We all know that the fashion world is defined by extremes, and as spring 2011 would have it, the alternative to sleek, minimalist androgyny is a highly feminine aesthetic that showcases bold silhouettes, dresses and colours so bright they make fuchsia look boring. Here’s our guide to femininity in fashion this season and how you can make it your own:
Mad Men may be on hiatus until early 2012, but the 60s look it helped bring back has returned to the runways thanks to the likes of Oscar de le Renta who featured bright prints, vintage cuts and styles that would make Joan Holloway (nay, Harris) jealous. How to do it on you own? By pairing an A-line skirt or dress with a classic trench or capped sleeve blouse, you can retain the 60s feel without seeming too novelty. Dress-wise, don’t fear the bright: while you may not necessarily be into neon, an azure blue or subtle lime stripe can easily be balanced with a neutral shoe, bag or belt.
While Dior showcased high-end fabrics, frills and lace, Dolce & Gabbana used a bohemian template to capture the peasant feel of sundresses of the 1970s, showcasing patterns and classic cuts that take you right back to the Nixon era. Luckily, chains like H&M have capitalized on the ultra-girlie aesthetic, and using full skirts, thin straps and florals, they’ve made the sundress of 2011 an affordable option for those not particularly inclined to drop too much on a trend now so identified with the season. And of course, since most of our parents were 20-something in the peasant dress hey-day, there’s always a vintage option
Upon hearing florals in spring, you can’t help but hear Miranda Priestly’s voice sarcastically branding them groundbreaking. However, like any other spring/summer season, flowers-on-fabrics have made a triumphant return thanks to the likes of D & G, Banana Republic and Alberta Ferretti, but instead of focusing on a certain template, this season ranges from the loud to the subtle to the somewhere in-between. Meaning? Spring 2011’s made the floral option much easier for the masses to embrace, with stores like Urban Outfitters offering floral shorts and long-sleeve button-ups, and Aerie maintaining its ultra-girlie aesthetic through pinks, purples and of course, the pattern itself.
While leather has earned its place in the spring 2011 stratosphere, sheer, lace and silky fabrics have also made their mark, with designers like Calvin Klein re-introducing the slip dress, and Anna Sui offering free-flowing, layered floor-length styles. Naturally, girlie-ness is what you make it, and while femininity seems defined by soft lines and fabrics of equal texture, the structured, 60s vibe also defines fashion’s concept of ladylike.