POSTED ON JUNE 25, 2008:
Summer of Love
Versatile bohemian trends keep you cool this summer
All Wrapped Up. Gladiator sandals made their way slowly into the limelight last year, but now they've returned more powerful and cuter than ever this summer.
I am always surprised when I see new trends for summer. For some reason I feel like it's the one season that can't really be fiddled with.
What can really be done to change a pair of shorts? What could a designer really do to a tube top, unless it was made to look somehow less tacky? A tank top, some flip flops, swimsuits--there's just so little material to summer clothing, it seems impossible to somehow revolutionize them.
I suppose that's true for any season though--fall and winter don't really have that much more to tweak.
I'm biased against summer clothing because I hate summer itself so much. It's the heat; it kills me. People always hate cold weather. Why? It's so much easier to get warm if you're cold -- add more layers and it's a done deal.
With summer, you can only go so far with excruciating heat; there's a point where society won't let you remove any more clothing without arresting you.
Even if you could walk around nude, it still wouldn't be enough. Sometimes you feel just so sticky, sweaty, and slimy that you want to remove your skin. Maybe that's why designers try so hard to re-imagine summer clothing--so that even when you're sweating your ass off, you can at least look cute in something other than the same crap you sweated your ass off in the year before.
This summer's no different. There are some choice returns and some new trends that may keep you cool while you're looking it.
Hike It Up
Let's start with everyone's favorite summer wardrobe staple--shorts. Bermuda shorts are still on a roll, as are miniscule short shorts. No big paradigm shift there.
What I find hilarious is that high-waisted shorts are supposedly very popular right now. This particular item--much like skinny jeans--is comical because fashionable people have condemned such trends for years, only to bring them into fashion under a different name. Perhaps you've heard of high-waisted shorts, previously referred to as Mom shorts. They are a close relative to skinny jeans, formerly known as tapered Mom jeans. Poor Moms. All the crap fashion gets named after you.
Anyway, high-waisted shorts are back. They came about after we allowed high-waisted skirts back in the spring. Those pencil skirts were nice--they looked super over a crisp button down.
The problem with the high-waisted short is they aren't an equal opportunity ensemble piece. They are most appropriate for waifs, especially those with long torsos and/or legs. You need a little indie or hipster cred to pull them off, because otherwise you just look clueless, like you've always been wearing high-waisted shorts, even when they weren't in fashion.
You also have to tuck in all your tops, cause if you don't there's really no point. People need to see the waistband of your shorts, or you could just wear normal-waisted ones. Wearing a body-skimming top paired with shorts that hit somewhere at or slightly above the belly button is a ballsy get up. Not into it? Try cuffed shorts.
Like Bermudas, cuffed shorts will work for the every woman. These mid-length shorts provide enough coverage to hide troublesome thighs but are also high enough off the knee so as not to appear dowdy or frumpy (as some short people attest Bermudas have the potential to do). The cuff livens up the short just enough, but they're still versatile enough that you can find them in a variety of styles (denim or more dressed up) and at enough different stores that they can match any budget.
But shorts, to me at least, involve the dreaded task of leg shaving. That time consuming sport may direct you to summer's other big trend--the long bohemian dress. This look tumbles around every few years.
Having never worn one myself, I'm not convinced they're practical for a hot day. Doesn't all the excess long draped fabric heat up? Maybe they're breezy. I don't know, but try one.
But you might want to be a tall broad. All my short ladies out there are more than welcome to try on a dress that goes all the way down to there, but its heaviness may only weigh you down and make you look shorter. And that's if you can even find one proportionate to your height. Don't let that discourage you--there are always alterations.
Chariots of Attire
Strappy maxi-dresses have a simple structure that's hard to go wrong with. With the current bohemian trend, you should find them in both rich solid colors and invigorating prints. They are good pieces to extend to many facets of a person's life: good for throwing into a bag (and looking okay when pulled out) for vacations, good for running around doing errands or good for dressing up, possibly when dining at one of Tulsa's many al fresco-option restaurants. And since they look the best with flat shoes--really heels just don't mesh well with a bohemian vibe--the look is comfortable head to toe.Speaking of flats, these are a summer essential. You'll also find great looks in the two summer footwear trends that take you higher. Ankle strap sandals with a sturdy heel and the equally sturdy wedge/platform are wonderful to have for the here and now, but for day-to-day summer relaxation, you should give your feet a rest.
That doesn't mean they have to look blah and boring. I doubt anything involving the word "gladiator" has even been called boring.
Gladiator sandals made their way slowly into the limelight last year, but now they've returned more powerful and cuter than ever this summer. This trend isn't on the most stable of grounds, but you can never really tell until year three or so have passed.
If you think the gladiator sandal has some staying power, try a black or dark brown pair. They'll work with everything for as long as gladiators remain in vogue. If you think it's a flash-in-the-pan trend but still want to embrace them before they die out, go full force with a metallic leather pair.
Traditionally the gladiator sandal has two, sometimes three, straps around the ankle. Any higher than this (think of those that go mid calf or further up your leg) will look ridiculous, but there are options available that evoke the gladiator theme without wrapping your ankle in bondage leather.
If you want to take a trip back in time with your shoes but want to evoke an era more recent than ancient Greece, try the 1970s. Jellies are back, baby. While not the same enclosed sweat casing they once were, the same material is now being made into flip-flops. With their colorful transparency, they will liven up your day, especially if you purchase a pair with jeweled embellishments.
If you prefer your jewels a little more eccentric and a little closer to your face, try a long necklace. Go for a chain longer than 18 inches, something that plops down right between your boobs. While big, bold baubles draping down your neck are fun, especially when worn over the earthy boho dress, nothing captures this summer's trend like a group of weird charms on a long chain. My new favorite necklace features a compass, a gold bicycle charm and a gold camera charm. Although they seem unrelated, you could probably tell a charming (sorry, no pun intended) story about all three objects. The look is fun and weird and evocative of this summer.
That look is far more interesting than the over abundance of one summer trend. It's early in the season to already feel burned out by an item, but ladies, your bold, big floral mini dresses have done it.
Walk into any place on a Saturday night that has at least 10 ladies and five of them will be wearing a variation of this dress. We get it. It is summertime and you want to look cute and current and show off some skin, grab some guy's attention. But all you girls look the same and that guy's attention is slowly going to become unfocused. Because he's drunk and the half the room is filled with floral clones.
To keep everyone from getting bored, step outside that oeuvre. Not sure what to wear to keep cool and look crazy summer sexy? Re-read this article.
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