Team Dress or Team Skirt

We are re-running this poll because it’s been THE most incredible dress and skirt season. My clients are having a ball purchasing dresses and skirts instead of the usual pants, tops and jeans. Finally, retailers are getting that we need sleeved dresses with knee-covering lengths in casual styles and flattering silhouettes. We need skirts that are not just the basic pencil. AND we want them across an assortment of sizes, colours, patterns and fabrics. I’ve waited six years for the dress and skirt trends to change and at last they have. Let’s hope these trends continue.

I like skirts, but I love dresses and bat for Team Dress. There’s something about the ease of the one-piece dress that you can pull on and go that’s very appealing. It has built-in vertical and elongating integrity. Dresses are easier to style than a skirt because you don’t need to worry about matching it with a top. When you have a good assortment of denim jackets, short toppers, and coats like I do, dresses are easy to insulate when you want the extra coverage.

Dresses and skirts are equally feminine, dressy and elegant wardrobe items that can be worn with dressy or casual flat or low-heeled footwear. Yet I generally feel more pulled together wearing a dress than a skirt. The top can be fussy when it’s tucked or semi-tucked into a skirt, but I’m carefree about that aspect in a dress. Granted, skirts can be easier to fit than dresses especially if you wear a different size on the top and bottom. But it’s been a brilliant dress season, and I’m prepared to have dresses altered to create a perfect fit.

My preferences for dresses over skirts is reflected in my wardrobe. I have many dresses, and these are the exact ones hanging in my closet:

These are my skirts, and I have fewer of them:

My clients run the gamut. Some prefer dresses over skirts and vice versa. What’s your preference, and no batting for both teams. If you can’t choose, you’re welcome to hang out on the bench where I’m serving quinoa and tofu veggie bowls, steamed broccoli, and homemade frozen strawberry yogurt.

The Modern Twinset

Over the years I’ve talked about the twinset effect you can create by combining two top layers that match perfectly in colour and/or pattern. It’s not the traditional twinset pairing of a pullover and cardigan in exactly the same fabric, colour and pattern, but rather the more unexpected pairing of two other kinds of top. 

Here are some items from my own wardrobe as to illustrate the effect.

Patterned Blouse and Matching Scarf

First, there’s the patterned blouse that can be worn with a scarf in exactly the same pattern (although the fabrics are different). I bought the floral combinations at J.Crew last year and LOVED the set. So I bought a botanical and striped combination in the Netherlands a few months ago and have enjoyed it just as much. The effect is maximally Modern Retro, which appeals to my sartorial preferences.

Double and Triple Layers of the Same Solid Colour

Second, there’s the layering of two or three items in exactly the same solid colour. The collection shows two tops that I interchange with the same topper and scarf for a triple layered effect. The topper can be a cardigan, jacket or coat, and the top any silhouette at all. Sometimes I leave off the topper or scarf to create a double layer with the top.

The yellows look mismatched in the pictures, but they match perfectly in person. The fabrics are different, creating textural interest and outfit depth. Personally, I find the visual effect most effective in a non-neutral, and any non-neutral will work. Pastels, brights, mid-tones, jewel tones, muddy colours or earth tones — it’s all fab.

Both versions of my modern twinset feel fresh and different, create a polished effect, and I very much enjoy wearing them. Granted, combining a patterned blouse with matching scarf is an acquired taste and the sets aren’t easy to find. But a solid, non-neutral version is fairly easy to accomplish.

Who’s liking the modern twinset?

Trend: Mom Jeans

The term “Mom jeans” makes me cringe because it makes a generalization about moms and what they wear. These so-called mom jeans were thought of as dowdy, unattractive and unflattering for the longest time. But silhouettes and combinations are frumpy right up until they’re fashionable. And now, the very same fashion industry that judged the silhouette unfashionable is putting it on a pedestal. Mom jeans are currently very trendy and hip. Fashion can be very fickle so laugh a lot, and don’t take it too seriously.

Mom jeans are an ‘80s inspired silhouette. Sometimes they’re described as high-rise ankle jeans or high-rise classic jeans. They are very high in the rise, fitted on the waist, hips and bottom, have ease through the thighs, taper to the hem, and are cropped in length (about two inches above the ankle bone.) They are not boyfriend jeans because the waistband of mom jeans finishes on the natural waist in line with the belly button, and the crotch point is in the regular position. The ease through the thighs varies depending on the fit. Slightly tapered hem widths are not skintight and can be rolled to create shorter lengths. The collection below shows a good assortment of mom jeans silhouettes.

Nordstrom
Topshop Mom Jeans
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ASOS
ONLY Washed Mom Jean
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What I like best about the mom jeans trend is that it has thrown yet another look into the melting pot of fashion. This reinforces the notion that there’s no such thing as a fad, that items take a long time to date, and that almost anything goes. The power lies with us and not the fashion industry, as we pick and choose from the vast assortment of silhouettes that is today’s fashion.

This is how I see the good and not-so-good of the mom jeans trend:

The Good

  • It’s a good fit on a curvy body type with a narrow waist and fuller hips and thighs
  • It’s a fabulous fit on a long rise and regular-to-long waist
  • It showcases the waist and adds structure to an outfit, thereby creating conventionally flattering proportions
  • It showcases the curves of your bottom
  • The high-rise and tailored fit is comfortable and girdling
  • The silhouette looks fresh in a sea of sausage-casing skinnies
  • It’s a trendy look and a fun flashback to the glorious ‘80s

The Not-So-Good

  • It’s not the best fit for a short rise and short waist
  • The point is to tuck or semi-tuck tops to showcase the rise and midsection, which might be an area you prefer to conceal
  • High rises can be uncomfortable on the midsection and accentuate the bulge on the belly, especially when seated
  • It’s not very streamlined on the thighs, despite the ease in fit
  • It can create a wedgie
  • The past stigma of the style might be too strong for you

I like the mom jeans trend for a few reasons. I enjoy showcasing my waist with a full or semi-tuck. I adore ‘80s fashion, and feel that the silhouette looks fresh and Modern Retro. I’m also sick of stretchy, tight jeggings and would much rather wear mom jeans.

I’m set for jeans for Spring and Summer, but I’ll look for a pair in the Autumn. I’ll need to be careful with the length of the rise because although I have a regular length waist, I am relatively short in the rise. I’ll have fun finding the perfect pair.

Over to you. What do you think of mom jeans, and will you wear the trend?

GUCCI Tiger Head-embroidered Straight-leg Jeans

Roundups

Assorted Items

An assortment of top picks from dresses and jeans, to tops and handbags.

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Tops & Toppers

An assortment of Spring items across a range of sizes and price points.

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Dresses, White Jeans, Tops & Toppers

An assortment of items for a range of body types.

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Assorted Items

There has been so much good stuff for Spring and Summer already, and it’s only March.

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Moody Patterns

Apart from the gingham dress at the end, these patterns are what I call “moody” because they are as happy and cheerful, as they are strict and heavy.

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Punchy Spring Neutrals

An assortment of less than basic neutrals that are quietly interesting.

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An Assortment of Fab Finds

Here’s a selection of items that have been unexpectedly good this season. It just goes to show that you never know where the next wardrobe winner will come from. Sometimes the most unexpected retailer surprises us, so don’t be too quick to cross them off your list. 

1. SPANX Thinstincts Mid Thigh Shorts

These have been a revelation for many of my clients. Gone are the days of shapewear being uncomfortable, constricting and bothersome. Thinstincts are soft, easy to pull on and off, comfortable, and breezy. They create just enough compression to smooth out the silhouette without sucking the living daylights out of you. You forget that you’re wearing them. My clients who were dead set against wearing any type of shapewear are wearing them several times a week. They work best with skirts, dresses and tailored trousers. They also create a secure feeling under dresses and skirts that otherwise might leave you feeling a little exposed.

2. Talbots Marseille Topper With Lace

The quality of this top is mesmerizing, especially since it’s knitted jersey. The drape is architectural, and the fabric extremely luxurious. The workmanship and finish made me gasp. The inside of the neck is bound with tape so that it doesn’t stretch out. The lace insets are as neat as can be. It looks like you’ve ironed it after it’s been hung dry and machine washed. THAT is quality.

I bought the navy and have worn it semi-tucked with olive utility pants. It runs big so size down. If you wear a regular US zero, size down to PP in petites because the XS will be too big. I wear mine more fluidly than the model. Available in plus sizes too.

3. Boden Dresses

I rave about my own Boden dresses, so my clients tried them too. They’ve been equally impressed with the quality, silhouette, LENGTH, colour assortment and size range. The cuts work for an assortment of body types. Many of the styles are machine washable, come in solids and patterns, and are CASUAL. Sizes range from petite to plus, and they offer longer lengths too.

Boden
Jennifer Jersey Dress
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Boden
Nicole Jersey Dress
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Boden
Emmie Jersey Dress
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Boden
Thea Midi Dress
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Boden
Elena Dress
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Boden
Nicole Jersey Dress
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Boden
Nicole Jersey Dress
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Boden
Elisa Jersey Dress
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Boden
Elisa Jersey Dress
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Boden
Emory Jersey Dress
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8
Boden
Cornelia Wrap Dress
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4
Boden
Emory Jersey Dress
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8
Boden
Elena Dress
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7
Boden
Kassidy Jersey Dress
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4
Boden
Tie Waist Shirt Dress
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Boden
Tie Waist Shirt Dress
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12
Boden
Tie Waist Shirt Dress
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8
Boden
Beatrix Dress
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4
Boden
Kassidy Jersey Dress
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12
Boden
Thea Midi Dress
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2
Boden
Emmie Jersey Dress
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3
Boden
Emily Jersey Dress
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Boden
Ruth Midi Dress
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4
Boden
Eleanor Dress
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Boden
Eleanor Dress
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Boden
Julieta Lace Dress
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Boden
Vanessa Jersey Dress
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Boden
Vanessa Jersey Dress
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Boden
Jade Dress
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Boden
Phoebe Jersey Dress
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2
Boden
Claremont Dress
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Boden
Brione Knitted Dress
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Boden
Casual Jersey Dress
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Boden
Jessie Jersey Dress
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Boden
Hallie Jersey Dress
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Boden
Louisa Jersey Dress
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4. Halogen Ruched Detail Sheath Dress

Oh my word, I couldn’t believe the fit and silhouette of this $69 dress. I had the black on a 5ft 10 size US10/12 client in a Large, and it took my breath away. The fit and drape is WOW. It’s fitted but does not cling. It looks body-con, but isn’t tight. It looked amazing dressed down with a denim jacket and dressy ballet flats. Now I want one too.

5. Everlane Leather Street Shoe

A stunningly streamlined sneaker-oxford hybrid that’s made in Italy. It’s the first casual sneaker, slip-on shoe that stays securely on my feet. It works well for lower and higher volume feet, and feet with gentler bunions. Comfortable, polished and versatile. Fits an orthotic if you size up. Read the rave reviews. I’m thinking about keeping a pair in white since they are GREAT for travelling and city walking.

6. Alfani Draped Cardigan

An excellent topper for sleeveless dresses and tops when you want a breezy and elegantly casual cover-up. They’re on sale and run a size big. All the colours are nice, and read the rave reviews.

7. Tommy Bahama Two Palms Linen Raw Edge Jacket

Another great topper to wear over sleeveless or short-sleeved dresses and tops if you need the coverage. It’s soft and pretty, and much more feminine and breezy than a classic denim jacket. It runs one to two sizes big so size down. Nicely made, and you must be at peace with the crease.

Outfit Formula: The Versatile Straw Bag

Being on trend has made the straw bag much more versatile. There is a much larger assortment of silhouettes available, making many interesting juxtapositions possible when they are added to outfits. They don’t all look like the unstructured, extremely casual and rustic beach or farmer’s market totes that we usually associate with straw bags. They can be structured like baskets or small suitcases, varnished with shine, and embellished with glitzy hardware, all of which give them a dressier integrity.

The outfit formula here is simply to throw in the straw bag instead of a regular satchel, tote, crossbody or clutch with a Spring or Summer outfit. The effect is playful and textural. Here are four looks to get you started. The first two are Summer-y and casual. The second two are dressier and transitional.

1. Casual Shorts & Blouse

We expect to see a straw tote with a casual denim shorts outfit, so this one isn’t a stretch. I like the boho-lite blouse, which looks prettier and more interesting than a simple tee. The slides are a trendy addition, and the pattern on the bag works well with the lace trim of the blouse.

ERMANNO SCERVINO Flower Shoulder Bag

2. Casual Jeans & Blouse

Try cropped straight or flared jeans if shorts aren’t your thing. Throw in a casual blouse, knitted top or shirt, and flat sandals or mules. Finish off the look with just about any style of straw bag. A denim skirt or dress works equally well.

SENSI STUDIO Contrast Panel Bucket Bag

3. Dressy Frock & Heels

Create an interesting juxtaposition by combining a fairly dressy dress with dainty heels and a structured straw bag. You can swap out the dress for a dressy skirt and top if that’s more your vibe, and throw in some dressy flats. The straw bag takes the place of a clutch.

GUCCI Basket Tote

4. Black Leather, Pink & Booties

Here’s a transitional look with a harder edge. The soft and flouncy pink skirt adds a gorgeous Spring softness to the tough black leather jacket and chunky boots. A black moto and black pumps or loafers could work too. The structured straw bag with gold hardware is an unexpected touch, and to my eye does not look seasonally confused.

SERPUI Straw Abacaxi Bag

I can put together the second and third combinations with my mini straw bag. How about you?