Friday, May 22, 2009

Tis the Season for Dos and Don’ts…

This weekend kicks off fair and festival season with Brat Fest (technically, Fitchburg Days was last weekend, but you get what I mean). That means the Dane County Fair, Waunafest, the Mt. Horeb Summer Frolic, Summerfest, The Wisconsin State Fair, et cetera.

Why do I mention this? Because I love to people-watch. People wear … fascinating outfits. Here’s my mental dialogue:
Me: Why is that woman wearing jeans three sizes too small? Can that possibly be … comfortable? Not to mention the dreaded muffin top that can accompany such situations. I wish I could tell her that no one will know her size if she goes one or two sizes up. Oh well. On to the cheese curds!

My point? Clothing that’s comfy and fashionable is well within your reach!

Here are my dos and don’ts for festival season:

Don’t: Wear a head-to-toe look. I can understand your passion for Def Leppard, or the Brewers, or, I don’t know, the “boho” look. But understand that taking a trend OR a look and wearing it head-to-toe only makes the trend, well, not trendy.
Do: Mix it up—show your passion for Def Leppard with just a tee (not with the acid-washed jeans and head-banger hair) or wear your fave boho skirt and leave it at that. No need to go all matchy-matchy—it’s overkill.

Don’t: Wear uncomfortably tight clothing. Or, on the flip side, clothing that’s too big. Rocking the club look in a tight tube dress and stilettos (yes, I saw this look more than once last year at Summerfest, actually) when you’re at the Miller Oasis is quite frankly, out of place.
On the opposite side, men and women wearing an oversized T-shirt or jeans and women wearing empire-waist sundresses and tunic tops when their figure can't rock that look is also a tactic employed when somone wants to be comfy. But sometimes it can appear sloppy or even worse—make you appear larger than you are!
Do: Um, wear clothing that fits! Too-tight clothing is never easy on the eyes—or the body, for that matter. Remember that if you’re going for comfort, you can still look stylish.
Gals: Know what works for your figure. Wear a cool cotton maxidress or, if you’re petite (maxidresses can dwarf shorter women), wear a lovely knee-length empire waist or A-line sundress that skims your curves.
Just be sure to select the right size—it doesn't matter if it's a great ikat print—if it doesn't fit correctly, move on to a dress that does. If you’re wearing a looser tunic top, wear more fitted jeans, capris, shorts, or Bermuda shorts to balance out the look.
Guys: For cooler nights, try a nice pair of bootcut jeans (not too big though!) and throw on a lightweight sweater or cardigan over your T-shirt instead of the usual hoodie, which can add bulk.

Don’t: Wear uncomfortable shoes. I’m all for cute heels and whatnot, but not for a casual affair like Waunafest. You want to able to enjoy your time strolling the grounds, not rubbing your feet and drinking away your pain at the beer tent.
Do: Wear cute, comfortable shoes like fashionable flats, cushioned flip-flops or wedge sandals, which are very chic right now and more comfortable than heels.

Don’t: Dress too young (or too old) for your age. I’ve seen this time and time again at summer events—young girls wearing far-too-revealing clothing (yes, I realize I sound like one of THOSE people that says “kids these days …” Oh well …) or guys and gals wearing clothing that’s far too young-looking for their age.
Do: Dress age-appropriately! Guys, there’s a reason that Abercrombie is targeted toward teens and twenty-somethings with their scantily clad male models and T-shirts with funny sayings—because those looks typically look better on, well, scantily clad male models, high school and college guys. Try Ralph Lauren! Classic.
I probably don’t need to emphasize this, but if you’ve seen how the Real Housewives of Orange County dress, that’s all I need to say about dressing too young for your age … (i.e. embellished halter tops, too-tight dresses, tube tops, et cetera) on women that would look far better in classic styles, like a draped Grecian dress, shift or sheath dress or a pair of trouser jeans with a classy ruffled top.

Ladies, look for some of these items—all fashionable, and all appropriate from day to night to wear at your fave fest!

Day-to-night dresses in jersey knits
—Grecian and draped styles are hot. Pick a brightly colored one or a cool gray or blush color—than add interest with vibrant accessories.
Find it: A Stone’s Throw or Target.

Gladiator sandals and heels
—pick up a neutral black or gray pair or glam it up with a gold or silver pair with beaded or gemstone accents.
Find it: Available at most department stores and shoe stores.

Jeans in unconventional styles
—the current favorite is the “boyfriend jean”—a style that’s a bit looser and relaxed, with a few tears here and there for a tough, cool look (sold at Atticus and Bop). Or try a crisp white pair of jeans, or a more rugged pair with a few tears (again, check out Bop). Colored skinny jeans also continue to dominate—and can be found anywhere from Target to Bop.
Find it: Atticus, Bop and Target.

Embellished tanks
—appropriate from day to night, these tanks add polish and flash to an otherwise simple racerback style or loose A-line tank. Pair with skinny or bootcut jeans and you’re good to go. Urban Outfitters has the widest selection I've seen.
Find it: Urban Outfitters

(or any dress, for that matter)—as noted above, maxidresses are best for taller women as they can dwarf shorter women. No need to worry, there are lots and lots of cute empire-waist and A-line styles totally appropriate for petite women too.
Find it: The Purple Goose, Patricia Shoppe and Twigs.

Major jewelry
—you don’t need to be an heiress to sport sparkly costume jewelry. It can be found anywhere from the local vintage or thrift store to yes, real jewelry stores. My favorite tip? Gather several necklaces that look similar or have similar elements and wear 'em all at once. I just read a great tip from J. Crew’s fashion director in Glamour: wear a few necklaces and pin on a pretty costume brooch and—insta-style! My point is that adding fun, chunky jewelry can instantly dress up a plain white tank and skirt or jeans—perfect for your favorite fest while still looking chic.
Try any of the shops named above for fab jewelry—they all have great picks.

No comments: