The Summer of the Puff

Every summer, a certain trend arises. It pairs well with iced coffee, can be spotted at almost every brunch table, and emits an air of breezy, summertime cool.

In a season that dismisses pants, shirt trends are vital for the summer aesthetic, acting as another warm weather pleasure in our dog day repertoire. Last year, the off-the-shoulder top liberated collarbones everywhere, and the year before that, bodysuits put wedgies en vogue.

This year is the summer of the puff: a voluminous statement sleeve that oftentimes has Victorian or peasant-chic accents. It’s breathable, Instagramable, and can serve as a flotation device at pool parties. Brands everywhere have dominated the trend, serving up Anne of Green Gables proportions with a latter-day twist, including LPA, Cecilie Bahnsen, and my personal favorite, Maison Cleo.

Like most trends, this one is recycled a couple times over. After inflating one decade, then exhaling the next, its presence is not few but is far between.

In the 30’s, a decade of apparent nothingness, economic collapse ensued after 10 years of leisure and liberation in the flapper era. Hardship instigated a return to traditional values, where soft, womanly shapes reflected the new mindset. It pushed the pendulum away from the boyish shapes of the 20’s and into the uniform of the feminine mystique in the 30’s.

Jumping forward a half-century, the 80’s welcomed the sleeve as a puffed-up power play, a literal broadening of the shoulders that gained women entry to the corporate boy’s club. In a time of economic prosperity, ostentatious dressing celebrated wealth and consumption. The concept that “bigger is better” was reflected not only in property sizes but in the shoulder spans of women everywhere.

To sum it up, the 30’s puff and 80’s puff shared shape but opposing standards. While one reverted to tradition amongst hardship, the other propelled its adopters forward through economic prosperity.

In 2018, the puff has floated back into relevance for a myriad of reasons.

A Reclaiming of Femininity

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Instead of rejecting stereotypes, why not reclaim them? In the past, shunning feminity was a strategic move, as the notion of being female pigeonholed its captives as passive, gentle, and maternal. Burned bras, shaved heads, and even the broad shoulders of the 80’s separated women from their stereotype. Society was so deep in the bottomless pit of sexism that the term femininity was not owned by women, so naturally, it was disowned. Today, as we navigate through the misogyny that remains, a new approach has been made, a rebranding if you will, of what feminism means to us, the females. It’s this new sense of control that makes the puff so appealing. This soft, delicate accroutement is not an obligatory uniform for the kitchen or the boardroom; it’s whatever we’d like it to be. We can wear it braless at a picnic, with trousers in the office, or while eating a street hot dog drunk at 2am. It’s a freeing and pleasant lol to the past confines of what we, as women, were told to wear.

A Little Contrast

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When looking back on this decade, and specifically the latter part of it, it will be defined as the era of athleisure, minimalism, streetwear, normcore, and many other movements that were either simplistic, sporty, or androgynous. With so many progressive and cohesive trends, it’s a bit of a relief to throw romance, nostalgia, and feminine details into the mix. Season after season of sneakers and sharp lines has made me want to become a human doily, and a human doily I will be.

The Goddard Effect

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Courtesy of: @lilybw & @mollygoddard

If you’re familiar with Molly Goddard, you’ve probably fallen in awe of her take on tulle, hyper-voluminous shapes, and exaggerated ruffles. Goddard reenvisioned the princess aesthetic with over-the-top dresses and skirts worn by barefaced models donning flats and facial expressions that don’t suggest they’re in the midst of a tutu. Goddard made the wearing of 8-tiered dresses look effortless and graced this coveted nonchalance upon risk-takers such as Rihanna, Solange, and Agyness Deyn at her 2016 wedding. Unfortunately, pedestrian members of society must fit through doors, so a demand for toned-down (narrower) versions of the Goddard Effect followed suit. Accents of ruffles, tulle, and volume trickled down to the mainstream resulting in the beloved puff. For this Molly, we thank you.

So there you have it, the summer of the puff has bloomed for a variety of reasons. After this season’s romp, it may return in 2038, 2050, or the year 2087. Regardless, I’ll be keeping mine on reserve so I can ring in my 97th birthday in my Maison Cleo puffs.

Why Transparent Bags Happened

Have you seen spring/summer’s top accessory trend? If you haven’t that’s because it’s pretty transparent. Yes, see-through bags are back, and if you’re wondering when they were ever in, it’s a good thing you’re here.

From crocheted satchels to plexiglass with handles, these clear adornments can be found in the hands of both street style stars and produce shoppers alike.

While their presence hasn’t been conspicuous throughout history, they do in fact have a history, it just hasn’t been eloquently discussed in a blog post (hi). So, for a bit of backstory, here is the evolution of the transparent bag.

It wasn’t until the 1940s that bags and purses had established their purpose as an essential accessory. Purse styles and varieties exploded in the 50s, and naturally, certain designs served as status symbols.

In the late 1940s, various New York Fashion houses utilized lucite, a plastic-like substance that was developed mostly for military applications during World War ll. Adapted for jewelry, shoes, and eventually, purses, the seemingly utilitarian material created intricate and embellished geometric designs. In 1950, Miami Beach blossomed as a wealthy American destination, where lucite melded well with its luxurious and endless summer appeal.

Wilardy, a leading accessories retailer that mastered the use of lucite, was actually inspired by the luxury jewelry box. After materials like leather and metals were restricted by the U.S. government during the war, founder Will Hardy turned to the in-demand material for a slew of products. After designing a lucite jewelry box for buyers at Saks Fifth Avenue, they suggested adding a strap to miraculously transform it into the geometric, transparent purse similar to the ones that now hold our iPhones today.

So, why are see-through bags back? Especially when CVS receipts are longer than ever? Let’s dive in:

The Utilitarian Minimalist

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Courtesy: Yahoo Finance

The minimalist wave has been flowing for about half a decade now and has even cozied up next to maximalist styles. Even when paired with a loud outfit, the see-through purse exceeds all minimalist expectations as it can look like literally nothing. Speaking of minimalism, there’s no greater inspiration for downsizing than having your most-used items on display. Purse trash is not an option here. Accessorizing a used straw wrapper into your #ootd is not chic unless you turn it into a bolo necktie.

Products are Accessories Now

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Courtesy: Refinery29

In an Instagram-driven era, branding and packaging are vital. Alongside our OAUI hair oil and Glossier rose water spray is a slew of other trendy products that serve as the new Chanel #5’s. On the subway recently, I spotted an ad featuring a chic, orange matte label, approachable font, and a simplistic brand name called hims. The phallic cactus that appeared on the poster next to it cued an aha-moment where I realized I was staring at an erectile dysfunction elixir that I think I wanted? Basically, in an era of enhanced visuals, branding is key, and if we’re not promoting these products on our feed, the next best place is cozied up next to our phone, keys, and wallets in a transparent CÉLINE tote.

The Art of Cocooning in a Stylish World

The Art of Cocooning in a Stylish World

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One of the most wonderful trends to ever hit the mass market is the practice of cocooning. Sounds like a fairytale but the art of becoming the filling in a blanket burrito is something that marketing professionals adapt to when targeting and positioning brands. It may seem rudimentary but researchers have been studying the state of hibernation for years. Pioneering trend forecaster, Faith Popcorn, kickstarted her career after conceiving the trend and then predicting its evolution through the coming decades.

We could call it self-preservation, but we could also admit that cuddling is exponentially better than small talk and that the purest form of excitement is accepting a delivery order (unless they forget the dipping sauce, that’s called trauma.)

Despite how we perceive its inevitability, cocooning is ever-lasting and constantly evolving in tandem with tech, cultural norms, and shifting politics.

In the past few years, cocooning has attracted synonymous phrases such as hygge, self-care, and the act of Netflixing prior to chilling. These buzz-worthy terms have been slapped onto endless content, coverage, and how-tos on perfecting the art of embracing comfort.

As the obsession increases, the only place we have yet to apply protective cashmere padding is out the door and into the streets.

So, if you’re looking for both sartorial approval and those warm and fuzzy feels, here are some options.

Blanket, Scarf, Tomayto, Tomahto

scarfOne could say a scarf is a skinny strip of material meant to be worn solely around the neck. One could also say life is a spectrum and that your couch’s accessory could also be your own. I’m a progressive, so I lean towards the latter. If you fear you’ll end up channeling a Rugrats character, fear not because there are many ways to wear your blankey in a sartorially-approved manner. First off, add a belt to the mix to introduce a silhouette to your shroud. Or, let it be the pop of color to a neutral/monotone outfit. Plus, when faced with harrowing social interactions, feel free to swaddle yourself on-the-go.

Divert Attention To The Shoes

bootsWhen in doubt, or at least when facing an outfit roadblock, do the following: find a show stoppin’ shoe, comfortable pants or a breezy skirt with tights, and top it all off with your favorite sweater. It’s a high-low mix that involves the least amount of effort, shows off your new patterned slouch boots, AND makes you feel like you’re in an eternal hug. If you’re feeling an ounce of ambition, add statement earrings or a baker boy cap.

Wear Anything, Literally Anything, that is Monochromatic

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One of the most successful optical illusions is the allure of the monochromatic ensemble. The boldness of donning a singular tone outperforms other aspects of dress, allowing a wearer to experiment with forgiving shapes. If your go-to silhouette of the season is a potato sack with legs, you can confidently proceed as long as you’re in a consistent shade of periwinkle, or go for a power red that makes you appear daring rather than bloated.

 

 

Summer Shoes, Meet Fall

In this weird transition period known as August, we’re a bit directionless with our fashion seasonality. As we cling to summer, fall trends are in our peripherals begging to be adopted.

This becomes even more perplexing when it comes to shoes. It’s time to start nailing down those investment boots, statement sneakers, or business flats, but we also can’t fight the urge to flex our toes in some bright sandals.

It is during this time that a healthy balance of both suits the season. For summer shoes, keep in mind styling solutions for cold weather, or pick options that can be used for formal occasions.

For those fall styles, it’s hunting season.

So whether you’re still wearing your bathing suit as a top, or already prepping your layers, here are some season-bending shoes that will guide you seamlessly through the months.

Mules

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Pair your new mules with complimentary tights or socks. Think fishnets and leather, or patterns and tassels for a geek-chic combo. shinebythree.com

80’s Sling-Backs

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Slingbacks are having a moment, and the chilly months are not stopping them. Once again, a sock or tight combo will do wonders, or break them out for a formal event. alwaysjudging.com

Toe-Flexing Sandals

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Asymmetry and toe-wiggling are officially in after Céline released its avant-garde Pirate sandals. These are too amazing to be utilized only three months a year, so let your toes fly free at your next formal event.

Statement Boots

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Boots are made for talking this season, and they have a lot to say. Be sure to throw offensively loud patterns into the mix, as well as unapologetically clashing colors. via British Vogue

Off White Sneakers (with white pants)

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In the spirit of breaking rules, wear white after Labor Day AND wear off-white or dirty sneakers with those forbidden slacks. After stumbling upon this shot from Always Judging, I fell in love with the combo. We all love monochrome, but shades of white are something else entirely.

Slouch Boots

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Slouch boots paired with midi-skirts or cropped trousers will be all over the streets this fall. To truly stand out, find interesting color combos, patterns, or asymmetrical hemlines. @styleheroine

No More “Borrowing” From The Boys

Known as one of the most ignored global events of the year, Men’s Fashion Week has hit the ground running, and with it has brought a fleet of style inspiration. We’ve often heard the colloquial “borrowed from the boys” phrase, also known as pairing oxfords with literally anything, but this time around, I will be graciously jacking their entire ensembles.

The blurring of gender lines is no new concept in the fashion realm. We’ve borrowed nearly every item from the male closet, but still have trouble with the concept of unisex fashion. Their looks are inspired, culturally-driven, and artistic – nothing really gender exclusive there. As I looked upon these outfits with pure admiration and a little calf-envy, I realized it was time to show appreciation for some fashion-savvy men by obsessing over the following looks. 

Relaxed & Effortless

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Relaxed fashion is a privilege men have been granted for centuries. Throughout the course of evolution, the beautiful specimen above has evolved into an advanced creature of effortless style. These jewel-toned shorts, gracefully landing above the knee makes me want to forget everything I ever knew about wearing pants. That belt? Bury me in it.

Loud Shirts, Louder Ties

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It’s been a while since I’ve considered wearing a tie, and when I did, it was that simple black addition to a crisp white shirt that peaked my interest. After stumbling upon these statement tops with statement additions, I can say I’ve been converted. Especially in the present phase of maxed-out fashions, I think this may be the only look we have yet to conquer.

Chest Piece

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Not asking you to get a chest tattoo, but to simply draw inspiration from the décolletage of this striped beauty. Feeling adventurous? Pair an appliquéd mesh top under a crisp shirt for the same appearance. You can also go the classic route and find yourself some layered metal jewelry that accent the cut of the shirt. Or, you can get a chest tattoo.

Corporate, Sporty, & Nude

With fashion churning out trends at hyper-speed, you’ll suffer from whiplash before you see nascent trends on sale at Nordstrom. Upon embracing the statement off-shoulder trend, its ubiquity at Forever21 made me feel like Ace Ventura in a room full of taxidermied animal heads.

While hiding under my covers from a sea of exposed shoulders, I looked to Vogue, desperate to discover something other than a collar bone. There, I laid eyes on Calvin Klein’s Fall 2017 collection designed by Raf Simmons.

In true Calvin Klein spirit accentuated with a Simmons twist, the show nodded towards new-wave patriotism. Described as, “the coming together of different characters and different individuals, just like America itself,” its versatility accented by tradition was beyond respectable.

Male and female models donned near identical outfits, emboldening a common place between the sexes. Scattered through was a wide range of Americana including steel-tipped cowboy boots, Wall Street-style suiting, and obscure couch-like plastic gleaming off trench coats, pairing oh so well with soft gender ambiguity.

Most admirably, Raf’s take on the Calvin Klein spirit was embodied by varsity sweater sleeves attached to tight mesh bodies. This uniform of modern, rule-bending Americana expertly combined pedestrian values of sport and career with some much-needed men in mesh .

The designs were prescient, palatable, and pioneering, a trifecta few designers achieve. Simmons embraces the spirit of the times, pushes the envelope, then delicately serves it on a silver platter. He manages to be loud and muted, forward-thinking with an ear to the past, and true to both himself and the brands he steps into.

Thanks to Raf, I emerged from my covers refreshed and anew, with my spirits high and shoulders proudly covered.

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Now Trending: Split Personalities

We often dress according to how we feel. It’s an understandable concept until you realize feelings are complex and outfits are not encompassing of our daily mood changes. Luckily, thanks to a few pioneering designers, this year’s latest designs have taken an ambiguous turn.

Riding on the back of the “more is more” mantra is duo-dressing. These new designs hailing from fashion month stem from either an indecisiveness or genius collaboration resulting in Two-Face inspired models on the runway. Duo-dressing incorporates everything we love: color-blocking, mismatched patterns, the newly-coveted quirky aesthetic, and, of course, being indecisive. Just the other day, I actually thought about wearing two different pairs of shoes, then told myself to calm down.

Whether it’s  organized chaos or a seamless duo-chromatic number, the side-by-side placement emboldens both personalities. You can channel YSL circa 1965 or an Elizabethan princess with multiple personality disorder. The choice is yours.

It’s beautiful, absurd, and simply put- awesome. Piggybacking on Now Trending: Random Shit, I love when quirky fashion is placed on a pedestal. Just like random imagery, duo-dressing widens our comfort zones and extends an invitation to do whatever we please. These two looks in particular tap into our adolescent desires to wear a watermelon on our sweater, or wear all our favorite clothes at once.

Simply put, there’s a sense of freedom there, as long as you color within the lines.

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The Next Step For The Corset

Corsets are a fashion relic. Previously used to consolidate organs, they were popularized in modern times as a staple lingerie item, a sexy top paired with bad decisions, and now a casual item. We’ve seen a surge in layering tees under corsets, sweaters, and even a little peak-a-boo action under a blouse.

The evolution is apparent, and next on the agenda is this:

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Enter Zara. This ahead-of-the-curve fashion retailer just released a corset-dolman hybrid that combines soft materials, a slim laced-up waist, and an easy breezy top. An approachable take on the timeless trend invites less daring consumers and possibly a new silhouette entirely for casual attire. The ability to adjust tightness is pretty rad too, because morning bod bears no resemblance to post-lunch bod.

UPDATED: 2/19/2017

According to NYFW, the corset effect can also work its way from the bottom up. High waisted pants have been trending for some time now, and right when we thought they were destined to plummet, they shot right up to the waist. Designers like Rosie Assoulin and The Row introduced waist-defining trousers that redefine the corset as something to step into.

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Color(s) Of The Year

We’re deep into 2017 and have therefore already accepted Pantone’s Color of the Year: Greenery. With so much Pinterest inspo we’re ready to turn our home into a scene from Jumanji. The yellow-green hue is an optimistic tone. Referred to as “nature’s neutral,” it screams vitality in a modern age where we’re desperate for a refresher. This zesty addition to neutrals and natural familiarity has made me a fan, yet I feel one hue can’t be all-encompassing for an entire year.

Naturally, I decided to take it upon myself to pick a few other hues that will represent the year of uncertainty.

Silver Lining 

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This year welcomed the inevitable transition from minimalism to maximalism, and the most showstoppin’ of statements is  metallics. It’s the year of the spotlight, so why not shimmer?

90’s Red & Blue

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Pantone introduced two tones for 2016 so naturally I must introduce my own duo. 2016 welcomed the 90’s alongside rampant athleisure. We’re thinking of brands like Tommy Hilfiger, whose nostalgia has permeated into 2017 through collections from Alexandre Vauthier, Raf Simons, and a revitalized FILA collection.

The Pink Party

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This is the year of the most divine of creatures, the lady. While pink may denote fragile femininity, we’re taking the color back and giving it sharper edges. Peep into the latest Zara looks and Refinery29 for some fierce feminine inspiration.

Now Trending: Random Shit

When I was a wee fashionista I ironed patches onto my jeans. Nothing that took too much deliberation, it was basically a mess of all the things I felt a deep connection to: soccer balls, cupcakes, hotdogs, and the “oh snap” phrase. Essentially my pants were covered in emojis.

I am ecstatic to announce that the art of pasting inanimate objects onto clothing is back and is slightly more regal than my Limited Too-clad 11 year old self.

Similar to the high-low contrast, the juxtaposition of classic and cartoonish is severely refreshing. While it may seem to be an easy fix to sartorial boredom- like, hey, lets spice up this blazer with an appliqué watermelon, it is so much more.

Illustrations, cartoons, and pop culture references are nostalgic, relevant, and thought-provoking. Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen featured whimsical butterflies, horses, and timepieces on structured trench coats and leather dresses. A mix of reality and fantasy. A quick acid trip during a structured 9-5 life.

Jeremy Scott, who is fearless when it comes to his pop culture adaptations, adopted this trend by adorning an LBD with a plethora of cigarette-clad red lips. A sassy interpretation of a timeless classic with an instant mood-inducing effect.

It’s obvious, obnoxious, and stunning. My favorite stylistic approach to this trend is when objects are intertwined, connected to, and almost melt into one another resulting in an optical illusion of a  pleasing textured aesthetic from afar and a whimsical garden scene when viewed up close.

I think it’s the ability to put whatever we damn well please on our bodies that is so refreshing. We can make it bold and conspicuous or it can be applied artfully. Regardless, I will be wearing sloth-themed clothing for the rest of the season. Oh snap!

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