Designers Push Formal Elegance.Will Fashion Follow?
By CHERYL LU-LIEN TAN August 31, 2007
After years of successfully convincing women to break the rules of fashion by mixing casual and dressy clothes, this fall designers and retailers are reversing course. They are once again trying to sell the idea of carefully put-together ensembles, complete with tailored jackets, matching skirts and high-heeled pumps.
Stores from Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus to Banana Republic and Target are promoting this more formal look as a big trend this season. Bloomingdale’s is prominently displaying mannequins in matching outfits that include 1920s-style hats and gloves.
These polished and put-together looks have been a fashion fixture through the decades. In the 1960s, Jacqueline Kennedy inspired a nation of copycats who coveted her elegant Oleg Cassini suits, often paired with pillbox hats. Mod and hippie styles eventually edged this out, but the 1980s saw a resurgence of uniformity as power suits became a trend.
Since the late 1990s, fashion has been dominated by offbeat, tossed-together ensembles popularized, in part, by trend-setting celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker and shows such as “Sex and the City.” Designers, too, fueled the trend by showing these styles on runways, inspiring women to embrace the idea of breaking away from the formal dictates of fashion and taking pieces from various collections to create unique looks.
Trouble is, “creating unique looks” often takes more energy and focus, and for results that are at best, hit and miss.
Une femme agrees wholeheartedly! The good news is that you don’t have to pay designer prices to get in on this trend. Talbots has never strayed far from these classic looks, and picked up on the boxy jacket trend:
Tweed jacket and skirt (note the gloves and structured bag as well)
Une femme’s favorite, the pants suit.