be gorgeously flattering, but the wrong pale neutral will wash you out like nothing else. This dress by Doo.ri is a stunning example of how gorgeous this color palette can be for evening, especially done in Grecian styles or vamped up for a Marilyn look.

High Waists: Push your low-rise jeans and hipsters to the back of your closet, because the high waist is back. Now, these are not soccer-mom pants and skirts - the pants are wide-legged and flowing, and the skirts are fitted pencil shapes. The key to pulling off this look successfully is the top - try wearing either a cropped style or something lightweight and loose (like a chiffon blouse), and be sure to tuck it in. And of course, always wear heels to lengthen your legs with high waisted styles.

High waists can definitely be very flattering, you just have to find the right style for you. Look for fabrics that have a nice drape to them, and be sure they are long enough - the bottoms should skim the floor. You may have to try on several pairs before you find some that are ideal for your figure, but don't be discouraged - this silhouette is ultra-feminine and chic when it does work.

Belts: High waists go perfectly with the next trend, belts that cinch the waist. A parade of embellished, ornate belts walked down the runways, so you will have no shortage of options this spring. From Fendi's clear plastic belts to Yves St. Laurent's classic square buckles, one of these belts is the perfect way to dress up a simple black dress, or try one over a jacket for a fresh take on the fitted blazer. Or throw one on with the new high waisted pants or skirts - this is trend you can and should work with to find your best version.

A wide belt at the waist can emphasize an hourglass figure, or a thinner belt can help to create the illusion of curves. Use your belts to add a pop of color to your ensembles, and don't worry about matching them to your shoes and bag - just make sure they coordinate (i.e. have similar hardware and weight). This Alexander McQueen belt would be perfect to cinch the waist of a slinky dress, or over a button down and wide-leg pants for a casual but still glamorous look.

Ribbons and Lace: Luxuriously romantic ornamentation is everywhere for spring. From the empire waist bows at Donna Karan to the all over lace at Dior, this is the season to celebrate being a girl with outrageous ruffles (YSL) and laser-cut lace (Fendi). Ribbons and lace not your style? Try the origami chic bow dresses from Giambattista Valli - they have an interesting look that is womanly without being girly.

Now, it's all too easy to go over the top with this trend. A good rule is to pair one unabashedly feminine piece with something a little more structured and masculine - like a lace top with herringbone trousers. If you are wearing a romantic little lace dress, wear heavier shoes to ground you - think peeptoe platforms (instead of strappy little sandals). You can also try a wide leather belt over some of your frillier items. However, there are some pieces that are just perfectly fabulous on their own, like this Balenciaga gown. Leave it to Nicolas Ghesquière to make this Edwardian style look absolutely modern.

It's important to remember that these trends are just only a few of the styles popular this spring - this is definitely not an exhaustive shopping list. Instead, think of the this trend report (and all the others) as a jumping off point to planning your spring and summer wardrobe. The best look for you is always the one you love.

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