Transform U: Passion has returned to fashion

By Auretha Callison

The artful dresser is out of the closet.
by Auretha Callison callisonPassion has returned to fashion. Creativity exploded on the runways this fall and is blowing over onto our conservatively and economically starved dirt-road reality. It’s time to celebrate. Art has come to town. Fashion has become fun again.

It’s a throwback to the ’80s—an ’80s high on bling—and definitely a boon for consignment stores.

Whatever the game, it’s always good to know the rules, so you can follow, flout or full-out ignore them—your choice. Clothing your body is not exactly optional. Here are some current (but ever-mutable) rules of the fashion game:

• Denim. Mix it up; just avoid the look of a matching denim suit. Wear it light with dark, heavy fabric with thinner fabric—and make it interesting. Think studs. (Check out Western Design reports on my Facebook page.)

• Shoulder pads. No, not the heavy, thick pads of the past. These are quirkier and perkier, tilting up and out.

• Jackets. Bring out the ’80s jackets and have them nipped in at the waist. Full long jackets are belted high. Cropped jackets and bomber jackets are out in full force.

• Turtlenecks are no longer an albatross around the neck. Do ditch the old, unflattering rib knits that accentuated the wrinkly necks they were often worn to hide. Get yourself the sleek cashmere variety that doesn’t lead to turkey neck.

• Boots boots boots boots boots. Even with sundresses. Short little boots go with almost everything now.

• Pleated pants are back. I know, sit down. You really have to go pick up a magazine to see it done right. (The Aniston Elle is inspiring.)

• Emulating other animals. Fur. Fake. Animal prints. Spots. And feathers are for more than the birds!

• Plaids and tartans. None for me, but you can if you want. I was over it in the ’80s.

• Jeans are ripped again. Or not. If you wear bootcut jeans, just make sure they’re dark and sleek. They do look good on everyone. But if you have that fun ripped pair, wear them now.

• The proportion looks like big jackets and skinny pants and tights. Leggings are definitely back and I’m sure they will be abused again. Please don’t get lazy with leggings; make sure they look really good with an outfit designed for their wear. Thank you.

• Jewelry. More is more is more. Layer on bangles and bracelets. Make the necklace big. Mon­strous­ly big, gaudy blingy necklace-meets-bib necklace. Crazy and lovely. Huge rings.

An artistic cornucopia of textures and patterns and visual delights is now being served up for anyone who considers personal adornment a pleasure and an art. Here is your feast. Dive in and dine well!

Auretha Callison is an image stylist living in Salt Lake City. Styles shown: Cole Haan.



This article was originally published on September 30, 2009.