It’s official: I’m breaking my silence on trends.
If you’ve read my previous posts, you’re well aware of my cautious approach to trends. Trends have the nasty habit of reeling you in and spitting you out, running you around the hamster wheel of fashion. However, dabbling in trends is not an absolute “no” for me, provided the trendy piece is balanced with a few classic pieces in your look. When done right, incorporating a trendy piece can be the spark you need to find some inspiration to get your style out of a rut.
So buyer beware: these looks may just seem silly come September 2020. But as they say,
There is a certain kind of enmity Portlanders have toward animal print. When I mention it during client consultations as a possible pattern choice, the suggestion inevitably ends in retching, convulsions and eyes rolling permanently into the back of one's head and staying there until I have moved onto another question.
Animal print seems offensive to the Portland aesthetic, which is strange considering the kind of cat energy and kitty positivity that resides in this region. I believe that Peg Bundy of Married with Children is to blame for all of this. Often when women think of animal print, this kind of woman comes to mind:
Damn you Peg.
I get it. There is a certain kind of obvious sexuality (as noted in the shimmying and boob shaking) that animal print conjures. But I assure you, there is a very classy alternative.
First, when choosing a leopard print, I find that the less the print emulates the actual animal at hand, the classier the item is. I stay away from the deep brown and black prints and stick with tan and brown backdrops.
Second, the key to wearing something as bold as animal print and staying classy is to find it in a garment that is timeless and dare I say it, somewhat conservative. If you are on the fence with animal prints, I suggest easing into it by finding a cheetah midi printed cardigan or a fitted animal print pencil or pleated skirts. These timeless silhouettes work to balance the intensive pattern. For my look, I have paired a print cardigan with a fun pair of ripped jeans and a simple tank. The animal print cardigan serves as a fun pop of pattern and its intensity is further neutralized with a casual tank and jean ensemble. The beauty of animal print is that it may as well be considered a neutral as it plays nice with innumerable color palettes.
It used to be that the only people who could pull off tie dye were those from the baby boomer generation - as they practically wore this pattern as a second skin - and babies, because… well, babies are small and rotund and can do whatever they damn well please. But alas, the heavens have opened and have poured forth a new style opportunity for you.
While catwalkers are parading about in this and suggesting you do the same, here is a wearable way to adapt this trend. The key again to wearing tie dye is all about balance. The vibrations of tie dye are whimsical and ooze all things hippie - it practically begs for structure. To wear tie dye without looking like you are about to head over to a Woodstock reunion, look for this pattern in tailored and structured ensembles, such as button-ups or blazers. When it comes to color, I recommend avoiding the typical reds, yellows and greens and instead going for more muted tones like blue and white. Here I have a tie dye chambray that brings fun to an otherwise snooze-worthy button-up. To play with this outfit, I like to pair it with a simple black skirt and body suit and I am off to the races!
Stripe, Floral, Embroidery and Lace? Yes, you can have your cake and eat 3 other differently textured cookies too. It seems the trend of mashing up patterns in one ensemble is rearing its head again. For a pattern lover like myself, this trend is elating to my style sensibilities. This mash-up trend is the best way to get out of any style rut. If you are bored of your wardrobe and can’t decide between leopard or polka dot, there is no better balm for your style soul than a patterned mash-up dress - it will do all the blending and patterning on your behalf. The mix up of patterns may very well breathe new inspiration into a less than awe inspiring wardrobe. If you are curious but simultaneously on the fence with the idea of a pattern mash up, there is no better neutralizer than the beloved jean jacket. With this pairing, you can play with pattern while a neutral jean jacket ensures a bit of style safety and brings balance to your look.
The Trend Is Your Friend?
Now please, understand I am not saying your wardrobe should now consist of cheetah tie-dyed mash-up dresses from here on out. Building a capsule wardrobe based on the classics is the smart way to go when crafting an affordable, stylish and practical wardrobe. But sprinkling in these trendy pieces can help alleviate some of the boredom that may accompany wearing the classics too often. So carpe diem and let out a happy “meeeoowww” next time you find yourself in cheetah!