Friday, August 19, 2011

show us your mullet (shirt)

With leggings, jeggings, and super skinnies sticking it out in the style ranks, ladies can at least praise the fashion powers that be that they’ve come up with something better than a crop top this season. While the cropped look remains, and I must say I re-embraced the look in a subtle form with waistband-touching singlets and cropped jumpers over dresses, this season we’re at least covering the bum with mullet-style garments. I’m not a fan of the mullet dress, which has been rife on the red carpet recently, but this is one trend that adds practicality to a bit of fashion whimsy.

One thing is for sure, this is an item you need to try on with the clothes you are going to match it with. You might not need to take your chunky heels in tow, but at least wear the leggings or skinnies you would wear a mullet shirt over. I made the mistake of trying on a mullet shirt with heavy tights which I happened to be wearing under a dress. I thought I’d at least be able to get an idea of the look – after all, they were footless tights and not just stockings and I thought they would potentially emulate the leggings look. I was wrong. I was confronted with too much crotch and it was essentially distracting from the whole look of the shirt.

There’s nothing like a strong hint of camel toe in a changing room mirror to put you off a purchase.

There is a lot to go wrong with the look and I suggest trying on a few items from different stores before taking on the mullet. Some brands are sloppy with the cuts and you end up looking like you’ve just attached an apron to your bum if the mullet starts from the side seams and drops immediately into the longer curve. It’s not that noticeable on the rack, but when you get it into the changing room the tacked-on feeling becomes quite apparent. What you want is a clean sweep from front to back, even a slightly raised crop in the front leading down to the mullet, where the side seam is not prevalent because of a sudden increase in fabric. And beware the uber crop. This is not a tummy-bearing trend. The front hem should skim your waistband at least. Unless you’re sending your internal organs off to charity in a cooler bag, keep your kidneys off ice for another month. There’s nothing cool about looking cold.

Wear your mullet shirt in the same way as a loose-fitting boyfriend shirt and you’re bang on for a casual cool look for spring. As always, loose on top means tight on the bottom, so pair it with a mini (and tights at this point in the year – no one wants to see your untanned pins just yet) or leggings/jegs/skinnies for the perfect “no-effort” (but casually I spent an hour putting this together) styling.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Spring must-haves: long-sleeve dresses

As spring is notoriously colder than winter in some cases in NZ, I am pleased to see the upcoming spring trends are not jumping into both sleeveless and mini straight away. Trending alongside the ladylike midi, gorgeous 60s-inspired long-sleeved dresses are gracing the racks and bodies of the fashion forward.

It’s a beautiful fashion that remains practical, as long as you go for a cuffed princess sleeve or batwing rather than ‘the wizard’ (which has the potential to knock wine glasses over with any casual gesture of the hand and drag through your soup. How uncouth!). It’s decidedly feminine and modest, and following good fashion principals, is mixed with the flesh-flashing mini to counter its demure demeanour. Good news for those of us who feel a bit nana if we’re not showing a little something either up top or bearing a bit of thigh.

There’s a nice range within the look, but common themes prevail. A princess sleeve is often the same colour as the dress, but made of translucent material, creating that airy fairy feeling. A batwing will of course be the same material, because it’s generally all one cut, and will often be in a heavier fabric, causing the nice drape effect. The last thing you want with a batwing sleeve is it flapping in the breeze like an old lady’s chicken wings. A wizard-style or gypsy sleeve, imo, is best left for Halloween. Rejoicing Morticia Adamms’ fans please skulk back to your coffins, there is no place in this hazardous world for metre-long trails coming from your arms. I have enough trouble tripping over my feet without adding to it with unnecessary sleeve trains.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Throw-away fashion

I had a bit of a throw-out recently – mostly stuff that had been stowed away in boxes for the last 8 years of my flatting life but I previously hadn’t had the nerve to discard, lest I suddenly have use for it or should anything come back in to fashion.

I hesitated on one item only – a pair of once beloved shoes. Probably the first pair of high heels I bought for myself and most likely where my obsession with owning unnecessary and impractical things emanated.

At the time they were the height of good fashion. Massive 90s platforms with the giant square heel, with a multitude of crossover straps in black suede. Probably not the easiest thing to dive into when you’re learning to walk in heels, but perhaps that throw into the deep end is what started my life as an accomplished walker in heels.

We’ve been experiencing the 90s flashback for the last few years now and I wondered if maybe I should hold on to these towering beauties, still in perfect condition save a few cobwebs amongst the straps. But common sense prevailed. No, I thought, fashion reflection is about renewal of the previous trend, not an exact emulation of it, these shoes will look like you have saved them since you were 15 years old.

During the last 6 months however, I have watched as heels have become chunkier and squarer. Stiletto is a no-go. The fashion savvy will at least be sporting a cone heel, if they haven’t already re-embraced the 90s chunk. My lamentation of the throwing out of my once precious shoes began spawning as window displays started to reflect the 90s look.

Then, last weekend at a dinner party, a recently returned fashion-loving traveller from London arrived wearing the most 90s shoe I could imagine. Albeit in an updated colour, these suede strappys had a heel so large the front was a good inch shorter than the back.

Hasty! I thought. Reckless! How could I have been so thoughtless as to send my shoes to the charity shop along with too-small singlets and wide-leg Doosh pants? I saw the signs! And I disregarded them as reminiscence and my latent hoarding tendencies. After all, if I hadn’t found need to re-run those babies yet, what could possibly make me pull them out now.

The fool and her now lost shoes.

In my defence, I do always say I try not to follow fads too closely because fashion is often fleeting. If the shoes really had the longevity, I would have reinstated them to the wardrobe before now. My shoe stand is brimming with classics that, while trendy, will be able to remain so for years to come. Don’t see any relegations to a box under the stairs in the near future. I just hope that the woman who picks my lost beauties appreciated the find. Either that, or that the current styling is fleeting and all was not lost after all.