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Warm Weather Fashion

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Vol. 9 Cover

Takes a Walk on the Wild Side

By Emily Kopec

Fashion’s taken a sharp turn for the wild this season, and we’re showing you how to do

what we at Vitality call a “classy wild.” Spotted on the horizon: cheetah prints, big tribal

patterns, and long skirts in earthy hues. Even the Yves Saint Laurent legendary safari jump suit

has been reinterpreted this season, and we’re just getting warmed up. Ladies, grab your

binoculars and hop on the safari wagon.

Safari Glam

We’re on the prowl for animal print tops this summer. When the material is done right, these tops come off as classy rather than juvenile. For example, a silk leopard print top worn with cuffed khaki shorts accented with shiny gold jewelry in is a winning, sophisticated look. Keep the material upscale and the wild prints will look nothing less than stellar and 100% appropriate.

The safari suit is another great way to wear the trend. What is a safari suit, you ask? It’s a khaki, collared jacket that’s cinched in at the waist with a tied, built-in belt made of the same material with matching khaki pants. This uni-shade outfit is easiest to pull off when the jacket’s a longer length and the pants are a wide-leg cut. The safari suit offers full coverage yet it’s lightweight enough to be comfortable on warmer days.

Other looks prepared to pounce on the more glamorous side of safari include a long, cheetah print skirt with a simple top, a beaded, multi-colored, tribal-patterned loose sleeveless top with white pants, and a long dress made of a nature-inspired pattern like leaves.

A downright glitzy way to show off the safari style is with a ~ gulp ~ turban! Not for the faint of fashion, turbans ooze cultured confidence. Keep the shade neutral, and keep your accessories ~ if any ~ simple. Tip: If you like the turban look but think you’re too timid to wear one, the easiest place to test out the look is at the beach, where a turban serves both fashion and function with ease.

Safari Casual

A great everyday look, safari casual is your signature summer style. These clothes are highly accessible and affordable, not to mention they look chic in an effortless, understated way. What’s not to love?

You’ll make a splash at a low-key event like a family cookout in a simple t-shirt with a screen print of none other than a wild animal. Imagine a loose, v-neck white tee with a large black and white photo of a lion’s face. Pair it with capris and flat metallic sandals and you’re good to go.

Moving away from animals and animal prints, certain strong colors encompass the safari trend as well. They include moss green, cocoa brown, sunset gold, citrus lime, and burnt sienna. Try a cocoa-hued silk shell with loose drawstring pants. Or go for a classic khaki shirt with dark-colored gaucho pants, adding a pop of color with an orange necklace.

Remember, you don’t have to look like your home is the rolling grassland of Kenyan to appreciate the safari look. In fact, the #1 rule of this trend is to avoid tribal overkill. If you’re wearing a tribal outfit, keep accessories to a minimum. If the outfit is simple, add some drama with ethnic-inspired jewelry and shoes.

Gypsy Woman

Fashion seems to have an ongoing fascination with the gypsy look, as it’s never really out of style and it compliments all age groups. According to Carla Sozzani, owner of 10 Corso Como in Milan, “Gypsies are icons of freedom, they recycle everything; it is the ultimate flea market. They mix ropes with gold, and everything works.” Ex-hippies love this look!

First up are bohemian gypsy skirts. These long, flowy skirts mix bright colors and loud patterns together in an artsy mesh. They can ruffle, flounce, flare, pleat, or swish at the bottom in a carefree way. Whether your skirt is in cotton, silk, or anything in between, you’re sure to make an electric statement while prancing around in one. Shoes not required, and talk about comfort!

A variation on the gypsy skirt is one of a more lacy, peasant kind. Reminiscent of the ’70s, they’re simultaneously unconventional and romantic. Tiered layers of eyelet or lace on the bottom portion of the skirt nail the look. These eyecatching skirts, however, beg to be worn with a plainer top, lest you begin to look like you’ve donned a costume, not an outfit. Think simple Tshirt or blous.

Slip into some comfortable, boot-cut jeans. No, gypsies don’t always wear pants, and worn-in jeans are the perfect pants solution. We’ve all learned to pass up the “Mom jeans,” with their ultra-high waists and tapered legs, and boot cut jeans are the perfect balance between “hip” and sensible. To go with your jeans, be on the hunt for lightweight peasant tops, also a hot gypsy look. They can have either solid colors or prints like floral or paisley. Details like ruffles, beads, and even sequins make the top more interesting, but if you’re like me, you’ll opt for a very subtle presence of those details. Peasant tops go great with jeans, but pairing them with a gypsy skirt is overkill…unless, of course, you’re an actual gypsy.

Wonderful Watercolors

Much like a watercolor painting, watercolor prints in fashion encompass a soft, dreamy vibe. This is the less in-your-face way to wear an artsy, carefree look. There is also a certain mystique behind these clothes as they are delicate, feminine and also give off an air of artistic sensibility.

What first comes to mind for most when thinking of the watercolor trend is a delicate floral print. Designers have a way of swirling together abstract flowers that seem to almost dance off the fabric. A silky floral dress is very pretty and appropriate for warm weather.

Soft, dreamy colors like lavender, sky blue, and seafoam green were also on designers’ minds for this season. These colors “pop” even more when they’re accented by a deep hue like navy or emerald green ~ so for cooler spring and summer nights, pair a darker blazer or cardigan with pearl buttons with your silks. [see pic “50 and fab”]


Jewel encrusted clothing is all the craze, and it’s not just for evening wear anymore. Precious stones, glass, multi-faceted beads and crystals are popping up everywhere on everyday tops like tunics and shells.

The key to pulling off embellishments during daytime is to choose those with a funky-rather- than-fancy vibe. In fact, some of the embellishments are broken, hammered, and even scattered in a no rhyme or reason manner. And fear not, they don’t have to have a rock ‘n roll edge, they can be perfectly placed in panels or circular patterns. The trick is to wear your embellished top with a simple bottom, and not overdo it in the hair and make-up department. Remember, these embellishments can refract a fair amount of light so there should be no need ~ or desire ~ to compete with (or, heaven forbid, outshine) that. Let your embellishments do the talking without saying a word.

Big Night Out Minus the Freak Out

Wondering what to wear for that special evening affair? Fret not, Vitality has you covered options that are both trendy and sophisticated.

Sheer material is an especially hot nighttime look this summer. Of course, the entire dress or shirt shouldn’t be see-through (big fashion no-no!), but it should highlight one area like the sleeves or the décolleté with a lightweight, partially see-through fabric. Dare to (almost) bare.

Select an unexpected hue like rusty orange with a loose, sheer short sleeve and pair it with a layered chain necklace. Or wear a blouse with voluminous, sheer sleeves with tuxedo pants. This look is nothing less than sheer (pun intended!) elegance. Tip: Stick to sheer dresses that are long, as shorter ones can charter into unclassy territory.

One-shouldered dresses have been coming and going for a few seasons now, but they’re coming on strong for the foreseeable future. The one-shouldered look shows off the collarbone, which is a sexy area on women of every age and build. It also adds a modern, fashion-forward element. Self-conscious about going “so bare?” Add a semi-sheer silk shawl and you can cover that shoulder (or underarm area) without adding weight or bulk to the outfit.

Need some inspiration? Just remember how elegant the sparkling ivory one-shouldered number (designed by newcomer Jason Wu) Michelle Obama wore to the Inauguration Ball looked on her. Absolutely breathtaking. Tip: The one-shouldered dress doesn’t have to be sleeveless or short-sleeved, long sleeves work just as well.

We saved the most daring evening option for last. Drumroll please…The silk jumpsuit!

Yes, we’re talking about that one-piece jumpsuit, made big in the ’70s and ’80s, except it’s got a fresh new spin for 2009.

What to look for in a jumpsuit? Clean lines, solid colors, and waist ties. You’ll likely have to try on a few to get the right fit, but that’s half the fun, especially when you discover they’re more flattering than you may think. Jumpsuits can be draped or fitted on top, but the pants portion should always be somewhat loose going down toward the bottom. They have a retro feel, so don’t try to fight it. Lastly, the silk jumpsuit practically begs for a high heel, so break out your best!



You’ve come this far, embracing the somewhat wilder looks that have turned up for the spring and summer, so let’s go all the way and complete your look with the all-important accessory. Every well-appointed woman needs to finish off her outfit with a little something, whether it’s a bangle bracelet or a crocodile clutch.

This season’s tribal influence comes across clearly in exotic, worldly necklaces. Add some that feature elements like coins, keys, gold nuggets and exotic animals like elephants and the big cats.

Another jewelry trend is colored stones and gems. You can have a lot of fun with this one. Remember the emerald earrings Angelina Jolie wore to the Oscars? That’s the look, whether you’re brave enough to go that bold or prefer to downsize the dangles and simply go for the color and brightness. Get your hands on earrings, necklaces, bracelets and rings with gemstones like ruby and amethyst. Of course “faux” is completely acceptable (except when it comes to anniversary or birthday gifts!) ~ Either way, the real thing or a well-done fake, they add a bold pop of color and polish.

Keep in mind when you’re choosing this season’s neck adornments that the trend is to layer, layer, and then layer some more. The chicest, easiest look to achieve is a multi-layered beaded necklace adorning a simple top. If you’ve got fashionista flair coursing through your veins, though, you might want to experiment with layering necklaces of different kinds to create a look all your own. Sometimes pieces that clash come together to make a fantastic statement. Necklaces are getting wild this season, so it’s all fair game.

And now for shoes ~ the base (literally and figuratively) for any great outfit. The big shoe trend of summer is the ethnic-inspired flat sandal. They’re extremely comfortable and stylish. Look for flat, open-foot leather styles with trinkets like gold coins, metallic accents, beads, and more!


Men’s Trends

With all the attention on women’s fashion, what’s a man to wear? We’re keeping the talk on men’s summer fashion straight to the point, because we know you’re a straight-shooter kind of guy.

It’s official: the vest has made a huge comeback. Jersey fabric vests are put on and go, while satin and silk vests are better suited for dressier occasions. Either way, putting on a vest is an easy way to look classy and pulled together. Don’t be afraid to wear one with jeans.

Linen pants are the pants for summer, and they’re all about comfort and style. Make sure you choose a light color, and pair them up with some shiny oxford shoes for a fresh yet traditional contrast.

The tie is not confined to the suit anymore. It can go with casual clothes too, like a vertical striped collared shirt. Be creative with your tie and wear it when it’s not expected!

The double-breasted jacket is a must-have for summer. If you don’t have one, get one in a pale shade. It’s a relaxed yet dressy, masculine must-have for your summer wardrobe. Who could ask for more?

Pastel-colored polo shirts are great to have on hand for practically any occasion. Whether short or long sleeved, the polo shirt is a classic look that’s never out of style but is particularly “in” this summer.

Color of the season? Metallic blue! It doesn’t have to be shiny, but a collared shirt in deep blue with a subtle sheen is what we’re talking about.


Hair and Makeup Trend Quickies

#1 Hair trend: Blunt cuts with clean lines. Keep up with your trims!

The bob goes cropped with a thick, blunt cut fringe. This style is perfect for showing off shiny, healthy hair in a sophisticated way.

Cool shades are out, warm undertones are in. Golden blondes, chestnuts, coppers, caramel browns, cinnamons and gingers help heat up the season.

#1 Makeup trend: It’s all about the eye! Allow your eyes be the focal point of your look.

Thick, heavy eyebrows, begone. Brows are much softer and natural, but never too thin.

Violet shadow and liner (or a combination of purples and greys) creates the new soft, smoky eye that compliments every skin tone and eye shade.

Skin should look highlighted and glowing. Illuminating powder works wonders: Using a soft brush, concentrate the powder just above the cheekbone. Try L’Oreal Translucide Naturally Luminous Powder.

Karon Shea Talks Fashion and Style

By Christine R. Walsh

Karon Shea, owner of La Femmina Modeling Center and Karon Shea Model Management, knows the fashion and modeling business from its deepest, darkest pant suit pockets to its crisply pressed dress shirt collars. At the age of 61, Shea ~ who has been a member of many Boards of Directors in the city including Easter Seals, MS, MD and March of Dimes ~ works seven days a week, never takes a vacation, has produced thousands of fashion shows and has a work ethic that would put most to shame.

And as any true professional knows, no matter what, the show much go on.

“There have been fashion shows for which I literally slid into the parking lot in my car because of the snow,” Shea remembers. “But a fashion show is never cancelled.”

Karon is known throughout the area for her poise, impeccable taste, and knack for turning Worcester’s movers and shakers into models when an event calls for it. It’s no surprise, then, that she was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Hanover Theatre and, most recently, to the Board of the Worcester Chapter of Dress for Success, a cause that is near and dear to her heart, combining fashion with perhaps one of the best causes possible, helping women get back on their feet and fulfill their true potential.

Today, although style remains in the forefront of this fashionista’s mind, her heart belongs to her three lovely daughters (who have also been involved in the modeling, dance, or acting business) and her grandchildren. But she’s not too busy to always give an honest and educated opinion about what to wear ~ and what not to wear ~ so who better to introduce our Spring/Summer Style issue than a woman who knows ~ and projects ~ style from head to toe?!

Q: Is there one style mistake that you consistently see older women make?

A: The one thing that most people should remember is that fashion is timeless. You don’t necessarily want to follow a trend to be in fashion.

Q: What’s the one accessory or item of clothing that’s always been your favorite “go-to” piece?

A: Oh the pearls! The pearl necklace will never go out of style. They’re timeless. They were worn by Jackie O and they are in the White House today. They’re also excellent to give to your grandchildren.

Q: Are style rules changing? Can we wear white before Memorial Day?

A: You need to change with the style, but if you’re going to do it, do it with fashion sense. I’m not going to wear white shoes anyway [Shea laughs], and I’m not going to wear white pants before Labor Day.

Q: Do clothes make the man/woman?

A: Oh totally. Let’s say I have two young men in front of me. We don’t know anything about their levels of education. One is dressed in khaki pants and a pressed Oxford shirt. The other one walks in with jeans and a t-shirt. Neither one has said a word to me, but one has clearly put forth more time and consideration. I can’t imagine why someone would go out of their home without taking into account what they look like.

Q: Trends have come and gone over the years ~ is there one that sticks out in your mind as the most flattering ? The least?

A: I think the least flattering, on most people, is the miniskirt. The miniskirt, unless you have beautiful legs, should not be worn. Today, people are revealing too much and anything extremely revealing should not be worn. Stick with the classics. Your JCrew, your Gap. Even some of Old Navy’s pieces are classic.

Q: Great shoes or great purse ~ which is more important?

A: Shoes. I want the shoes every time.

Q: Your own personal style icon?

A: It is the Audrey Hepburn. It is the Grace Kelly. It’s that look that never goes out of style. I don’t look for labels, I look for pieces I can wear.

Q: Any parting words of style wisdom for our Vitality readers?

A: Don’t copy anyone. You cannot judge yourself based on fashion today because fashion today does not work for everyone. When I’m looking for pieces, I may go into vintage stores, consignment shops to find the right look. Develop your own style as you develop your own personality. Understand who you are and be proud.

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