Fashion has become such a complex melting pot of sartorial choices that almost anything goes as long as you add an intentionally trendy aspect to the outfit. To my eye, stylish people have a noticeable element of “fashionable now” in their look, which means adding some degree of current fashion, however small.
So without further ado, here’s a shortlist of six must haves for the warm weather season that cut across all body types, ages, price points and lifestyles. As always, it’s a question of finding the renditions that work best for you.
1. Cropped Pants & Jeans
This is the number one way to update your wardrobes if you like to wear trousers or jeans because we are living in the era of the alluring ankle. Styles can be dressy for the office, or casual for gals on the go and for those who work from home. Silhouettes can be sleek, like skinnies, or flare out at the hems, like straight legs or bootcuts. Silhouettes can be slouchy, like harem pants or wide yet streamlined, like culottes. Boyfriend jeans and khakis that are rolled at the hems also do a nice job of showcasing the ankle, as do cropped leggings worn under skirts, dresses and tunics.
There is a version of cropped pants and jeans for everyone and for every occasion. Most styles look best cropped between two to four inches above the ankle bone. Any longer and they tend to look like regular bottoms that are too short. Make the silhouette look intentional. Cropped bottoms also work well into the Fall (and mild Winters) when worn with booties.
2. Ankle-Accentuating Footwear
Ankle-accentuating footwear goes hand in hand with cropped jeans and ankles. So make sure you have the right footwear to wear with the look. You’re looking at ankle strap footwear and high-vamped footwear. Ankle strap sandals or pumps, heeled or flat, with straps that are positioned on or above the ankle bone are a slam dunk with the look. Ankle straps that criss-cross along or above the ankle, cage heeled sandals, and gladiators with ankle straps are another way to go.
High-vamped footwear like loafers, oxfords, short shaft booties, high shaft booties, cut-out booties, sandal booties, slip-on sneakers, mules, slides, and sneaker hybrids can also be great choices to wear with cropped pants. Their high vamps create a continuous visual line with the shorter length of the bottoms, which works well.
3. Tailored Pieces
The sea of fashionable slouch and oversized silhouettes should be tempered with items that are tailored and fit closer to the body. Also, wear items that define the curve of the bust, waist and hip because that looks really fresh. These items can be: fit-and-flare dresses, sheath dresses, flared jeans, tailored skinnies or straight legs, fitted tops, peplum tops, pencil skirts, fluted skirts, culottes, tailored trousers and structured jackets. Or you can simply wear a roomy top tucked into tailored bottoms to showcase the waist. Remember that tailored fits are tighter than fluid fits, but not as tight as body-con fits.
4. Asymmetrical Component
Asymmetry is becoming a buzzword for our current fashion generation. Think asymmetrical hemlines, necklines, pockets and layers of clothing. Think asymmetrical haircuts, hair colour and necklaces. Wear mismatched earrings and asymmetrical necklaces. A pair of shoes can also have a mismatched pattern.
5. Modern Retro Component
Modern Retro means combining looks and vibes from past fashion eras with a good dose of Modern. You’ll find that the ‘70s and ‘90s are trending particularly strongly at the moment, but don’t let that hold you back. Think of adding a little or a lot of any fashion era to your look and make it your own. Personally I’m drawn to the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, but perhaps you’re drawn to the ‘20s, ‘30s, ‘40s or ‘50s? Or to the Edwardian or Victorian eras. It’s all good, and all in good fun.
6. Wild Cards
Add an item to your wardrobe that is atypical for your style persona, but that speaks to you in some way. This is an excellent way to evolve your style, making it feel extra refreshed for the season. Wild cards can be new colours or styles of clothing, footwear and accessories. Or a new way that you wear your hair, your make-up, or put together your outfits.
I’m all over these six ways to refresh my own style. Flared cropped jeans have become wardrobe essentials in blue and white. I’ve been into ankle strap footwear, flat oxfords and loafers for years. I’m enjoying defining my waist with pencil skirts, full-length flared jeans, and fairly fitted cropped tops. I’m smitten with Modern Retro, and loving the soft romantic flounce. And my new wavy ‘do adds an asymmetrical component to all my outfits.
I love the way today’s fashion celebrates an infinite variety of stylish possibilities. More than ever before, we are living in a fashion era that is ultra accepting and encouraging of all sorts of outfit juxtapositions and silhouettes. We celebrate personal styles from the super classic to the ultra fashion-forward and everything in-between. Gone are the days when looking stylish meant dressing in one particular way. This is truly liberating.