Are you one of those people who never misses an episode of fashion reality shows like Project Runway, Renovate My Wardrobe, The Face, What Not To Wear, or America’s Next Top Model? Do your friends call you a “fashionista?” Or are you more at home in your 2004 mom-jeans and your husband’s raggedy tee? Fashion is constantly evolving, and it can be hard to keep up with the latest trends. Just in time for holiday parties, a few local fashion-forward women have some timely tips to help.
BLING & SPARKLE
Fashion editor, makeup-artist, and fashion stylist Kim Wadsworth of Norfolk has been guiding women in fashion for 20 years. She suggests you treat yourself to a big issue of a magazine like Vogue, Elle, or Harper’s Bazaar. “It’s your best source of inspiration,” she said. Sit down with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and soak the magazine in cover-to-cover.
Kim has clients and businesses who hire her as their personal shopper, closet organizer, or make-up artist. She suggests you step inside your closet, examine your clothing, and keep only items that you will wear during the coming six months. Pull out the rest and stick them in another storage area.
Next, go back to your closet and see what you might buy to go with these items to update your look. “See what you can make that looks like what you love in the magazine,” Kim said. “Try to replicate that look.” The magazine isn’t really trying to sell you the $4,000 designer jacket. “It’s there for inspiration,” she said. “Pay attention to the cut and the color. If you look at it differently, you’ll take a much better approach to shopping and putting items together.”
Kim’s made recent trips to New York and Austria. Hot New York fashion items include leather panels on sides of dresses, which give you the illusion of being thinner, and contrasting prints and textures. “No more matchy-matchy suits,” she said.
Faux fur vests are really taking fashion by storm, Kim said. And “moto” (motorcycle) jackets are coming back. “They are huge right now,” said Kim. She suggests you buy pleather if you don’t want to support leather. “This great-looking black jacket makes you more edgy, more fun,” she said. Good or bad, plaids are coming back. And “bling and sparkle has never been bigger or better,” Kim said.
As for color, sapphire blue is popular right now, and navy blue is becoming the new black, Kim said. “Winter to spring, the biggest color going forward is any shade of blue,” she said. In Austria, “black is big.”
Never use the excuse that you have no idea what’s going on fashion-wise, Kim said. There’s information everywhere. Google “fall fashion trends 2014” to get the current scoops. Zero in on what you love and figure out how to accessorize it to make it hip for this year, she said.
“Just because you can’t afford a boutique or store doesn’t mean you can’t go in there for ideas,” Kim said. Memorize the clothes you like there and try to replicate the idea in a cheaper store. Be sure to try on the items you like in the more expensive store to see how they drape. It’s important to know whether what you like works for your body shape. And, she said, keep in mind that these stores always have sales.
TRIED & TRUE
If you have an event coming up and you’ve decided to wear last year’s dress, you’ll still feel up to date if you purchase just one new accessory, Kim said, such as a chunky bracelet or a sapphire scarf. Check out Virginia Beach’s Beach Nut for fun accessories, Kim noted.
If you don’t have a big wardrobe budget, she recommends that you carefully access your closet. You can keep your “tried and true,” the items that are always in style and wear well, like animal prints and hound’s tooth. Get rid of things you didn’t wear last year—whether it’s looking ratty, doesn’t fit anymore, or your taste has changed. “Our eye is always improving,” Kim said. It’s exposed to new things just by seeing them—just by glancing in the store window or reading that magazine.
Some of Kim’s suggestions for fun, fabulous, and up-to-date clothing and accessories include Stephanie’s Boutique and A. Dodson’s in Suffolk. The latter also has Norfolk and Virginia Beach stores. In Virginia Beach, try Trish, Frances Kahn. and Dressology. She also enjoys Closet Envy in Williamsburg. They’re in Virginia Beach, too. In Norfolk, Kim’s favorites include White House/Black Market, Francesca’s Collections and Michael Kors in MacArthur Center and NYFO in Ghent.
Don’t forget the upscale consignment stores. You can find designer items at a lower cost. Try Worth the Wait (also a boutique) in Virginia Beach and Double Take in Virginia Beach and Norfolk. Consignment shops are great places to hunt for top-notch merchandise at less -than-retail pricing.
What about ideas for the upcoming holidays? “You can’t go wrong with red for the holidays,” Kim said. If you don’t have a big wardrobe budget, there’s nothing like a new lip color to perk you up. “Treat yourself to a daring, new lipstick,” she said.
Like your handbag, your lipstick should change with the season. When the leaves change, your pink summer lipsticks should be put away. Since fall and winter fabrics are heavier and darker and often feature colors like brown, navy, and wine, pair them with deep-hued lipsticks. And go bold for the holidays, for sure! “Take a stand,” Kim said. “Do something fun. You’ll get lots of compliments.”
BOLD & BEAUTIFUL
Cass Covington of Virginia Beach has been the manager at NYFO Boutique in Norfolk for 24 years. Her partner, Lynn Hailey, of Norfolk has been there for 12 years. They’ve advised a lot of customers through many seasons. Being honest with customers is important, Cass said. “We help women select what’s best for their body type. That’s why our customers come here.” Their shop was formerly next to Posha Mezza in Norfolk. They moved into their new space in the Palace Shops about seven months ago.
You don’t have to follow the trend, according to Cass. “Wear what works for yourself,” she said. “I cringe when I read some of these articles that exclaim that something’s ‘completely out.’”
If a high-rise jean fits you better than a low rise, that’s what you should wear, Cass said. Know your body and what you are comfortable in. Are you high-waisted or short-waisted? Are you comfortable in a plunging neckline or do you prefer a jewel neck? Once you know what fit works best for you, you can make the best choices and have confidence in what you’re wearing.
You don’t have to throw something out just because you haven’t worn it in two years, Cass said. She and Lynn enjoy taking a vintage piece and helping you wear it in a completely different way. Things come back in style, so bring in that piece that you love and they’ll help you out. They also sell accessories like hats, scarves, jewelry, and tights.
What’s flying off the shelves at NYFO right now? “Things with details, things that are a little different,” Cass said. “We specialize in unique pieces.” Animal print and faux fur is popular now, as well as a faux leather strip down the side on leggings. The faux fur might show up on a collar, animal print on a scarf, or as detail on a basic cardigan or jacket.
For jewelry, Cass said that bold, really big pieces are hot—something that makes a statement. Though cooler days are ahead, Hot Girls pearls are popular all year round, especially for those having their “personal summer.” They are “quite large” faux pearls, said Cass, filled with a gel that makes them cold when put in the freezer. Take them out, put them on, and you’ll feel cool no matter the temperature inside or out.
Another unique piece of jewelry NYFO sells is a long necklace with hidden reading glasses at the bottom, so you can read a menu, the play program, or whatever else is needed.
This time of year, they sell a lot of mahogany, plum, and eggplant, Cass said. They also do well with neutrals of gray, black, and brown, and combinations of the colors. However, “we still believe in winter white,” she said. Just tweak your outfit a little, she advises, pairing it with the right season’s shoes and top to make it fresh and pretty.
“At the end of the day, though,” Cass said, “women still love their black.” There’s no doubt, she said, that it’s flattering, easy to work with, and you can accessorize it with all colors.
AGAINST THE GRAIN
The Virginian-Pilot fashion, lifestyle, and consumer affairs columnist Jamesetta Walker echoes Cass’ comment that people don’t necessarily need to follow trends. See what’s out there, she advises, and shop for a few pieces to update your wardrobe that are in keeping with the consistency of a look. “It’s fine to have one fun, trendy piece, but you shouldn’t go and fill your closet with a bunch of them,” she said.
“Every woman needs to have that one piece that is against the grain, that she looks convincing in,” said Jamesetta, who was wearing a classic black dress, leopard print sandals, and Mohawk hair style during our interview. It was, after all, a Friday. “I look different than what I look like Monday through Thursday, she said, but it’s not so far out as to look ridiculous. “There’s a balance between being classic and on trend,” she said. Jamesetta recommends Designer Consignment & Gifts in Chesapeake for their variety of fabulous items.
“I do think that a woman really does need to look at the catalogs at the beginning of the season,” Jamesetta said. She also advises exploring top fashion websites and visiting stores to see what seasonal items they’re offering. Also, pay attention to fashion week, she says, whether it’s local or New York. “Although the designers work independently, you will see some repeat elements,” Jamesetta said. “The buyers will pick up those repeated elements, and that’s what you’ll see in the stores.”
If you feel inspired to find some edgier fashion choices, peruse some magazines and websites and then hit the stores! Your new look is waiting for you.
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