Shape Shifters for Spring

What are the key fashion shape changes this spring?  You know, the ones that transform your style silhouette and say you are sartorially up to par?  The idea is that at 50 paces, what will tell everyone your look is current? Updating your wardrobe is simple–you just need to know the best items to invest in to   (And the pace of fashion is so fast, you can find these items at every price.) Just remember that showing your style smarts is never a bad thing – it says you care about you, and that’s a good message… So, ladies,  listen up!

1. The Bigger Top: Slide-y, big sweaters and tees, loose tanks, dolman-sleeved, boat-neck tops and shirts, short tunics with volume and the bigger man’s shirt all look terrific over a slimmer bottom.

2. The Narrower Bottom and Leg: Skinny or slim jeans, skirts and leggings all look right with the larger silhouette on top. Best of all, the bigger tops usually hide everything you might not want seen!

3. The Bigger “Boyfriend” Jacket: Wear a slightly more voluminous (not huge and oversized, though) man’s style blazer or jacket with slim jeans, a short skirt, shorts (short or longer, they’re every bit as acceptable as a skirt now).

4. The Short, Interesting Skirt: Skirts were pretty uniformly short (from micro to a few inches above the knee), and most had details or shapes that gave them some volume – ruching, draping, pleating, layered assymetrical panels, gathering or a fuller cut. A bit more fun and whimsical than the plain old straight and narrow.

5. The Easier Dress: There certainly were still lots of body-con dresses around, but designers smartly realized that a slightly looser dress that can be belted to give it shape is more forgiving and more elegant. Not too voluminous at all – just eased up, so we can eat lunch without it showing in a bandage dress!

6. The Fuller, Shorter Trouser: Yes, skinny jeans are the look with a larger top, but, there’s an interesting option in the pleated, or gathered, cropped and peg-legged trousers so many designers introduced. Ideally, these look great with a narrower top or cropped jacket and are loose enough, sitting between your waist and hip that they make you look thin. Remember to buy them big enough – nothing’s as bad as pleats stretched to their limit.

7. The Shoe That Anchors: Whether it’s a chunky sandal, a wedge, a platform, an ankle climbing gladiator or even a summer peep-toe bootie, the heavier shoe is part of what makes your look contemporary this spring/summer.

8. The Cross-Body Bag: This newest way to wear your bag — undoubtedly inspired by stylish messengers — is diagonally from 0ne shoulder to the opposite hip. Yes, you have to put it over your head, but the great thing is that it leaves your hands free — something we all could use!

Simple stuff, right?  And most of it is actually pretty comfortable.  Remember, I didn’t include every nuance and trend on the runway–just the most basic that make a shape difference.

It’s warmer, leaves are sprouting, people are seeing and being seen again.    So — get out there and shop.  What are you waiting for?

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Chic Peek At Fall 2010

I went to see Phillip Lim’s 3.1 fall collection up close in his NY showroom the other day. The show was

3.1 Phillip Lim camel coat

terrific back in February, but after 2 months, I’d forgotten the vibe that sent me into fashion orbit.

As soon as I rounded the corner (after viewing the delicious, deluxe accessories in the entry – particularly a buttery, squashy leopard satchel so chic it could almost walk you into a room !), it hit me all over again. How could I forget? These are absolutely great clothes — simply, totally elegant American sportswear chic.

Following a long but stratospheric tradition that includes iconic American designers Claire McCardell, Bonnie Cashin, Bill Blass, Geoffrey Beene, Isaac Mizrahi, Michael Kors, and Marc Jacobs, Lim has picked up the golden thread of chic American classic style and made it his own. This is where classics should be in 2010. His silhouettes are tweaked, reshaped and detailed into modernity.

There were terrific coats – from a camel double-breasted

3.1 Phillip Lim gray shearling melange coat

kimono coat with a thin black leather belt to a black silk-piped short hooded camel steamlined duffel coat — and great knits. Big, slouchy, pale blue and striped gray/blue cardigan sweaters and greige textured sweater tunics were elegantly easy. A very shaggy ivory knitted cardigan and skirt were just sublime. There were great shorts in quilted leather or cotton, to be worn over thick tights.

And the shearlings! There were endless super texture combinations of suede, shearling, tweed, leather, fur and knit worked into sections that made these the season’s best American jackets and coats, all in shades of gray, ivory, beige, natural, brown and black. So yummy.

Sequin dresses and tunics often mixed with other fabrics, and with just the right amount of shine, looked terrific here in Lim’s hands, and not tired the way they seem in the stores for spring, with scores of brassy imitators of designer shine packing the racks. Dull, rich gold, matte violet and silver spelled out a luxurious message in these covetable accent pieces.

But, best of all was the blanket plaid coat, skirt, shorts and pants that just about screamed Bonnie , Bill

3.1 Phillip Lim blanket plaid coat

and Geoffrey, albeit with a modern, assymetrical touch that Lim’s young (and now older, I am sure) customers adore. In cream, grey, beige and black, it was just about the chicest thing I saw this season. I love it when that happens! What a star to watch for anyone who loves fashion.  Available in July at stores or at www.31philliplim.com.