The List: 2015’s hottest fashion items and brands

Fashion, Trends, Wishlist

I tend to like the same things over and over, which is probably good to know because it means that most of my stuff stay awhile in my closet. And when I zero in on an item, I also check that item all the time just to see if I can get a deal. Unfortunately, there are just some things that simply don’t go (or hardly ever) on sale because they’re always sold out.

Such as when a particular item/silhouette from a brand gets so coveted that it’s almost always on pre-order and a few seasons later, it gets copied by fast fashion brands. And you simply can’t get these on sale, at least for now. These are this year’s forerunners:

The List: 2015's hottest fashion items and brands
And if you’re not ready to take an expensive plunge, thankfully, there’s a list for that, too:
The List: 2015's Hottest Items for less

Guide to summer trends 2015

Fashion, Trends

All other seasons in Florida are quite pleasant but summer is H-O-T. With a rapidly growing pregnant belly, it is even sweatier and hotter than normal. So truth be told, I have been living in shorts, t-shirts and white Birkenstocks (hard to bend down to tie those gladiator straps with a belly on the way). But for the rest of you passing the summer in a “this-is-amazing-weather” attitude, these summer trends would be so much fun to try.

1. It’s all about the ties. Gladiators are just so much fun and after almost a decade, the trend has come roaring back and is edgier than before, with leather straps up to the knees. For the bashful among us, espadrilles are the other shoes for summer (besides, all those leather ties up the legs could get sweaty), updated with hardware and wrap-around ties. Even flats are getting the ties update. Now, if only I can bend down to put these shoes on.

2. White lace. I know I’ve been touting white and lace since last year but both of these elements combined are just perfect for this summer. Probably because of gladiators sandals, white lace is rendered a little tougher and less frothy. Seen on Chloé’s ready to wear summer 2015 collection, other designers such as rising star Self Portrait have followed suit. Even better is that you can also find less expensive versions via fast fashion brands. Update lace for later seasons in moodier and darker colors.

3. Off the shoulder. It’s hot and it’s time to bare those shoulders while the weather allows for it. Pair it with shorts for now and with skinny jeans for when it gets a little cooler. Dress down with espadrilles or dress it up with heels, it’s all up to you.

Guide to summer trends 2015

H M dress
$93 – hm.com

Self portrait purple summer dress
$405 – net-a-porter.com

TIBI satin top
tibi.com

Candela elastic waist shorts
shop.harpersbazaar.com

Navy blue flat
figue.com

Flat
barneys.com

Pumps
forwardforward.com

J.Crew french hook earrings
$110 – jcrew.com

Figue MATCHESFASHION.COM
matchesfashion.com

Necklace
cjlaingshop.com

4. Culottes. I know that this is not for everyone but think about it – you get the flowy silhouette of a skirt without fear of said skirt blowing up when it’s windy. Plus, the new culottes come in so many options in volume and in length. If I wasn’t so pregnant, I would seriously consider this – stylish and practical.

5. Pom-poms and tassels. Bohemian style abounds and for accessories, what could be more fun than pom-poms and tassels? Since I’ve been researching/buying a lot of stuff for the house, I even found pom-poms on bedding. Then reality set in and thought of my toddler picking at the pom-poms. And seriously, who could resist these things?

 

The List: Party dresses

Fashion, Trends

It’s the holidays and Black Friday is just around the corner – need I say more?

The List: Holiday Dresses

P.S. A note on the links: I tend to stick to certain websites (heavy on Mango, Topshop, Net-a-Porter, Zara) because I prefer the items to be by themselves and not worn by a model. For this particular list though, I found quite a lot of great party dresses on Anthropologie.com and great Aussie labels on Fashionbunkr.com.

Guide to winter trends

Fashion, Trends

Compared to my guide to fall trends, I have to admit, I was a little lost with winter trends. For one thing, being in Miami means that winter is the furthest from my mind. Plus, do we still care about fashion when it’s freezing cold outside? I remember when I used to live in Montreal and Boston, I only had one good Burberry coat (a Black Friday find at the outlet mall – the ONLY time I shopped on Black Friday), black boots, thermal sweaters, a leopard print beanie and that was all I could be bothered with. I have to admit though that I wish I had some of the items below just to break up the monotony that winter frequently brings.

Side-note: if you want to stay stylish *and* warm, invest in a Burberry coat that can carry you through several years (mine is 5 years old). I always get compliments on it and I was toasty; no other coat came close.

1. Statement sweater. There is a fine line between an ugly sweater and a statement sweater so tread carefully. Because your top half already grabs all the attention, keep the rest minimal and slim to counteract the inevitable volume of any statement-making elements on the sweater.

Statement sweater

2. Camel topcoat. Not only is this a very hot item right now, it’s also a classic so there’s no need to overthink it. If I have to get another coat, I would get this color.

The camel coat

3. The embellished boots. This has been around since 2008 – at least for designers Chloé (Suzanna) and Balenciaga (cutout boots). But, it has taken several seasons for mall brands and indie designers to follow suit with their own versions. These days, embellished booties abound and you can finally take part in a more wallet-friendly fashion. Styling this is about contrast – a floaty dress (mini, midi, maxi) and delicate jewelry balance the toughness of the boots.

Embellished booties

4. Winter florals. Who doesn’t love florals? This winter, look for darker tones and pair it with a moto leather jacket and oxfords. Or, if you want to keep florals on your feet, keep the rest simple.

Winter florals

5. Feathers. Okay, this one is *not* a classic but who can resist the glamor of feathers, especially for those holiday parties? And style icon, Jenna Lyons, once again shows how this trend is done.

Feathers

The List: White Sneakers

Fashion, Trends, Wishlist

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted The List and I know that for a lot of people experiencing the beginning of winter, this particular list might belong way in the future. Because, really, can you imagine wearing white sneakers in the winter sludge? I can’t and I suggest that you don’t even try. After all, the idea of the white sneaker is to be comfortable *and* polished. So scuff marks are not allowed and certainly, neither are dirt marks. For a guide on how to keep them that way, head over to Fashionista here.

But for some of us living in perpetual summertime, the white sneaker is a tempting trend to try – it’s classic and it looks so effortless. The inspiration for pairing it with a tulle skirt is pure whimsy on my part. I tried on this tulle skirt yesterday and immediately thought of white sneakers. I also happened to be wearing a white button down and it just seemed to work. Splurge or save on this trend, it’s entirely up to you.

By the way, check out my published post on Seeking Alpha here about fast fashion retailer H&M.

The List: White Sneakers

Guide to fall trends

Fashion, Trends

Compared to my guides to spring and summer trends, I’m finding it harder to encapsulate a guide to fall trends. Most likely because it’s my favorite time of the year and I find myself excited to try almost everything. Fall conjures cozy evenings with a lingering glow from summer – not just the atmosphere but in terms of how one feels inside out. Fall is the most visible sign of changing seasons with the explosion of color – well, unless you live in Miami like I do, then it’s a season like any other. But, you can see that I can truly go on and on about how much I enjoy the fall season. But I will have to restrain myself and stick to a few key trends that can also be worn together. Pardon me if I also sprinkle some accessories trends into the mix: pearls, the bucket bag, booties and ear cuffs/ear jackets.

Guide to fall trends
  1. Cobalt blue and cream. It’s such a rich color combination, yet so classic that anyone can wear this. The possibilities are almost endless (possibilities as applied to combinations of top, bottom, shoes, accessories are not truly endless, are they?).
  2. Chunky knit and leopard. We can all thank Phoebe Philo of Céline for making cozy knits so on-trend – her Fall 2014 collection were full of them. You can unearth some of these from your closet or update the look with on-trend colors such as pink, pale blue and grey. And how about them, leopard prints? Dress in head to toe (on second thought, maybe not) or use as an accent, it’s up to you.
  3. Stripes and relaxed denim. I mentioned nautical dressing in my guide to summer trends, but stripes still reign supreme. Paired with relaxed denim (stash those skinny jeans for now) and you’re ready for the weekend. These are your new closet staples.
  4. Checks and plaid. Did you know that there is an Instagram account dedicated to J. Crew’s gingham shirt? Now you do and right on time too because checks and plaids are in. Dress it up with some gold accents and a structured bag so you won’t feel like you’re going to a camp in the woods.

The overarching theme: dress for comfort. Bodycons, skinny jeans and stilettos look a little dated these days – let’s all say “hurray.”

The List: Button downs

Fashion, Trends, Wishlist

As we sail into mid-August (already?), I’m starting to look more into transitional dressing and button down shirts are perfect for this. This classic can add polish to this summer’s (and beyond) denim trend and can also dress down an outfit. Need proof? Recall Sharon Stone pairing a Gap white shirt from her husband’s closet with a Vera Wang evening skirt during the 1998 Oscar’s – that look is unforgettable and has been replicated more than a few times. The button down – it’s your new closet hero.

The List: Button downs

DKNY sleeveless top
net-a-porter.com

Rails shirts top
shopthetrendboutique.com

Pleated top
cosstores.com

Zara red top
zara.com

Topshop short sleeve shirt
$60 – topshop.com

Madewell clothing
madewell.com

The hottest handbag brands and confirmation bias

Fashion, News and commentaries, Trends

There are times when reports from respected institutions and backed by numbers confirm my gut feel for certain trends whether it’s a down or uptrend. But then, there is the Credit Suisse report abut the hottest handbag brands which goes against so many of my perceptions that I just had to share.

First I have to ask, have you ever heard of anyone waxing poetic about their Ralph Lauren bag? In all of my readings/observations – from blogs, newspaper lifestyle sections, fashion insiders at Instagram and Polyvore – I have *never* encountered a Ralph Lauren bag. But apparently, it is *the* hottest handbag at the moment. Vanessa Friedman (formerly of Financial Times, who I mentioned in this post before) of The New York Times reports that the hottest handbag brands are Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Michael Kors. Furthermore, “Calvin Klein is up 129% since January 2014 and up 166% year over year.” Meanwhile, Marc Jacobs, Kate Spade and Hermes are on the downtrend.

The report is a result of a partnership between Credit Suisse and social-media analytics platform NetBase. The study was conducted over a period of 27 months and analyzing over 200-million Internet pages.  According to Friedman, the report not only looked at mentions but also intensity of feeling – “love”, “like” – and also for negative comments.

I would be very interested to see how the report looked at context. For example, tagging a picture or a post can be optimized for search engine results rather than a representation of the message. For example, a picture on Instagram can be tagged several ways: #ootd (outfit of the day), #badass, #KateSpade, #shoes, #handbag. Would an analytics platform then classify this as negative and consider it as a mention of a Kate Spade handbag? I would love to see the original report and better yet, the raw data. More importantly, as Friedman points out, do these mentions translate into actual purchases?

In any case, the numbers are very interesting especially if I’m to embrace confirmation bias such as my belief that Coach is on the up-trend with the appointment of Stuart Vevers as new creative director. Incidentally, Coach stock is up since its earnings call yesterday, if only because the battering of Coach sales is not as bad as analysts have feared.

“Coach’s overall index score for June is below average at 4.36, but the brand has seen rapid growth in recent months, up 21% since January and up 69% year-over-year.” (Credit Suisse)

Guide to summer trends

Fashion, Trends

June 21 may be the official start of summer but the Fourth of July weekend for me is a much better marker. And as we all navigate the heat even all the way up to Canada, stay cool and refreshed in this guide to summer dressing.

1. White on white. It’s a bold trend to pull off but the rewards can be… rewarding. I am slowly working my way in to an all white outfit but I have to admit, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Too little contrast in accessories, and you’ll end up like a ghost. Too much contrast and you’ll end up trying too hard. The key is to play with shades and texture. Plus, wear it like you own it.

White on White

Être Cécile print top
$62 – thecorner.com

Cameo short shorts
$120 – eluxe.ca

Mango
mango.com

Melissa Odabash beach hat
net-a-porter.com

 

2. Denim shorts. In the wake of the #iwokeuplikethis trend, denim shorts, the epitome of I-don’t-care attitude are working their way into the summer wardrobe (good old denim in general). The more distressed they are, the better. Again, the key is contrast because you may humble-brag about “waking up like this” but do you really want to look like you just rolled off of bed?

Denim shorts

Sophie Hulme white top
$310 – net-a-porter.com

Stuart weitzman shoes
revolveclothing.com

Jade ring
ruegembon.com

3. The shirtdress. You have the option of going to the extreme end of dishevelment and just wear a man’s shirt as a dress or you can look for more refined options. The choice is entirely up to you.

 

Shirtdress

 

4. Nautical dressing. This is probably one of my favorites because you can have nautical elements all over and not look like a fool, though you might want to leave the captain’s hat at home. Trust me, I’m a captain. No, seriously, I do have a captain’s license and even captains leave their hats at home unless it’s a formal occasion.

Nautical style

 

Rag Bone t shirt
rag-bone.com

Vince wedge sandals
$430 – harveynichols.com

Tory Burch leather handbag
bloomingdales.com

Madewell hat
madewell.com

 

5. Summer slides. Started by Phoebe Philo of Celine for the Spring 2013 collection, it’s possible this trend may be played out by the end of summer (people may have too many bad memories of those Adidas slides and Birks?) but if you want to jump on, now is the time. Besides, they are comfortable, right?

 

Summer slides

Zara dress
zara.com

J Crew elbow sleeve sweater
factory.jcrew.com

Birkenstock strap sandals
lordandtaylor.com

Zara sandals
zara.com

Monsoon white sandals
monsoon.co.uk

The List: Summer Sandals

Fashion, Trends, Wishlist

Summer solstice, June 21 was last weekend and we can all lay back and enjoy the official start of summer. Although, for us here in Florida, it has felt like summer for more than 3 months. It always strikes me as funny when I see fashion magazines tout some footwear as summer essentials – ever heard of the summer boots? Yeah, well, if you’re like me who does *not* want to swelter in the heat, then the only way to do it in the summer (summer = 80+ degree weather, summer ≠ 70-75 degree weather) is to wear flat sandals. Here’s the list to get you on that less sweaty summer. And because ’tis the season, some are even on sale.

The list: Summer Sandals