Friday, August 3, 2012

à la mode: How to Rock the Retro Look

I had to pull out a spread I remember from the March 2012 issue of Glamour.  I have to say, what's more academic then the 50's retro look, honestly? You know those first few weeks of school when the weather is still relatively warm and you can still get away with wearing cute summer outfits? These dress ideas are great ways to standout in a seductively under toned 'come hither' manner yet appear appropriately and beautifully academic, (especially for curvy types). After all, you aren't just going to school to judge how your well you think your teacher is going to do this year, you're teachers are looking at you at as well. Your whole grade could depend on that first impression between the two of you; but aside from going down that slippery slope, Glamour does bring up a valid point about 50s dressing—that being, looking too 50's. I say keep it simple with a mix of a print, and a solid; or all print; or all solid with splashes of print. This is a tricky look only because one can start to look deftly like they are going 'back to the future', and that's what we want to avoid from onlookers. We are not in an episode of 'I Love Lucy', (as fabulous she was). Simplicity is often harder to create than extravagance. In my fashion, with this style, one wears it for a purpose, saying: "I am women! I know I am cute, and I do mean business!" You don't want to try to send that message with your clothes, and in all actuality you are looking like a ‘real-live’ cartoon to those you want to send the right message to, peers and teachers alike. If you can pull this look off right with the perfect balance of popping fabrics those first few weeks of school will set the tone for the rest of your semester, perfect for you to relax and start to choose more comforting, heavier looks for that pending chill of fall. That's when you can have fun choosing more layered and dramatic looks that are comfortable and show off your creative side parlaying into the New Normal trend that was so apparent during the Fall 2012 collections. OR, you could keep up with your 50’s vibe by simply adding statement stockings with your statement dresses that will bring that summer spirit right along with you through the cold season, warming up everyone around you during the dead of winter. The 'cherry-on-top' tip to really pulling off this look though, of course, is to actually get good grades! Even if you come into class looking like a cartoon, your actions will have to speak louder than your look soon enough! After all, we are at school aren’t we? Send the right message, and strive for excellence.  

Good Retro vs. Bad Retro:

Good Retro

  • High-waist anything with a wide belt is the perfect vehicle for an hourglass shape.
  • A tutu (really!) under a swingy skirt. Instant party!
  • Cap sleeves. Somehow they turn even a T-shirt into a blouse.
  • A high pony tail. Show off your face, just like your mama always told you to.
  • One retro piece at a time: You don't want a sweet cardigan and capris and that pony.
Bad Retro
  • Girdles! Oppressive. Let 'em stay buried with the Cold War.
  • Poodle skirts. For October 31 only, please.
  • Vintage clip-on earrings. They look so good but hurt so bad. You'll need Advil.
  • Trying to live today's life with yesturday's handbag. Nothing's wrong with a prim little box clutch; just bring a tote too! 

*Simple rule: If the shape is retro, choose a modern fabric, and vice versa. Works every time.*

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