European Style Report Fall 07
Although I pour through Vogue, Elle and Bazaar every August and September, it’s my annual trip to Europe where I really pick up practical fashion tips. I just returned from The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Based on my observations of women out shopping, in restaurants, and at business meetings, here are the top trends I’ll be following for the Fall/Winter season.
1) Scarves. Women in Europe don’t go out without a scarf. I had always heard this but never embraced it. I always pictured a silk print scarf -- probably an Hermes—tied delicately around the neck. Hermes scarves are undeniably stunning, but if they’re not worn just perfectly they can look matronly. But instead of ladylike silks, what I saw last week were big scarves presumably worm for warmth. Practical and stylish, they really completed a look. The scarves varied from hand knit, chunky designs, to pashminas, to low end cotton options. All of them looked great. I picked up a blue linen scarf with sequins for 5 euro at a tourist shop in Cologne.
2) Boots, Boots, Boots. It’s all about boots in Europe. This look has been consistent for several years now. I saw riding boots, pointy toed boots with skinny heels, and some booties with opaque tights. The majority of boots were black or brown in smooth leather, patent and suede. There were lots of buckles, zippers and fringe, and a couple with embellishments like rhinestones and sparkly flowers on the toes. The handful of women I saw wearing shoes, looked dowdy and out of place.
What I can’t figure out is how European women keep their pants tucked into their boots. Last winter, they were wearing cropped pants and knicker-style pants. But that trend appears to be over. While about half of the booted women wore skirts, the other half wore pants, and those pants were always tucked in. Inspired by the local scene, I tried tucking in my jeans but the result was lumpy boots and ballooning pants.
3) Jewelry. The women in Europe show no restraint when it comes to jewelry. They are not afraid to look dressed up. The U.S. fashion magazines are touting the cuff and the statement necklace. Both were on full display in Europe. I saw a woman at a party wearing a big silver metallic necklace tied into an oversized knot. I would describe it as industrial chic. I loved it so much that I gave this complete stranger an envelope full of euros and my business card and asked her if she would buy another one and ship it to me. I hope she does.
4) Glitter for day. Rhinestones and sequins are not just for night time. Women were sparkling at breakfast. I love this trend. Just like you shouldn’t save your good china and crystal for special occasions, why save your most festive clothes for a few parties a year? European women are not afraid to shine.
One morning I saw a woman in an above-the knee skirt, cashmere turtleneck, UGG-style boots and thick tights. The tights were woven with pewter colored metallic threads. The mixture of cashmere, sheepskin and shine made the outfit fresh. Instead of looking like a ranch hand, this woman looked casual chic.
I didn’t need to make any new purchases in order to adopt this trend. I have a closet full of party clothes. I just need to remember to pair the satin pumps, not the python ones, with my suit when I get dressed for work tomorrow.