Going Girly: Summer 2012 Fashion Trends

The colours we are going to be seeing this summer are neutrals, nudes, blushes and pastels.  It is going to be a season focused on the flirty and feminine.  The big focus this season, however, is on the accessories!  We are going to see soft simple yet complex braided hairstyles, feminine nail colors, cute colourful clutches and chunky gold jewelry.  The clothing is more simplistic, in a sense, than perhaps we are accustom to seeing on the runways.  The great thing about this though is that it makes for a lot of wearable fashions that translate easily from the runway to our everyday lives.  The theme is ultra girly with blousey, soft silhouettes in equally soft, feminine colours.  While different designers tend to showcase different items – in an attempt to influence what the trend will ultimately be – it appears clear that Dolce & Gabbana and Valentino are the trendsetters this season.

As I reviewed their lines I was struck with a sense of calm. Essentially they have created an atmosphere that I can only describe as “English Garden Party.”  Valentino and D & G have utilized ultra-femme fabrics like meshes, tulles and various laces to enhance and bring interest to pieces that are structurally more muted.  Cocktail-length lace dresses in a 1940’s-1950’s style are mixed with whimsical mesh skirts and long lightly flowing dresses.  Floral prints accent these otherwise monochromatic schemes.  The colors are so soothing and remind me of what you would see in a spa; soft mint green, pale coral, lilac and creams were favorites on the runway this season and often spread into accessories such as shoes and nails.  Hair is also going to be a big wardrobe “make or break” this summer, while D&G was sporting a more lack-lustre look, Valentino was portraying beautiful braided crowns, elaborate beach inspired braids and twists that added to the overall whimsy of the collection.

Contrasting Valentino was Yves Saint Laurent. Blanketing the runway with highly architectural shoes, bold gold accent pieces and pops of deep gem stone-inspired colors the otherwise dark color scheme was brought to life. While the same feminine silhouettes were utilized by nearly every designer this season, the color scheme is night and day and includes pops of mesmerizing royal purples, azure and jade. Roberto Cavalli was also portraying a similar feeling this season with bold geometric patterns, lots of gold and highly textured fabrics that create tons of interest in a scheme I can only describe as “Dark Romance.”

So you really have two “feels” that you can embrace this summer, the soft ultra-femme looks seen on the runways of Dolce & Gabbana, Dior and Valentino or the more maturely sophisticated looks seen in the designs of Cavalli and Yves Saint Laurent.  What are you feeling this summer?

How can you get these looks?  First of all, the best advice I have ever been given regarding clothing in general is, buy what flatters YOUR shape best and buy the right size! So I am passing that advice on. It’s so easy to see a model on the runway in something that looks amazing but it’s discouraging when the look doesn’t look as amazing on you. Most people are not built in such a way as to be able to carry any piece the way a model would.  You have to pick and choose pieces that are going to work for you, throwing on something just because it’s the “it” thing isn’t necessarily going to be flattering. If a blousy loose silhouette isn’t figure-flattering on you then choose a cut or silhouette that is and then emulate current trends in other ways, such as fabric, color choice or accessories. There are many ways to sport the most current trends so that they flatter you and don’t overwhelm you. Also, size is crucial. What your size may be isn’t important as long as it is your size, wearing something too small or too big will never do you  justice, so be comfortable with your measurements.

How to get this summer’s hottest looks?  Start by choosing a color palette, you know what colors look best on you so go with what you know and then dial it back into a softer shade of pastel. For footwear, simple is the trend this season. Simple flats, minimalist gladiator sandals or barley there strappy heels in soft shades or neutrals will be your staples this year.  Accessories are simple but bold and include chunky pieces like large bracelets or pendants in yellow gold, while belts and earrings are more understated so as not to detract from hairstyles or overpower the clothing.

Where to get this summer’s looks? Some retailers are always more on-point than others.  As far as being in-tune with current trends, I recommend checking out retailers such as Forever 21, H&M and Zara.  Forever 21 and H&M are very budget- friendly and Zara has extremely high-quality fabrics and craftsmanship for reasonable prices.

What trends have already made it big this spring? The bright and flamboyant skinny jeans made popular by Kate Middleton have become an instant hit. Will this trend last or go the way of the bell-bottom? I think these could easily become a spring staple and pop up again, year-after-year, with minor alterations – the way Ugg boots have for winter. So my verdict is, if you find a pair in a colour and fit that you love then they are worth the investment. Easy to wear, you can pair them with simple t-shirts and tennis shoes in muted tones and you’re ready to go!

Up and coming?  Eyelash extensions. Yes, seriously. They look fantastic too!

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