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Warm Up with Hot Trends!

By Karen R. Smith

Fashion

One of the advantages of living in Tucson is we get high temperatures with the onset of Spring, so we can try out fashion’s summer trends before the rest of the country. There are several new looks I’ve been itching to try, and now’s a great time to experiment ­­ if you decide it’s not for you, you’ll be able to take it back to the store and exchange it for something else.

When my style clients are stuck in a rut, it’s usually because they haven’t experimented in a very long time. Somewhere along the way, they started playing it safe, buying the same pants or the same skirt over and over again. This Spring, I encourage you to try a new shape, or a new fabric, or a new color in a way you haven’t before. You won’t like everything, but even a couple of new pieces will brighten your whole wardrobe!

Culottes

If you’re of a certain age, you’ll remember culottes as what proper ladies wore playing tennis, but if you’re a Baby Boomer, you’ll best remember them as gauchos, which had a brief hey­day in the 80s. If you’re under 40, you were spared culottes ­­ until now.

Most of the culottes I’ve been seeing on both coasts are denim, and the proportion looks both fresh and young, which means they are bound to catch on. You can already find denim culottes at just about every price point, from low priced knock­offs at the fast fashion mall stores (H&M, Forever 21, Charlotte Russe, Rue21) to high­priced originals at your favorite designer. I’m not a fan of the ones with dark and light bands of denim at the bottom of each leg, as if they had been lengthened, shortened and lengthened again in their life as hand­me­downs; they seem to shorten the legs of the gal wearing them. Citizens of Humanity has a pair of white denim culottes where those bands just appear as pressed lines, not color differences. They look terrific. Most (but not all) of these denim culottes have a gently frayed bottom edge, which is both a nod to the continued popularity of fringe and a wave at a bohemian style.

Head to your favorite retailer and try on a pair of these. Sandals look great with them; so do pumps. Those new mules too. They look best with short tops; I thought short fitted tops until I saw a gal wearing a flouncy, off­the­shoulder crop over her culottes ­ fabulous!

So if you decide to purchase culottes, you’ll be able to wear all those short little tops you have in your dresser that never were quite right over your pants. How’s that for a smart purchase?

Wrap Skirts

Most of us have a favorite skirt shape (some have two or three!) and we buy the shapes we like over and over. This season, you can stick with the shape you like best and still get a brand new look by switching to one of the new wrap skirts.

These new wraps don’t close neatly to the side and try and disguise themselves as a regular skirt ­­ they flaunt their differences, some combining complementary fabrics, others baring the knees and thighs thanks to the cone shape of the wrap. Victoria Beckham’s patchwork midi wrap skirt is one of my favorites; it’s black with navy inserts, and even has some sheer black pleating. At nearly $3,000 it’s not for everyone ­­ but the wonderful knotted wrap skirt from Zara is just as wonderful, and at only $50, within easy reach!

To keep the proportions right, a simple top (fitted or not). The fussier your skirt, the simpler your top, and vice versa.

Nude Shoes

I’m a big fan of Christian Louboutin shoes every season, but he’s outdone himself for Spring 2016. The new Solasofia ballet flat is available in a wonderful matte leather that is textured like our skin, and it comes in seven different tones, one of which is going to match your skin so well that when you put on these shoes, you legs are going to look like they go one forever. Now that’s a great shoe!

Florals

While there are still plenty of stripes and polka dots this season, there are also some wonderful new florals. The new dark background florals are looking particularly wonderful, and I’ve begun to see the same trend in home decor, which probably means we’ll see quite a bit more of these in the coming months. Girly girls will already have florals in their closets; minimalists should experiment and see how great those bold stripes can look next to a floral scarf. When mixing patterns, go for balance (in scale) more than color matching ­ you’ll be happier with the results.

Style Delivered to your Door

If you’ve read this column until now and would like to try some of Spring’s new trends, but have neither the time nor the inclination to go shopping, I have the answer for you ­­ and it’s an experiment you’re going to enjoy!

Sit down at your computer or smartphone and sign up for Stitchfix.com You’ll need to spend some time on their website because you have to tell them all about you. What sizes you wear in everything (including shoes) and what styles you find most appealing. They make it easy with pictures you can scroll through to illustrate your taste. Once a month (or once a season, or whatever schedule works for you), StitchFix will send you a box. It will be filled with the best of the season, in your size, in the colors and fit that work for you. The StitchFix box I just received has a terrific Tracy Reese print skirt, two tops that work with it, a fabulous cotton maxi sundress and a pair of chunky heeled sandals that will look terrific with both outfits!

About the Author:
Karen R. Smith is an award-winning journalist and publicist. Her book, "Stylishly Sexy" is available online and she takes private style clients throughout Arizona and across the country. Visit her at www.stylesmithtransformations.com

More information about Karen’s new book at TucsonHappenings.com/fashion

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