Fall Fashion Week | The 6 Best Looks from Zac Posen's Collection

Unless you've been hiding under a large rock somewhere, you're aware that fall fashion week is upon us. Actually, You're probably getting more runway information than you ever wanted or needed at the moment, so, in an effort to give you the complete opposite of information overload, check out my fashion week recap, the Cliff's Notes version.

There were thirty-seven looks that Zac Posen, the young designer that is quickly approaching full-blown celebrity status with his recent stint on Project Runway, sent down the runway February 10th, 2013. I've narrowed that list down to my top six from his fall fashion week show. It's the condensed version of the runway, a glimpse that will show (not tell) you what it's all about. Sometimes less is more, usually not when it comes to fashion, but hey, we're all working on this whole time management thing, so might as well start in an unexpected place right?

Jewel tones, lush fabrics, those classic, signature cuts that are now becoming synonymous with Posen's designs. In other words, it's a whole 'lotta drama, and I'm eating it up.

Fall Fashion Week Zac Posen

source: www.style.com

Get more inspiration from the runway to everything else out there, all boiled down and served up for your viewing/shopping pleasure right here.

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:

shop beading shop big sunnies shop sporty dresses shop florals shop stacked heels shop stripes shop black and white shop white shop tuxedos shop jewelry shop accessories shop skirts shop kicks shop cut-outs shop coats

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)

1.

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.

2.

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...

3.

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.

4.

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.

5.

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.

6.

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.

shop handbags shop shoes shop pants shop jewelry shop accessories shop skirts shop tops shop dresses shop coats

The StyleShaker

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

Runway Inspiration | My Top 10 Runway Looks, Resort ’13, Round 2

Time for the Top 10 runway looks line up once again. Meet my latest hit list from the Resort 2013 runway collections that just a few weeks ago, graced my presence, ok, my laptop's presence as I wasn't able to make it. That said, this is as simple as it gets. It's a line up of all things that have resonated from recent collections, and this is point A, where it all begins. 'It' being the entire basis of the site, the whole what to wear, how to wear it shtick. I take a runway look, one of these most likely, shop at my favorite online shopping spots, and pull a re-creation together to show you how to wear it without having to pay runway full-retail prices.

For now though, it's about soaking up the style inspiration. Enjoy:

There's plenty more inspiration out there so don't stop the momentum now. Check out more inspiration behind what to wear and how to wear the latest fashion trends here.

Runway Inspiration | My Top 10 Runway Looks, Resort '13

Meet my Top10 runway looks. It's as simple as it sounds. I field through the collections, past and definitely present, and narrow it down so I can add the pics to a Lookbook I am compiling. Each look resonated on some level, for one reason or another, and these are also usually the looks that inspire my How to Wear moments on the site. Enough chatting, this a visual post, so scroll away, take in the visual eye candy, and just knowo that you may be seeing one of these looks re-created sooner than later, but the million dollar question is, which look will it be?

See more runway picks that cover what to wear, how to wear it, how to get the look for less, and how to shop it all at the same time here.

What to Wear | Get 10 Crosby Derek Lam's Spring '12 Runway Look For Less in 3 Steps

The concept is simple, it begins with love at first sight, on the catwalk. Several months later that look, if bought by the major retailers, hits the floors, virtual and other. A few months after that, the buyer's show that they don't actually allocate their 'buys,' with a magic eight ball (no one is perfect), and the sales start to pop up. I find the same look I fell for way back when, pull it together in a few, in this case three to be exact, steps, and serve it up for your viewing pleasure.

We begin at the beginning. What to Wear?

Here's the Spring 2012 runway look from 10 Crosby Derek Lam:

source: www.style.com

That look went down the runway aaaaaaaaaaaaall the way back in September of last year (2011). I saw it, I loved it, the layering was a stroke of brilliance, albeit lacking any element of surprise knowing Derek Lam's fashion track record. But, could I afford it, or better, did I want to spend over one thousand US dollars on the amazing dress alone? Yea, the answer on both is no. And this is coming from someone who has spent the last decade in retail, nay, high-end, luxury retail where the term 'markdown,' is equivalent to the word, 'calories.'

It occurred to me over the past weekend, and yes, I'm slow on the uptake at times, admittedly so, that the runway looks I've been pulling over the past, well, since I can remember, aren't just pretty pictures to me. I want to wear this stuff, and if I can't do that, I'm going to be inspired by the looks and buy something to pull it off all on my own. The rest of this site is about the latter, for now it's about using the runway pictures as my personal catalog. So, since I've been prancing up and down (you can actually prance on platform booties with enough caffeine) the luxury retail hallways for ten years or so, I know when the shows come, when the merch hits (stores or web), and when the markdowns (gasp, there I go again) happen.

Here is the runway look, for less, with a little addition of an accessory to complete the look:

1. 10 Crosby by Derek Lam Solid Drop Waist Shirt Dress (shop online: www.shoplesnouvelles.com)  2. 10 Crosby by Derek Lam Stripe Pencil Skirt (shop online: www.shoplesnouvelles.com)   3. Casadei platform sandal (shop online: www.farfetch.com)

Let's just say, you could have blown over $1200 on the look, sans anything else on your body (just the dress and the skirt) or you could pony up $579 now, if your size is available (a hazard of shopping off price, but when it works out, the reward is totally worth the risk and extended shopping patience). That's over seven hundo that stays with you. Ok fine, for those of you who may not live in the warped world of designer fashion, this sounds ridiculous. I totally get that. You could get the look in one, two, three steps, or go on vacation and hit the beach with an umbrella drink. It's all relative, and trust me, I have taken option B several times, the beach has that effect on me. But this isn't about life's big questions, it's about me being a bit of an 'eagle eye' on shopping runway looks I love, and bringing them back to you at a more 'affordable' pricepoint.

This concept by the way, is reason enough to have me exiled from the retail world all together. It goes against all of the rules, and I'm sure I'm severing any future best-friend, pink-swear moments with some amazingly talented designers out there, but so goes life. I like the idea, I'm the one shopping, I know how IN-sane markups can be, and I think getting a bit more realistic about the runway, while still respecting it for all of the creative art that is sent down each season, is fine. Actually, I think it's pretty freakin enjoyable.

So for now, that's just one look from 10 Crosby. It hit the Spring 2012 trends on the head, so it was bought heavily, which means, it is now still available on sale in some very specific spots on the web. Wanna see what all of that means? Check out more looks, where to shop online for them, and how to get them for less here.

The StyleShaker Week In Review | In case You Missed It

In case you were, oh I dunno, kind of busy this week, I thought I'd wrap it all up in one pretty little recap of a package for you. Simple can be very, very good, so here it is, the round up of what went down on The StyleShaker this week, oh, and because I happen to be obsessed with sharing quotes, images, and anything else that hopefully inspires, I'm topping off the recap list with a little Zen Moment.

Enjoy and have an amazing weekend. Find something to celebrate. There's always something. On to the recap!

1. Monday was all about serving up some hand-picked maxi dresses that illustrate, yet again, why they're a must-have for summer:

 

2. Tuesday was product review time, and the featured pick was J.Crew's Minnie Pant. Did I like, love, or return this one?

3. 10 Crosby Derek Lam's S/S 12 runway look inspired a little re-creation. See how to wear it:

4. Thursday took the on-trend printed jean and, with a little inspiration,turned it into an entirely shoppable look:

5. My Zen Moment. It's a reminder to all the women out there to be brave. Follow your heart.

And THAT, is about it in a nutshell, or post if you want to get technical. This was a gorgeous week. It had it's ups and downs, but more ups than downs and for that, I can only be grateful. There is no end to the inspiration I come across every day while scouring the web for trends, products, and emerging designers that all deserve a cameo on the site.

See more of my favorite fashion picks edited down and also, how to wear it all, here.