People seem to think that because Buffalonians count waterproof hiking boots, parkas, long underwear and some sort of ear, nose and throat protection amongst the ranks of their wardrobe artillery that it somehow means we don’t know fashion. Well, perhaps if that’s all you included in your wardrobe, those people may be on to something. But for those excited that the sunshine and extra hours of daylight means it’s time to break out a new wardrobe and shed the winter layers, I’m here to help guide you to fashion victory for this new glorious season that’s upon us.
I recently spoke with some local style experts and owners of DeJá Lu Boutique and Vanity Salon –both hip, successful shops located on Hertel Avenue–to get a sense of the latest trends in fashion, accessories, hair and make-up for spring. Some common themes across the board seem to be re-inventing looks with a multi-dimensional component, putting a bit of an edge or twist on traditional styles.
With apparel, it’s all about designs that have more of an architectural element to them – lots of pleats, layers and different textures and sizes, either as a signature piece of flare or collectively interwoven on the garment. You’ll also see a lot of asymmetry in pieces, usually with additional length given to one end of a top or dress or in one-shoulder looks. Also, designers are adding a lot of embellishments to pieces to lend more pop to a standard silhouette such as beading, gemstones, flowers, tulle and silk trim.
What else can you expect to see? In a word: prints. Lots and lots of prints, particularly floral. Admittedly, I am not a huge fan of floral patterns, being scarred from growing up in the ’80s where it was impossible to escape Laura Ashley’s stranglehold; however, I must say that the floral prints coming out now are more sophisticated than the dreaded cutesiness from 25 years ago and have (thankfully) given me a new, much more pleasant visualization to associate with the word “floral.” What I like about these new floral patterns is that they’re feminine, but not cheesy; edgy, but still stylish.
“This is a really feminine, fantastic time right now for women,” said Louise Abbinanti of DeJá Lu.
Stand-out colors are in and those include both colors you would typically associate with spring and warmer weather like yellow and peach, but also includes more deeper, vibrant colors like royal blue, purple and other jewel-tones.
Both Louise and Gina Calamita of Vanity Salon agree that accessories to adorn your head will be some of the hottest this season. Headbands, clips and hats with feathers, flowers, beading, stones and other decorative embellishments are all on trend. Clutches and bags will follow suit but will also incorporate prints, such as animal skins like eel, snake or alligator. [Now, before PETA comes banging on my door with a can of red paint in hand, let me clearly state that I am not advocating sacrificing animals for the sake of fashion. Faux is the name of this game.]
Large bib necklaces with a lot of “chunk” and color have already made their way onto the scene, which will continue to be jewelry’s newest trend. Of course, signature pieces like large cocktail rings and chandelier earrings are always in style. You will still see this type of jewelry, but now incorporating some of the color and architectural trends already mentioned.
Now, no look is complete without the hair and make-up. Skipping over these two elements would be like skipping the salt and pepper on a meal you’ve spent hours making. Or forgetting the lemon for your broiled haddock with capers and lemon – you may think you have the makings of something great, but without those finishing touches, all you have is a dish that’s meh. What sounds like a footnote ends up being the difference between a good meal and a great meal. Or in the case of fashion, what will make you go from looking nice to turning heads.
The trends for hair styles this spring can be described very similar to trends in apparel: layered, textured, multi-faceted. Incorporating highlights and lowlights together or adding layers and angled cuts can create a multi-dimensional look. While long locks have been in for quite awhile, you might start to see some shorter styles that showcase some of these textured trends (please, please do not think adding angled cuts or putting in different high/lowlights gives you the green light to pull a Kate Gosselin and start sporting a severe look with multiple asymmetrical lengths and unblended colors throughout your hair. Let us all learn a lesson from that disaster and let the Keystone State keep the ownership of that, uh, “style.”).
To depart from your day-to-day hair style, you can try some easy updo’s. When pulling back your hair, you can add some considerable height in the front for some sophistication and high-glamour or tie it back into a messy tease for a more playful look. Similarly, you can smooth your hair back leaving the ends loose and flowing. These are all simple tricks that can translate into both day and night looks.
For those of you out there thinking this advice is all well and fine but your hair just doesn’t cooperate and you simply could not pull any of these styles off, chew on this for a minute:
“People think they have difficult hair but all you need is a good haircut and use good product,” said Gina.
She explains that having a cut that doesn’t play to the natural strengths of your hair or using the wrong product can change someone’s entire look (and not for the better!).
With make-up, let’s start with the first rule of thumb regardless of the trend or the season: you need a good base just like any artist needs a good canvas to start from. Match your skin tone with your base color and make sure whatever product you use has a moisturizing component and SPF to keep your skin healthy and vibrant. Ok, so that was more of a tip than a trend, but I digress.
Again, the same trends discussed above apply for make-up as well: look for colors that are bright and bold, something with pop. Turquoise, purples and greens are hot eye shadow colors, especially in shimmery metallics or with a hint of glitter. Conversely, you can do a neutral eye shadow and pair it with a bright eye liner to get a different, but similar effect. Finish the look with a sheer blush and just about any shade of pink for the lips and you are set! Nail polish trends are still following the darker colors of near-black blues and purples and are less within the pink and red family. Here, you’ll also find vibrant, bright colors like greens and blues are working their way in.
Finally, I’d like to take the liberty to offer some simple (but key!) dos and don’ts to keep in mind as you move forward in your quest for a fashionable spring:
*Do try to incorporate some prints and bright colors in your wardrobe. Try to find signature pieces (some clothing, some accessories) with embellishments that will set you apart from a crowd and enhance your look, not overwhelm it. You should wear the piece, the piece should not wear you.
*Don’t try to mix too many trends in the same look. That is a fashion train wreck waiting to happen and you end up looking like you’re trying too hard. Real style should look effortless (read: the complete opposite of “trying”).
*Do put some thought into putting together your look. Great style comes from taking a few trends, incorporating them into your life and creating your own personal look.
*But, don’t over-think it. Your look should be yours and yours alone to own.
*Do coordinate the components of your overall look but don’t be matchy-matchy (i.e. you are a real-life Jolly Green Giant when you match the same green with everything from your eye shadow to your blouse to your heels to your nails).
“No matter what is going on with trends, you have to look at the individuals, their look and their lifestyle,” said Gina. “You have to stay you.”
This, above all else, should be your number one rule to follow. Trying to pull off someone else’s look will have you falling flat. The only thing you should ever worry about is, not the specific trends themselves, but how to be the best you through your own style. Remember that style is more than just fashion – it is an outward, visual expression to the world of how you think and feel about yourself. Want to see some of these spring trends come to life? Check out the fashion sli
de show showcasing looks from DeJá Lu Boutique and Vanity Salon.