Spring ahead into the hottest fashion trends

There’s a certain irony to my having written this article on spring fashion as I was making plans to attend Fashion Week to view the fall collections. Spring clothes have just started arriving at Richards, where I am the personal shopper. As Fashion Week proceeded, trends were emerging for fall before women have even considered what they’re purchasing this spring.

Shoppers are often frustrated by a cycle that’s always out of whack. Just now, as we’re experiencing the brunt of winter, you probably couldn’t find a new coat. Along the same vein, good luck trying to replace a pair of white jeans in July. The stores will be fully loaded with, “pre-fall,” which will include plenty of leather, cashmere, fur and yes, velvet. C’est la vie.

How much should seasonal trends influence what you buy each season and do they instantly make everything you bought last year passé? In a nutshell, somewhat and no. For women who love clothes, the desire to shop each season is hardwired. The fact that there are already some great things hanging in the closet, (occasionally with tags still on) is of little consequence. I should know. I’m one of those women.

What I do focus on for myself and for my clients is investing each season in timeless, chic pieces like pencil skirts, sheath dresses, knits from Valentino and Missoni and beautifully cut jackets. Just as important is making sure every piece is tailored impeccably. I promise that it is time and money well spent. When your clothes fit perfectly, they also flatter you.

Where do the trends come into play? Often as the “pops” – a ruffled blouse, printed pants, an embellished sweater or the latest accessories, shoes, handbags or sunglasses. I’m also a huge fan of a great coat. A truly stylish coat is a fabulous purchase. You can wear it often, and everyone will assume that what’s underneath is equally chic. Additionally, you will get to enjoy it for many seasons to come.

What are the top trends for spring 2013? Here is a roundup (from September’s shows):

Black and White – By far, the strongest trend of the season, shown in virtually every designer collection. Stripes, checks, color blocking and windowpane prints were abundant. The easiest way to fake it? Add a bold striped top to a black or white pencil skirt with bright classic Manolo Blahnik pumps. Ladylike is back in a big way.

Ruffles – They adorned many necklines on dresses and blouses, adding a feminine touch.

Vibrant Color – There were head-to-toe looks in cobalt, lime, orange and fuchsia.

Leather – Featherweight skirts, dresses and tops in pastels, whites and brights.

Sheer Delights – Silk chiffon, organza and mousseline were featured in the collections of Akris, Cavalli, Reed Krakoff, Tom Ford, Donna Karan and many others.

Collage – Exquisite pattern mixes and textures. The best were from the great print masters: Etro, Erdem, Peter Pilotto, Cavalli, Pucci and Mary Katrantzou.

Origami – Fabrics were pleated, folded, cut out and slit, often suggesting a Far Eastern influence.

Power Suits – The return to a strong-shouldered, single-breasted pants suit.

The Short Suit – A little sexy and a little retro. Most were shown with oversized blazers, making them a hair more office-friendly for more casual environments.

Bermuda Bound – Wearer-friendly, knee-length, slightly slouch Bermuda shorts were shown all over the runways.

How best to integrate the new trends into your wardrobe? I like to help my clients experiment and push the boundaries of their own comfort zones a bit. But if a trend makes you feel like you’re wearing a costume, it’s better to sit it out.

No need to fret. Next year, it will be long forgotten.

– Debbi O’Shea

For more, visit divadebbi.blogspot.com and divadebbi.polyvore.com.

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