Spring Trends Cliffs Notes | Cut-Outs, How to Wear It & Where to Shop

Cut, it, out. No seriously, cut it out. If you happened to have missed the Grammy's, Spring 2013 runways, and the majority of the most recent red carpet moments, then you may be blithely unaware that one of the biggest trends for Spring is 'cut-outs.'

Then again, who has the time (outside of industry people and the fashion-obsessed) to run through all of this information, every runway show, every fashion director's list of 'must-have trends this season,' and so on?

There's plenty of people out there in the fashion world that have told you what the trends are, what you have to get into your closet, what you need, etc. It can be overwhelming, I get it especially having spent the last ten years coming from the luxury retail side. I was a large part of this fashion-information-by-firehose mentality. Each season we would get a memo from our fashion office (the faces & major personalities that were out in the field every fashion week going from one glamorous show to another). This memo was our bible for lack of a better term (not at all religious, but I'm going to go with it).

From there, copywriters feverishly worked to come up with witty, clever (usually relatively confusing) copy, a.k.a words, to assign to each trend. It made me laugh every six months. Case in point, the chunky sweaters trend last fall turned to 'Chunky Monkey.' I don't know about you, but all that conjures up in my mind is a pint of Ben & Jerry's, not a knit. If you go on-line to these shopping meccas right now, you'll get an eyeful at what people have coined the so-called trends. I encourage you to check it out should you need a good laugh. All joking aside, this witty fashion banter, albeit 'fun' is confusing as hell to me, not to mention my clients who ask me , "what one or two pieces do I need to add to my wardrobe to update it for Spring/Fall?"

It's such a valid style question and it used to knock me for a loop simply because there was SO MUCH out there to sift through and get down to. So, here's what I did. I went to every (and I mean every) fashion website out there to hit up their 'Trend Reports' section for Spring 2013 since that is what is shoppable right now (Fall 2013 Fashion Week is up and running, and yes, I'll have coverage, but it's February, so you have a quick minute before they markdown Spring merchandise and get the Fall buys in).

You name it, I went: Elle, Style.com, Glamour, Harpers, Vogue, Bloomies, Neimans (I mean, how could I not, it's practically instinctual to type them into the search field after ten years of doing so in my office), InStyle, Net-a-porter, and the list goes on. I took notes on every trend they mentioned. Let's just say, the list, even after attempting to combine terminology where possible, was well over fifty trends. Whoa. That's A LOT of information to take in, and way too many directions to have a consumer pointed in.

Hence, my Cliffs Notes version below. That's right, Cliffs Notes. You can get the entire novel by signing up here for the e-book that includes about ten more trends that are important, but didn't make the high priority (more accessible) list here. It's a nice little (or not so little) read. But for now, it's all about the condensed version. I did it for my clients, for myself (my responses to the trend questions got a tad lengthy, think: your average speech from Abraham Lincoln, so I needed to reel it in a bit), and now I'm sharing it with you.

Think of it this way, you walk into a meeting/presentation and a fifty-five page deck (powerpoint pressie) is pulled up on the screen. You know what happens, you see the teeny little number of total pages at the bottom corner of the screen and your heart sinks. I won't get started on my personal opinion of presentations that go over ten slides (there would be expletives involved and this is a family show-ish). Now, take the same scenario, except this time, the deck pulls up at seven pages. Ahhhh, yes, this is something you can actually work with. Key words, 'work' and 'with.' After all, isn't that  the point?

Need to know what your styling options are for Spring with laser-like focus & shopping tools that will actually help you figure out where to find the favorite picks that fit into each trend? You've got it. Take the core foundation of what's in your closet already (my latest Spring Essentials Shopping List will help with that, coming soon or by request if you want a sneak peek) and dabble in one of the twelve (yes, I went from fifty-ish to twelve) trends below to see how you can incorporate some newness into your spring wardrobe.

Over the next few weeks I'll be in two different worlds. One, covering the latest from Fall Fashion Week. The other, filling you in on how to be a part of it all right now by laying out the top Spring trends, what they look like on the runway (the ones you can actually see yourself in; i.e. how to wear them), and where to shop for them. Kind of excited if I may say so myself.

Here's the new list, the latest love of my life. Today it's about the Cut-Out trend, but it's also time to meet the rest of the gang, the 12 (Cliffs Notes) Trends for Spring that you need to know about:

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The StyleShaker

cutout header

Like I mentioned, 'cut-outs' on everything from blouses to dresses and shoes to jewelry, are HUGE for Spring. It can get a little racey, but no worries, it's not as if you need to go out and work your way into this trend via a body-con dress that has peek-a-boo cut outs at the mid-section. There are several options on how to pull this off and incorporate it into your wardrobe without looking completely ridiculous. This trend is a surprisingly versatile one.

Below is the runway matrix that gives you a little taste of my favorite looks that went down the catwalks representing this trend oh so well:

runway matrix

1. Jason Wu 2. BCBG Max Azria 3. Cushnie Et Ochs 4. Antonio Berardi 5. Carven 6. Emilio Pucci (all courtesy of www.style.com)


Jason Wu kept things very Fifty Shades of Grey (sans grey, more black) with his Spring 2013 collection. Let's just say, there were plenty of leather harnesses, but in some weird way, they worked. Not only did they work, they looked like something you could see outside the realm of a catwalk, i.e. relevant to the lives of the rest of us who aren't Amazonian, waif-thin models. Wu mentioned (as did several other designers; they must have some sort of pow-wow every season after the fashion think tanks put out trend forecasts) the black and white photography of Helmut Newton as his inspiration, which is all fine and good if you know who Helmut Newton is. I didn't, so I did my research and here you go. Overall, Wu mentioned wanting to do what was 'forbidden.' I'm not sure about the romantic concept of the clothing being forbidden, but I can say he pulled off sexy like no other. The collaboration with high-end luxury lingerie designer La Perla didn't hurt either. Check out the runway video on Style.com here, it's always fun to watch. Every time that I do, I'm reminded of how limited my adjective word bank is.


BCBG Max Azira also went with Helmut Newton as a muse for his Spring 2013 collection. Again with the Fifty Shades-ness (I realize the gross neglect of technical grammar on that term, and yet, I'm keeping it in). The harness made even more of an impact on this runway show, contrasting against the softer, flowing fabrics that are more synonymous with previous BCBG collections. Loved it. The aesthetic is a bit more complicated in the sense that, as I reviewed the looks I kept wondering how one gets into, let alone out of them, but 'easy access' was not the name of the game. Ironic with such a sex-saturated theme. I guess that's where the element of restraint comes in...


Right, on to something a bit lighter from Cushnie et Ochs (I dare you to say that ten times fast. Hell, I dare you to say that one time and pronounce it correctly. Let me know what you come up with). Michelle Ochs, one half of the design team, served up her Filipino roots on the runway for the Spring collection. The previous lines from Cushnie et Ochs have, at times, come across more structured or possibly severe, but this time around, there's a softness that's lends itself perfectly to the warmer temps. I'm guessing the warming up of the designs also had something to do with the use of embroidery, patterns, etc. copied from Mrs. Ochs vintage pieces, one of which was her wedding gown. Once you weave in something super-sentimental like details your mother's wedding gown, it would be near to impossible to not have a collection that comes across as one big softy.


Antonio Berardi went a bit more 'sporty spice' (the designer never uttered those words, they're all mine, hence the quotes; I just want to be abundantly clear about that, although I'm doubtful anyone would assume Berardi would even know what a reference to the Spice Girls is) with his collection. Berardi, and this is why I love the man (outside of the fact that I drool over the majority of what he sends down the runway on a consistent basis seasonally) sees 'sport' as something done less on the field and more in the dance club. Hence, you can totally leave your heels on! The layered look I picked is also a mish-mash of every major Spring trend from cut-outs (duh), to sheer overlay, all the way to white. It's the trifecta.


Carven's Guillaume Henry described his Spring collection to the tune of being, "lost in India in the middle of the twentieth century." I honestly have no idea what that means, and I don't care to Google it. That's why editorial copy in the fashion world cracks me up. I respect it, I just am not the girl that gets into the 'heady' inspirational points of a line when it comes to historical references that, in my mind, seem a bit obscure. Twentieth century India falls into that box of obscure references, although, by the look of what was sent down the runway, it was an interesting place to be at the time. What got me? I loved the rich colors and selected this cut-out dress because it seemed more detailed and 'vintage' than the rest of the more modern cut-out looks I saw. This is a piece you throw on for a cocktail party and inevitably, people have to get close to you just to check out the impeccable embroidery. Mind you, this kind of attention could be either a really good, or really bad thing depending on the individual. I however, am a bit of a ham, so I'd love it.


Finally, Emilio Pucci. Peter Dundas is the designer behind the line in case you thought Emilio was still going strong. This is the kind of information people in the industry who aren't at the top love to throw out there mid-conversation to sound informed (and important). I'm not doing it for that reason, I'm just trying to give you some information to use as backup should a conversation arise. You'll know your fashion s&*t, well, about Pucci that is.

Anyway, conversation topics aside, I had to pick this dress. How could I not? It's perfection. Here is how the cut-out trend not only comes to life but can also be taken from the runway into the real world. There's a subtle game of peek-a-boo here, but it's nothing overt. This, in my opinion, makes the dress supremely sexy. It's a bit of a tease, and yet completely fulfilling all at the same time. Check out the video on this show via Style.com for more info. I love these videos, have I said that enough yet? Probably not, but I'm sure I'll have more opportunity to do so with upcoming Spring Trend posts.

Knowing the trend is step one. Understanding how to wear it? Step two. Shopping to find the perfect pick that can be incorporated into your own wardrobe to update a bit is the final, and most incremental step. Here's a shopping list of hand-picked pieces (I'll continue to update as they sell out) that fall into the trend for you to shop and browse. Above all, get inspired. The runway isn't always meant for literal interpretation. Use bits and pieces for some direction and play a bit with what's hanging in your own closet. It's not meant to be taken too seriously, and it's not meant to take up hours of your day, so, the work is done for you. Scroll away and shop on:


I'll be following up with weekly installments of Spring Trends. Next week, it's all about the Spring trend that you can see everywhere right now, kicks, sneakers, trainers, whatever you want to call them. They're fun, they're out there, and there's a fine line when it comes to how to wear them without looking like a fashion victim. For now though, keep the shopping momentum going strong in the StyleShaker Closet. Click any image below to shop pieces, trend driven and just, plain, fashionable, by category.

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The StyleShaker

See more on what to wear, how to wear it, and where to shop here.