Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sidestepping trends

Transparent skirt
There is precisely one trend I've never worn before, the transparent skirt or dress (black) seen everywhere this summer/fall on lithe young maidens, who wear it over leggings or bike shorts and a bra (all also black) underneath. Nor will I wear it, in this life.

But tartan, capes, Harris tweed, structured bags? Not only have I worn it the first time around, honey, I'm on the third or fourth spin. This is ground for some big mistakes.

Here, for example, is one I almost made: the hacking jacket. A "trend" again, this version is on offer at J. Crew.
No longer me: J. Crew jacket

When I was thirty, I bought one in Dublin, in colours of peat and sea. But the jacket wouldn't work now, even though I'd like another go.


What looked good once (and was such a versatile piece) no longer does. With a pang, I let my eye catch up with my shape.

Instead, I'll get a knit jacket, like those shown here, or a second colour in this, which I've worn often for the last three years. 
Eric Bompard shirt-jacket

So what are you going to do if you're middle aged (or better) and don't want to look like you haven't seen the inside of a boutique since pantyhose were invented?

Subvert the trend treadmill with smashing shoes! For my money, I'd rather buy one pair than a draggy maxi coat (honk if you had one in the '70s).

The winter range from Accessoire Diffusion could break from my flats habit. Below, three standouts that I'll check out in Paris next week. 
A fantastic colour, called "Baltic"
Perforated detail, graceful line
Snuggly, stylish bootlet


And I must show you one from Michel Perry's fall line, a shoe-example of my point. Ah, platform spectators: a fond, towering memory, an especially stylish revival, and a trend I won't revisit.


 ...or find a bag!

Have your ever set out search of a shoe and come home with a bag? Could happen with this Vivienne Westwood Vienna Show Saddle Bag, £570 from Liberty, which I'd carry till it shreds.
Vivienne Westwood saddle bag

I'm leery when I hear "This is really in right now." If we were given more wearable, beautiful choices, offered in the full range of sizes, designers would have our business without resorting to the fakery and hype of trends.


PS.  To the many readers who expressed such kind concern about our son, Jules: 
He's doing well. When I referred to what's happened as "a setback", he firmly corrected me: "No, it's a hairpin turn." We are most grateful for your wishes and comments.

16 comments:

Chicatanyage said...

love the Baltic shoes, just my thing. Am also craving a Longchamp messenger bag in a sort of taupe colour but a bit pricey at the moment. I agree money spent on bags and shoes is a great investment if you buy wisely. I have some Tods shoes which are about 10 years old and still going strong.

Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

I love Jules saying...its a hairpin curve...great attitude and that will serve him well.

I love looking at all the heels..I just wish I could wear them...and I find myself enjoying the trends more than I thought I would..but you are so right...we must be careful with them!

déjà pseu said...

I've always used accessories as a way to bring some current elements into my wardrobe. Very few clothing trends have *ever* worked for me (being quite short and une peu ronde), so I've embraced my instinctive attraction toward very simple clothing pieces and using accessories to keep things interesting. LOVE those lace-up boots!

(I find the "menswear-inspired" jackets that look so cute on younger women just look dowdy on me now.)

LPC said...

I am not a big one for loads of accessories, so I usually only give a tip of the hat, here or there, to trends. In fact my approach is probably so subtle no one else even notices:).

Susan Tiner said...

Hi Duchesse, your son's comment about it being a "hairpin turn" says so much about his character.

Like Pseu, being short and even rounder, I can't follow trends, but do like the idea of adding a trendy accessory here or there. I long for a good bag, perhaps I'll find one when we travel to Paris in the Spring.

I did a new post linking back to your post on debutante pearls -- I'd love to know your opinion of whether the simple strand works with my petite stature in that styling. You can be honest :).

And before I forget, honk!

Duchesse said...

Susan Tiner: I think you can wear these, because the length is right. Very pretty in the neckline of your top!

But if you try on a strand of 9-10mms you will notice the difference, they will have more presence. Like these, and they are not expensive:
http://shop.kojimapearl.com/products/baroque-star-shaped-coin-pearl-necklace

You *could* try a chain with the strand, or a pendant on a chain. (The pendant would hang about 1 to 1.5 in. below the pearls.) One is not supposed to wear anything against pearls other than more pearls, because metal can abrade the nacre, especially on older pearls that already have wear on them. (I can't resist occasionally and my pearls are not super-pricey.)

It is also a matter of how you feel in that strand- or if you are looking for an excuse to buy bigger pearls ;)

Duchesse said...

Chicatanyage: That Baltic is a colour that would go with anything but is unusual. Hope they have my size left.

Pam: I can't wear them for long, but for some reason would like a pair of low heels. (I only have one other pair, in black suede.)

Pseu: Yes, agree re menswear and really loved seeing you in a dress the other day.

LPC: The "trend thing" happens n clothes, too: capes, Mad Men outfits, maxi coats. Subtle is smart.

Susan Tiner said...

Hi Duchess, thank you for your lovely comment on my blog :).

It's good to know you think the strand works, but more to the point, how do I feel. Well, I felt a little girlie retro, that's why I compared the look to a Waldorf salad. Girlie retro is fine, but it's not a look I want every day, so I doubt I'll wear that strand often. Maybe just a few times a year.

The Kojima pearls are gorgeous! Yes, I can see that if my pearls had more presence I'd definitely wear them more often.

Susan said...

I do love the trend of longer dresses/skirts.

kathy peck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kathy peck said...

Sorry I had to remove my previous post - a sentence made no sense .

Anyway, I believe shoes can make or break an outfit. All the pairs you have chosen would make it! As I wear mostly jeans, with simple tops, I can imagine each pair of shoes giving my uniform a different spin. All nice.

Anonymous said...

Beep-beep--Had the maxi coat in college--bitter chocolate wool--and wore it with tall lace-up espresso suede boots, feeling very romantic and Belle Epoque. Today's long transparent skirts (I saw a lovely face-powder pink one paired with a severe olive military jacket) I will leave to my daughter, the swan. As for tartans: will always love them in deep muted blues and greens, above the waist only. (One Black Watch plaid vintage jacket I have would look great with those gorgeous Baltic blue shoes...) No capes or ponchos for me, ever. And I'm with you about footwear and bags, Duchesse. Somehow Autumn gets you thinking about leather, especially in rich hues with beautiful details. I am trying right now to decide between two pairs of Italian boots, one practical, one elegant, both expensive and wearable for years: shorter, chunky-heeled cognac pull-ons, or exquisitely sleek black high-heeled dress boots? I know, I know: the cognac ones I'll wear every day--but those black ones are so sexy!

C.

P.S. Wishing Jules a wonderful ride round that hairpin curve...

Duchesse said...

susan: I have lived through at least 4 rounds of long skirts, if you count the peasant skirt craze of what, summer 2000? In or out, have always worn them.

kathy peck: We are 'style sisters', as my clothes grow ever simpler.

C.: Yes, those maxis were romantic (brown bouclé with an Edwardian sweeping skirt, pink bakelite swan brooch), and in the slushy Michigan winter, the major romance turned out to be with the drycleaner.

Tartan: Have my sights on a Bompard cashmere tartan muffler; my neck is one of the few body parts than can still handle plaid.

Boots: Both pairs of boots sound marvelous! If you buy a pair you love, you find even more ways to wear them.

Thanks for your wishes.

materfamilias said...

I do usually incorporate something from the current trends, but I try to be judicious. I've had oxfords the last few years, but they're a classic that have always pleased me anyway. I don't think my closet has ever been without a below-knee skirt, midi-ish to maxi, so capitalizing on that being a trend now works for me, altho' only in small doses. Have done shorts over tights twice now (70s with short-shorts/hot pants, 80s with a walking short) and won't do it this round. For me, it seems that embracing some trends carefully is congruous with my personal style history and doesn't feel as if I'm being a fashion victim.

Duchesse said...

Materfamilias: "Embracing some trends carefully" is such a Canadian comment :) Of course we would never be too blatant!

Anonymous said...

Just noticed that Eileen Fisher's new collection contains some beautiful knitted jackets, including a sumptuous one in undyed Alpaca rib and another in charcoal merino interlock with hacking-jacket styling. I could imagine either on you; both would show off your superb collection of scarves...

I decided to order the cognac boots, plus a pretty pair of black suede Bass lace-ups--a nod to those graceful boots from the past--for my upcoming birthday. I hope you still wear that pink bakelite swan! Bon voyage, Duchesse.

C.