5 Ways to Stay Ahead of the Fashion Curve

Are we really going to wait six months to start wearing the fall 2017 runway looks?

We are a nation of impatient people. We dismiss potential suitors with a swipe of the finger, use apps to skip takeout lines and pay extra for same-day delivery. Sometimes just the extra five seconds it takes for a webpage to load can feel a little more like Dante’s Ninth Circle of Hell than we want to admit. So, are we really going to wait another six months to start wearing the looks we just fell for on the fall 2017 runways? Not a chance. Here are five fall trends to adopt right this second.

 

Be Slick

Isn’t it just like fashion to gloss over the important things? During the fall 2017 shows just ended, some of the most striking ensembles — from Proenza Schouler, Louis Vuitton, Stella McCartney — owed their appeal to shiny patent leather and vinyl. Once most closely associated with sex shops and dominatrixes, the shiny stuff gives a hit of subversive sexiness to an otherwise covered-up moment in fashion. For summer, many designers thoughtfully worked with high-shine coated cotton to get the look without it lacking breathability.

Bags Are Busy

If a little is good, more is better. Labels like Dolce & Gabbana, Versace and Chanel sent purses down the fall runway embellished with more gewgaws than your Great-Aunt Gussie’s. That busyness is a push away from logo-laden bags of the recent past, and even further away from the well-mannered minimalist styles that for a time were signifiers of a quiet kind of luxury. Onward, as they say.

Embrace Springtime Plaid

Plaid emerged as one of the most pervasive trends on the fall 2017 runways. While much of it was gray, even a little dour — perfect, in other words, for blustery fall excursions — there were still plenty of pale checks suitable for spring. Stick to the mustard color family, and you won’t feel out of place come summer.

Be Clear

An unlikely star of fall 2017? Transparent outerwear, most notably employed, to devastating effect, at Raf Simons’s debut collection for Calvin Klein. In another surprising twist, the outerwear is perhaps best suited for spring showers and happily exists at wallet-friendly prices in stores now.

 

Stitching Stands Out

It’s a small detail, but it makes a big difference: Contrast stitching on pockets, necklines and pants legs adds a graphic note to streamlined shapes. And since labels like Louis Vuitton, Ellery and Vanessa Seward ran with the look for fall, it will also keep you ahead of the curve when the temperatures drop.

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Identities Affirmed with Gender-Bending Wedding Apparel

Local Tux Shop Owners Understand Glitter and Tulle Isn’t for Everyone

When Birdie Buckley-Ball was planning to walk down the aisle with her wife Megan, she never even considered wearing a dress. But a dearth of clothing tailored to women with Buckley-Ball’s taste, as well as butch women, transgender men, and gender non-conforming individuals has made finding a tuxedo or a suit to properly fit their bodies challenging and expensive.

“I always wear clothes that make me feel comfortable and make me confident,” Buckley-Ball explained. “For me, that was always pants and shirts. So for your big day you want to feel confident, so I decided on pants and a dress shirt. I also had the bow tie and vest. Just no jacket. We got married in September and it was already hot enough.”

Though Buckley-Ball makes it sound easy breezy, there are challenges for those individuals who want to wear tuxedos and suits to their wedding ceremonies. Not every person, depending on their measurements, can rent a tux as often the bustline makes standard alterations inadequate.

That means they would have to buy a custom-fitted suit, something that can be quite costly. While opting to go without a jacket, Buckley-Ball did simplify things. But still there were issues.

“I rented a tux, and the funny thing is it was easy,” she said. “But the people took my measurements as if I was a guy. So when I did try on the shirt it fit me perfectly fine in the neck and that was it. So the clerk, she realized at the time that she didn’t take the right measurements. Eventually, she found me a shirt that was a little too big. But it was my own fault for not getting a custom-fitted shirt.”

The dilemma for many butch women, transgender men and gender non-conforming individuals is finding a shop where they feel welcome and respected, and a clerk adept at the differences between fitting women and men’s bodies.

“It is complicated for women to get tuxes,” said Buckley-Ball. “If you go to a place and they’re not comfortable with women wearing tuxes then they’re going to be uncomfortable. And they’re going to be uncomfortable with you.”

More and more, the formal wear industry is catching on to the demand for gender-bending clothing designs. In metro Detroit, there are places like 1701 Bespoke and the Tux Shop on Woodward that are trying to make the process a little less complicated for everyone to find the perfect tuxedo or suit.

Jeff Nelson of the Tux Shop has been helping members of the LGBT community look the way they feel for some time now. He admits it’s still something of a challenge, but that there are more options now than ever for those who want to wear a tux or suit.

“It’s the difference between what’s rental and what’s purchase only,” said Nelson. “Even years ago there were ladies tuxedos but they were for purchase only and still are for the most part. I think with more options with fit and style it kind of helps fit women better. Everyone’s still got their own taste and desire as far as styling. If I can successfully fit a woman in men’s clothing then we’ll go for it. Otherwise they’re just left to buy and get a tailor.”

The Buckley-Ball couple, Megan and Birdie, at the Joe Louis Arena on their wedding day, Sept. 28, 2012. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

Nelson said that starting this spring the Tux Shop will begin carrying a line of tuxedos designed specifically for a female’s body, which is an exciting option for cisgender women and feminine lesbians also that choose to say ‘no’ to the dress. The line is called Little Black Tux and is by designer David Tuterra. But still, the line will be for purchase only.

For those that still want to rent, Nelson points to a few options.

“I had two ladies wear whitetail coats to their wedding last year and they fit well,” Nelson said. “Just the sleeves needed to be altered. But the overall fit was pretty good because the tail coats didn’t need to be buttoned.”

Tail coats not your thing? Well, don’t give up just yet.

“I’ll still successfully outfit women,” said Nelson. “There’ll be ladies I’ll meet this Sunday at the Expo and depending on the shape, the cut, maybe they’ve had experience wearing men’s clothes before, I know I can successfully fit them. With today’s cuts, the slim fits to low rise, I usually can fit them. If they’re looking for something else we’re going to steer them toward buying something.”

Even if the process can be a little complicated, Buckley-Ball said it’s worth it to be able to walk down the aisle feeling confident and comfortable.

“I’m seeing that more people, like my friends and people that I know who are LGBT, are going the more comfortable route,” she said. “They throw out their traditions because there really isn’t a traditional wedding for the LGBT community. This is new. So we got to do it as we wanted to do it and no family or friends could say ‘well tradition calls for this…’ Because we were making up tradition as we went along.”

 

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The Radical Anti-Fashion of Marilyn Monroe

 

Photo: Baron/Getty Images

It’s hard to imagine Marilyn Monroe attending Fashion Week, wearing the requisite front-row grimace, flanked by Beyoncé and Anna Wintour. She’d be too busy directing a play, falling in love, or reading a story by Colette, her waterlogged smartphone long forgotten, drowned in a tub at the Waldorf-Astoria, useless but impeccably scented with Chanel No. 5. Because as much as she valued that celebrated body, Marilyn valued her mind far more.

That might be surprising given the iconic photos of Marilyn Monroe in the dresses she made so famous. The Barbie-gloss pink of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Travilla’s halter from The Seven Year Itch, white pleats blowing up over a grate on Lexington and 51st. That bugle-spangled flesh dress from 1962, singing a drugged-up blowsy “Happy Birthday Mr. President” to a cigar-smoking JFK, just weeks before she died. This Jean Louis–designed dress — which recently sold for a record-breaking $4.81 million — meant absolutely nothing to Marilyn. She could (and did) wear anything she wanted, but her favorite wardrobe “pieces” were bedsheets, bathrobes, and the occasional black slip.

Any quick perusal of Marilyn’s off-duty moments leads to one obvious conclusion — she wore the same few things all the time. A skintight slip in slipper-satin black, one rogue strap fastened with a borrowed safety pin. A summer halter of crocheted black-and-white harlequin, worn day after day on Fire Island, building sandcastles with her friends’ kids, shucking clams, drinking cans of cold beer with her friend Norman Rosten. By August, it would be stiff with salt and sand. A white bathrobe worn on Manhattan’s hotel rooftops, smoking cigarettes near the ledge, belt tied in the back like a sash. (She had a standing order from the Bullock’s Wilshire at $18.75 a pop.)

Marilyn’s philosophy toward fashion mirrored her lifelong quest — to find and honor her deepest self. She needed to be understood — she needed to be seen — and the garments she turned to again and again were extensions of her authenticity. By giving press interviews in her terrycloth bathrobe, pouring mimosas for the journalists, fresh from her bath and makeup-free but drenched in perfume, she was shouting: “This is me, love me or leave me.”

In an age where women’s hair skewed complex and baroque, Marilyn showed up to movie premieres looking fluffed-up and windblown, in platinum pompadours more tousled than James Dean’s. Friends begged her to brush out her bedhead, which she did rarely, and then only with a gold-plated hairbrush given to her by Frank Sinatra. She hated anything fussy or prissy, refused to wear jewelry, and stuck to a neutral palette — an invisible backdrop to her own pearly beauty. In the wasp-waisted, Dior-dominated ‘50s, Marilyn went back to basics: she went braless, skipped girdles, and commissioned custom-made, simple black slips from a beloved tailor in New York City. She found a template she liked and ordered copies by the dozen, in identical forms and varying fabrics, some matte, some faille, some velveteen, all in black.

Marilyn’s love of familiar staples went deeper than the desire for efficient simplicity. Her hourglass curves weren’t easy to dress, especially in the strapped in, corseted, unforgiving fifties. Hobble skirts and tight angora looked shlumpy without shapewear, which cramped Marilyn’s style. She looked miserable forced into twisted tweed skirts, scratchy sweaters over conical bras, ditsy flowerpots perched inanely on her head. If her sleepwear consisted of Chanel No. 5, this was due to her abhorrence of culottes and “creepy nightgowns,” which bunched inevitably at night round her thighs. “I have never been able to wear pajamas,” she told Pageant magazine in 1952. “They disrupt my sleep.”

Plagued by garments that tormented her, shopping was pure torture for Marilyn, who loathed struggling with skirts in the dressing room of Saks, bloated from Coca-Colas or too many iron pills. Fashion-conscious friends were appalled at her wardrobe. They tried to help her, urging her to try the next size up, grabbing stacks of chic sheaths and simple skirt suits, but she would never wear them.

But Marilyn was nothing if not democratic, and her wardrobe was entirely consistent with her values. Anyone could buy a simple black slip — Marilyn herself had them made by Eighth Avenue dressmakers. Anyone could afford a trench coat from JAX. At a time when Hollywood’s finest swanned around in gowns designed by European aristocrats with hard-to-pronounce names, Marilyn was thoroughly modern. By recycling the same few pieces, skipping the diamonds, and sticking to sportswear, she broke class barriers, and the golden wall dividing Hollywood from its audience.

And it wasn’t an audience Marilyn craved as she hurried down the subway steps to the platform of Grand Central. It was anonymity — which she found in the way of a soft mohair camel coat plucked from the floor, spritzed with a generous dose of Chanel. She wore it like a security blanket, draped protectively round her shoulders as she wove her way through the mid-morning swarm, stopping at a kiosk for coffee and the Post. Unafraid and unnoticed, she caught the next subway, smiling to herself among the crowd who silently loved her back.

7 Women-Run Fashion Brands Everyone Should Support

Female-empowered brands are real and, more importantly, thriving. Read through to learn about the badass women in the fashion industry who not only founded their own lines, but use them to push women forward.

Kate Spade New York On Purpose, Owned by the Women of Masoro, Rwanda

Everyday is International Women’s Day for Kate Spade On Purpose. With this arm of the business, Kate Spade New York created ADC, an independent handbag supplier in the Masoro community of Rwanda, that is owned by its majority female employees and provides jobs for over 150 people of the under-served community. These women not only empower themselves, but those around them. Statistics show that on average each artisan financially supports four other people around her, pays for schooling for at least two other people, and provides health care, food, and housing for four other people. By working for On Purpose, the women of Masoro (many of whom count this as their first full time job) are able to do this and save for the future.

Thinx, Founded by Miki Agrawal

You might have seen Thinx’ visually stunning ad campaign, but their thought-provoking marketing strategy is more than just a pretty picture. The brand created waves for launching not only chic, period-proof underwear, but having a bevy of female-friendly products (including organic cotton tampons and a reusable applicator) that launches in June 2017.

“Our period underwear has liberated women and given them the ability to feel free and safe and comfortable, while looking empowered and beautiful at the same time,” says founder Mika Agrawal. The brand, which touts themselves as “the patriarchy-fightin’ period underwear company making crimson waves,” is doing just that with the Thinx Foundation. The program includes their Global Girls Club, which provides a safe space for young girls worldwide to learn about and eliminate the shame revolved around menstruation. In short, they’re changing the conversation and normalizing the thing we deal with. Every. Damn. Month. Take 15 minutes and watch their informative (and hilarious) video that details their mission, and features Agrawal alongside Sophia Bush, Ugandan women, and many more inspiring women.

La Ligne, Founded by (left to right) Meredith Melling, Molly Howard, and Valerie Boster

La Ligne is barely one year old, but it’s already created a cult of likeminded, striped t-shirt loving women. Founded by two fashion editors and the former head of business development of Rag & Bone, Meredith Melling, Molly Howard, and Valerie Boster set out to create a line that makes women feel good.

In September 2016, they launched (an eventually sold out) limited tee emblazoned with the words “Je Suis Avec Elle” in honor of the presidential campaign. This month they teamed up with Free The Nipple to create another shirt to celebrate International Women’s Day, in support of the Equal Rights Amendment. Portions of the sale will go to the Human Campaign to help facilitate efforts to get support from the 38 crucial states needed to officially pass the Equal Rights Amendment. “As female founders, we’re inspired by the voice that Free the Nipple has brought to raising awareness for gender equality,” says Melling. “We’re honored to be a part of such an important movement and work with such an admirable cause.”

The good work doesn’t stop there, though. Through La Ligne’s portrait series entitled “In Line” a diverse group of women (everyone from interior designers to venture capitalists to Mindy Kaling) are profiled wearing the brand in their own way, showcasing the beautiful versatility of women and La Ligne alike.

 DEALMAN