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Fashion & Design

The Radical and Reserved

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Believe it or not, the expression “looking like you got dressed in the dark” is now a desired aesthetic. Designers Michael Kors, Versace, Roberto Cavalli, and the like, are clashing bold, distracting prints with little, if not zero regard for what “goes” with what. Plaids with florals, polka dots, and herringbone; layer up. If you leave the house looking like a walking pile of laundry, then you’ve achieved true trendsetter status. There are only so many times you can claim you’re going for “avant-garde” before people start to doubt your competency to put an outfit together. However, the underlying theme here is to have fun with your style, and remember that fashion “rules” are meant to be broken.

Confidence is a woman’s best accessory, and mixing and matching some wild pieces can be exhilarating. For example, a fully ruffled outfit may not be that practical, but one piece on its own is enough to make any ensemble truly unique. In this anything-goes trend, get creative and consider taking a “splice and dice” approach; try pairing an oversized denim jacket with lots of patches, or a mini skirt with tulle overlay. Speaking of denim, go acid wash or ultra-bleached; deep indigo is out this season.

Juicy, pigmented fruit and jewel tones are on trend for summer, but not sundresses – suit up instead. Moving away from fluid, baggy-fitting garments, we’re getting back into structured, well-tailored silhouettes. An easy way to achieve a sleek, professional look is to pair a snug leotard with some sharp trousers – preferably belted around the waist to accentuate your curves. If you’re looking for a more casual approach, a great-fitting pair of “mum” jeans will also provide a high-waisted, flattering shape. Add the blazer from your colorful suit, and you’ve got a stunning day-time combination.

Another great alternative and a must have in your wardrobe, is a modern utility jumpsuit. Many fashion blogs refer to them as “boiler suits”, custodial in nature but tremendously chic. See Stella McCartney’s cream creation, adorned with a dozen zipper details. Hermes, being Hermes, decided to out-shine the pack. While most of these suits came out in earth tones, the handbag giant gave us vivid, cherry red. If you’re looking for a suit that’s minimal in design, consider a stylish flight suit from the Toronto-based brand Horses Atelier. Practical and comfortable, jumpsuits are an easy outfit for all occasions.

Neutrals are the counter-culture this summer; the conservative clap back to the loud and ostentatious. An interesting phenomenon occurred this past fall when animal print saturated every avenue of our closets. The usual reaction to such retro overkill was almost totally absent, and the masses welcomed it in spades. So, spurred on by this nod to nostalgia, designers leaned all in, giving us more of what we wanted — shoulder pads, scrunchies and neon galore. As we transition into the warmer months, the spectators of this retina-searing resurgence are taking a stand. We saw several influencers and celebrities doing their very best to anti-peacock at the runway shows, stepping out in shades of beige. If this “coffee-mate” look is too much for you, try adding a pop of color with your accessories.

When it comes to swimwear, the hot trends right now are riding in camps similar to above. First, you’ve got your Baywatch throw-back with high cut bottoms, vivid colors and barely-there tops. VDM the Label showcased some of the most retro designs with varsity-inspired stripes on their ultra v-shaped bottoms. Trending colors include yellow, lavender, red, neon pink and dayglow green. On the flipside to the “dental floss” bikinis, rash guard-style, long sleeve one pieces are becoming more popular than ever, and nudes are also very on-trend for summer swimwear. Don’t be afraid to add a belt to your one-pieces, when you’re not doing the backstroke of course, this look is for at the bar or evening beach parties. And be sure to replace your sporty visor with an oversized, floppy, straw hat.

Lastly, to step out in style this summer requires proper footwear. Try elevating your slides with a statement pair that are really “out there”, like Mules from Chloe; chunky, snakeskin and bright purple. When it comes to pumps and sandals this season, all eyes are on the heel. Sculptural, abstract heels are all the rage, from spherical to cubist, bejeweled to transparent; this is definitely where the real show is going on. In the winter months, we saw an emergence of the pearled heel, and while this is heading in the right direction, the summer sandals are going to be much more artistic. With an air of baroque nobility, embroidery comes in strong alongside feather detailing as some of the daintiest of footwear adornments.

Confidence is a woman’s best accessory, and mixing and matching some wild pieces can be exhilarating
– Alicia McNamara

The flood gates are open, and the garish sport shoe trend is bursting. There’s no turning back; the “dad” sneaker is here to stay. The only way forward is more color, more print and less regard for where the line should be drawn. Roberto Cavalli sent his models down the runway wearing what can only be described as an interpretation of something one might wear if they were jogging on the moon. Big, flared out, white runners covered in metallic silver foil. While some might argue that this footwear is “runway exclusive”, celebrities and trendsetters would vehemently disagree. Dozens of fashion week attendees were spotted sporting over-the-top athletics, in a wide variety of bright colors and animal prints. In the spirit of DIY, you could add almost anything to your runners these days and claim it’s trendy.

Our favourite sunny season for fashion is upon us, so get out there and have fun. The true savants of style are those who embrace all the quirks and twists that the creative world thrusts upon us. In the end, what you’re wearing is meaningless, unless it makes you smile.

Photo Credits: Michael Romerio