This spring’s looks include high-waisted bottoms, flared pants and puffy sleeves.
That’s according to Sandy Edelstein, owner of Grove 121 in Bryn Mawr, who says that when she buys pieces for her boutique, she’s not thinking about the trends. She’s looking for pieces that she likes and that fit the lifestyles of her customers.
But trends influence the designers and determine what is available for each season. So even though trends should not be the most important consideration when choosing an outfit, Edelstein said, “trends become something that you can’t help but be aware of.”
This season, yellow and lavender are popular colors, Edelstein said, as are mixing different patterns in a single outfit.
When it comes to fit, flared pants — or bell-bottoms — have returned. Flared pants look flattering on women, Edelstein said. They elongate figures and balance out hips. High-waisted bottoms are also popular, especially for younger women.
One look Edelstein is particularly excited about this season is menswear-inspired clothing for women. This look, which might include a blazer with a more feminine silhouette, is right up Edelstein’s alley. She recently, for example, got a gray-and-white pinstripe suit for her store. The jacket nips in at the waist and the pants have a flared leg, giving it a more feminine twist.
“You think about almost men’s shirting but made in a feminine style, whether it be nipped in at the waist or having some kind of a cute detail that makes it different and cool,” Edelstein said. “That’s what I love doing anyways, taking classic things and mixing them up a little.”
Menswear-inspired clothing and flared pants are doing the best among her customers. High-waisted bottoms are doing well among younger women, while women over 40 are still preferring the mid-rise.
Elissa Bloom, executive director at the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator at Macy’s Center City, has noticed the menswear-inspired fashion trend as well.
It’s going in the other direction, too, she said, with men’s clothing looking a little more feminine.
“Men are wearing brighter colors and wearing florals,” Bloom said. “It used to be, I remember, that if a guy wore orange or a guy wore pink or purple, that was like, a huge big fashion statement. Now, it’s them wearing more florals or carrying a bag.”
Like Edelstein, Bloom said that what’s trendy is not the most important element of picking out an outfit. The more successful designers don’t look toward trends, she noted.
Consumers are also shopping differently than they have before, and they’re shopping less. In the age of Marie Kondo, Rent-the-Runway, consignment shops and clothing swaps, people invest less in their attire. When they do invest, they save up for that one-of-a-kind special piece to add to their wardrobe.
Some in the fashion industry are even starting to question whether fashion shows are becoming obsolete, Bloom said. Now, people see the new styles six to eight months before they hit the market, and by the time a trend gets to the stores, they’ve moved on to the next thing.
“You only wear like 20 percent of your closet,” Bloom said. “Eighty percent of the things in your closet, you don’t even wear. People don’t want to own or have all of that stuff anymore, and it frees them up to be more stylish and risk-taking in how they dress because they can experiment without having to invest in purchasing. That’s going to continue to be a trend.”
Social media is democratizing trends, Bloom said, and trends are coming from more places than ever before.
Part of that is more clothing targeted to underserved markets, such as clothing for people with disabilities or plus-sized clothing.
Pantsuits are becoming more popular, as are colors like pink and yellow.
There are also more Orthodox designers and fashion bloggers out there now, and Bloom has seen modest clothing, which cover the body but are still modern and feminine, becoming more popular all over the world — not just in the Jewish community.
When it comes to accessories, jewelry is becoming more bold, Bloom said. Women are choosing to wear one statement piece instead of multiple pieces of jewelry.
On the other hand, athleisure wear is going away. Instead of wearing athleisure, like yoga pants and shorts, while running errands after going to the gym, women are looking to have a wrap dress to layer over workout clothes. People are also moving away from fringes.
“Where do the trends come from?” Bloom said. “It used to come from the fashion shows, but now trends are everywhere. Trends come from streetstyle. They come from the music industry. They come from travel. All the French editors and British editors and Japanese editors are going to New York and looking look at trends, and all the New York editors are going to Japan and Milan and London looking for trends. It ends up being a mishmash of things that are out there in the global world marketplace that we’re living in.”
Joan Shepp, co-owner of Joan Shepp in Center City, said she’s noticing more color and mixed patterns, “like a dress might have plaids and checks, but it all seems to go together.” The increasingly popularity of color is especially noteworthy at a boutique like Joan Shepp, which tends to carry darker attire.
“Fashion is pretty exciting right now,” Shepp said.
Customers are buying a lot more hats now, Shepp said, in a variety of different styles. Mixed patterns, pleated skirts and new shapes are also popular.
“I’ve been in this business for over 45 years, and what’s exciting in this business is that things change,” Shepp said. “Some people want to go with the change, let’s say, short skirts to long skirts, or all kinds of different things. Some people like to dress as they have been most of their lives, and whatever makes them feel good is what they should be wearing.”
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