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2014 Fashion Forecast
Find your style zone among these runway looks


January 2014

If there is one thing that is clear about the looks strutting the spring runways itís this: Fashion is fun again. From sophisticated styles ripped from classic film noir to a daring return to the bold colors and silhouettes of the early í90s, this season is all about breaking the rules and experimentation.

Think feminine pastels and lace paired with femme fatale leather. High-waisted, harem tribal print trousers topped with athletic, racer-back tanks. Strategically ripped denim skinny jeans with oversized blazers, or short, cropped ones. Stripes and plaids definitely go together, and mod-inspired color blocking is a perfect fit for day or night. There truly is something for everyone.

With so many looks to choose from, we polled our local fashion experts to find out which styles to try, and which trends are better left to the pop stars.

This season "itís not necessarily what you wear, but how you wear it," says Carrie Arrouet, co-owner of Lela Boutique in the Third Ward. "It really speaks to a very personal style."

If youíre ready to retire the whole black-leggings-and-cute-top equipoise that has beleaguered scores of women in this city for several years now, youíre in for a treat in 2014.

"Thereís no excuse not to be fashionable," says Faye Wetzel, owner of Fayeís fashion boutiques in Mequon and Brookfield. "Youíre going to find something you can evolve into."

Whatever looks you choose, just remember that this yearís fashions are all about you.

Lounging Around

If you thought colored skinny jeans were bold, wait until you see 2014ís pants lineup. While skinny jeans, and their looser counterpart, the boyfriend jean, will continue to top shopperís lists, even basic bottoms are getting an upgrade. Expect lots of distressed denim, emblazoned with jewels, studs and embroidery detailing, as well as lighter jean shades and patterns, including floral.

"Denim is going to be strong, but itís going to be lightened head-to-toe," says Susan Head, fashion special events director for BonTon stores, which owns Boston Store. She added that jeans will be paired with more denim, such as jackets and vests.

The biggest change, however, is the "shift into non-denim" pants wear, says Head. Tuxedo-pants, tapered or wide-leg trousers in silk and polyester, and harem pants in a variety of colors and patterns are a bold choice.

Midwesterners havenít quite hopped onto the harem train, but Arrouet anticipates their popularity to trickle in from the coasts.

Top it Off

The biggest trend in tops is by far novelty, or luxe sweatshirts. They can be as simple as the off-the-shoulder "Flashdance" heather gray variety, or spruced up with eyelets, sequins or lace. Luxe sweatshirts are available in every color, may be short-sleeved, cropped or fall to mid-thigh, or crafted from fabrics other than cotton fleece. These will be an easy, go-to spring staple and can be dressed up or down.

Following luxe sweatshirts are breezy blouses exhibited in í70s-inspired wrap style, mod collars and cuffs, and high-low cuts. Pretty peasant tops are making a re-entrance, as well as strategically placed cutouts on the back, decolletage or shoulders.

Perhaps, the most controversial item is the cropped top. While some of our fashionistas say these basics should be left to those under the age of 25, others disagree.

"Showing a little skin can be nice," says Arrouet, who added that cropped tops donít necessarily have to show the midriff. "You can wear them with a high-waisted skirt, or pant. Itís accommodating for all body types."




Sporting leather before 9 p.m. is all the rage. "Leather is absolutely front and center," says Wetzel. "And itís across the board." Faux or real, leather is making appearances in jackets, dresses, skirts and pants, either as the foundational fabric, or as an accented trim.

Wetzel says laser-cut leather and perforated technology has eased the weight of the material and made it "tissue-light," making it an appropriate, wearable item for work or play.


If you loved Diane Keatonís style in "Annie Hall," youíre going to love the reintroduction of menswear. Micelle Tanner, owner of E-Collectique Runway Boutique in Thiensville, says women should look for crisp white tuxedo shirts, as well as tailored, tweed trousers and jackets.

Donít feel like going Annie from head-to-toe? Mixing masculine and feminine looks is a breeze. Wear plaid trousers with a girly blouse, or rock a pair of classic Brogues with skinny jeans rolled at the ankle.

Film Noir

If Annie Hall is the main character for menswear, then look to Audrey Hepburn for this next category. Itís a stark contrast, but expect to see a lot of LBDs and tailored, cocktail dresses in jewel tones, such as merlot or emerald, in bright spring colors like tangerine, or in classic black and white. Peplum details are huge and are a feminine, flirtatious touch. Also in this genre, delicate jewelry, short cropped blazers, structured, boxy handbags and stilettos with pointed toes.

Love the í90s

Itís only natural that a resurgence of í80s fashions would give way to those found in the early í90s. Pastel color palettes, florals, flannels, sky-blue denim, funky sweaters, Doc Marten-like ankle boots, and eyelet lace all draw their influence from this decade. Think "Clueless," but with an adult twist. Color blocking and "wearable art," (8-bit prints, galactic screening and pop art) can add a personal flair. And yes, neon colors and leggings are still in.




This story ran in the January 2014 issue of: