Chasing Summer (Skirts): It’s All In The Details

The original Burberry Prorsum loop knot skirt

Alexander Wang drape skirt dress

The very best skirts of summer 2010 add tons of chic to an outfit, but are fun and even a bit whimsical. The reason? The coolest have great, interesting details or shapes that give them some volume – ruching, draping, pleating, layered asymetrical panels, gathering, or just a fuller cut. (Burberry Prorsum‘s, left, was one of the first down the runway for spring and an inspiration for many.)

This slight fullness makes them much more interesting than the plain old straight and narrow pencil skirt. These skirts can function almost like an accessory, adding zest and flavor to an outfit, giving the eye something to land on in the silhouette.

And, interesting skirts are also everywhere you turn at retail these days. I took a walk down lower Broadway yesterday– absolutely every store is there — and spotted windows focused on skirts from at least six or seven cool brands, and some great skirts even from brands not so cutting-edge. Then, I scrolled through some of my favorite websites to cull the right pieces for you, too. Here are some of the best to punch up your summer look:

Reiss draped skirt at asos.com

Nanette Lepore skirt at bloomingdales.com

Alexander Wang, above right, added his own version of a twist and drape that makes the wearer actually look narrower – huh? We’ll all go for that–even at $395.00, on Net-a-Porter. Club Monaco has an absolutely amazing draped skirt of their own that I have on my must-have chic and affordable list. Zac Posen for Target — quite the launch party!–has a ruched side black skirt that’s an unbelievable $34.99. The British website, ASOS, fairly new to the US, is a web-only collection with their own label designs, as well as carefully selected pieces from other lines. They have a knock-out draped pocket skirt from Reiss at about $130.00 at today’s exchange rate. At Bloomingdale’s website, Nanette Lepore’s minimally pleated skirt shows how even a little interesting detail can make a work skirt look totally up to the minute, $118.00. Elizabeth and James also have a super skirt in the most brilliant shade of yellowy-gold that’s really elegant and slightly gathered. Loft, too, has a very nice subtly side gathered beige tailored skirt at $69.50 that will get you noticed in the office, or a silky front drape one in navy or pale stone that’s $39.99 and super-attractive. (Check these out–they are well worth it, even if I don’t have pics.)

And, most all of these slightly fuller skirts are fairly short, from micro-mini to a few inches above the knee. This range has the right length in it somewhere for every body, every age.

J.Crew summer tweed gathered skirt

ASOS purple pleated and tied skirt

Fuller Burberry Prorsum skirt

The waist-gathered, pleated or”paper-bagged” skirts that are around again run the gamut from the lusted-after Burberry Prorsum to a great ladylike J.Crew summer tweed for $138.00, to an ASOS light purple pleated and tied waist version that’s about $37.00 at the current exchange rate. They’re fun and figure-forgiving if you choose one that’s not too extreme in its details. (You can also find a bit longer versions.) A-line shapes like the super J.Crew gold a-line inverted pleat skirt below are also a way to get on the fullness bandwagon.

Gathered red skirt at Opening Ceremony

Diane Von Furstenberg olive fuller skirt

Marc by Marc Jacobs fuller plaid skirt

Gathered skirts can be fun and easy, especially on hot summer days. Opening Ceremony has a charming fuller red summer skirt for $230.00 that would look super with a smaller top and a boyfriend jacket. Zara has an all black slightly gathered version, as well as a cool black and white large-scale abstract print, both for $39.90. Diane Von Furstenbergs gathered and rick-racked fuller skirt at $235.00 is fun for weekend/going out, or for work with flats and a jacket or shorter cardigan. And MARC by Marc Jacobs full plaid skirt at bloomingdales.com could be a new wardrobe staple with a narrow tee, sweater or shirt for any situation.

JCrew A-line skirt

A detail that also looked great was the tiered skirt — usually ruffled layers, sometimes panels. There are really good ones at Zara, Club Monaco, Loft and Express. And these tiers needn’t be only for high school kids. They can be a fun way to add interest and are great paired with a tailored jacket. Remember – don’t be afraid to show your whimsical side.

The good news is that there are so many of these newly-detailed skirts at every price point, you can be sure to find one that’s the right length, fit and degree of whimsy to suit your wallet, comfort level and your fun threshold. Dressing with individuality should always be this easy!

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Hats Off (On) To Summer!

Now hear this — the man’s fedora is absolutely cool and looks great on women. Madonna, Marlene

Lola for J.Crew Tasseled fedora

Roxy by Quiksilver Apocalypse hat

Dietrich, Kate Moss, Keira Knightley and Lindsay Lohan all have made the man’s hat their signature look at different times. It’s sexy and bold, but, playful and coy at the same time. And we all want a little of that sly chutzpah…

It is THE hat of summer 2010 — there is an absolute deluge of quirky and charming versions suddenly appearing at the most stylish mid, and

less expensive, retailers. Several hip lines have hooked up with great, cutting-edge hat designers like Lola for JCrew and Eugenia Kim for Target. Club Monaco, Uniqlo, American Eagle, Quiksilver/Roxy also all have their own versions of the classic straw or cotton men’s summer standby

American Eagle men's hat for women

for women. Meanwhile, iconic hat line Stetson has gotten hat genius Albertus Swanepoel (2009 CFDA award winner) to design several hats for them, available on its website www.stetson.com.

Eugenia Kim for Target blue ribboned fedora

These great hats look especially charming with the right softer feminine dress or top, and not always a boyfriend jacket/blazer or pantsuit– though the simplest and cleanest of lines can look amazing on the right woman. (For the most part, remember to mix your masculine and feminine pieces in one outfit – it’s the mix that makes it fun and interesting.)

Love the man’s hat look …. and the sun protection for all… I just hope it’s not too much of a good thing. Nothing kills a cool trend more quickly than when you see yourself coming and going…in a fedora yet. So, let’s have fun with this, ladies, but if you are starting to feel every high school kid has a bad one on — run the other way, and wait for the sartorial dust to settle. The fedora will always have it’s sexy place…

Chic, Flat-Out Comfort, Part Deux

It’s Shoe Week at Styl-d, and, yesterday, we focused on the newest flat shoe shapes for summer (see Part 1 in 3/5 post). The reason? It’s for those of us fashionistas who move too fast to hobble on the beautiful, but painful, four-inch, creatively heeled runway shoe sculptures designers showed for spring. Love’em, but hate’em.

Today, we look at the classics you’ll likely to already have in your closet — but may want to add a new version or color to. Yes, there are …

Still Chic Shapes

The Ballet Flat:

Always top of the list for comfort, there are more ballets than ever in tons of adorable permutations. Color is a great way to add a new ballet to your wardrobe and a nice finishing surprise to an outfit. Skin

Bloch cerise ballet slipper

— any lizard or snaky looking texture is terrific (ours at http://www.ralphlauren.com), and animal print is (and will be, those of you already looking ahead to fall) really prescient and fun.

Donald Pliner leopard flat

Ralph Lauren snake ballet flat


French Sole multicolor toe cap flat

Metallics and multicolors are an especially playful way to vary your ballet look, and toecaps add an expressive spot, too.

Marc Jacobs gold ballet

But you can’t beat the buttery feel and look of the terrific neutral basic like the Michael Kors, or the chic Delman classic. And Repetto, French maker of real ballet slippers, has entered the everyday shoe market with its own rainbow of colors in patents and suedes, and metallics. (In America, at bergdorfgoodman.com.)

Repetto aqua toceap flat

Michael Kors brown ballet slipper

Delman classic ballet

French Sole, too, a terrific ballet flat resource (www.frenchsole.com), specializes in the shape, and has more colors and variations than you can possibly dream up. Tory Burch, of course, made her name with her famous “Reva” ballet flat, which is still the gold standard of the company, but has added a wonderfully shaped, just terrifically chic-simple new ballet. And, naturally, our best American interpreter of current popular chic, J Crew, has some delicious new versions of their ballet, including a pom-pom’d toe metallic flat that’s just charming. (We bet Michelle Obama has more than a few pairs…) (At http://www.jcrew.com.) Ballet flat are around at every price point, from Target to Lanvin, so pick your brand, and revel in all the choices!

Tory Burch simply chic ballet

French Sole neon abstract print ballet

French Sole’s cadet blue piped version

Sneakers:

These will never be out of style in the American fashion vernacular — or for that matter, in the world’s style repetoire. They are too comfortable and too full of stylistic and design possibilities to ever give up. What varies is just what looks the most the most current to the fashion eye. We’ve all been in love for several seasons now with Converse high-tops, low-tops, destroyed or laceless Converse versions and they’re still great, but what looks a little newer again are the simple tie Keds, Toms and Superga shapes. You’ve got to choose the right moment, but a classic white Superga can make a work trouser outfit summer-chic on a busy day. And the colors are enough to make your day on the weekend. These three companies make enough variations to make your head spin!

Alice & Olivia for Keds sequinned sneak

Keds colored linen classic

Superga's quintessential shape

Thong and T- Strap Sandals:

Nine West knotted thong

There are naturally some amazing new variations of these popular shapes, and they are still very much a good flat option from casual flip flops to high-end softest leather and patent. But, the ones that are too thin and strippy should be saved for the weekend, or an after hours casual or a going-out look. Too bare and insubstantial on a work day just doesn’t cut it. There are also some amazing jewel and stone decorated sandals in this category too — just don’t look like you’re wearing the vault contents on each foot for day. More can be more, but on your feet, it looks like they are walking you into the room. Overdone is still just that — overdone.

Calvin Klein thong sandal

Michael Kors thong sandal

D&G thong sandal

One other important style note: When you buy a flat, buy a real flat –with no tiny heels or sliver wedges. They can really look matronly and slightly dumb. No one would want to ruin such a confident look with that note.

So, summer girls, celebrate having your feet on the ground! You CAN be as COMFORTABLE and STYLISH–as you want. Isn’t that what the season is supposed to be about, anyway? Yeahhhh…

(Note: Zappos.com was the resource for all looks not otherwise attributed.)

Chic, Flat Out Comfort

Okay – seriously, fashionistas (and non) out there – are there really any CHIC and

Alexander McQueen - Beautiful, but NOT what we mean

COMFORTABLE shoes? Can those two words live together in the same sentence? It’s Shoe Week here at Styl-d, and we’re going to find out.

Trolling through the spring/summer collections for a styling job that amazingly still wants summer clothes, I wondered all over again. Spring’s best, most amazing shoes are true works of art — with 4 0r 5 inch heels resembling statues, geometric shapes, etc. Platforms are so teeter-y and angled, it’s a true wonder models didn’t have to sign an liability waiver to walk down the runway in them. (Though there were definitely a few casualties — check out those videos!) Spring’s gravity-defying shoe sculptures can be multi-color, have fringe, beading, feathers, stones, cut-outs or the kitchen sink decorating them.

I totally appreciate their clever artfulness as a fashion editor, but these are not meant for more than an entrance-making moment and a quick sit-down. So what do those of us on our feet,moving fast and actually working for a living, do?

Ralph Lauren oxford

I took a trip through Zappos.com and a few of my favorite stores to find out:

Newest Flat Shapes

The Men’s Shoe (for women): This can be a flat, soft oxford-type lace-up, a jazz shoe, or a ghillie. Steve Madden has both. Sam Edelman, Joan and

Steve Madden soft oxford

David, Matt Bernson and Stuart Weitzman also have great ones in the mid-to-lesser price range. Robert Clergerie, Ralph Lauren and Fratelli Rosseti have cool but more costly versions. The men’s shoe looks great with a boyfriend jacket and shorts — from shorter and cuffed to

Stuart Weitzman cut out oxford

longer, but still above the knee,bermudas and cityshorts. Or, it is pretty cool with slim jeans – capris or longer — or any kind of trouser, and cute with just the right slightly fuller short skirt.

The Boat Shoe: Of course, the absolute best are from Chanel in unexpected

Sperry multi color boat shoe

multi-color pastels and bright combinations. But, again, they are great with shorts, playful short skirts (even a flirty-skirted Chanel-type tweedy summer suit!). Steve Madden has a terrific interpretation in

Sperry hot pink boat shoe

great colors and, Sperry, originator of the topsider, was not about to let its look get co-opted. Theirs come in colorful patent, multi-color suede and silver metallic. Super-comfortable, packing a weighty style wallop this season and more unexpected than sneaks.

Summer “Boot” Sandals: 2010 was the winter of the short boot with

Type Z sandal "boot"

everything — from dresses to leggings, jeans, short skirts and all manner of trousers, cropped and not. And designers didn’t want to give up that sturdy proportion for summer. So, there are a quite a few

Ted Baker sandal "boot"

open-toe boots for summer– lots with heels, like Phillip Lim’s — and a few flat ones, too.

But sandals really stepped into the heavier and higher-on-the-leg boot camp, too. From heavy gladiators versions to whole swaths of leather or fabric around the ankle, some sandals got really chunky. They look good with shorter skirts, shorts and the right casual dress– above the knee. Be careful with any pant or skirt that cuts the leg below that, though – too many horizontal lines keep you looking short, and nobody wants that!

Tapeet heavy sandal

Michael Kors high brown sandals

Nike mid sandal-boot

Enzo Angiolini boot-like sandal

Moccasins: Moccasins are a chic flat, too, this season and go with far more than the uptight preppy look we associate them with. Minnetonkas always look great with jeans, shorts and casual dresses, but

Ugg pale grey moc

now they and their slightly more upscale cousins are finishing more seriously polished trouser and shorts work looks as well. Pleated or draped, and definitely cropped, trousers are spring fashion’s newest pant shape, and they are a natural for the moccasin. You have to be careful with

Ugg olive suede moccasins

Minnetonka cool girl mocs

dresses and skirts, but the slightly fuller, flirtier ones can be great with moccasins as well as ballets and sandals.

great with jeans, shorts and casual dresses, but now they and their slightly more upscale cousins are finishing more seriously polished trouser and shorts work looks as well. Pleated or draped, and definitely cropped, trousers are spring fashion’s newest pant shape, and they are a natural for the moccasin. You have to be careful with dresses and skirts, but the slightly fuller, flirtier ones can be great with moccasins as well as ballets and sandals.

The New Gladiator:

The best gladiators (ones didn’t step out into boot territory this year) did not wrap so high up the leg, Coliseum-style, but

Calvin Klein low gladiator sandal

stopped lower on the foot, like these terrific Paul Smith neon green sandals. Any gladiator that has too much going on is a don’t this season. The cleaner-lined, less gadget-y ones are more truly chic. Bells and whistles, charms, tassels, studs, jewels don’t make a shoe more cool, only a lot more noticeable — and that’s not always positive.

Burberry low gladiator

Paul Smith low gladiator sandal

Joan & David low gladiator

**For more CHIC, FLAT-OUT COMFORT, see tomorrow’s post on what shapes are still stylish, but low as you go. Until then, be comfortable in your own shoes!