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2014 Spring/Summer Fashion Brief

Even though cold weather records are still being set, springtime is definitely in the air wardrobe-wise. Been shopping lately? All the deep dark colors of 2013 Fall/Winter fashion are jumbled and jammed on price-reduced racks wherever you go. Extreme discounts from 50% to 65% to 75% plus coupon incentives tempt us to see “Is there anything for me?” If your coloring is best flattered by hue depth, it could be a heyday quest for winter wear items you can carry into spring. No doubt about it, those deep, rich hues will all but disappear as 2014 Spring Summer Fashion is definitely dominated by pastels and lights.

From the frostiest to palest most of the Spring Summer palette of colors appear in tinted or washed forms. Elle Trend Preview called “pastel dresses more chic than sugary.” So, logically in the limelight find lots of pinks and peaches plus, as InStyle features, “icy blues, mint greens, lemon chiffons.” Further Elle wisely advises … “slightly warmer coral or blush shades typically complement more olive skin, while those with cool complexions tend to look most radiant in frost blue or petal pink.” Bravo! Add into those lights, whites which punctuate the pastels or consider pairing them with black for higher impact. How light or dark, how warm or cool personal coloring is, guides the balancing process for looking one’s best. In spite of all the pastel hoopla, don’t despair if they simply are not for you. The majority of hues in the retail marketplace are likely to be mid-tones which can be easily lightened or darkened to equal one’s personal coloring. Plus, sure to appear are energetic pops of clear and typically bold summer-time brights. Neutrals other than white and black? Watch also for sands, creams, tans, ashes, palest grays. Interesting observation, more designers opened their runway shows with white than any other hue. Truly, the spring/summer fashion color spectrum is unusually broad! Something flattering for every one of the fashion-buying public!

Style variation, as is usual, plays a prominent position in any season’s fashion message. Spring Summer 2014 is no exception. Fashion Group International’s Marylou Luther’s Trend Overview states, “The key word for spring/summer 2014 is assimilation. The new amalgamation is fashion’s response to a global movement, a kind of why-can’t-we-all-just-get-get-along mood of inclusion.” She offers as evidence “integrating ethnic and folkloric costumes into a modern context.” And, she sites as example Ralph Lauren’s 60’s renovations … among others. ELLE’s Anne Slowey, “The best collections managed to combine the playful, the artful and the intellectual to great effect. Gone are the days when the truly talented designers were trapped by trends, though the season offers plenty of palatable options.” Further, she notes for spring, “a return to minimalism that we haven’t seen since Helmut Lang perfected the idea more than two decades ago.” This integration, assimilation, amalgamation contributes to a wide spectrum of shapes, styles, silhouettes. It enhances the breadth of choices therefore suiting a wide range of figure shapes as well as lifestyle necessities and personal preferences. Good news for all of us, the buying public, when it comes to finding what we like given the breadth of what is predicted to be available.

Headline grabbing style features contribute to defining any fashion season, too. Noteworthy now … ladylike, garden party combinations featured in Town & Country, pleats, pinks and global prints from Chanel, art prints at Prada, Jil Sander and Calvin Klein, pleats from Proenze Schouler, Dries Van Noten and Dior, shirtings led by Alexander Wang, embellishment, namely sparkle and feathers, from Bottega Veneta, Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton plus cross-cultural references in Alexander McQueen’s graphic prints and Valentino’s sophisticated patchwork. From these acclaimed runway collections, noted trends from the runways inspire ready-to-wear. Watch for affordable renditions of these styles, details and colorations coming to a store near you.

It would be ‘a miss’ not to note 2014 Spring Summer fabrication variations. Spot lots of cottons … textural weaves, finishes with luster, sheers, open-pattern weaves, etc. Until this season, fabrics considered specific for sports clothing, including neoprene, now merge into office wear and day wear, as well as do stretch and mesh. All often extending on into eveningwear. Leather, no longer just for shoes and handbags, is paper-thin, light-as-air, perforated, pleated for 2014 Spring Summer jackets, blouses, shirts, skirts and pants. Shine fabric finishes span daywear to sportswear to evening. Beading, crystal, embroidery for either daywear or evening enhance fabrics with either simple or elaborate embellishment. And, when it comes to pattern themes, florals are a definite presence, as well as graphics of all types. Those ‘old rules’ for wearing which fabrics when have gone out the window. Refreshing to have a fabric-anytime ‘breath of fresh air,’ isn’t it?

When it comes to accessories (as well as mentioned above regarding clothing fabrication), inspiration from the sports world abounds. Shoes in stretch, mesh, neoprene take on high style from stiletto renditions to sturdier sandals to actual active sports footwear. These certainly reflect how the athletic world and ‘being in shape’ is influencing the fashion marketplace. So, if you prefer somewhat clunky/sturdy/sensible when it comes to shoes, find them out there. Don’t limit yourself, explore the mix! Heavy looking platforms are displayed next to skinny-soled, barely there sandals. Lady-like flats to sensible mid-heels ought to make comfort a far less harrowing adventure than teetering in towering stilettos. This season there is a footwear full range whether you fancy yourself a sports queen, couture fashionista, somewhere in between or all-of-the-above.

That sporting influence extends to handbag design, too, with back-pack styling being a strong influence. For those who like to carry a lot, go-to-the-gym-like duffles even masquerade as purses. Still prominent on the scene, lady-like handbags + clutches in great hue variation provide the perfect color spark to punch up an outfit. If fringe or elaborate embellishment better tickles one’s fancy, there is much present in the handbag category to tempt you as a buyer. Conclusion … purses, in addition to being practical, certainly are personality pieces. Does what you carry express yours? Now is the perfect time to make that happen!

Eyewear, whether for correction, sun protection or simply an accessory, makes its presence known in a big and colorful way. Certainly disappearing-type frames give great versatility to a wearer. But, don’t underestimate the punch of colorful statement sun wear! What a superb way to make a fashion splash while protecting your eyes from over-exposure damage. Be smart, keep your eyes safe as well as being playful with fashionable frame impact! The two easily go hand in hand, particularly when it comes to sunglasses.

Likewise, it is only sensible to consider a broad-brimmed hat if you spend time enjoying the summertime outdoors. Interesting hat style … what a great way to express your personality! 6 inches is the magic minimum brim width to best protect you. And, hat fabrication which includes a high sun-protection factor is a valuable bonus. Don’t expect a hat to do it all, slathering on sunscreen is definitely a necessity if you are enjoying high-exposure activities.

Realize what we see in the press each change of fashion season is primarily couture. Representing the pinnacle of design imagination, it is meant, for the most part, to be inspirational. Ready-to-wear manufacturers put their spin on the practicality and affordability of what has been presented on the high fashion runways. For most, our buying will be done in this retail realm rather than couture. We need not be apologetic. Culling through the runway hits, challenges us to interpret and put together current trends in our own very personal way. Ask, “What little thing or things can take what I already have to a new level for 2014 Spring Summer?” That’s the real life path, that’s where a lot of fashion fun happens. Have at it and enjoy the process of getting your Spring Summer wardrobe flatteringly recalibrated.

Copyright © 2014 Nancy Taylor Farel