Winter Fashion Guide

By Brianna Karrasch

Posted January 23, 2014 in Feature Story
(WEB)coverWe’ve got the season’s hottest new looks laid out

Here in the IE, winter is a weird time of the year, with cool winds and strong sunlight. It rarely ever gets so cold it snows unless you head to the mountains, and we can usually still enjoy out outdoor activities in shorts and a light sweater. Well this winter, we decided to embrace this strange desert lifestyle instead of denying it! What’s really the most important thing about the changing of season? Changing your wardrobe! Every year the fashion gurus around the world give us new and exciting trends and looks to shoot for and play with, and this year’s no different.

The fashion world constructs the deconstructed this season. Fabric mixing, color blocking, pastel tones, metallic embellishments, bold patterns and silhouette shapes set the tone for this winter-ish fashion season. Minimal color tones combined with severe, hard-lined accessories attempt to organize the natural chaos in our everyday lives. Building on a strong emotional bond of the past and combining funky with refinement amplifies this shift in season and trend. Layering of fabrics, accessories and metals seek to create a tactile experience and defy conventional ideas of “winter.” Subtle transformations of natural elements make the observer take a second glance and fall in love. This season embodies an appreciation for composition, imagery, various materials and bold architectural details.

Wearable Art

In the past, the elusive world of fine art and your closet were just mere acquaintances. Now, the lines are blurred between fine art and fashion. If you can’t afford that Basquiat or Mondrian painting you have been obsessed with since that junior college art history class, then wear it! This season reminds us that we no longer have to be the distant observer of the artistic experience, but we can be the owners and creators of our history. The spring runways erupt with prints exuding loose brush strokes of bold colors, painterly patterns, abstract designs, color blocking and exploded florals. The restless and under-structured movements of an artist lend themselves to this notion of freeform expression through dress.

Snapshots of a photographer’s camera lens zooming in and zooming out of verdant botanical life forms seep into the fabrics of the season. Exploring cultural color combinations and textures through dense and melodic patterns, global influences and tribal textures in embroidery and patterns give the season a layered and tangible dimension. The graphic subjects are optimistic but not naive.

Analogue influences collide and are intensified by this digital world. Whimsical blouses, dresses and prints encapsulated in conforming shapes magnify this emulsion of beautiful chaos with symmetry. These boisterous prints are off set with solid muted accessories. This dialogue between art and conformity offers the consumer a voice, saying “I am one of a kind, subversive even, and only I can control the parts of me you think are viral.”

Men’s apparel is changing too. Think bright, bold and fearless—button-up dress shirts in juxtaposed floral patterns are paired with slim, relaxed, rich one-color pants. This is not a Weekend at Bernie’s vacation shirt, but motley pairings of projected palm fronds and florals against a dark romantic background of solid color.

Designers are employing the mid century modern design movement for more formal attire. This is characterized by simple structured suits in neutral, organic color moods and architectural details found inspired by Palm Springs. Silhouettes are motivated by the molded wood aesthetics of beloved Eames’ furniture.

The paintings and drawings that once provided a visual language on canvas have entered the realm of the apparel industry, and we couldn’t be happier. It really does reflect the generation, don’t you think? Taking a little influence from all eras and making our own.

Artist’s of the neo-expressionism movement, graffiti & pop art scenes in the early ‘80s have resurfaced in new ways, allowing us to take a more literal approach to the trend. Identifying with the influences of that time period and making them relevant in new shapes and silhouettes for the human form. Loud, unapologetic graphics and prints on clothing, taken from the artist’s of that genre, suggest a pop-cultural nostalgia along with subtle irreverence for the art’s original form.
In the same rhythm as the art world meets fashion, the grunge look of the ‘90s era is still prevalent in this upcoming season. This trend is characterized by light jean washes, bleach dyes, sheer flannels, dark florals and leather jacket interpretations. Moody and emotional hand-drawn graphics, layering of clothes are big.

The grunge trend of the ‘90s signified a restless and rebellious attitude through music and fashion. This year’s adaptation of the trend recognizes that angst and layers on more luxurious materials to bring it our contemporary obsession. Chunky jewelry, oversized, rolled-sleeved t-shirts; pairing long chiffon dresses with moto-jackets allude to this combination of fun-spirited femininity and grunge-punk aesthetic. Layering on clothes from your closet will help pull together this look. Try a flannel around your waist, revisit your favorite ‘90s rock tees and add a glamorous necklace. If you have a floral dress in your closet that you haven’t worn in years, pair it with some black boots or a leather Moto-jacket.

Shiny, Subtle and Smooth

Syncopated and monochromatic gelato pastels assemble a delectable color palette this Spring season; Pail petal pinks, soft minty melodies and thin icy blues. Crop-tops paired with flowing skirts that start at the waist and hit the mid calf, offering longer lines. A long sleeve crop-top with wide leg trousers offer a more casual approach. Mixing the soft colors and hard, unexpected hemlines is the key look for the season. Crop-tops and raw-edge hemlines are the favored details that invade the season. If you are unsure of whether to invest in a crop, try cutting a shirt you already own.

Pastel oxfords with white collars are a preppy update. Sheer materials are prevalent in shirts, skirts and dresses. Including a fashionable bra to go under these sheer tops is also important. No nip-slips please.

Pastel monochromatic tops and skirts, boxy purses in white or shades of pastels combined with metal hardware, sunglasses with powerfully simple colors and sharp architectural lines accessorize and complete this look. Large-scaled necklaces with petal pastel colored shirts and box-like cropped jackets. Chunky copper metal bands with pale quartzite stones around your wrist—yes please!  Soft whimsical hues combined with moments of metallic say “we are the lamb, the lion and the alchemists of our future.”

Shiny and smooth minx-like silvers and gold’s that appear to almost drip off the fabric are an evolving color narrative for the season. Earthy representations of the natural and supernatural through metallic gemstone hues are also big. Bold, metallic gypsy gold prints and textural embellishments can be found on all silhouettes. Rose gold metal hardware on accessories like purses, shoes and glasses are kind of a must. High shine and iridescent graphics are used to create a transformative textural experience for a lot of fabrics this season too. On the human form, these fabric colors take a liquid like approach. The accessories have an unexpected scale and weight exploring a Barbie-like style, giving a playful attitude to the shift in size. Designers have incorporated hardware in its soft and abrasive states on shoes and purses.

Fabric fringe in metallic or self-fabric on hemlines and sleeves are used to create the tactile experience through materials. It is also a modern update to the western aesthetic.

Let’s Play

The influence of sports has sauntered into the fashion world. By mixing elements of mesh, laser-cut, detailed uniform shapes, strong black and white pairings and athletic numbered graphic tees, designers have taken a contemporary and minimal approach to the fashion of athletics.  Simple color blocking, bold clean lines and athletic inspired silhouettes are the principals of this fashion statement.  Boxy, cropped and bold-shaped women’s tees with exploded athletic numbers and sleeve stripes.

The determination and endurance of an athlete as well as the signage of the sports world serve as vehicle for this trend. Although most athletes are part of a team they all get their own number. This can be applied to our own wardrobe.

Track pants in unexpected fabrics and racer tanks are silhouettes that evoke a familiar territory with an updated perspective. Designers have re-invented the athletic bomber jackets in new and different materials. White pants with a simple black tuxedo stripe for Men and Women create the combination the casual and formal.

Black and white cheeky re-interpretations of designer logos have been around for a while. The evolution of this is through bold logo graphics, repeat and all-over prints and experimental graphic placements.

Not only is black and white pairing approachable in the sporty athletic vibe, this color story also hints at a reinvention of the Mod movement. Employ simplified silhouette shapes like mini-dresses, miniskirts and boxy-cropped jackets. Big bold stripes, dizzy line work and graphic shapes. M.C. Escher-like optical illusions, checkerboard patterns, polka-dots and pop-color contrast-taping mark this trend. Clear plastic or bright white sunglasses in circular shapes will finish off this look.


The best part about all of these trends is that they are approachable, and most of these styles are easy to do yourself, whether it’s making your own crop top or layering on jewelry you already own. These trends definitely speak to our generation. We are loud but not destructive. We seek to defy convention but not in an arrogant or disrespectful manner. We are educated in history and symbolically attempt to create own through the clothes we wear. Deriving from the great artistic influences and movements of the past and blazing ahead with new materials and techniques. Botanic ironic dreamscapes, grunge glamour, delectable color combinations, mod re-invented and robust athletic influences make up the vignettes of this delicious season.


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