Trendspotting | The Oxford Shirt

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Paris, photographed by Tommy Ton for Jak & Jil.

This spring, the quintessential dress shirt is making a comeback. While the Oxford shirt has always been a classic, the reworked dress shirt — in whites and blues, with unconventional tailoring and accents — will be cropping up everywhere in the coming few months. At least in my book, this comes pretty close to perfection — white shirt worn casually, a chic skirt, and pointy pumps:

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Copenhagen Street Style by Diego Zuko for Harper’s Bazaar.

Although I don’t really “do” trends, this one I’m kind of excited about — mainly because I already wear Oxford shirts on a pretty regular basis. (You know, because I’m classy like that.) There are also so many ways to wear a dress shirt beyond the conventional norms — wear a stark white shirt alone, play with a contrast collar, or go for some jeweled accenting (all of which can be found at jcrew.com, it should be mentioned). I also like this trend (if you can even call it that) because its not going out of style anytime soon — so you know anything you purchase will be a worthwhile investment.

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Top row: photographed by Patrick Demarchelier for Vogue Japan. Second row, left to right: Dior s/s 14 (via Harper’s Bazaar), Tod’s s/s 14 (via Harper’s Bazaar), Alexander Wang s/s 14 (via style.com). Third row: Altuzarra s/s 14 (via style.com), Balenciaga s/s 14 (via Harper’s Bazaar), Giovanna Battaglia by Diego Zuko for Harper’s Bazaar. Fourth row: New York by Tommy Ton for Jak & Jil. Fifth row: Leandra Medine by Diego Zuko for Harper’s Bazaar, Kel Markey by Diego Zuko for Harper’s Bazaar.  

The return of the Oxford, contrary to its functionality as a dress shirt, marks a decided shift towards a more relaxed approach to style. While the shirt can be styled up or down, it is chic even in its most basic and unfussy incarnations (especially as it is worn in most of the above images). The dress shirt — whether starched and pressed, or crumpled and thrown casually over a skirt (or nothing at all) is part of a larger transition to a looser structural style that many designers appeared to favor for the spring season: slouchy blazers, a more casual approach to menswear for women, and large, floaty pants were also all on trend. The Oxford, however, is truly a wardrobe classic, and super accessible — which is why I’m such a big fan of its spring comeback.

Thoughts on this trend for spring?

Trendspotting | Baroque

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On the Street in Europe | Photographed by Tommy Ton for style.com

It’s been a while since I’ve done a trendspotting post. I’m not as big on blogging about fashion trends, but this one is simply too fabulous to pass up — in other words, I’ve become completely enamored with the Baroque trend.

History

Baroque has an interesting history. According to the ever-reliable Wikipedia, the Baroque period began in 17th century Rome and was mainly reflected in architecture, sculpture, and painting (although Baroque themes were also reflected in the literature, music, and theatre of the time). Baroque — which relied on ornamentation, drama, and visual grandeur to create the style — was encouraged by the Roman Catholic Church as a means of expressing the emotion of religion through art. The Baroque style also exaggerated the concept of motion, articulating events visually with clear, dramatic lines. This would also become important when Baroque influenced the fashion world, then and now. (Below is very obviously a picture of “then”…)

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“Lady with Fan” by Diego Veláquez, mid-1600s | Source

Style also developed during the Baroque period, impacting fashions throughout Europe. Trends swung heavily during the 17th century, but at the beginning of the 1600s, wide, detailed collars, large sleeves, and dark, heavy fabrics were popular (these would later be replaced by pastels and more relaxed silhouettes). The waistline was raised — for both men and women — and corsets as well as full, ornate skirts remained popular until later 17th century, when a more streamlined silhouette began to take shape. The shoulders were also heavily emphasized.

Baroque-inspired style today is characterized by some of the earlier fashion from the Baroque period. On the fall 2012 runways, luxe materials, exaggerated silhouettes, heavy embroidery, brocade, lace, and chunky jewels were quite possibly the most popular trend. You could literally go baroque with the sheer amount of opulence that took over the runways and glossy magazine photo shoots (and apologies for the awful joke).

Runway

There was no shortage of opulence on the Fall runways to counter the past minimalism of the past few seasons. Here are just a few highlights:

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The Dolce & Gabbana show is probably the most-cited example of the Baroque trend’s reemergence into the fashion world. With gorgeous gold brocade detailing, pretty prints, and dramatic silhouettes, the show evoked 17th century opulence redefined for a modern era.

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McQueen and Marchesa also showcased Baroque style: McQueen with a more futuristic approach and exaggerated shaping, and Marchesa with beautiful fabrics and distinctly feminine designs.

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Robert Cavalli and Stella McCartney opted for a brighter, modern take with colorful brocade. As always, the tailoring on the McCartney runway was impeccable and clean. Oscar de la Renta offered printed fabrics and lots of jeweled details.

Editorial

Plenty of editorials from around the world featured Baroque styling. Here are a few of my favorites, for some inspiration:

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Photographed by Takahiro Ogawa for Elle Mexico | fashiongonerogue.com

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Photographed by Mikael Wardhana for Karen Magazine | fashiongonerogue.com

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Photographed by Mario Testino for Vogue Spain | fashiongonerogue.com

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Photographed by Sofia Sanchez and Mauro Mongiello for Vogue Turkey | fashiongonerogue.com

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Photographed by Zhang Jingna for Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam | fashiongonerogue.com

I love the drama of the last image! If any thing, the Baroque trend is very obviously over-the-top, especially when it comes to the details — whether it be a painted blouse, gold brocade, or lace overlay — extravagance defines the Baroque trend. To emulate the Baroque look (not mimic, that would certainly be a disaster), take a cue from the runways and editorials from this season and look for pieces with gold detailing, lots of lace, defined shoulders, or jeweled accents. You’ll feel like Renaissance royalty in no time.

What’s your take on Baroque for this season?

{Sources: street style, Tommy Ton @ style.com; painting, marquise.de; runway photos, style.com; editorials, fashiongonerogue.com}

Style Fix | Le Pencil Skirt

I have recently developed a love of pencil skirts. In part, I blame J. Crew, which seems to be responsible for the majority of my style and color palette fixations (my goodness, but seriously, Jenna Lyons knows what she’s doing!). They’re simple. Classic. Elegant. Feminine. Versatile. And so incredibly chic, when done right.

Clockwise, from top right: Acne, $390, net-a-porter.com; J. Crew, $90, jcrew.com; Karl, $310, net-a-porter.com; J. Crew, $98, jcrew.com; Kelly Bergin leather skirt, $460, net-a-porter.com; J. Crew, $98, jcrew.com.

I used to avoid them, thinking they were too serious or just so drab and unflattering. But with the right cut, a punch of color, and the perfect pairings, they can function as chic, dressed-down pieces for everyday as well as being staples of any work wardrobe. These are just a few that I love — although in the past year or so, the pencil skirt craze has resulted in tons of options for every possible price point and palette, whether you’re into colors, prints, tweed, leather, or just classic black cotton.

What’s your style fixation this week?

Sources: Images via net-a-porter.com and jcrew.com.

Last Minute Style Ideas for New Year’s Eve

Hello readers! (And sorry for the terrible delays in posting. It’s atrocious, I know. Please feel free to email me and complain.)

I have always been somewhat ambivalent about New Year’s Eve/New Year’s as “holidays.” What’s the big deal? It’s just a date change on a calendar. We don’t celebrate the first of every month, do we?

Rant aside, NYE is usually filled with glamorous parties and bucketloads of sequins. As much as I am confused by the concept of New Year’s as a holiday, I will never pass up a chance to throw on a fabulous new party look. Here, in no particular order, are some of the chicest ways to ring in the new year — with inspiration shamelessly stolen from all corners of the blogosphere, of course.

1. Layering sequins. Anything sparkling and fabulous is always perfect for NYE, but it’s also possible to avoid looking like every other girl on the planet, in a plain sequined tank dress and pumps. Tracy from The Closet Shopper (one of my favorite bloggers — she is absolutely fabulous!) gave us a preview of her holiday party looks in a guest post at Tinfoil Tiaras. She smartly layered a shimmering jacket over a (slightly) more subdued black sequined dress and cinched it with a simple belt for a look that has just as much shine, but is so much more unique. Look for sparkly separates to layer and ground them with simple black accessories.

2. Ponytail cuffs. My older sister emailed me this DIY post from Oh the Lovely Things the other day, knowing I would love it. I’ve always been a fan of glammed up ponytails, and find them so much chicer than wearing one’s hair down. (My problem is that I have very fine hair, and my ponytails tend to lack volume and texture. Any tips to remedy this would be greatly appreciated.) And aren’t these ponytail cuffs just so gorgeous? Definitely one of the easiest ways to add instant glam to your NYE look.

3. Punches of color. As much as a strict palette of gold, silver, and black is observed during New Year’s, stand out from the crowd with a few bright pops of color: think bold lips, a red shoe, or colorful stacked bangles. Harper’s Bazaar offers up a few tips on getting the perfect red lip at every age.

4. …Or, just break out of the mold altogether. Who needs punches of color when you can rock a fabulous jewel-toned frock? Definitely a fantastic option for New Year’s Eve; just be sure to use sequins wisely (if at all) and accessories with some sparkly oversized jewels instead. P.S. I Made This has an awesome DIY for a totally over-the-top jeweled necklace.

5. Glitter-dipped nails. I’ve been seeing these around quite a bit lately, and, well, they are one manicure trend that I actually like. (I’m not so much a fan of crackle or magnetic nail polish.) Also one of the easiest manicures to maintain because chipping is barely noticeable. Try this simple tutorial from MaieDae and substitute your favorite colors!

6. Comfy (but chic) heels. If you’re going to be wearing heels for NYE, and you know you’re going to be standing in them all night, why would you wear a pair that is unbearably painful after half an hour? Wear your comfiest single-hued pair of heels for New Year’s (aka, your investment shoes) instead of the crazy sequined ones and you’ll be much happier. (On another note, I highly recommend the Mona pumps from J. Crew. So comfortable yet timeless, they go with everything, and they come in leather, suede, patent, and satin!)

Most importantly, though: experiment with fashion and have fun! Although it is a bit clichéd (and I will refrain from bitterness here), New Year’s is all about welcoming the new you (and all resolutions you’ll be breaking within the next week). Enjoy!

{Source: Images courtesy of Tracy at The Closet Shopper; 5 Inch and Up; Sephora; J. Crew (crystal Venus flytrap necklace, $85); J. Crew (Mona leather pumps, $198); MaieDae.}

Designer Spotlight: Katie Ermilio

Katie Ermilio is my new favorite up-and-coming designer. Her clothes are incredibly simple, but beautifully made and insanely chic. I love the feminine but still conservative cuts and little details, like unexpected pleating and cut-out backs. The bright bursts of colors don’t hurt much, either, and she works almost exclusively with black, whites, navy, hot pink, red, and bright blue. Indeed a very bold but chic color palette.

Katie Ermilio

My favorite thing about Katie’s designs is that you can see the care and craftsmanship that went into every single piece. They are as simple and bare as can be, yet they still manage to be totally original and fashion-forward. Her clothing is like modern art. It also really speaks to my style — I love sequins and pretty add-ons as much as the next girl, but my favorite pieces are all super simple and versatile. But they still stand out.

I think there’s a quote floating around somewhere about how clothes don’t wear the woman, the woman must wear the clothes. (I might be making this up, but it still works nonetheless…I think.) I feel like this rings especially true for Katie Ermilio’s clothing. The styles are minimal and the attitude of the wearer really shines through. Confidence makes these clothes (or rather, the wearer) beautiful.

Some looks from her fall 2011 ready-to-wear collection:

I have heard some fantastic things and some not-so-fantastic things about Katie’s work, but I suppose beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I, for one, am very attracted to her clothing and find it very chic and beautiful. As I briefly mentioned in this post, I rarely wear prints or patterns — much of my wardrobe is full of solid basics that I layer and combine in different ways. So I find her take on ready-to-wear very appealing: a simple color palette (with some fun colors to add a playful touch…can you imagine how boring these clothes would be if they were all black, white, and gray?) and plenty of chic but flirty silhouettes.

Katie Ermilio, only 25 years old and already on the fast track to becoming the next big designer, was originally hoping for a position editing a fashion magazine, with internships at both Teen Vogue and Vogue under her belt. But she began sewing dresses to wear to work and soon was accepting custom orders from colleagues who wanted chic frocks of their own. She also sold many of her dresses in her father’s storefront for extra money. Before she knew it, she had become a self-professed “accidental designer.” You can read the rest of her interview with fashionista.com here!

Who are some of your favorite fashion up-and-comers?

{Sources: Images via katieermilio.com, fashionista.com, and style.com}