Fashion Friday: A Peek at Fall from the Runway

March 15, 2013 by  
Filed under Fashion

Last month I attended quite a few shows at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center. While there is always a variety of trends from the tents, the overriding theme for fall was the timeless marriage of black and white. Whether concentrating on one of these neutrals head to toe in a mix of materials, color-blocked together or in graphic patterns like houndstooth, the perennial classic is back big time for fall. The good news about knowing what lies ahead is that you can plan what in your closet you might want to keep or donate as well as take advantage of current sales that might complete a look for the season. Let’s take a peek at a few of the looks from designers whose creations will be serving as inspiration for many of the more reasonably priced lines.

Here Ralph Rucci combines fabulous leather lace and cashmere in this elegant ensemble. The mix of luxurious materials was a hallmark of many collections and easy to replicate within your own closet.


Sheer fabrications continue to trend for fall, as seen in the elegant back of this Ralph Rucci confection.


When it comes time to consider fall entertaining and holiday affairs, be sure to pull out or purchase any flowing silks or chiffons with sparkle aplenty—a look seen at the beautiful Jenny Packham show.



While few of us can afford the extravagance of J. Mendel, we can certainly be inspired by his exquisite collection. Be on the lookout for examples of beautiful beading . . .


. . . and the pairing of sumptuous fabric—a wonderful idea for any black-tie event.


Winter white is an elegant option, as seen at Carolina Herrera. Whether you are sporting separates or wearing a gown, there will be a plethora of pretty examples by the end of summer as the collections start rolling in.

Carolina Herrera b:w

Fur is here to stay for another year. Whether real or fun fake, it was featured in almost every show as an outerwear option or trim. And don’t forget to consider it as an accessory—a scarf, muff, or hat is a great way to get in on the action. This knitted fox vest at J. Mendel is a perfect example of how to combine two trends at once, and a perfect example of how to dress up classic basics.


Graphic pattern galore was seen across the board, including versions of haberdashery staples such as herringbone and houndstooth. Here, a blown-up version at Michael Kors made a dramatic statement. Consider even shopping the men’s or boy’s stores if you don’t find great examples in your department.

Michael Kors houndstooth

And in closing, while these high-end designers provide the direction for the season, you will be able to find these trends at all price points. J. Crew, who for the last few seasons has made a presentation at Fashion Week, showed a fantastic collection. With a broader range of customers in mind, it offered many fabulous classic-with-a-twist selections to choose from. These two looks show the black-and-white theme in casual-chic mode. 

32 and 30

I am seriously considering the wonderful coat, which could easily transition from day to evening and has that mildly ethnic appeal that is also continuing through the season. Don’t forget to check out J. Crew’s wonderful line of accessories, even wearing two necklaces at once, as shown here,  for statement allure.

32 detail

Even the smallest additions can make an outfit sing like this charming minaudière.

J. Crew

So just remember—black and white is always right, especially for the coming fall/winter fashion season!

Photos by Stacey Bewkes for Quintessence.

My Winter Fashion Essentials: Liz Lange

January 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Fashion, Pleasures

Last week, WVFC inaugurated our Fashion Friday series, which spotlights a dozen fashionable women who will share with us how they manage to stay warm and still look stylish in this nippy season. These tips come from Liz Lange, whose latest collection is Completely Me by Liz Lange, with HSN. Lange also runs the fun shopping site Shopafrolic, which she co-founded with sister Jane.—Ed.

Here are Liz’s picks for the “Essential Five”:

Shearling boots. They look chic and keep me cozy and warm all winter long.  I love a pair with a lug sole (with either a wedge, like these, or a more traditional heel).  The height makes me feel taller and thinner, and the rubber traction keeps me skid-free as I am trudging through the snow.  I pair them with skirts or denim/cords and walk around saying, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry…”
 “Fur” vest. I layer mine over one of my favorite winter coats to make it even warmer and transform it into a different-looking coat.  Then when I am inside I can take off my coat and just wear my vest as a chic part of my outfit.
 Great-looking “fisherman style” sweaters. This one isn’t exactly fisherman, but it has that look.  I pair it with my skinny cords and boots, or sometimes I dress it up with a little skirt.  I own this in ivory and red.  LOVE!
 Corduroys. I love the look of slim cords with boots, ballet flats or stilettos all winter long.  This walnut color is my absolute favorite.  It is so chic paired with other shades of camel or ivory.
 Bold costume jewelry. I wear brightly colored costume jewelry all winter long. It brightens my outfits and lifts my mood.  I live for this khaki/red combo. I wear two of these, one on each wrist OVER my solid colored sweaters.




Spring Forward: Top Trends From Fashion Week

September 26, 2011 by  
Filed under Fashion, Health, Pleasures

Fall is just starting to make an appearance, but it was spring last week at Lincoln Center and around Manhattan as designers showed their collections for the next major season. Not every trend was over-40 worthy, but there were plenty of styles that met the criteria of fashionable, flattering, and/or fun for women in our demographic. What’s more, many will be easily replicated without the need to completely overhaul one’s closet or take out a small loan. A single investment in a simple frock here, a few well-chosen accessories there, and come spring it will be easy to incorporate the most stylish looks into one’s basic warm-weather wardrobe.

While there were several concurrent trends to discern, most of the collections embraced the continued use of bright optimistic colors, from the neon hues at the youthful Nanette Lepore show …

Photo: Alessandro Viero /

to the prevalent tangerine orange seen here at Christian Siriano …

Photo: Monica Feudi /

and Derek Lam …

Photo:Yannis Vlamos /

to the color-blocking combinations from many such as Yigal Azrouel. Adding a little color to your wardrobe will be an essential yet easy way to stay current come spring.

Photo: Alessandro Garofalo /

Pattern was everywhere, with florals a popular motif. While you may not be ready for the bold statement of Prabal Gurung’s vision,

Photo: Monica Feudi /

many collections offered tamer selections, such as Ralph Lauren’s nostalgic Gatsby-esque florals in pastel hues …

Photo: Monica Feudi /

and Lela Rose’s feminine painterly dresses.

Photo: Yannis Vlamos /

In contrast to the florals, graphic geometrics were in play. Michelle Smith’s Sonia Delaunay- inspired collection for Milly offered everything from simple stripes to an eye-popping panoply of patterns.

Photo: Alessandro Viero /

J. Mendel’s ode to Dorothy Draper showed beautifully draped, flowing dresses with pretty pleats.

Photo: Alessandro Viero /

Even Carolina Herrera offered a lesson in geometry for the uptown girls.

Photo: Yannis Vlamos /

And for something in between, Derek Lam offered bold prints in a combination of the two.

Photo: Yannis Vlamos /

For more diverse pattern, look to Michael Kors’ “Afriluxe” collection. Animal prints just never go out of style and his ode to South Africa’s Lebombo Lodge included many pieces that although styled for the runway I’m sure will include very wearable versions once the collection hits the stores.

Photo: Yannis Vlamos /

Photo: Yannis Vlamos /

Donna Karan went tribal for spring, inspired by her recent work in Haiti. The bold, earth-toned prints, a nod to the work of the Haitian artist Philippe Dodar, were still sleek and modern.

Photo: Yannis Vlamos /

For those who like their fashion straight up, black and white were still out in force. The breathtaking collection at CHADO Ralph Rucci, presented to the slow, sexy beat of Ravel’s “Bolero,” proved that non-color is still relevant. His exquisitely tailored pieces received mid-show ovations for their spectacular use of fabric and detailing.

Photo: Alessandro Garofalo /

Photo: Alessandro Garofalo /

I love The Row’s restrained tailored look. For spring they offered streamlined silhouettes in white contrasting fabrics for a serene Zen-like feel.


In addition to the major trends, there were many subthemes—athletic-inspired pieces were seen at many of the lines, including varying interpretations of the anorak, a handy piece to have for weekend wear. Metallics were back in force, again easy to add with accessories such as a belt, sandal, scarf, or little top for evening. A great summer look will be metallic with white—from white jeans to a full-length skirt. Menswear saw play with jackets and soft tailoring. But the general feeling overall was that of an easy, flowing casualness. Even in the gowns, it was all about the drape and flow.

In considering how to add these trends to your wardrobe for spring, remember you only need a few pieces to enhance the core of your wardrobe basics. If you don’t already own one, consider adding a sheath in a flattering bright color. It is an incredibly useful item that can be easily accessorized to work for any number of occasions, day or night. Think of it as your little black dress for the season. And while you may not want to fully embrace the floral or graphic looks, adding a blouse, jacket, or even a scarf will help update your closet without too much damage to the wallet. Don’t forget that all these runway looks will be interpreted for the masses by the lower price lines. Everyone from Ann Taylor to Talbots to the department stores will have many options. And the most important advice is to have fun and feel free to express your inner fashion spirit!

Fall Fashion Short List: Camel Is King

October 25, 2010 by  
Filed under Fashion

In my recent article “White Lightning,” about fashion trends for spring 2011, it was evident that white is THE color for the upcoming season. As’s Nicole Phelps wrote in her review of the spring Thakoon show, “It’s official, white is the new camel.”  But if we back up to take a look at fall, we discover that this season, camel is still king.

Classic style is back, and I for one couldn’t be more thrilled. There are many variations on the theme, from ladylike elegance to pieces emphasizing tailored menswear. But throughout, almost all the collections feature camel. Since camel is indeed a classic, chances are you already have a piece or two in your closet. And if not, there are many ways, at many price points, to add this of-the-moment neutral to your fall wardrobe.

Let’s begin by looking at a few of the collections. Chloe’s fall collection is spectacular and one of the strongest proponents of this color . When considering how to wear camel this season, consider mixing it with denim, as shown here, for a casual-chic take on the style.

Or keep it all tonal as shown in the examples below (left to right: Chloe, Gucci, Michael Kors).

One of the easiest ways to introduce camel is with a topper. Whether a coat, jacket, poncho or trench, choices abound. I love Max Mara’s loose duster (below left). I actually have an old camel coat of this style in my closet. By belting it like this, I’ll be able to make it look modern. Ann Taylor has a shorter version (below right) for $348 that would look just as chic.

I think either this wool blend funnel neck coat from The Gap (below left) at a very reasonable $168, or this double-breasted overcoat from Michael Kors Michael line (below right) for $250 would be an incredibly useful addition to anyone’s outerwear repertoire. They are both versatile pieces that would work beautifully over a dress, skirt, or slacks to the office or over jeans on the weekend.
Phillip Lim can always be counted on for updated tailoring. These beautiful coats are modern in styling, but the camel gives them a classic feel.
If you love this look and would like to add something more modern this season without breaking the bank, take a look at this clever Italian wool blazecoat by J. Crew (below left) or chic coat from Banana Republic (below right) for a fraction of the price.
For a more casual jacket, Burberry is always a great choice. This toggle jacket (below left)from their Brit line is adorable, as is this Tommy Hilfiger pea jacket (below right).
But camel is so prevalent that you can find great, less expensive alternatives everywhere. Take, for example, this Alloy belted military jacket for a mere $99.
In the dresses category, there are also plenty of wonderful options. Clean, elegant, classic designs showed up everywhere on the runway. Here are choices from Calvin Klein (below left) and Ralph Lauren (below right). Wear one to work as shown, then change your shoes and jewelry for going out to dinner.
And here’s a Michael Kors lookalike from ASOS for $67.50….

…while this versatile ToryBurch sweater is a workhorse to wear at the office with any suit.
If you’re like me and are always cold, this Michael by Michael Kors open-front cardigan at $89.50 is sure to become a wardrobe staple. Wear it as shown, casually with a tee and jeans or leggings, or dress it up over black or gray for evening. It would also be great with a man-tailored blouse and wool pants or pencil skirt to the office.
And let’s not forget the essential accessories—the easy way to update any outfit. Try these stunning Sutton tall leather flat boots from J. Crew ($298) with an all-black outfit for a chic and modern look…
…or these charming feather-adorned Munich flats ($100) with a pair of capris.
The tonality of this Love Quotes Hand Knotted Tassel Scarf ($85) goes with everything and will look great in the spring with all your new white ensembles.

So whether you make an investment in a fabulous coat, a versatile accessory, or a simple sweater, camel is definitely a color worth having in your wardrobe this season.

For more camel fashion, check out the “Camel Is King” photo album on the WVFC Facebook page, or see them all on Flickr.