Monthly Archives: August 2008

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Fall 2008 Color Predictions

The fall clothes are already in the stores, but it’s not yet Labor Day so I’m going to say that I’m not yet late with my fall 2008 color predictions. These are not necessarily the colors the fashion industry is trying to foist upon us. Rather, these are the colors that I think people will gravitate to most. (For example, it doesn’t matter that there are a lot of pumpkin-colored sweaters in the stores right now because I expect most of those to be hanging on the clearance racks come November.)

These colors aren’t just for clothing: they’re the ones I think you’ll want to surround yourself with in napkins, wrapping paper, nail polish, flowers, rugs, soap, etc. because they just somehow feel right right now.

Fall 2008 Prediction
Color by COLOURlovers

  • Teal: We’ve had about 15 years to recover from the teal binge of the late 80s/early 90s and it’s time for this lovely color to make a comeback. Sadly, it doesn’t render well on a computer screen. Imagine it bolder and richer, with a little more green. Surprisingly, teal hasn’t really taken off yet (it’s not as easy to find in stores as, say, purple), so I predict that anything you buy now will wear well for at least a couple more years.
  • Dark Gray: Ubiquitous on the runways, goes with everything, and flattering on more people than stark black.
  • Light Gray: Gray is everywhere this season, so it’s worth having some variety in shades. Don’t stop with dark and light, try medium gray, too. You don’t have to limit yourself to a palette of 5 colors like I did.
  • Plum: From a blueish to a more magenta-ish hue, plum (dark, rich purple) is very current. This is one of the fashion industry picks that I think people will actually warm up to.
  • Gold: Another color that doesn’t render well on the computer screen; you’ll just have to imagine that it’s metallic. I believe that gold jewelry, gold accessories, even gold nail polish will appeal to a large number of people this fall.

Skin Deep

The first time I met Robin, I immediately disliked her. When I walked into our young singles Sunday school class for the first time, I thought she was one of the most beautiful women I’d ever met. She was well-dressed and seemed to really have it all together. I assumed we had nothing in common and would never get along.

Over the next few months, I got to know her better. I discovered that although she looked perfect, she was also a real person who got in car accidents and had trouble finding decent guys to date and complained about her job. And she was a good person, too, who really cared about her friends and family. So why had my first impression of Robin been so negative?

9th grade school pictureBack in grade school, the popular people were the fashion trendsetters for our little school district. They were the first to wear Guess jeans and all the other status name brands of the day (Esprit, Forenza, Op, Banana Republic). Their hair was perfectly permed and highlighted.

I was not a part of the popular crowd. Nor did I want to be: As a group, they came across as shallow and silly and mean. I really liked the friends I had and wouldn’t have traded them for anything. So when it happened one day in seventh grade that I wore the exact same outfit to school as one of the popular girls, I was probably more embarrassed about it than she was. I did not want to be like them, and I didn’t want anyone to think I was trying to be like them.

I felt that I knew that society in general seemed to value the popular types more, with their good grooming and fashion choices. Even so, I rebelled from that aesthetic. I probably ended up selling myself short – I never saw myself as pretty or even beautiful, but rather average-looking. I was OK with average though, since pretty carried with it the baggage of popularity and meanness and, according to some stereotypes, stupidity.

I know my lack of care for my appearance probably drove my mom crazy. In high school, she had to remind me to brush my hair almost every morning and beg me to wear at least a little makeup to school dances. At the same time, she had to keep me from making sometimes bizarre fashion choices as I strove to find my own individual style. I remember one time in particular when she vetoed my wearing a belt as a skirt (in my defense, it was a really wide belt).

Over time, I supposed I developed a chip on my shoulder. I refused to conform to the slick, stylish society ideal — I still didn’t want anyone to think I was like "those people" — yet I also insisted that I not be regarded as a lesser person because of it. I moved forward through college and beyond with confidence in myself and my abilities. I learned how to mimic some of the styling techniques pretty people used because I saw how they could be useful in certain situations, but it was really never more than play-acting, putting on a costume to achieve an effect.

I’m glad that I became friends with Robin. She taught me not to judge people based solely on their looks. But the fact that I need to constantly remind myself of that lesson just goes to show that the chip is still on my shoulder, that I am still inherently suspicious of anyone who looks too good, and that I’m still daring the world to think less of me because I won’t conform.

The Fall of the Empire

Laura over at Flypaper points out that the empire waist trend seems to be ending, and that many designers are introducing drop-waist styles for fall. For me personally, the timing couldn’t be better. Yes, I will be wearing some empire waist styles by necessity between now and January, but after that, I look forward to embracing the dropped waist.

Why do I like this style so much? Done right, drop-waist styles can not only hide a thick waist but also camouflage short legs. Since my waist, hips, and thighs are all about the same width, any garment that makes it unclear where one stops and the other starts gives the illusion that underneath my drop-waist cardigan hides an extra 3 inches of legs and an hourglass figure. Or, at least not a waist as wide as mine actually is, or as wide as mine will actually be for a few months until I’ve lost the baby weight.

The Touch, the Feel…

Thanks to a tip from the Shop Tart, I went to check out the big sale at Van Jean this week. I found two tunic sweaters on their clearance rack that I really liked. (Yes, I was shopping for winter sweaters on the hottest day of the year so far. They were 90% off!) The first one was royal blue and looked fuzzy. I picked it up to get a closer look and immediately knew that I probably shouldn’t buy it, as cute as it was: it didn’t feel soft and fuzzy at all, it actually felt kind of rough. I checked the tag and confirmed my suspicions: 50% mohair, 40% nylon, 10% silk. The gray sweater, while less spectacular-looking, had the weight of cotton and felt soft to the touch. Its tag said 100% Merino wool.

Even though I knew better, I tried on both sweaters. The blue one was horribly itchy and I couldn’t wait to take it off. The gray one was light, warm, and comfortable, and I ended up buying it.

wool fabric

My husband likes to make fun of me when I feel compelled to touch interesting-looking fabrics as we walk through a store, but I think it’s important to cultivate a good sense of touch when it comes to clothes. Just like it’s important to know what colors and styles look good on you, it helps to know which fabrics you prefer. It can help you sort through the racks at large discount and thrift stores more efficiently and find gems you might otherwise have overlooked. Knowing the names of the yarns and fabrics you like is also helpful when you’re shopping online and can’t touch the clothes in person.

Take a look at the tags of your favorite clothes and see what they’re made of. Next time you’re out shopping, go ahead and feel fabrics before you try anything on – look at the tags if you find anything you particularly like or dislike. I know that I’m so much happier when I’m wearing clothes that both look good and feel good.

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