If it seems like there’s a banquet every night, well, that’s probably because it’s true. December through February bring a host of dinners, melave malkas and breakfasts for the numerous incredible schools and organizations in the greater north Jersey area and its surrounding communities. With one dinner after another, The Fashion Link found wardrobe options to help pull fashion-conscious readers out of the “same old outfit” doldrums.
Here are some styles that can be used to either accessorize an already-existing outfit, or as a new trend to wear.
Velvet has been very popular this winter and is surprisingly versatile as well. Though very much a fall and winter fabric, within that time frame it can be used for virtually any item. Visiting a warm climate and don’t want to cave completely to sweltering in the warm velvet material? Look for velvet in a scarf to accent an outfit, a velvet purse or velvet embellishments on other items of clothing.
Velvet footwear (think red velvet ankle boots, bright-color ballet flats or anything in between) has also been popular this year, as well as velvet wristlets and purses. But for day-into-night wear, even the classic LBD gets a velvet makeover for luxe fashion. A velvet slipdress over a silk blouse also works double time as work wear that can run into evening wear.
A patterned velvet dress holds its own for a formal dinner. Pair with jewelry, accessories and of course killer shoes, to pull the outfit together. For an event that is slightly dressy but less so than an evening banquet, throw a blazer over a velvet midi dress, or reverse it—wear a velvet blazer over a knit dress. Lord and Taylor jumped on this trend, sending an email to their subscribers with pictures and suggestions of how to make the velvet trend work for all parts of their lifestyle. High-end retailers like Nordstrom, Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus featured many velvet wardrobe additions, as did fast-fashion outlets Gap, Old Navy and others.
As with many trends, be wary of velvet overkill. A velvet dress, with velvet scarf and velvet bag might be too much of a good thing.
With many people eschewing fast fashion and looking for classic quality clothing, heritage fashion has become more popular. Heritage fashion is a term used to describe clothing that is a throwback to a different time, maybe incorporating a touch of vintage, with evidence of the superior workmanship, quality fabric and classic style. Heritage fashion includes fabrics such as cashmere and tweed, styles like the trench coat and Wellingtons, plaid patterns and the prep school sweater look. It is both chic and timeless. Banana Republic, while not quite designer, is still known for a classic crisp look, and added a line of clothing referred to as their “Heritage Collection.” It is described as “A modern collection inspired by our legacy of exploration and discovery, and defined by craftsmanship and luxury.”
Interestingly, Levi’s 501 jeans can be considered a heritage item, due to their classic look, staying power, throwback to the original style and the sense of durability it conveys; however, it is not a style often recommended for formal dinners.
While Seinfeld made big sleeves something to dread with the Puffy Shirt episode, this season, statement sleeves add flair to any outfit. Bell sleeves; puffy sleeves, whether they puff from the shoulder to the wrist, or only start at the elbow and expand as they go down; cascading sleeves; and large accents on sleeves all bring a dramatic piece to an ensemble.
The benefit of wearing big sleeves is the minimalist approach to the rest of the outfit. With sleeves being the focal point, pair with a simple, solid-colored skirt. Another benefit to the big-sleeve trend is that it is a noticeable nod to fashion trends. For anyone who wants to look fashion forward without a total wardrobe revamp, try a shirt or dress with high-volume sleeves and step out in style.
If big sleeves are too daring, try something with a little bit of a body in the shoulder area without a full mutton-sleeve effect. Even a slight amount of a “poof” in the sleeve adds a feminine charm to the shirt and softens crisp angles of a more Oxford type of blouse.
The look and feel of fur, whether one opts for real or fake, radiates a sense of indulgence and luxury. Fur is a classic look that has never completely gone out of style. In order to give fur a contemporary—but always chic—update, runway trends showed fur in many bright hues, complementing and contrasting the outfits they adorned.
Full fur coats and vests have been seen as a fashion piece, not just a practical piece of outerwear to keep warm. Fur adds the element of not only looking good on the outside, but feeling good about an outfit as the wearer basks in the overall feel of the soft and opulent material.
Fur scarves can enhance an outfit looking for some upscale update, as well as an outfit trimmed in fur, rather than an entire piece of fur clothing. However fur is worn, its sumptuous feel is just as much a part of the experience.
For those who lament the sea of black that formal dinners have become, prepare for the return of floral fashion. While not a new trend, and traditionally more warm-weather focused, floral prints have been bumped to the front of the current trends, even for winter looks. With vibrant colors, and a touch of an exotic island feel, the right floral-patterned apparel adds color and style to an ensemble.
For understated floral looks, try a smaller pattern on one item of clothing, such as a patterned skirt paired with a solid blouse. Another option is to find a dress where the floral pattern is more muted and blends into the whole look, rather than a bright contrast (as in the case of Dolce & Gabbana’s fuschia and green tulips against a black background dress).
Because of the bright and sunny feel flowers bring, floral prints very easily allow for a variety of daywear options, which is especially useful for formal breakfast gatherings. The upbeat nature of the patterns easily lightens up the look.
Flower power has been working its way into all wardrobe pieces. Expect to find them in blazers, both for women and men. Some brave designers have even made entire suits in floral patterns for those looking to fully embrace the trend.
With these trends just off the runway, be sure to try out a different look after rifling through a closet with seemingly nothing to wear.
By Jenny Gans