Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Lace Replaces Cutouts This Winter

Don't expect the trend to win men over with unexpected flashes of skin to work well this winter. The only thing that cutout dresses can hope to expose in the cold is goosebumps.

Instead of skin, women hoping to wear something more feminine are better off with a more timeless look. There are really two options. You can look for something as timeless as lace, especially when it's more layered than sheer, softer than edgy. You can look for a more comfortable and classic cut. Or sometimes, you can find both.

New fashion line 65, designed exclusively for Shabby Apple. 

The new fashion collection at Shabby Apple has an interesting story behind it. Michelle Morse, who authors Life As An Average Housewife, entered a design contest. She worked hard at it, sketching about eight designs before settling on one of them. She never made the top 20.

Although discouraged, she discovered and applied for the boutique's Emerging Designers Program. She was accepted based upon her revised designs. And after working through the program for nearly a year, she produced something with simple lines and clean, classic cuts.

At a glance, the designs are a modern take on a throwback fashion from the late 1950s and early 1960s. And what makes the line work harder for its "65" moniker are some of the fabric patterns and above the knee cut. But none of the designs break away from the form-fitting look that made the dresses popular.

The hero design, Malt Shop (above), is an easy favorite for its versatility. Shabby Apple describes it as a creamy color, as sweet as your favorite vanilla malt. It's a shapely sheath style with thickly cut lace, ideal for the season ahead while leaving plenty of room for accessories that bring out its wild side.

The right shoes, the right leather jacket, and even the right bag can give the dress a much more dangerous look than the initial design intended. I love that. In fact, the first time I saw it, it was driven in a wilder direction. Made of heavy Charmeuse (89 percent nylon, 11 percent Spandex), it's soft, sexy, and the most sophisticated pick from the 65 Collection.

Much more obvious in being vintage are the Love Me Do and Joyride dresses that are part of the same collection. Both pencil dresses have an obvious retro look to them, with the first dress bringing in sage green lace and the second being adorned in polka dots. Either one could create an awesome retro look for the right woman, especially into the holidays.

One warning about pencil dresses in general. The look favors women who are leaner without too much of an hourglass shape or some additional hips. Just keep it mind before you order. And if you aren't sure if it will fit, there are some other lace options that recently arrived.

Other options that trade cutouts for lace this season. 

Although the hemline is higher, U.K.-based Paprika has a great gold short-sleeved Lace Skater Dress that is cinched at the waist by a belt. Since it is a little less form fitting, it will play better for anyone with an hourglass figure. Incidentally, one of Paprika's designs with gothic lace twists was recently featured in People magazine.

For women who are more full figured, Anna Scholz designed a Lace Biker Jacket that almost wears like a tunic. The design is meant to create a hip-length silhouette while maximizing the texture of the lace (which is always part of the appeal).

Personally, I wouldn't call it a biker jacket, but it does look good with black lace over a cognac lining. Anna Scholz also makes a matching lace zip skirt and lace zip dress, but whereas the zipper works well with the jacket, it's too much on the back of the skirt and the dress. Sure, exposed zippers are sometimes part of the style. So maybe you will feel differently.

Another store carrying more lace includes Bebe, which recently added the very hot Lace Drama Bodycon Dress. And Sundance carries several lace and embroidery designs, like the Anastasia. The primary difference between the two is that Sundance generally has a more rustic look with old world charm. Bebe, of course, leans urban.

While I wanted to mention them because they prove there are plenty of ways to wear lace, both dresses would require additional layering for fall and winter. Since they have shorter hems, they might work best with hose, tights, and possibly high boots. It all depends on the climate.

Fashion Line 65 By Shabby Apple Throws Back At 7.2 On The Liquid Hip Ritcher Scale. 

Shabby Apple has several stunning collections. Any number of them would make an excellent review. This time around, I settled in on 65 because it brings back a rare classic cut while remaining versatile enough to convey a sophisticated or wilder look. The idea that these dresses were designed by a relative newcomer was the cherry on top. Love your dresses, Ms. Morse.

The Malt Shop dress is only available at Shabby Apple (about $88 U.S.) along with the other designs under the Fashion Line 65. Look for the 65 Collection after hitting the storefront. The short-sleeved Lace Skater Dress can be found at Paprika (about $50 U.S.) and the Lace Biker Jacket can be found at Anna Scholz (about $390 U.S.). But even if you decide to visit Bebe or Sundance instead, just remember that subtle can be sexier, especially in winter.
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