My parents live in Houston. They enjoy regaling me with tales of their drive out to our ranch in 75-degree weather in early March, or how my mother wore her fur on Thanksgiving (“It dropped to 55 degrees by the evening!”). Despite the fact that my parents spent 20 years living in New York (among those, my formative years), they were mystified when, during the warm snap in January, people promenading down Fifth Avenue were wearing wool skirts and scarves. I had to remind them that moving from a warm-weather to a cold-weather closet formation is a sacred process in New York. Putting my sweaters up front and my cotton dresses under the bed is a serious commitment, and one that New Yorkers don’t renege on for some fleeting hot spell. In the spirit of that commitment, I’ve started going through my closet — 40-degree weather be damned, it’s effing April already! — separating the wheat from the, well, peasant skirts.
Salvation Army can always use another pair of band pants.
The nation is sick of war and already focused on new leaders (Stewart/Colbert 2008!), so it’s no surprise that the fashion industry is over the military-meets-band camp look. I myself have a stellar pair of majorette pants — navy, skinny, with sassy gold piping — that I’ll have a hard time parting with. On the other end of the spectrum, it appears fashion has tired of the counterculture as well, as 1960s and 70s flower-child fashions have given way to a more ‘American Beauty’ kind of romanticism. Basically, keep the fitted floral dress; abandon those prairie skirts and peasant blouses. Menswear seems to have made a seamless transition from “Preppy country club douchebag” to “Ibiza Eurotrash sleazebag,” so feel free to toss out your popped collars and replace them with jackets with a bit of sheen.
Look, stop panicking. Nobody’s making you buy a neon anorak and shiny pants.
Aside from florals and — heaven help us — skinny jeans, there are some other things that can probably make the transition from Spring 2006 to Spring 2007. While dresses have gone from 1970s romantic to 1940s jet-set chic, the two things designers are still smitten with are shape and volume. Play with the clothes you have that boast movement or bold contours. Two big staples from last year made big returns this year as well: trench coats and wedges. Futuristic sportswear and metallics may be making their debut this season, but trust me, you won’t go wrong wearing those platform espadrilles and a swingy dress.