BEIJING BLAST: Did you see those great Ralph Lauren outfits worn by the American Team at the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Beijing? Updated classics and classy!! Well, that will give you a good idea of what the New College Look is all about — sophisticated, undeniably rich, and very, very together.
Many stories are important in this handsome college (and teen!) market, but they all have certain qualities in common. They are all expensive-looking, edgy, and finished. Some have a touch of retro to them, reminiscent, for example, of a D.H. Lawrence society character. Others are techni-smart, even futuristic. But, they are all polished down to the last detail, like our American Team. Something to be really proud of!
A good word for the New College Look (some call it New Americana) is vibrant … and accessories play a pivotal role first in expressing it and then, in giving it the final touches that make it work so well. Sometimes the accessories are socially conscious, like the new charm necklace from Maggie Gyllenhaal (actress in Dark Knight) and jewelry designer TenThousandThings: a hot new idea, this particular charm necklace was designed for Trickle Up, a poverty alleviation organization, and carries a hefty, donation-explainable price.
— BUT…here’s the important point: Necklaces inspired by the look at less costly prices, will surely be hitting the general market as the design impacts youthful consciousness and makes more dramatic statements on its own. The design idea is what impacts the market here. .
CHARMS UNLIMITED: Hanging off these delightful new charm necklaces? Look for peace signs, and statement charms (words!), and those wonderful little teddy bears from France. Hearts have never been bigger, and celestial images are hot, hot, hot. Oriental coins are ideal for the college market, as are alphabet letters. Cheerleader charms are great for high school and college. Some of the necklaces echo the darker side of fashion now, with a Goth or luxe/Grunge appearance. Crosses are big selling charms here, too, combined with other charms or hanging two or three together off one chain.
Black is a high-riding fashion color in this new luxe College look. Think of black leather jackets with plenty of zippers and just a tad of glitz. Some are altogether tough. (Full-length black leather coats are also uptrending.) Add on skin-tight black leggings, a black T, some pointy-toed, high heeled black booties and voila! You’ve got the background canvas for the very important accessories rush coming on campuses across the country.
COLOR INFUSION: For those who want to make a super-black statement, hematite or jet are natural choices for earrings, necklaces, you name it. In most instances, however, the very black basics are offset with colorful accessories: pieces that embody intense color and really zap the look to outer space dimensions. Think lapis-blue earrings. Long, gold disc earrings. Purple chandelier earrings. Colored hoops.
Scarves are wildly popular, especially long, skinny scarves in wool or polyester that can wrap around the neck a couple of times and then fall very long, often ending in fringe. The New College Look leans on them as heavily as our Olympic Games outfits relied on them. Think plaids and stripes and graphic designs in myriad colors! Necklaces are also essential here. Some are big, chunky; others are more dainty, like a gold or silver plated circle hanging from a delicate chain necklace. Pay attention to pendants!
BEYOND BRIT: Plaids are back in an unusual way this year, not at all in proper British tradition. This year plaids are often dark, some all black, white and grey. The look is reserved, refined, and very fashion-oriented. They go well with big double handled satchels, silver jewelry, sliver-drop earrings, and beaded choker necklaces. Plaid also shows up in dynamite accessories, like plaid Kelly bags, all kinds of long plaid scarves, even plaid material belts.
Bracelets are really hot in the college scene for fall. Look for lots of bangles — but not just circular designs. Look f or plenty of enameled designs, as well as baguette deco styles. Look for examples based on CC Skye’s great looking bangles ($150 and up) that are reportedly a Hollywood must-have this season. More ideas on the bracelet rush: colorful bangles, and black bangles worn in multiples (not too extreme, please. Just two or three at a time).
—And these new ideas on the scene: A cameo charm worn around the wrist.
A coin bangle (just what it sounds like…a bangle bracelet made up of coins).
FASHION ESSENTIALS: How about handbags? Well, they are must-haves in more ways than one. First of all they are fashion essentials, with great looks, patterns and materials jazzing up the entire fashion impression. Most bags are big: Big totes, big hobos, doctor’s bags, or even big bowling ball bags. While shoulder bags never go out of fashion, handle bags are in the prime spotlight this season. They have to be easy to carry, even as they are hot to handle.
College women can be expected to pack their bags full of cosmetics, hair essentials, and a dozen or more other “I-cannot-live-without” items to keep them happy all day long. Consider artificial leathers for the bags, like faux python. Make it very rich, very real-looking.
Tapestry satchels with a homespun look are handsome inclusions for school use. So are patent clutches and, for Saturday Night dance fests, a metallic clutch of almost any color.
Little sequined purses are another college favorite.
This is a major market for totes, used to carry all kinds of gear, especially books. Consider them must-haves alongside of a smaller day handbag. And, don’t forget laptop cases. They are getting increasingly colorful and design oriented, just right for today’s fashionista College ladies.