The 920 | Style

Style – October 2020

Retro Looks for Fall Vibes

by Kelley Malott

Cool weather is upon us as our weather forecast turns gray and rainy. The fall leaves have started to change, and as usual fall fashion allows us to warm up with thicker fabrics and draw color-inspiration from the changing foliage. Thankfully, some trends continue to stay in style from year to year. This season you’ll see a lot of retro looks returning to retailers, with fashion trends drawing heavily from the 1970s.

Faux Fur jackets, especially the “Teddy Bear” jackets with that delightfully soft Sherpa pile, will be popular again this fall. These oversize jackets are available in many styles, from cropped to trench. Pair the oversized faux fur coat with slim or straight cut neutrals in black or chocolate brown. Combining the soft material with leather or metal accessories, like Stylist Alyssa Lenore, with her addition of combat boots, will keep balance in the look. A great pairing with this look is a leather bag with a chain strap. The jacket is really the statement here, so let that be the focus of your ensemble.

Other retro comebacks for the season are high-necked Victorian-style blouses and dresses and 1970s peasant tops. These dramatic tops and dresses take most of the focus to the shoulder or neckline. Look for ruffle accents at the neck and shoulders to embrace this retro trend, like this dress styled by Kelly Ann. These tops are available in neutral colors and softer, romantic floral prints in fall colors. Look for neutral colors if you would like to wear this look often, such as this black top available from Banana Republic, which will pair with a variety of looks. These ruffle-necked tops with bell sleeves are so versatile tucked into high waisted pants and can soften a faux leather skirt. 

Straight-leg jeans are making a comeback, so check your local second-hand shop for a vintage pair of jeans. High-waisted jeans with straight legs are the trend at the moment, with shorter ankle cuts being especially favored. You can easily alter or roll the hems of a straight leg pant to achieve the right length. I love The Acre, a vintage clothing retailer based in Appleton. You can check out their Instagram or Facebook @acre_vintage to shop or set up an appointment to shop their store located in The Draw on Lawe Street. They have tons of vintage options available, and their feed really showcases the 1970s inspirations that this fall fashion season is drawing from.

Pleated front pants are here again. These new styles feature more of a tapered leg than an older pair from your closet. If you’d like to try the trend, you can see about getting an old pair altered so the ankles are more fitted. Or try cuffing the hems of your pants to get the same effect of ankle pants without the alteration, and show off the new length with a standout shoe. A dark khaki or brown plaid will be perfect for fall. For a preppy look, try pairing with a traditional leather loafer. For an edgier look, try a leopard print ballet flat or a black combat boot. These pants are versatile; they will work with billowing, romantic tops that are popular this season, but they will go with just about any neutral colored tee shirt. Black, beige, chocolate and camel brown are go-to neutrals this season.

If you really like the pleated pants trend, you can try the “Paperbag” pants that had a resurgence in recent years. This style still has many on the fence, and some stylists say to avoid them. I personally find the dramatic slouchy waist a chic way to dress up a pair of trousers, especially if you’re looking for a pant to wear for an event or special occasion. Target has an affordable and stylish option, as styled here by Blogger Sherrell Ogletree.

Last but not least, a must-have for the season is a neutral-colored oversize sweater. I recommend some of the soft oversized knits available at H&M. These sweaters will style with almost anything. You can do a French tuck into a pair of pleated pants or jeans, and throw a plaid blazer over the top for a casual look to wear while out with your friends or on a trip to the local pumpkin patch. For a glam look, grab a faux-fur infinity scarf and pair with black leggings and knee-high boots. No matter what you style it with, you can’t go wrong with a good sweater during fall. 

Style & Fashion – September 2020

Back to Work with Style

by Kelley Malott

Normally, September would mark the time to start investing in cool weather pieces for the fall season. As many of us continue to work (or learn) from home, the addition of new staples into our wardrobe may not be as much of a necessity. However, many workplaces are slowly opening back up, and our readers may find themselves going back into the office sooner rather than later. Thankfully, fall trends continue to draw from 90s inspired fashions that will allow many to recycle older pieces already in their wardrobe.

It will come as no surprise to fashion aficionados that as we move into September plaid will begin to return to clothing racks across the country. Designers for the fall season drew on equestrian-inspired style (think more East coast private club than Western cowboy) with classic plaid sport coats paired with knee-high camel suede or leather boots. A plaid jacket is a great staple for your fall wardrobe. It’s suitable for the workplace and can be dressed down with a pair of high-waisted jeans, as shown on the runway by Brandon Maxwell, for a weekend lunch.

Suit jackets continue to trend oversize, meaning that hip length (or longer) blazers with wide shoulders so often in style during the 80s and early 90s are still having a moment this fall. This style is a great opportunity for shoppers to explore vintage options through online retailers like Etsy. Another trend making a comeback is the skirt suit, including flat or pleated styles like the beige set from Gabriela Hearst.

Big, dramatic sleeves have been trending all summer long and will continue into the fall with balloon-sleeved sweaters and puff sleeve blouses. Dramatic tops will work perfect with high waisted, straight cut pants, or paired with a flared skirt like the one shown by designer Victoria Beckham. 

Which leads to our trending color in September: beige. That’s right, retailers like Banana Republic are showing natural beige tones for your wardrobe staples. Classic tweeds will pair well with natural tones of beige and khaki, with high-rise cropped khakis staying on trend for the fluctuating temperatures of September.

For those looking for a pop of color, cherry red made an appearance across several designers, from statement ensembles to a layered look like the quilted jacket from Eltro. This color is already making an appearance at retailers like J.Jill and White House Black Market in the form of special occasion dresses, staple wardrobe pieces for the bold, and other accessories.

Suede and leather continue to be the leading materials for fall accessories (which is great for us since we can reuse them year after year). Tasseled leather handbags and slouchy suede bags will complement any fall outfit. Layered bracelets are on trend, as well as skinny belts to cinch blazered looks. Keep an eye out for leopard and other big cat prints as well. You will see the pattern on lots of accessories this fall, including face masks, which have become a much needed staple in many of our wardrobes.



Style & Fashion – August 2020

Getting to the Bottom of Summer

by Phyllis Collar

Wisconsin summers can be a bit unpredictable, from cold, windy nights to hot, humid days. With that in mind, I wanted to weigh in on what we might be wearing on the bottom as the shifting summer temps are upon us.

No matter how much my kids protest, it seems pant legs are widening. Although skinny jeans will remain a classic staple, bootcut and flared jeans are making a comeback this year. Wide-leg jeans can be cropped or full length, as long as they are high waisted. Say goodbye to fear of the muffin top and pair your high waisted jeans with tiny feminine tops and cropped sweaters. When it comes to jeans, ripped and distressed is all the rage. Pair the casual, rugged bottom with a sophisticated high neck blouse or a cropped blazer and throw on a pair of pointed heels for good measure.

Wide leg styles are not just for jeans this summer. Celebs are donning mesh pants and they are super cool (pun intended). They are a perfect layering piece for chunky, oversized shirts. Wide leg trousers flatter nearly any body type and come in many textiles such as cotton or linen, with or without pleats, cuffs or pockets. Whether solid, pinstripe, or houndstooth (which is also making a comeback), wide leg trousers create a relaxed, yet sophisticated look.

Another pant trend this year – paper bag pants – are one of the most flattering styles you can ever own. A wide waist pulled tight by a stylish belt makes your middle look narrow, while the wide legs fall straight down minimizing your entire silhouette. Don’t be afraid to tuck your shirts and even chunky sweaters in!

Speaking of pockets and wide legs, cargo pants are another trend for this year’s bottoms. Cinched at the ankles, or wide and cuffed, these pants are no longer bulky and camo-covered. In textiles such as starchy twill or flowy nylon, they can be dressed up or down. Pair with a vintage sweatshirt and lug sole boots to shop on Saturday afternoon; add high heels and a fitted turtleneck for a sleek, sophisticated evening ensemble.

Slim fitting pants are still a classic in any wardrobe and leather pants are making a fashion resurgence. Apparently pairing slim, buttery soft, leather slacks with a double top set is all the rage with celebs.

I can’t neglect one of my all-time favorites in this discussion about pants. The jumpsuit makes getting dressed a no brainer. Jumpsuits are versatile, going from day to night with a quick change of accessories. An easy one-and-done ensemble, it flatters most any body type.

Finally, Wisconsinites wear shorts whether it is 40 or 100 degrees out, so get ready as cropped pants and culottes make way for Bermuda shorts. Also called “mom shorts,” Bermuda shorts typically hover just above the knee and are styled with a belt at the waist. In leather, denim, corduroy, satin, nylon, and many other types, these shorts are pleated, pocketed, and even embellished. They are great paired with cropped tees and sweaters or blazers and delicate blouses alike.

So, step outside your style box this season, step out of your skinny jeans, and try a new pant on for style!



Style & Fashion – July 2020

Fun in the Sun 2020

by Phyllis Collar

If your exotic travel plans were canceled due to the recent pandemic, there’s no need to fear. Summer has officially arrived in Appleton, Wisconsin! The bold prints, daring cutouts, and retro looks that dominate this season will make you feel like you are on vacation. Whether you are headed to a Covid-compliant outdoor shindig or mowing your lawn on a humid afternoon, this summer’s bathing suit trends run the gamut from utilitarian and sensible to whimsical and creative.

The first big trend in swimsuits this year is cutouts. If you desire a one-piece silhouette with a bikini feel, look no further than a suit with dramatic cutouts. From asymmetrical to strappy-backed numbers, these suits can accentuate as little or as much as you care to reveal. I might be more inclined to opt for the simple yet risqué look of a one- or two-piece with just one shoulder cutout.

Our approach to wearing a swimsuit may need to be re-examined this season. Designers have pieces that transition from beach to evening apparel with the incorporation of beading and other embellishments. One variation on the cutout is a stylish wraparound swim top. Some of them even have sleeves!  Bathing suit tops with waist-defining belts and ruching need only a skirt or pants to move beyond the beach. 

Another summer swimsuit trend is ruffles. Feminine and flirty, ruffles can be subtle or outrageous. Choose a sleek one-piece with just a touch of ruffling on the straps edge, a high-waisted bottom with an off-the-shoulder crop top befitting a Spanish Flamenco dancer, or swimsuits with a simple overlay ruffle that covers in all the right places.

Lurex is a bathing suit trend that suggests glamour and whimsy. A light, stretchy fabric made of metallic yarn is dominating swimsuit trends in colors as bright as neon green and as brooding as darkest magenta. This shimmery material makes sunny days especially fun. Although there are plenty of sexy and stringy styles, I am especially partial to a shiny ballet pink with a simple silhouette, as I feel the fabric itself makes a bold enough statement.

If it is retro you crave, try this year’s bright yellow, orange, and green swimsuit textiles. Retro sports-wear suits include colorful contrasting palettes and details. Vibrant orange is a dominant hue this season and bathing suits are no exception. Belts, buckles, and zippers are not to be found missing on many of these designs. Retro-romantic designs feature high waists, with or without ruching, and underwire bra tops with polka dots and tiny flowers.

The most interesting concept I see in swimsuit fashion this summer is the varying covered up options. Long sleeve tops, short sleeve one pieces, and boy shorts allow even the most modest or sun-averse to enjoy the outdoors. 

Of course, always put on sunblock before going out and take a look at the amazing hat trends this summer. Big straw hats, twill bucket hats, large-brimmed baseball caps, and even visors and headscarves can add pizzazz to any swimsuit ensemble! 


Style & Fashion – June 2020

Re-Boot Your Style

by Phyllis Collar

Now that spring is right around the corner, late winter is often our last chance to bust out our best sweaters and boots. Surely, some days require our muckiest pair, as we shovel our way out of our homes and businesses. However, much of our boot donning can be accomplished with flair in 2020. With this spectacularly mild winter we’ve had so far, there are lots of days to make our boots the centerpiece of an outfit. Why not take a peek at what’s trending in boot fashion this season?

First, for that tough girl look, try a pair of combat boots on for size. I imagined myself in denim shirt dress and a pair of black lace-up, army-surplus pair while recently shopping with my son, who is a new army graduate. Alas, I regret that I never took the leap and bought them. The runways pair them with everything from black leggings and T-shirts to short skirts and sweater dresses. 

Second, how about those other lace up boots? Victorian era lace-up boots are back and trés chic. The recent movie “Little Women,” the newest version of that classic tale, had a hand in the resurgence of late 18th century fashion. Boots with delicate lace-up fronts and pointed toes have a sleek silhouette and are terrific paired with tights and a mini-skirt or your favorite pair of jeans. 

Another shorter boot trend is the polar opposite of pointed, sleek boots. The square-toed ankle boot is boxy and pairs well with blazers and wide-legged trousers, as well as distressed jeans and T-shirts.

If taller boots are your passion, this season option abound. Sleek, knee-high boots are a classic. Paired with leggings, skinny jeans, short or long dresses alike, a simple black pair should be a staple in every woman’s wardrobe. Or, find yourself a pair of knee-high neutral-hued boots and wear those with just about anything as well.  

If you aren’t afraid of heights, try a pair of over-the-knee boots on for size! I remember a good friend of mine had a pair of these in burgundy suede that she paired with a pair of burgundy tights and plaid wool button-up shorts. This year, these boots are a classic in leather and suede, and in neutral shades to sleekest black, and they double as leg warmers to boot (pun fully intended)! 

Now, if you need to feel more grounded, look no further than lug-soled or platform boots, which are also seen on the runways this winter. Platform boots make me wish I had never thrown out those Steve Madden’s that got me through my twenties. These things scream retro in a great way! Lug-soled boots are another staple for any Wisconsin winter. Feminine yet edgy, lug-soled boots can be worn walking through slush on your way to the office and don’t require switching to a more sophisticated pair. They are sophisticated in their own right and offer traction and solid footing in an unsteady world. Pair them with jeans—rolled, cuffed, or cropped—these boots can imitate rain boots, emulate sleek, black leather “planks,” or take a casual sneaker silhouette. 

Bright hues were in abundance on runways this year and shoes and boots were no exception. 

Most boots can be had in vivid colors and even bright white! No style precludes experimenting with a little color once in a while. In addition, coziness has become an important factor when choosing some kinds of boots. Fuzzy accents appeared on all kinds of accessories this year. A pair of boots with fur inside could just be the ticket to your warmest winter yet!

Be they practical or super stylish, you are bound to get compliments on your boots this season if you get yourself a pair that suits your fancy, or bust out a pair you stored away from your past. Fashion is always a cycle; similarly boots always stand the test of versatility and variety.