Mirror, Mirror: Summer fashion must-haves, vintage vogue and casual cool

Posted: May 29, 2014

Fashion this summer is somewhat sporty (tricked-out Birkenstocks) and fairly sophisticated (hello, sheer panty hose).

And all the way vintage. How else could you explain the 1960s winged eyeliner obsession and the throwback-to-the-'70s fringe on nearly every accessory?

"The mood is very dramatic, yet fun," said André Richard Baldini, artistic director and owner of André Richard Salon in Midtown Village. "Dressy looks are out there, but people are still feeling casual."

So in keeping with the season's vintage styles-meet-modern-flair mood, I suggest the following must-haves for summer.

High-waisted bathing suits

Maybe it's thong fatigue, but this retro, full-coverage option makes me happy. My first choice would be one in red with white dime-size polka-dots (à la Taylor Swift), but the options are flush, with shades of buttercup yellow to camouflage. Top it off with a strapless bandeau bikini top.

"It gives a slimming illusion," explained Tai Camper, buyer for South Moon Under, a Maryland-based clothing franchise with a cluster of stores in the region. "It's very classic, sophisticated. A pinup look, totally."

The high waist - not to be confused with its cousin, boy shorts - can trace its beginnings to actress Annette Funicello's trim torso in 1960s beach movies. For those somewhat sexy roles, Disney still insisted Funicello's navel be covered.

Designers Michael Kors and Mara Hoffman showcased the sporty-style suits on the runway in September. And as warmer weather brings celebrities out to Malibu, we've seen Katy Perry, Rihanna, and tennis great Serena Williams give the once-frumpy two-piece a mod stamp of approval.  

Summer sweater

 The temps may be rising, but we aren't ready to give up on our blousy-bodied-fitted-in-the-arms sweatshirts yet.

They are comforting - think stylish security blankets - and with so many brands like Peace Love World and Good Hyouman making them with thumb holes and adding positive, Twitter-friendly sayings in graphic prints, we love them even more.

"Think of it as a cross between a T-shirt and a sweatshirt," said Ann Gitter, owner of Chestnut Street's Knit Wit.

Gitter says the tops, perfect in lemon yellows and cotton-candy pinks, are slouchy perfection when paired with dressy sweatpants; cuffed boyfriend jeans; and the always-dependable maxi skirt.

Warby Parker sunglasses

 Sunglasses are a necessity in the sunshine, and University of Pennsylvania graduates Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa's philanthropic gold mine, Warby Parker, offers perfectly tinted specs for the season.

The New York-based company donates one pair of glasses to a person in need for every pair purchased. This summer's collection continues to feature 1950s Buddy Holly, 1960s Malcolm X, and 1970s Jackie Onassis styles in tiny tortoiseshell or oversize pastel frames. Prices range from $99 to $200.

Next month, Warby Parker will launch a capsule collection designed in collaboration with supermodel Karlie Kloss. Proceeds will benefit Edible Schoolyard NYC, a nonprofit that helps public school children eat healthy.

Birkenstock style

The easygoing style of sandals is usually in the midst of coming or going. However, this summer, luxury designer brands Céline, Ann Demeulemeester, and Givenchy are adding to Birkenstock-like styles large, graphic prints, two-tones, or merely their brand names. I think the floral-print Givenchy slip-ons will be the most fun to wear as they look just as good with yoga pants as they do a sundress.

 Fringe bag

Fashion followers will surely be tangled in the tassels of fringe. Whether you opt for this uber high-end clutch by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's The Row, or a more reasonable facsimile at Rainbow Shops, the bit of flounce is just what you need for summer fun.

 Winged eye

The winged eye, also called the cat eye, is an easier-to-do alternative to the smoky eye, says Baldini. "It's much easier to pull that wing out than to layer colors to get that dramatic effect."

The heavily lined look goes back to the '60s days of model Twiggy, but for today's makeup addict, it comes right off the catwalks.

We started seeing the ringed, black eyes on fall 2013 runways and by spring 2014, designers from Lanvin to Anna Sui were incorporating them on runways and campaigns.

Makeup companies from Cover Girl to Make Up for Ever have introduced to the scene a plethora of liquid eyeliners and markers, so whether you opt for a black winged eye like Cara Delevingne or line your top lid with purple like January Jones, the look is yours for the taking.

Flesh-colored panty hose

In our quest to be polished and pulled together in A-line skirt suits, flesh-toned panty hose are enjoying a comeback. Kate Middleton brought back the silken leg in nude pumps two years ago, and this summer a lot of once-bare legs are now shimmering.

What panty-hose purists weren't betting on was the run factor. Yes, hipsters are recycling their panty hose, runs and all. I don't suggest you wear this look to your job at the bank, but if you're planning an outing to Johnny Brenda's, go for it.


 This synthetic fabric, both perforated and smooth, is turning floral fit-and-flares and midriffs into pretty showpieces. Contemporary brands from Clover Canyon to Ted Baker have made the sporty textile appropriate evening wear. Plus, the fabrics are soft and breathable, perfect for summertime style.





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