I had high hopes for Spring and Summer 2011 after getting a glimpse of what was in store for us at Fashion Week. But so far I’m a little disappointed. We’re halfway through the season, and although shopping with clients has been great, I’ve had to look harder than usual to help them find suitable wardrobe items. Updating my own wardrobe has been tricky too.

I’m not sure whether that’s because I become even fussier with my purchases each season, or if my expectations were too high. Maybe it’s because the dominant trends aren’t catering to my recent style epiphany, or because it’s still too early for the trends that I loved at Fashion Week to filter down to affordable retail stores.

Here are my main rants:

  1. Lack of blouse variety: It’s a blouse season and there are definitely more woven blouses in store right now than I’ve seen in years. However, many of them are pastel, floral, billowing and bohemian, or overly ruffled, which is great if that’s your style (some of my clients are having a ball with these silhouettes), but it’s not so fab when you prefer a strong, simple and clean look. I love, love, love roomy soft blouses in luscious fabrications, but prefer them solid or geometrically patterned, and sans ruffles. I’m also seeing far too many neutrally toned blouses and wish that there was more colour. For now, the only way that I can get what I want is to stick to blouses in classic cuts.
  2. Lack of sleeve length variety: Oh goodness. I am absolutely sick of the oversupply of cap sleeves, grown-on sleeves and frumpy short sleeves. Sleeveless garments are fine, but a gal wants a decently sleeved garment too, both on dresses and tops. Please can we see a larger variety of sleeve lengths that cover part of the top arm. Please bring back the forever flattering elbow length sleeve. PLEASE.
  3. Necklines: I prefer high necklines and shirt collars so it’s seldom a great neckline season for me. But even if you prefer scooped necklines and V-necks, many of them are cut too low. Wearing a camisole is one solution, but who wants to wear a camisole in sweltering heat. A little more cleavage coverage would be welcome.
  4. Hemlines are still so short: This is my biggest gripe. I tried on 8 dresses last week, each of them too short to wear on their own. I’m regular height at 5ft 6 so tall gals have my sympathy. We’re supposed to see midi skirts make a comeback. Where are the affordable midi skirts — a price point below $500 would be nice.  I guess we’ll have to wait until the trend filters down to mainstream stores. Hurry up!
  5. Flared skirts are scarce: I love pencil skirts, but enjoy a roomy skirt just as much. There has been a severe shortage of flared skirts for several seasons and this must change.
  6. Cardigan overkill: 2010 was all about the cardigan and this year is the same. Granted, I’m on Team Pullover, and not overly fond of cardigans to begin with. My clients are all on Team Cardigan though, so I’m thankful that we’ve had a great variety. But I’d also like to see a good assortment of Spring weight jackets and trench coats, both in colours and neutrals – keeping it light on the soul-sucking beige.

I must also give credit where it’s due: jeans, casual pants, dressy trousers, shorts, button down shirts, cardigans, knit tops, sheath dresses, layering T’s, formal suits, bangles, belts and handbags generally look good at the moment. Although soaring heel heights still reign supreme, lower heel heights are available. Stock up if these items tickle your fancy.

There are still a couple of months left, so I’m not writing off the season just yet.  Also, these rants are based on what I have experienced in the US retail market, so things might be different in your neck of the woods. Over to you. There’s nothing like a good rant to get the energy flowing on a Monday morning.