Pleated and shirred skirts and trousers are back in style, and I don’t know about you, but I look terrible in them even though I like the styling.
It seems the secret to wearing these if you have a fuller figure is to look for a dropped waistline.
I have had my head down developing some new freelance projects and haven’t had a lot of time to think about much else. Also, my sister is getting married in a few weeks so there’s that.
I have been thinking a lot about creativity, specifically my own creativity and how I seem to have misplaced that spark in the day to day work of keeping food on the table and a roof over my head. Even though I now work in a field that is supposedly more creative, the work I’m doing is just as administrative as ever. I think Thomas Edison meant this when he said,”Success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration.”
When I’m in a rut I go back and read Hugh MacLeod’s manifesto “How to be Creative”, which lays out the process very well. But at the beginning of any creative venture, there’s the terrifying moment of facing the empty dot paper. David Seah calls this “The Blankness” and I think everyone is intimidated by this.
The only strategy I have ever been able to successfully implement in this area is doing whatever I feel like doing to get warmed up. This usually takes the form of improv piecing, which I can do without thinking and is very relaxing. Breaking free of the pressure to do something of value helps clear my mind and find a little more direction.
An old friend of mine used to say “write drunk, edit sober”, which is a short way of saying “just get started”. Getting started is the most challenging part.
Another big retail trend we are seeing are people who used to buy high-end goods shopping at discount stores. Some of this is due to this group of shoppers being more conscious of their cash flow, but many of these are people who find themselves in reduced circumstances.
These shoppers are bringing a taste and sophistication to lower-end shopping.
Missoni and Liberty for Target
Vera Wang for Kohl’s
My sister is getting married an I’ve been trying on a lot of dresses, which has got me thinking about silhouettes. Silhouettes are the basic shapes of garments that affect the way they look on the body.
Have you ever noticed how many empire-waisted bridesmaid dresses there are?
I am fascinated with the fit of pants. Mostly because they are the most difficult garments to fit, I only wear pants, and as a result, I like to understand what a good fitting pair of pants looks like.
Most of us will not know what that is, because women’s pants sold today do not fit.
These cute Banana Republic cropped chinos do not fit the model. See those wrinkles in the front spreading out from the fly? That means the hips have been cut too narrow.
Bad fitting pants are all over the website. Here’s another one.
Another cute pair of chinos that don’t fit the model. Here, you can see from the bagginess in the crotch that the front crotch curve was cut too long.
There are more fit problems on the BR website, but I won’t point them out here. Let’s just say “cameltoe” and leave it at that.
I don’t want to be overly critical here. One of the issues with making mass-produced clothing is that you cannot make a garment that fits everyone. Sometimes you have to settle for 80% and be ok with that. However, these are the photos that are selling the clothes, and they don’t look that good.
I’m not just going to pick on BR. Brooks brothers has these $118 chinos that are cut too narrow in the seat. You can tell by the diagonal wrinkles going down the model’s legs:
But it’s not all bad news. Brooks Brother’s label Black Fleece has these beautifully fitting pants:
And the back:
See? Virtually wrinkle free, hangs straight and gracefully. All for the reasonable price of $375
Hanger appeal is a very important but difficult to imagine concept in merchandising. It means that a garment that looks beautiful on a model looks blah on a hanger. This can be a serious issue since unless you are selling your merchandise through a catalog or a fashion show, your customer’s first encounter with your clothes will be on a hanger, or folded on a fixture.
Here’s an example from one of my all-time favorite brands, Humanoid:
It’s really hard to imagine what this dress would look like on a person. It actually looks like this:
Which has a very different presentation. If I saw the first picture, I probably would have passed up this dress.
Everyone interested in starting their own line, or even just developing a distinct personal style, should have an inspiration file. This is a place where you collect pictures of styles, color schemes, and even just people or things you think are stylish or inspirational.
I have been using Pinterest for this, because it’s easy to just pin up stuff from the web.
Stylesight has a tumblr with fantastic inspirational images.