When it comes to picking the season’s trends, I’m so glad I’m not a retailer. Out of the thousands of styles that emerge on the runways, there are dozens of trends that emerge, but a buyer’s work also involves a little intuition and mind-reading. It has less to do with what designers want to sell and more to do with predicting what women will want to wear, not tomorrow, but in six months.
It’s a gamble in which fortunes are won and lost, and you can see how bets went when the discount sale racks emerge at the end of each season.
According to prognosticators at Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, who made their picks last fall, Spring 2011 is ladylike and chic, with a nod to 1970s boho and sharp silhouettes, including the return of floral prints, pantsuits, wide-legged pants — yes, bellbottoms! — and maxi hemlines.
That adds up to a lot of pretty, flowing styles that will flatter many figures, and pieces retailers are hoping women will want to add to their closets.
The long necklace fits with the 1970s vibe of the season, with heavy chains bearing extra-large medallions or graphic centerpieces of natural stones that can be seen across a room. In footwear there’s a mix of pretty, feminine flats, often with floral details, and harder-edged sky-high heels with industrial details such as metal spikes and rivets.
Think of Stevie Nicks in all her bohemian glory, in drapey silks that swirl around the body and handkerchief hemlines. The other side of the ’70s is the birth of female power, when women went to work in pantsuits and played in head-turning palazzo pants. Anyone who actually lived through that era will fondly recall the fuller cut balances a wider hipline. In the casual market, that translated into swinging bellbottom jeans that, reinvented, offer a pleasant antidote to the dreaded skinny jean. In spite of the homage, it all looks modern and fresh.
While Honeysuckle Pink has been hailed as Pantone’s Color of the Year, it’s a color for the very young and best left to makeup. When it comes to a color more women can pull off, it’s a beachy red-yellow coral that warms the sallowest skin. The other main color is crisp, clean white, whether in the form of simple sheaths or tunics, or worn in layers from head to toe.
Basic black goes bye-bye as the new wardrobe staples are warm tans, beige and nude shades. These grown-up hues, more typically background colors, look sophisticated on their own and, when paired with an accent color, do the job of helping that color pop. Neutral-hued leather and footwear also make the perfect finishing touches to any color you might wear.
These never go out of style in keeping with every spring/summer season’s nautical inspirations, but this year stripes are everywhere, and often used in combination with prints and polka dots to dramatic effect.
Spring 2011 celebrates women, rather than girls, so look for hourglass dresses reinterpreted with modern, body-skimming ease and simplicity, and hems that demurely fall below the knee. Tops come with soft flounces, bows and a hint of lace. Floral prints abound.
For a video showing styles from the season, visit Nadine Kam’s Fashion Tribe blog