Wide Legs with Flats for Fall

I saw lots of wide leg trousers styled with flats coming down the runway this year, and Scandinavian COS has wasted no time incorporating the combination into its assortment. The examples below are a good representation of the vibe. 

Notice the FULL length of the trousers and jeans. Most are floor scraping or longer. Flat oxfords, loafers, booties and sneakers with one inch heels are the choice for footwear. Leg widths are wider than bootcuts because there is volume all the way down the leg. Rises are mid or high and fits are tailored on the hips and waist. Some versions have pleats.

Tops run the gamut. Some are tailored and tucked. Some are fluid and tucked. Some are fluid and untucked, while others are long, oversized and untucked. You can create a high or low contrast with the top. A low contrast or tonal combination creates vertical integrity. 

I’ve had some clients embrace the combination already. Generally, clients with long legs and narrow hips enjoy this look. They keep their tops fluid and untucked to prevent looking short in the waist, and have especially enjoyed the vibe with fashion sneakers, (much like the second example above.) 

I’ve also had long-waisted clients wear the look with panache. Tailored tucked tops lengthen the leg line from the hips upward, and shorten the torso, creating flattering proportions. (Much like the first, fourth and eighth examples above.) Keeping the top and bottom tonal further streamlines the combination.

You have to be okay with the volume on the leg and around the feet. To my eye the long length is essential because it adds a luxurious integrity to the vibe and makes your legs look longer. You don’t need to sweep the floor with your trousers, but a length that almost scrapes the surface of the ground is dead right. 

The part I find most appealing is the closed toe flats. Although full-length wide legs and bootcuts look stellar and elegant with heeled booties, oxfords and pumps at this floor-grazing length, the flats are a more comfortable option for people like me. The last time I tried full-length wide legs with flats, I felt dumpy, clumsy and unpolished. But those were slouchy trousers with an untucked top. I need to try a more tailored and streamlined version with a tucked top, or semi-tucked top to see if I feel differently. A style in crease-resistant fabric would be fab. I also like the fifth example above, which combines a roomy welted tunic with the trousers. A little 1920s, and just enough structure because the welt of the top tempers its volume.  

Of course, no matter how you slice and dice it, you can’t wear floor-grazing wide legs in foul weather. It has to be dry, which is dicey in the Autumn and Winter in Seattle. Nevertheless, I’m sufficiently intrigued by the combination to try it because it’s DIFFERENT. I’m curious. How about you?

Weekly Roundup: COS Items

I went shopping with Inge in Arnhem in the Netherlands a couple of weeks ago, and we spent some time in Scandinavian retailer COS. We browsed, fitted, and bought fab pieces to refresh for Autumn and Winter. 

COS pieces are architectural, voluminous, unstructured, and an acquired taste. When you combine COS pieces together, you can create an avant-garde vibe that’s arty and unique. Their silhouettes are for the most part beyond body type. This means that if you’re prepared to create outfit proportions that are not traditionally flattering, you can have fun with their silhouettes with any body type up to a size US12/14 (unfortunately their size curve stops there.) Silhouettes are generally fluid or oversized. They may have tailored aspects, but volume is COS’s thing. The items drape extremely well, and some of the silhouettes are genius. 

Most of the time I’m sized out of their smallest size, but every so often I score when there’s just enough structure in the garment. If the pieces fit my narrow shoulders and arms, I can usually make the rest of the volume work. 

I’ve seen COS pieces work on petites, so you do not need to be tall to wear the look. You simply have to add structure to the outfit your way, adhere to your personal figure flattering priorities, and enjoy wearing volume in the right places on your body. 

The items below caught my eye, and in most cases we tried them on. I came back with the A-Line Jumper and Shirt Dress with Irregular Hem, both in olive. There are colour options in each item so be sure to browse the links.

  • COS A-line jumper: Gorgeous two-toned texture and boat neck. Hides bra straps unless your shoulders slope. Substantial fabric and good drape. The lower half of the pullover falls away from the body creating a futuristic - yet Modern Retro - effect that is not shown on the model. Fluid Structure. Shorter in person. Pristine, clean and polished. It had to follow me home. Available in black.
  • COS Shirt dress with irregular hem: Dress that is longer on me than on the model. Hits the top of my kneecap and I'm 5ft 6. It's long at the back and sides, which gives it more "length". Very architectural and voluminous from the side, so you have to be at peace with that. It only JUST does not swallow me up. The shirt detailing and ribbon placket down the front add lots of vertical integrity and structure. Fun side entry pockets. Pristine and crisp. Gorgeous heavy fabric. Impeccable drape. Modern, yet Retro too. Will wear it with tall boots and over skinnies. Have already worn it with cream booties. Maybe with hosiery and oxfords too. Well made. Chic.
  • COS Wool car coat: Structured Cocoon Fabness. And no, you won't look like a giant Easter egg wearing it. Looks better in person. Rounder and more interesting. Well made. MODERN. Crease-resistant fabric that holds its shape. Sharp and quite dressy. Pink is warm - not cool. I almost came home with it, but have my heart set on a turquoise coat.
  • COS Gathered-neck wool dress: A lightweight Fall dress that's fab for mild weather. Great on a shorter neck and larger bust. Fun over skinnies and cropped straights.
  • COS Textured knit cardigan: Inge bought this and it looks fabulous. Richly textured and great drape. Very comfy and weighty. It's A-line - and in this case I think her height helped temper the volume. Comes in black and navy.
  • COS Textured jacquard top: AMAZING sour moss green textured knit top that works best if you can fill it out. Comfy, yet polished. I was sized out of the style but loved it.
  • COS Knitted jumper with shirt detail: Very roomy layers that look fab on blondes and strawberry blondes. Futuristic Folksy. I like the effect with tonal tan bottoms and light bottoms. Available in blue and nice with denim.
  • COS Knitted top with pleated sleeves: This fit a narrow frame quite well. Quite structured, crisp and neat. Comes in black, tan and olive. It would have followed me home, but it's too lightweight for me. Streamlined over fitted pants.
  • COS Drape collar A-line dress: MOD Fabness. Fun side entry pockets and great cut-out detail. Unique. It's very A-line, and best on someone who can fill it out.
  • COS Cotton-jacquard dress: A more structured COS piece in a two-toned knit with gathers on the crown of the sleeves. '80s Sweater Dress Fabness. Fun over sleek pants, or with hosiery and tall boots.
  • COS Knitted top with pleats: A good top for a small-busted pear-shaped body type. Good on a broad-shouldered apple shape too. Hangs beautifully, and is fab over a pencil skirt. Comes in black.
  • COS Tailored pleat trousers: Tomboy Fabness that might run a little small. Can work on straighter and curvier body types depending on how much you want the style to slouch. I love these tailored pleated pants and want them in navy. I'll make them look pretty to temper their masculinity but with flat footwear. Quite the challenge.
  • COS Oversized drop-crotch trousers: Harem Pants Fabness. Great with a boxy tonal top that's left untucked.
  • COS Twisted-seam trousers: Tomboy twisted pants that look really good with a fitted top to temper their masculinity. Works on a range of body types depending on how slouchy you wear them. They are though, more tailored than you think. Roomy on the thighs.
  • COS Speckled straight-leg jeans: These have a very tailored fit up top, and then hang with volume on the leg in a super straight way. Fashion-forward. Early '80s Fabness. Woven. No stretch. DIFFERENT. You can wear them with a tight or roomy top. Semi-tuck, or wear the top untucked. I loved the fabric, which worked well with my hair. I'm still thinking about them, and might give them another go.
  • COS Oversized milano knit jumper: Cozy Roomy Tan Fabness. The welt adds a nice bit of structure, as does the fitted neckline. You have to have a long neck to wear this style. A warm beige. I might give it a go.
  • COS Wool polo scarf: Super cute two-toned SHORT poncho for petites. Comes in grey.
  • COS Draped contrast-panelled skirt: I haven't seen the skirt in person, but the drape and shape look fab. The magical diagonal line across the front creates a slimming effect.

Visit the collection page to see the items alongside my descriptions.

Burgundy Pants for Early Fall

A new outfit from Kimberly Smith of Penny Pincher Fashion, whom we introduced to YLF in October 2013.

Pairing a graphic black and white striped sweater with trousers in a rich shade of burgundy makes for a fab early Fall outfit. The hip-bone length welted sweater lengthens the leg line on the cropped kick flare trousers. The subtle bishop sleeves add feminine flair. So do the black pointy toe flats with dainty straps. A thin, sassy choker echoes the stripes on the sweater. Kimberly’s fun round bag with on-trend tassels ties in with the black accents. Gold rings, loop earrings, and a knot bangle add warmth to the burgundy. Dark red lipstick and matching nail polish complete this polished look.

Kimberly - 2

Kimberly - 1

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Roundups

COS Items

Some fab architectural COS pieces to add some arty avant-garde to your style.

Read More

Summer Items

Some fab frocks, necklaces and tops.

Read More

Tops & Bottoms

Fun Summer items for a range of body types.

Read More

Summer Items

A selection of warm-weather items that covers a range of body types.

Read More

Summer White Tops

An assortment of white tops across a range of price points and silhouettes.

Read More

Violeta & Jackets

Larger sizes and some fun toppers make this week’s roundup.

Read More

My Wild Cards for 2017

I include wild cards in my seasonal must haves because they are an excellent way to evolve and refresh your style. They can be new-to-you colours or silhouettes of clothing, footwear and accessories. Or a new way that you wear your hair, your make-up, or put together outfits. They are often atypical of your style, but speak to you in some way. Most importantly, they are things you don’t anticipate.

2017 has been my year for wild cards. They have an earth-toned and casual theme.

Utility Pants

Utility pants used to feel too casual, slouchy and masculine for me until Greg found a dressier pair for my birthday which are tailored and sleek. He liked the utility look, and I fancied the idea of keeping them polished and pretty. I wear them with soft blouses, dainty shoes, dressy bags and drapey scarves to create a Utility Pretty vibe. I loved my birthday utility pants so much that I bought a second more casual pair with embroidery. Both pairs were perfect for our Summer road trip. 

Brown Specs 

I didn’t think I would ever wear dark specs after wearing bright, happy, acidic apple green specs for four years. They were one of the best fashion purchases of my life, and nothing could top them. Greg threw a spanner in the works and chose a dark brown pair of Modern Retro cat’s eyes with orange inner detailing as my new pair of specs. That was that. It took me a while to get used to them, but now I love them as much as my green pair.

Olive

Olive matches my green eyes, but I would often feel blah wearing it. The colour didn’t spark enough joy. So I would stick to having one olive wardrobe item in my wardrobe at a time.

My Summer utility pants were the catalyst for change. I felt like adding a new neutral to my wardrobe, and since the dirty shade of green works well with my new brown specs — why not. White pearls, which I wear most days, brighten the colour against my face. 

I’ve been building an olive capsule for Fall/Winter from scratch, and here are my items. I like that the shades of olive are different. Some tonal, some mismatched, but all working together. I plan to wear olive with navy, ink blue, denim blue, black, cream, gold, chartreuse, citron and Bordeaux. Maybe some pink, orange, turquoise and tomato red too. 

Bordeaux

I was all set to purchase a new pair of cognac booties to replace the Pradas I’ve worn out. But when I stumbled upon these Bordeaux darlings I rethought my strategy. They are an extremely dark red, which makes them look brown. They bookend my new specs and work with the olive capsule. They’re also quite maximal, whereas I usually prefer simple footwear. A completely unexpected colour with bling. Wild card for sure. I’ll be adding a bag in the same colour to create a complement, and perhaps a light-coloured scarf with a subtle Bordeaux pattern too. 

Small Crossbody Bags 

I was the “anti-crossbody” gal, finding them awfully uncomfortable and cumbersome. But the small crossbody bag in a classic shape with a bit of glitz DOES work for me. If you asked me last year whether I would build an assortment of small crossbody bags for my style in 2017, I’d have said, “no way.” Now I have three small crossbody bags — one of them is OLIVE — and I adore the casually dressy and relaxed vibe. Never say never in fashion and style.

My wild cards have led me to a new leg of my style journey, which is part of the fun and keeps things interesting. No style rut, and no dull dressing moments. True to my style, but with an earthy and more casual flavour. You do run the risk of needing to purchase a support act to go with wild cards in order to create complete outfits that look and feel pulled together. Be mindful of that as you work within your budget and add wild cards to your wardrobe.

15 Trends for Fall & Winter 2017

I’ve worked through most of the Ready-to-Wear shows for Fall 2017, pinning directional looks along the way. There was quite a lot of fashion coming down the runway that I did not like, which is unusual. Overwhelming silhouettes, hectic slouch and extended sleeves look tired to my eye, as do deliberately unkempt models, and seasonally confused outfits that remix sandals with Winter woollies. That said, I’m pleased to see that Maximalism and Individualism reign supreme. Fads are a thing of the past, and fashion is more diverse than ever. 

My favourite collections were: Bally, Brunello Cucinelli, Daks, J.Crew, Sandro, Tibi, Theory, Tracy Reese, Victoria Beckham, and Vetements (for model diversity).

Five things stood out as I browsed the shows:

  • Absence of Athleisure
  • Absence of grey  
  • Ample fluidity 
  • Outfit creativity 
  • Trend diversity 

On to the trends.

1. Individualism

Fashion has become a melting pot of sartorial choices, and there is no one way to be stylish. Increasing diversity in fashion with each passing year means that there is something for everyone. Take the PERSONAL in personal style to heart, because you have the power to pick and choose from the trend buffet, and sport it your way. 

2. Maximalism

Maximalism means wearing it all together to create a harmonized whole. Think of wearing complex silhouettes, combining them in one outfit, layering all sorts of pieces to create interesting proportions, accessorizing to your limit, pattern mixing, texture mixing, patchwork, embellishment, remixing high-contrast colours and clashing colours, wearing statement make-up, and adding nail polish and rainbow hair. Think drama, not subtlety. 

Remember that Maximalism runs on a continuum, and you’re free to interpret it as fully as you see it on the catwalks, or tone things down considerably to create a minimally maximal look. Have fun exploring new possibilities and by all means “wear the kitchen sink” if that makes you happy. The only limit to the Maximalism trend is your own tolerance for it.  

3. Tall Boots

As far as “hot off the press” trends go, booties are taking a back seat. There were MANY styles of tall boots on the runways, and most collections showcased them. Dressy and casual knee-high lengths in an assortment of colours and neutrals were ubiquitous, and combined with dresses, skirts, cropped pants, skinnies and straight legs. This was the biggest change in runway fashion, and quite a welcome one, despite the fact that tall boots are harder to fit than booties. 

4. Full-Length Trousers & Jeans

The cropped pants trend — which has held strong for five seasons — now has major competition as full-length jeans and trousers make a comeback. And I mean floor-scraping lengths with lots of scrunch. Silhouettes were predominantly wide leg and bootcut, which is impractical for Winter. But scrunched tapered legs were equally popular. 

The full-length, tailored straight leg with scrunch on the hem is my pick for new trouser and jeans silhouette. Easy to combine in outfits, good with an assortment of footwear, and practical in dodgy weather.

5. Dresses & Skirts

There were a plethora of dresses and skirts on the runways, many of which were midi length styled with tall boots. Most of the fabrics were soft and drapey, and the silhouettes fluid, semi-structured or tailored. Dresses and skirts were layered with all sorts of cardigans, jackets, coats and scarves, and some worn over pants. Let’s hope that knee-covering dresses with sleeves that are not poolside maxis make it to retail this season. 

6. Earth Tones

You’ll see most colours represented on the runways, but some are simply more popular than others. This time round, earth tones are having their moment. Think shades or toffee, cinnamon, burgundy, bordeaux, cream, brown, forest green, sage green, mustard, olive, khaki, tan, chartreuse, shades of orange, animal print, and dirty shades of blue. Jewel tones like peacock teals and purples were popular too. 

7. Sneakers

As I’ve mentioned before, sneakers and sneaker hybrids are the shoes of our fashion era. Fashion sneakers are combined with just about any outfit these days, and there is no stopping the trend on the catwalks. 

8. Waist Definition With Belting

There was an incredible amount of waist definition coming down the runway. AGAIN. For the most part it was created by belts that cinched at the waist, as opposed to garment tailoring with seam and dart detailing. That said, there were just as many tailored coats and jackets, as there were cocoon and oversized silhouettes. If waist definition is not your thing, allow garments to hint at a waistline for a bit of structure. I hope that retail takes this trend to heart because there is only so much slouch that we can take. I vote bring back the tailoring. 

9. Modern Retro

Modern Retro means that you’re incorporating a style, trend or design from a bygone era AND adding a good dose of modern to the look. Retro items are not vintage items that actually come from that era.

ANY retro look is on trend at this point, especially if the silhouettes resemble the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s. The catwalks are full of design detailing from these fashion eras, which I personally enjoy seeing. Mod styles, Mary Janes and tapered ankle pants from the ‘60s. Boho chic, ruffles, flares, disco, faux fur, and glam looks from the ‘70s. Sharp shoulders, oversized tops, colour blocking, lace, high waistlines, shuffle socks, skinnies, pleated pants and waist definition from the ‘80s. Longer length blazers, coats and dresses, military boots, body-con tops, round specs and deconstructed denim from the ‘90s. 

10. Renaissance

Think velvet, brocade, lace and jacquard across all wardrobe items, and wear them together for maximal effect. Feel free to wear a corset too. The dandy style of the New Romantics in the ‘80s is great inspiration. 

11. Pantsuits

Almost all collections included pantsuits in some way. Some of them were beautifully tailored, looking elegant and feminine. Others were slouchy, edgy and Tomboy. Some had sharp ‘80s shoulders with long blazers. Others had short jackets. Lots of colours, patterns and fabrics were represented. The trend could come in handy for dressy attire when you don’t feel like wearing a dress or skirt. Or if you want to simplify your workwear options. 

12. English Countryside

This included all sorts of earthy tweeds and plaids in separates likes blazers, skirts, waistcoats and trousers. Also: suede elbow patches, body warmers, corduroy bottoms, cravats, anoraks, pullovers worn over shirts and blouses, and riding boots worn over skinnies. Think dressy or casual equestrian, and you’re good to go. 

13. Gothic Romance

Head-to-toe black with LOTS of texture and garment interest is strong. Interpret this trend in a maximal way for a fresh approach. For example, remix black wool, faux fur, lace, brocade and leather in one outfit. 

14. Flats, Low Heels and ALL Toe Shapes

Designers made a statement with dressy and casual flat footwear (in which I include heels up to the height of an inch.) ALL toe shapes are popular. Pointy, square, round, snip toe, and round square toe boxes were shown. ALL heel shapes are making a fashionable appearance. Stilettos, platforms, block heels, stacked heels, wedges and kitten heels. Dainty and refined footwear is as trendy as chunky silhouettes. These days, it’s hard to find a dated style of footwear, although you should pander to your sartorial preferences and look for something “new-for-you” if shoes are your thing.  

15. ALL Rise Lengths

This trend goes hand in hand with Modern Retro since I saw it ALL on the catwalks. Lots of high waistlines from the ‘60s and ‘80s. Lots of low and mid rises from the ‘70s and ‘90s. Lots of bottoms had ample width in the legs. Some were tailored at the hip and flared at the hem, while others were straight and skinny. Some styles had Tomboy slouch.  

Before you process the trends, remember that: 

  • There is no such thing as a dated colour if you wear it with panache. Your colours are always in style.  
  • It takes years for runway trends to have an impact on retail, which means that fashion does not change overnight. 
  • Some trends do not make an impact on retail at all, or stay fringe at best. 
  • Mainstream trends last between 5 to 15 years. Some longer. Some vibes never go out of style, but a current version of the look in modern fabric is important. Vintage items can work when they’re combined with a good dose of Modern. 
  • Consumers keep trends alive, not designers and fashion houses. Retailers will continue to stock a trend if they know they can sell it. For example, designers might want to call it quits on the Athleisure trend, but the look makes a fortune for retailers who are in business to make a profit. They won’t stop supplying a look if you keep on buying it. Athleisure is a very popular way of dressing casually in America and Canada, and it will not disappear from retail. 

Personally, I’m excited about maximalism, individualism, tall boots, full-length bottoms, some earth tones, English Countryside, Modern Retro, low block heels, and if we actually get them at retail – midi dresses.

Filter through the trends. Keep the ones that tickle your fancy on your radar and leave the rest. Don’t stop rocking your signature looks, but DO try something new. The “personal” in personal style means styling the trends your way, which is the best part in all of this. Feel refreshed and empowered as the new season unfolds.

SANDY LIANG Ines Shearling-lined Suede JacketPETAR PETROV Hano Wool and Silk-blend Slim-leg Pants

BOTTEGA VENETA Patent-leather JacketCHLOE Wool Bomber Jacket

HAIDER ACKERMANN Kuiper Asymmetric Satin Midi DressBELLA FREUD Hallelujah Baby Intarsia Wool Sweater

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