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BRITISH GENTLEMEN:  Look out!  You are back in style in a big way this year, as menswear manufacturers turn up the heat on elegantly tailored clothing with a very upper-crusty elan. This is a look men are sure to appreciate, but no more than the ladies who are certain to stay true to form and steal as much as they can from the boys to round out their own wardrobe choices.  Many of the suits express an updated Forties and Fifties style, using materials with more body and pattern than we’ve been used to in recent years.  Look for tweeds, herringbones, plaids and flannels, all underwriting an aristocratic British appearance.  To call it rich is an understatement.

   Among the outstanding examples of the new wave are Joseph Abboud’s lightly striped jacket and Hart Schaffner Marx’s wool pants in a muted stripe.  Wear these with a striped shirt and plaid tie, plus a solid, satiny pocket square, and you’ve got the look down pat.  Isaia’s wool suit in a gentle plaid, worn with a Hickey Freeman somewhat assertive plaid shirt, is another winner.

   The big color here is brown. Yes, brown!  Remember back when Ronald Reagan wore brown and was criticized broadly for being “out-of-fashion”?  Maybe he was just ahead of time!

   An interesting accessory coming on strong with the English flavored couture is the tie bar. It is hot for fall 2011!  Also big with the look are leather gloves and, for especially inclement weather, a cashmere scarf.  You can put the look together yourself or rely on a store like Brooks Brothers to work it out perfectly for you! Realize that the mixed patterns do require a deft hand at developing the right overall outfit.

   Women opting for the menswear design direction need only look at recent magazine stories about the engagement of Prince William and his lady fair to find quietly rich and appropriate accessories for their British style.  Pearl necklaces.  Pearl drop earrings.  Refined gold bangle bracelets.  On one hand, you don’t have to be quite as dowdy as many in the Royal Family, but still…keep the glitz down. Stay classic.





ABUSED CHILDREN:  Even though the United States Department of Labor has beefed up its efforts to stop child labor in various countries around the world, the heinous practice still goes on. A labor report released last week by the Labor Department notes that both child and forced- labor practices continue in several key nations.  The abuses were particularly prevalent in apparel manufacturing as well as the cultivation of cotton and the mining of gold and diamonds.  China, India, Jordan, Argentina, Malaysia and Thailand were cited as among the top abusers. 

    Still, the news is not all bleak. The International Labour Organization reports that child labor has decreased by 3 percent worldwide from 2004 to 2008.  U.S. Senator Tom Harkin says, “That is moving in the right direction.”

BLACK BEAUTY:  One of the most sophisticated and dramatic trends surfacing for fall is the strong use of the color black.  Designer Vaughan Alexander expressed it well in introducing his newest collection, saying his ideal woman is a “global citizen who’s leaning toward the darker side.”  (That’s not temperament we’re talking about, it’s visual dynamics.)

    For his collection’s piece de resistance, Alexander focused on a fabulous long black knotted cotton skirt, pairing it with a black tank top and then cinching the outfit at the waist with a medium width black belt.  Also accessorizing the look:  a passel of gold bangles and a long gold chain.  Elegant!

   More black on the fashion horizon includes a mid-calf length black viscose dress from Maison Bellaish.  Made in Israel, the Art Nouveau-style straight-line dress is worn with very black, very high platform shoes.


HOT COLORS & PLENTY OF WHIMSY:  Accessories are taking on an assertive personality as colors intensify and designs stand out from the crowd with verve.  Just looking at some of the latest trends in the field can make you smile.  Consider, for example, a bright green reptilian leather bag from Prada that practically slithers into the room with you, or a red and gold clutch from Chloe, complete with rich golden hardware. 

    A brilliant blue clutch from Marc Jacobs is both reserved (all one color) and wild (a very bright color), while another clutch, this from Louis Vuitton, literally vibrates with the light of its red, orange, and gold colors.  Wow!



Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Friday, January 21st, 2011

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