Thursday, May 25, 2017

10 MUST HAVE ITEMS for Spring and Summer 2017?

I get dozens of these lists, and once in a while I actually take a look to see if there are any fresh ideas I can learn, or at a minimum some insights into the fashion zeitgeist that I can observe... In all fairness, this list was written by a young lady half my age, so her insights might be very different from mine!

In finding examples of these trends, I've tried to stick to relatively inexpensive pieces (with 1 exception I can remember). If you're tempted by a trend, it only makes sense not to spend the monthly grocery budget on an item that you might not want to EVER see again after Labor Day. (aka early September...)

As always, some aren't bad ideas, some are ridiculous, and many of them depend on the individual. At no point in time is there EVER a must-have item for every women. Never. No garment is universally required... And unless you are literally struggling to be adequately and appropriately clothed, you don't need to buy anything.

So let's see what we were told to buy this time...

1. Statement Sunglasses: I think if you're wearing any sunglasses, they make a statement! And any woman anywhere better already OWN some sunglasses, because they're important for protecting your eye health. This isn't about beauty...

And let's be realistic - it's not frivolous to have more than one pair of sunglasses!

Four pairs of sunglasses for Summer 2017
top – Quay Australia; second –Quay Australia; third – SONIX; bottom – Quay Australia

2. A Romper? I'm sure that one of you wears a 1-piece shorts and top combo successfully, but that's about as far from necessary as humanly possible. Many of them that I saw were either insultingly infantile, or absurdly provocative for a garment that was originally a toddlers' play garment.

I'm offering up the thought that your wardrobe might be brightened up quite a bit if you add a fun pair of shorts. These would bring a bit of pizazz to the most staid tee shirt:

four pairs of shorts for Summer 2017
floral – Dorothy Perkins; plaid – J.Crew; geo print – Lands’ End; patchwork – L.L.Bean

3. Maxi Dresses... A definite "it depends." Don't wear them so long that they drag on the ground, and you're okay. I rarely see them in the city that they look "right," (and don't ask me to pinpoint what that means - the women wearing them just seem uncomfortable) but out on our patio/deck, they look lovely. This is a case where you have to know yourself and do what's best for you! (but please avoid the "I never went to the prom" look...)

4 maxi dresses for Summer 2017
blue tile print – L.L.Bean; striped – J.Crew; red mélange – Lands’ End; geometric print – Dorothy Perkins

4. Ankle-wrap sandals. Well, these are cute as heck - especially those silver ones that look like a little jeweled cobweb!

But you have to remember that the straps aren't going to stay UP on your leg unless you tie them tight enough to cut off circulation to your pedicure. (they spray adhesive on the models' legs...) And your sunscreen's going to get ALL OVER those pretty white canvas straps. If you can live with those 2 caveats, these are a fun little update for the season.

4 pairs of wrap sandals for Summer 2017
wine – Rebecca Minkoff; canvas – Soludos; silver - Loeffler Randall; denim – Soludos

5. A Weekend Bag... don't we already HAVE these? As I said, the target market for this list was obviously women much younger than I am! But it's certainly reasonable to make sure that you've got a nice bag to carry for an overnight adventure; maybe this is the right time to pull out what we currently have and see if we're due for an upgrade...

4 weekend bags for Summer 2017
grey – Longchamp; black & brown – Sole Society; floral – Herschel Supply Co.; striped – Baggu

6. Denim Cut-Offs. No. Unless you've worn out a pair of jeans ON YOUR OWN to the point that cutting them off makes sense, this is a completely silly trend, along the lines of the billions of pairs of distressed jeans currently in the world. (actually, I wonder how many pairs of those there are... hmm....)

But unless you live in the hottest place imaginable (and you just might!), this could be a reasonable time to get a new pair of jeans. The white ones here are described as "lightweight;" I could be tempted to order them just to see what that's like. And if you avoid shorts and skirts, a pair of cropped jeans make sense, don't they?

4 pairs of jeans and cropped jeans for Summer 2017
faded – J.Crew; white – L.L.Bean; cropped – L.L.Bean; cropped blue – Per Una

7. A Denim Jacket. This is another one of those things that I have to imagine you already own, if you want one... but there's always an opportunity to get a nicer (or more weathered?) one, or get something denim that's far from the traditional jacket. This smock is really appealing; I'd wear it with leggings and boots over a black turtleneck in the dead of winter!

four denim jackets for Summer 2017
madly faded – Current/Elliott; smock-style – H&M; blazer – Ralph Lauren; pink – H&M

8. A lace or eyelet top. Heck yes! Why not? Don't spend a fortune (well, the black one isn't cheap...), and this could be something that you wear every week until it falls into teeny shreds in the bottom of the washer. This is a case in which a trend can be wearable by almost anyone...

four lace or eyelet tops for Summer 2017
floral – Dorothy Perkins; black – MICHAEL Michael Kors; (already sold out!!!); tank – Dex; tunic – J.Crew

9. Gold Jewelry. Hmmm... I never think of jewelry as being seasonal! But I think it could be fun to buy a new piece of moderately-priced jewelry and just wear the heck out of it every day until the weather changes, or your skin starts to turn green! I bought a black necklace recent - from J.Jill - and I intend to have it on with great regularity until the days start to get shorter...

(yes, the bracelet is available with the full range of birthstones...)

4 pieces of gold jewelry for Summer 2017
birthstone bracelet – Kendra Scott; crescent necklace – Panacea; earrings – Anna Beck; ring - Argento Vivo

10. Swimwear with ruffles. This could be GENIUS for some of us, who would love the ruffle to augment an area that's diminished, or to distract from something that's not up for inspection. And I broke one of my normal rules for The Vivienne Files by including the black suit with the front ruffle - I think it's got that much potential.

But that ruffle-shoulder one? Or the 1-shoulder? It's not like me to be so attracted to swimsuits!

4 ruffled swimsuits for Summer 2017
tankini top – Lands’ End; black 1-piece – Lands’End; print 1-piece – Underprotection; one-shoulder – J.Crew

I was surprised that this list didn't include off-the-shoulder tops, which seem to be absolutely ubiquitous, or the weirdly tricky "choker" tops, where a strip of fabric that goes around your neck is attached to an otherwise normal top. But one of the things that comes along with constantly churning store inventories (as opposed to back in the day when stores got shipments once a month) is that odd little mini-trends are going to spring up, and die just as quickly.

Any trends you're jumping on this year? I will need new jeans at some juncture, but otherwise I think I'm pretty well covered for the heat and fun to come!


10 MUST HAVE ITEMS for Spring and Summer 2017
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  1. I bought a maxi dress for the first time this year. I am 5'3" so I only thought they would look nice on taller women. I tried the black sleeveless one on at LL Bean in petite and love it. Its the same dress you show in the blue tile print, but in black. I bought a little coral knit shrug and have cognac wedge sandals that look great with it. I don't usually jump on trends but this one seems to be coming back every summer and I've always wanted to try one.

  2. Other than the ankle wrap sandals and the swimwear with ruffles these items don't feel like they'd add any freshness to my current wardrobe. Seems like everything else on the list has been a staple item for quite some time. Your idea of reviewing what is currently owned and seeing if an upgrade is in order is a good one. I do plan to purchase a pair of wrap sandals since they are everywhere this season and I like them. I'm sure that next summer they will look "last season" so I don't plan to spend a fortune. And because I have no need for new clothing this season, I will be investing in a second pair of good sunglasses in my favorite summer accent color, turquoise. Thank you for doing a post like this - I think it's a great way to keep on eye on remaining current. No need to be a fashion victim, but adding a nod to current trends is sure to keep us from wandering into a wardrobe rut.

  3. We have an outdoor pool at our apartment and I already own a black maxi dress (purchased in Maui years ago). I will wear that over my bathing suit(no ruffle). I'm covered for summer and I hope to avoid shopping for the rest of the year.

  4. I'm having foot surgery at the end of June and will spend the following six weeks with large bandage and/or boot. I've been advised that getting pants over the bandage will be an issue, so will need wide leg pants. I will also be using a knee scooter. Does anyone have advice? I thought some wide leg crops. I wondered about skirts but long ones might be in the way and short ones could become a modesty issue.

    1. I had foot surgery in the winter and lived in the"starfish" pants from Lands End. The legs were wide enough to fit over the bandages and I put the boot on after I put the pants on. Pull up waist. Great for recuperating with a t shirt and/or athletic jacker.

    2. Abigail, As an alternative to the knee scooter, check out They have a scooter that you sit on and prop up your bad foot. WAY easier on the kneecaps!

  5. I bought some denim crops and have already worn them several times--a good purchase. I enjoy wearing lace accented tops and already have a couple that I've purchased over the past two years. There's a denim jacket already in my closet but I don't wear that much in the summer, it's too warm here. I'll save that for fall again. I didn't realize gold jewelry was a trend, I prefer gold jewelry and will continue to wear my favorite pieces. I'll skip the sandals and the print shorts but that cute swimsuit with the center ruffle is really appealing! Fun post!

  6. Abigail - consider buying wide-leg crops from Habitat or similar "relaxed wear" company. A skirt that comes just below the knee is easy to manage with bandage & scooter.

  7. Abigail, I had the same issue for a while. I wore cropped wide leg pants and also purchased maxi dresses and hemmed them to be more of a midi length. I still purchase maxi dresses for the purpose of having below-the-knee dress lengths easily by just shortening then. I only wear dresses in the summer!
    I really love lace tops for dressy occasions but now considering them for more casual wear - what do you all think about that? Janice Collins, Washington DC

    1. Definitely wear your lace tops with jeans, shorts or a casual skirt or pant for an on trend look this season. I'd keep the jewelry simple or go without to keep the casual vibe.

  8. I must admit I jumped on a trend that is at least huge over here in Europe - blouses with oversized sleeves. A simple blue one and I love it, cheap and will probably be worn with jeans this summer until I get tired of it:) Got a pair of distressed jeans too, but simply because I have such a hard time finding jeans that fit (huge bum, small waist ratio) and these were actually pretty amazing fit. But generally I agree - why do distressed at all?

  9. We saw SO MANY jean jackets in Barcelona last fall, and I have been seeing lots of them around home as well lately, so they are definitely trendy. But for me jean jackets fall in the "classic" category, and here in the South they can get year round wear. In addition to blue, I have one in white denim and in a lightweight black denim with some stretch, which is a good candidate for travel. - nancyo

  10. I think checking my purse before summer hits is a good idea. It's a lighter color and seems to show wear more quickly. I always seem to need a pair of white jeans and white linen pants for sunner too. Definitely no rompers!

  11. Enjoyed the humor of your article. Just like to point out tho that those lace tops that will fall apart ... there's growing concern about the amount of poly fibers in the water shed and the harm to the environment.

  12. I have a denim jacket and gold jewelry but not any of those other must haves...
    I am on the hunt for a flattering one piece swimsuit...wish me luck!!!!!

  13. Maxis are must-haves for me. They feel much cooler during the summer than pants and I can add a jacket or sweater in the winter. Well, what passes for winter in Hawaii. I

  14. Trends are so subjective! Not making your list besides the off shoulder tops are the cold shoulder tops! They are EVERYWHERE! I don't consider a maxi dress or a jean jacket a trend. I have had both for years. Same for denim crops. I do stay away from heavily distressed. Some things just look ridiculous on an older (59) lady! LOL! I am tempted by the lace up sandals though. So cute! I have had lace trim tops for a couple of years too. I have always worn both gold and silver jewelry. I do not care for the swim wear with a sleeve? seems strange to me. I'm not much for ruffles. Rompers? They look great on my 2 year old granddaughter! : ) Janice, I love your suggestions for checking our wardrobes to see if anything is missing each season. Your blog has changed my entire outlook on clothing. Can't thank you enough!

  15. "Must haves" automatically make me want to skip an article, but you had a very sensible take on the subject - thanks.

  16. I would like a denim jacket. The romper not so much.

  17. When I think I've found a great little tunic and it turns out to be a romper grrr! I would wear cut off Jean shorts of a suitable length (which would probably be a pair of my old jeans), they will definitely fit me for one thing and I can make them a flattering length.

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