Runway-Inspired looks for a fashionable summer

Photography by Penny & Finn • Hair by Joshua Vasquez, Evolve hair studio

Every September and February, the who’s-who in fashion converge in Manhattan for front-row seats at what has become the Super Bowl of the fashion industry — Fashion Week. To many of you this is as foreign as it gets and perhaps registers only a buzz word recalled from late-night Pinterest perusing and Twitter feeds. Safe to say, Fashion Week is probably not something that rates high on your bucket list. But to a starry-eyed fashion student one freezing afternoon in February 2007, it meant everything.

I had the opportunity to take a seat among all of the fashion editors, bloggers, and designers I looked up to. I felt the insane adrenaline rush as the lights went down, the buzzing crowd grew silent, and the music started. While my vantage point was not from the front row, I will never forget the awe-inspiring emotions as I witnessed the detailed works of art saunter effortlessly down the dimly lit runway or the way the luxurious fabrics caught the hint of light from the photographer’s flash. To be up close and personal with the handiwork of Vera Wang, one of the great designers of our time, is an imprint in my memory I hope to someday repeat. If you ever get the chance to attend a show at New York Fashion Week, or the couture shows in Paris — take it. Better yet, take me! I promise, you will never look at a garment the same way. But be duly warned; you’re likely to morph into a fashion geek like me.

It was a bohemian rhapsody with globally inspired looks, an artistic explosion with museum-worthy pieces, floral prints with major attitude, abstract turned up a notch, and wordplay with graphic poetry plastered across garments

Other than the exhilarating experience, another take-away from Fashion Week is a first-hand glimpse into the next season’s trends. Whether watching the shows live or streaming them online, you’ll begin to notice the recurring styles and themes popping up on the runways from New York to Paris. These are the looks that will make their way into production and onto the racks and into your closet by spring.

At last September’s shows, designers delivered a wide array of styles and trends for Spring/Summer 2014: wide-leg, culotte-style pants; high-waisted trousers; menswear-inspired tuxedo pants and bomber jackets; Oxford button-downs completely remixed; pastel everything; feminine skirts in midi and tea lengths; bold crop tops; earth tones; fringe; sweaters; collarless and boxy-style jackets; pleats galore; and sheer paneling to name a few. It was a bohemian rhapsody with globally inspired looks, an artistic explosion with museum-worthy pieces, floral prints with major attitude, abstract turned up a notch, and wordplay with graphic poetry plastered across garments. These are just a handful of the multitude of trends that graced the Spring/Summer 2014 runways.

The following five trends are some of the heavy hitters and some of the better options for wearability. Follow these tips and pictorial examples on how to work these looks into your own spring/ summer wardrobe.

TREND 1: INNER ARTIST

UntitledDesigners’ printed pieces took an unexpected turn this spring with abstract prints and brushstroke-quality florals taking center stage. Surrealist works of art, graffiti walls, and poetic compositions came to life on spring runways, while daydreams of tropical getaways and fields of blooming flowers were taken into consideration as designers showcased painterly petals and tropical-inspired pieces. So whether you want to put a little spring in your step with abstract floral heels or tropical pants, or make a statement in poetic verse, you’ll find an array of styles out there from which to choose.

HOW TO WEAR IT

As with any bold print, keep the rest of your look simple, allowing the print to stand alone, front and center. Or, get courageous and mix your florals. Just be sure to watch the scale and color. I like to go with a smaller print on top and bigger on bottom. Not feeling that bold? Go smaller in scale on both, and break up the print with a solid color jacket, blazer, or cardigan. On our model we paired a bold floral skinny jean with a darker tee, which complements the lighter-colored print. We completed the look with a white blazer.

TREND 2: CROPPING UP

women'sstyle-40While crop tops made a huge appearance on runways as one of the season’s biggest trends, my New Year’s resolution to get to the gym did not have as much staying power. Therefore, I will not be partaking in this trend. While not for everyone, it certainly plays well with some of this season’s other hot looks: high-waisted, wide-leg trousers and exaggerated-volume midi and tea-length skirts.

HOW TO WEAR IT

Watch the proportion. High-waisted pants and voluminous skirts work best with a fitted crop. Not feeling bold or buff enough? Try it with a higher-waisted pant or skirt that doesn’t show much midriff. You can also pair the top with a jacket that distracts from the middle and keeps things a bit more conservative.

In our example here, you will once again see combined trends, as the crop combines the artistic floral trend as well. Our model wears a longer, more boxy-cut crop, paired with a boyfriend jean for a more doable, casual, summer-weekend look.

TREND 3: YOUR BOYFRIEND’S BACK

women'sstyle-5While each season sees its share of gentlemanly influence, this season saw more than just tuxedo pants, Oxford lace, and poplin button-downs. A sporty influence also showed up in vast quantities, with the return of the varsity bomber jacket, mesh wear, oversized sweatshirts, and athletic pants and shorts. And — wait for it — denim overalls are back!

While I like taking cues here and there from our male counterparts, I gravitate much more toward the feminine aesthetic. However, the classic white button-down that dominated spring runways made me very, very giddy. I’m not sure there’s a sexier, more versatile piece of clothing out there. But the designers didn’t stop there. This classic piece was reinvented into shirt dresses, unique pullovers, and shift blouses.

HOW TO WEAR IT

When it comes to sporty attire, add pieces sparingly. A head-to-toe athletic look can verge on looking costumey. Add feminine qualities to balance out this look. For instance, layer a varsity bomber over a floral sheath dress or pants and tee. Pair a silk blouse with athletic pants or shorts.

As far as trends go, quintessential menswear pieces, such as wide-leg trousers and Oxfords, have the most staying power. These items repeat every couple of seasons, so it’s safe to invest in them. Pair your Oxford lace-ups with skinnies or boyfriend jeans, or even your pleated midi skirts.

For your classic white button-down, dress it up Carolina Herrera style, worn with a skirt or pants, taking it as far as black tie, or dress it down with denim or tied over a maxi dress. As styled here on our model, we went with a dressier approach. It doesn’t get much more effortless than this. Paired with an accordion-pleated midi skirt, shirt partially tucked in, and black peep-toe booties to offset the conservative look with some edge, it’s the perfect look for the office or lunch.

TREND 4: PASTEL PERFECTION

women'sstyle-55On the runway, soft pastels are all the rage this spring, with pinks, blush tones, and lilac leading the pack. Keep your mint green from last spring front and center; it’s back as another strong player, as are coral and baby blue. Fortunately, designers created some chic, tailored pastel pieces, such as sleek pencil skirts, tailored blazers, and cropped jackets. This way, the color won’t create an overwhelmingly cutesy, Easter egg–inspired look.

HOW TO WEAR IT

If solid pastel pieces are worn together, make sure to break up the look with a neutral- or bold-colored jacket or cardigan. For example, wear a camel trench over a violet- or peach-colored head-to-toe look. A palette cleansing from all of the bold prints spring has to offer with a soft look via earthy, neutral tones can be a refreshing take. Our model wears an example of this look — a soft blush tone paired with a neutral olive harem pant. This outfit can be paired with a jacket for a more.

TREND 5: DAINTY DARLINGS

women'sstyle-72If girly-girl is your style, you’ll certainly be on trend this season. Whether you’re pretty in pleats or lovely in lace, chiffon, silk, tulle, or organza, you’ll have multiple styles of skirts and dresses from which to choose. Designer offerings of a more whimsical, softer, flowing silhouette give a nod to classic femininity. If femme fatale is more your speed, then sheer pieces, silk jumpsuits, and racy lace numbers are also in abundance this season.

HOW TO WEAR IT

For a feminine look, we chose all-over pleats with a raspberry-colored pleated maxi dress. While we went simplistic and let the dress stand alone with limited jewelry, you could really dress it up or down. Add a denim or leather jacket or vest for some contrast and to dress it down. Add statement earrings and metallic heels for a dressier look.