Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Fall in line

The big fall fashion editions of magazines are starting to come out. 

We have first looks at colors and silhouettes we’ll see, and some of us will wear, in the season ahead.

While January is reckoned the start of the New Year those of us with any interest in styles and trends pounce on August and September as our new year (sans capital letters). 

These transition months kick off the new look inaugurated by autumn-winter collections shown on fashion runways around the world.

Not that we’re tired of summer wear. Not by a long shot. Summer wear means summer. 

Dressing lightly is my kind of style for as long as summer chooses to hang around. I suspect this thinking prevails pretty much across the board.

Most of us, nevertheless, are refreshed by a new palette of colors and new textures. It’s within us, I believe, to be renewed by change, like a coat of paint on the wall, which makes for instant transformation.

Even should we live in a climate without four seasons (certainly not the case here in the Midwest) there is in many of us a tendency to choose what we put on by the time of year we're in. 

While a seasonless wardrobe is the ideal – staples to wear at any time – the practice of rotating pieces in our closet has an amazingly comfortable right feel to it.

The fall line, presented on glossy magazine pages, at online retail venues and perhaps most tempting of all, via racks of newly shipped merchandise in the stores, makes this an interesting time for your closet.

This season meshes with back to school shopping. Sales and promos bring in students and their families as they restock for the school year ahead.

In the stores you marvel at tweaks in style in the fall collections. 

Embellishment (or lack of it) change in proportion, wider hemlines, and other details, abruptly make last year’s almost identical pieces appear oh so last season. How do they do that you wonder! 

Then there are trends that are imaginative forays into new territory. These clothes may catch on. They may not. They do cause you to stop and consider.

Mostly I consider how far removed we become in time from trends that seem aimed for quick trajectory. 

Trends for the most part are reduced to fads in my increasing loyalty to the tried and true. It makes it easier to pass by items not needed but are cute / on sale / or which shout Buy me. 

My sister and I, non-fashionistas from the beginning, nevertheless enjoy the fashion hype that comes with the fall lineup.

On our last visit she gave me a clothes catalog she was done with. We swap catalogs and jewelry, just as we swap clothing from time to time.

The catalog comes from England. It has luscious pieces. It offers beautiful soft cashmere sweaters with prices comparable to the cost of an air ticket to London.

Maybe if we teamed up and ordered a sweater and split the time of wearing it between us we could afford a catalog purchase. 

That is, if we could agree on a color. It makes the transaction dubious as we’re drawn to different hues.

From the fall magazines, and catalogs like the one my sister shared with me, we get an idea of key looks of the new season.

Investing some time this way you develop the ability to discern where the winds of fashion change are occurring. 

You note if a blouse is tucked in or left out, whether it’s loose billowy pants this year or if leggings are still in charge.

The details are like a set of directions. You can follow or refer to them or disregard them entirely. Fashion, ultimately, is what you make of it.

What these fashion sources particularly help with is suggesting how pieces from our closets can be worn to be made to look current.

Unlike young shoppers, and those in the prime of their careers, many of us past those stages buy less for our closets now. 

Our closets are established through generally careful purchases and many years of making advantageous buys. 

We’ve weeded and refined our closets, adding to them as some piece, with its perfect color or functional value, is put on the hanger next to the rest.

A closet is ongoing maintenance. Without effective management, however, it can take on a life of its own. 

As with anything it can grow out of bounds (think weedy garden). A neglected closet is robbed of its true worth, furthermore robbing you.

One way to maximize your closet is to utilize each piece for all its worth. In other words, wear what you have and make it work even better for you.

To do this you pull together what you already have. You clinch a look with an accessory like a scarf or an interesting brooch, as a friend does with panache, making brooches her signature look.

You let the way you dress, or a dominant color you wear, be your style. This is, I think, what classic dressing means.

Half your life you don’t want to be considered a classic dresser. At least that’s how it was for me. 

Classic sounded boring. I took it to mean Chanel, conservative hemlines and discreet hound's tooth checks. Nothing was farther from me than that.

Classic dressing suits me now and I like it. It’s just how you interpret what classic is. 

Classic for me is casual and I’m fine with that. When you ace what you wear it’s because it fits who you are. That’s classic defined in the real.

When my sister and I are together next there’s a Pottery Barn catalog for her. She’ll enjoy it. 

Neither of us can totally change out our homes or our closets. (Nor would we want to.) But a fresh look can greatly revive us. It can be done quite easily and without great expenditure of time or money. 

It takes something as simple as one item introduced, or switching an item around. It's a genius system if you think about it. And your home and closet will thank you. 

Ro Giencke – August 13, 2014


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