March 21, 2016
These lists always crack me up, but I think they’re worth considering, from time to time. I see two sides of this issue:
- I hate this, because I don’t think you should listen to what someone tells you to wear unless you’re in an organization for which a uniform is appropriate, or if you’re in a wedding…. but
- It can be edifying to see what other people think of as “can’t miss” because it can clue you into things that are going to be readily available in stores for a while, and maybe remind you that it’s time to replace or upgrade something that you haven’t purchased in years.
Yes, my name is Janice (like Janus, the god of beginnings, endings, doorways, portals, and both sides of everything).
The ’90s Neckline
I don’t remember this particularly from the ’90s, and so I call it the Square Neckline.
This “trend” isn’t really a trend, to me, because I see at least a few things with a square neckline every day. And deciding how to respond to this is easy: if you like it and it looks good, go for it! If you don’t care for it, or you end up looking boxy and just WRONG in these tops, skip them.
Oh my… I see very few women on whom these look good. If you’re comfortable in them, have a blast. But make sure you take a good look in a 3-way mirror, and that you’re happy with what you see. I, personally, look like I’m standing in a bucket when I wear these. My legs are appropriately long for my height, and they’re quite slim and strong, but it still doesn’t work. Your mileage may vary…
Great holey cheese, this isn’t a trend, it’s a fabric, or a weave! Men wear gingham shirts ALL THE TIME… But if they’re going to dust it off and make it available, I’m happy to hear it!
My only real caution for this one is to be careful around red and white gingham – you might end up looking as if you should be an extra in a ’60s musical, or a farmhand. Maybe that’s just the way it feels to me…
I have a gingham shirt from Lands’ End, in black and white, which I adore. These socks would be fun to wear at the same time – just a glimpse of them would show, when I was walking or sitting…. hmmm…
Really, they just mean olive drab, or British khaki. It’s finally starting to make sense to me – khaki in the US is sort of tan, but in the UK it’s olive green? Yes?
At any rate, if you like this color, there are a lot of ways to bring some into your life. I particularly like the juxtaposition of the military-ish color with the pretty style of the hat!
Why is it polka? Can’t you waltz wearing dots?
This is a print that seems to be fairly common every spring and summer, but the fashion gods and goddesses have deemed it “in” this year. It’s cheerful, easy to wear, and available in absolutely any product, garment, or accessory you might want!
You’ve GOT to be kidding… does this mean that there are people who don’t wear a raincoat when it’s raining, if they’re not considered “au courant?” That boggles my wee mind….
I never had a yellow slicker as a child… this could be a fun, bright, cheery addition to almost any wardrobe, even if you don’t own anything else yellow!
And you can use this as an opportunity to sample another trend at the same time – a “Utilitarian” color, or an oh so trendy gingham lining…
My feelings about trends are simple – if something you love comes into the swing of things, grab them and enjoy. But if something is being pushed on you from all sides, and you really do NOT like it, run. Or push back. Or push back, and then run. But stick to your personal style and preferences, no matter what!
with staunch love,
Oh wow, I actually like several of these trends and have them in my wardrobe already. It's fun to be fashionable (for a while) without having to shop for it.
-square neck, don't currently own anything, but I like it. IMO square necks are flattering to most and easy to combine with toppers- it's great if they are more widely available now
-gingham: I like gingham shirts and own a gingham shirt in spring green and in blue. I'm loving their crisp-but-casual vibe.
-olive drab is a tricky color for me (I'm a Clear Spring so muted and dusty colors don't do me any favors), but I've been know to love to death the few items that have been just the right shade of olive for me to pull off. So if I see an item in a dark enough shade of this color, I would definitely consider purchasing it.
-polka dots are one of my signatures. At the moment, I only have some frequently worn scarves, but this pattern looks pretty in many items if the colors are right.
-raincoats: jumpy claps are in order when items that are practical and good for health are "in"!
Square necks, gingham, polka dots? Hmmm happy to let these trends pass me by……….
Pam @ over50feeling40 says
Not really into any of these…do not know why, but wearing polka dots and gingham makes me feel older. I do occasionally wear Bermuda shorts as summer weather sets in. But, I hope to wear more dresses and skirts this year.
From Margie in Toronto – I've actually been considering that square-neck T-shirt from LL Bean – can't wear a regular, round neckline and sometimes v-necks are just a bit too deep – also wouldn't mind trying it in a summer blouse.
Love gingham and polka dots, especially for the summer – but wear them with restraint – accessories would probably be best for the gingham.
I'm not even discussing shorts (that's what capris are for now) – Khaki is not a flattering colour but would consider a few accessories with denim.
Love the yellow slicker – reminds me of one I had as a kid – this I'd definitely buy!
For some unknown reason, I am distinctly uncomfortable with polka dots. They make me feel uneasy. If the dots are a little more random, the effect is not as strong. Strange, eh?
I am with you, Gwendolynn. I like them on other people, but rarely on me. A few scattered in a cluster here or there would be wonderful, but not all over, I think.
If you do like dots, but not evenly-spaced ones, the SPRZ collection at Uniqlo from the MOMA often features pieces by Yayoi Kusama and other artists that employ dots and splotches in a distinctly modern and effective way.
As far as Bermuda shorts being unflattering – if you want shorts that aren't gym shorts and that cover your rear even if you move around and bend and squat and such, are there any other options. It seems like if I want something above the knee, the options are essentially Bermudas or Daisy Dukes…
I agree. When the choice is between Bermuda or an inseam shorter than my phone, I'll pick Bermudas every time.
I'm in love with skorts! Bermuda shorts look strange on me, but the right skort has all the coverage of Bermuda shorts with the bonus of being more feminine. I actually began wearing them when I discovered them as hiking attire. Nowadays I shop online for "tall" since the longer inseam puts the length at a more comfortable over-50 hemline.
Talbots has shorts with 7", 9", 10.5", and 13" inseams in lots of colors.
Janice Riggs says
Oooh speaking of skorts – I'm wear a pair of L.L.Bean athletic skorts even as I type, and they are EXCELLENT. They're noticeably longer than some others that I have, which feel sort of like a… ahem…. butt ruffle. These are long enough to feel comfortably modest. Highly recommended – you're going to see these on The Vivienne Files, I'm sure!
Oh my, I guess I'm going to have fun this spring! I like polka dots and gingham for fun and cheerfulness; find square necklines flattering (although I couldn't ever find any in the 90's so I'm not sure where "they" are getting that name) and am looking forward to finding some of those available; love the combo of olive pants and a crisp white top; but I have to skip the bermuda shorts – I can wear mid-thigh and not look like I'm standing in a bucket. The only body type I notice looking good in bermudas is the very slim-hipped type.
As for raincoats, I live in Austin, TX and have an ancient waxed cotton (olive?) jacket that I pull out on the rainy days that warrant more than an umbrella. I'll save the pennies I could spend on that on something more useful :)
Thanks for this, Janice, nice to know things I like and wear anyway will be more available this spring!
These ideas look fresh. I like dots and gingham both, because they are a bit light hearted and spritely without being floral. Olive is a good solution for me too. I can't wear brown at all (people ask if I'm ill), but the green, especially with some pale blue or pink or red does the trick. Plus it is hard to not associate khaki brown pants and skirts with the dreaded IT business casual uniform.
When I lived in Seattle, hooded raincoats were such a good solution. You might lose an umbrella, but you seldom lose a coat!
Taste of France says
I am with you on this! I like dots for the same reason. When "Pretty Woman" came out, I had a dress like the one Julia Roberts wore (hers was tan with white dots); mine was black with multicolored dots. I must have really liked it because I now have black rain boots with multicolored dots. They would look great with a bright yellow raincoat. And when I lived in Brussels, hooded raincoats (and coats for any weather that were also rainproof) were such a good solution because even if it was sunny when you left the house, you could be sure it would rain at some point during the day.
I thought the Duchess of Windsor was very fetching in her red-and-white gingham dress recently. The pattern needs to be small or you risk looking like a tablecloth.
As I have mentioned before, I am bottom heavy, and these old surgically repaired knees are not for public viewing, so any shorts are strictly for in -the -house wearing on the hottest of days ! Capris hit at an unflattering mid-calf length on me, so it seems that my best alternative is pedal pusher length, a couple of inches below the knee, whether they are "in" or not. You gotta' do what you gotta' do !
Having worn all of these trends already, at some point in the past, I say: If it is cute on a six year old, e.g., gingham or polka dots, stay away- except maybe for socks or a scarf. (I wouldn't call the Ungaro scarf polks dot- the polka is a regular, same-sized dot, what the French call "à pois".)
I also am wary of that high, square neckline on the Bean tee. All women have nice collarbones, so a lower square shows that to advantage and makes room for a chain or necklace. The Bean high square does neither.
Lori @ inmykitcheninmylife.com says
I own that LL Bean square-neck tee in a couple of colors and like it after I added very simple bra strap holders. The cut of the neckline is perfectly modest, but I found that often my wide bra strap would sidle into view. I hand stitched a half-inch wide by three-inch long strip of fabric, added a snap to the ends, and then stitched one half of it to the shoulder seam of the tee. I've done this to several other garments, too — love never having to check to see if I'm strap-flashing.
This is a fun post, Janice! I agree with Shrebee, I have thick short legs on an otherwise slender frame, I'm now working out to at least tone my legs in hopes of being comfortable in dresses or skirts shorter than midi length. I don't wear shorts at all .. Ankle length in summer or capris. I'm also short (5'1") so long pants are the most flattering. Y ou are lucky, Janice, to have nice legs.., but I knew that from your wardrobe!
I'm with you on gingham. I have a linen navy-white gingham blouse I wear in warm weather all the time., as a tuck-in blouse, tuck out blouse s jacket over cami – with white. Nsvy or tan pants. I love it!
I wish LLB would come back with their simple boat nevk elbow or 3/4 sleeve tees without buttons. Etc. The square neckline just shortens my frame.
But I love the Britidh Khaki color and have a hooded rain jacket/trench in that color I love it and live in it all year as it has a zip out winter lining! I will order that lovely hat!
Thank you. Janice for yet another great post !
Janice Collins, Washington, DC
Polka-dots are a fun way to add interest to a wardrobe, and one of my few "prints". Scale is important – too large a dot can look odd. It's interesting to read the reactions in the comments – some say NO to gingham or polka-dots, others YES. How great that we can all wear things we enjoy and not be slavishly tied to what's "in".
I have a piece of red and cream polka-dot linen that is hankering to be made into a skirt for spring.
Another great post, Janice.
Susan Bybee says
Hello polka dots! Make yourself at home in my closet. Bermuda shorts,you got to go!
I love square necklines, all things gingham, and polka dots. I broke my no-shopping ban to purchase a gingham skirt from Macy's last week, so I am inadvertantly on trend. Thanks, Janice!
My high school grad dress was 2 sizes and colours of gingham made by me for about $7 50 years ago. I still like to look of that dress in the photos. However, Gingham and polka dots are no longer my choice for anything on me.
Hooded raincoats are a must for Vancouver
Deb from Vancouver
I cannot imagine a rainy spring without my yellow slicker, a cheerful, bright pair of rubber wellies, and big black umbrella with an old fashioned hook handle…anything else seems too somber to combat the rainy days of April!
And I am dying to try that Butter nail polish in British Khaki, it is a colour I wear often year 'round in clothing, handbags, and luggage, but have never tried as a nail polish. I have never cared for it in shoes or jewelry, though.
Love the way designers are trying to package all these very traditional looks as something new and trendy.
: ) Sue G
I've had square necklines before. I do have a pair of olive drab pedal pushers that I like. I rarely wear shorts since I gained weight. I think I have a pair of pajama shorts. :) I think short shorts are inappropriate for over 50 no matter how nice your legs look. I have worn gingham in the past but do not currently own any. It was a black and white shirt and I wore the heck out of it! I am not opposed to dots as long as they do not look juvenile. I have been searching for the "perfect" hooded raincoat for several seasons now!
I love the olive drab look, and khaki, too. My idea of a rain slicker is one of those $6 clear fold up ones that waits patiently in the bottom of my purse. I used it on my Alaska cruise while hiking around. It worked great and you could see my lovely hiking gear underneath. Yes, I'm utilitarian all the way!
Your photographer friend loves the Utilitarian hat. Same brand as a few of my recent hat purchases.
I have seen a lot of small polka dot items, but I haven't seen the extra large polka dots. Do they have their own trend? I remember my mom's beige sleeveless dress that had 3 inch black dots on it. It had a wide patent leather belt. Mom had 3 inch pointed toe black patent leather shoes to wear with that dress. I know there is a picture somewhere
Time to move the olive bermuda shorts from hiking gear to regular gear, then. ;) I have a lot of polka-dotted scarves because I am a sucker for them, so they will be coming out, too.
Coco Colmani says
thank you for explaining about the different versions of khaki in the US and the UK. Here in Australia I've been bewildered by online searches bringing up both tan and olive clothes.
Robyn in Tasmania
I want that hat with the bow so badly…. but shipping to Canada is an awful $45 dollars (!!!) so I will have to keep dreaming. It's beautiful, both in color and style.
I’ve never owned anything gingham but I would love a shirt if it would look good on me for casual summer wear. I love small polka dots so as soon as I saw a navy maxi skirt with white pin dots in my favorite catalog I snapped it up. This is a classic in my eyes! The eyelet is perfect for any summer. I always buy rain coats with a hood. I’m unable to carry a umbrella because I use a walker. The sguare neckline on T-shirts are new to me but I find I really enjoy them this summer. Being large busted these are more modest than some v-necks available.