Fashion trends transcend demographics

Published: Sunday | November 28, 2010 Comments 0
This product image courtesy of Kohl's shows the Unionbay Belle Cargo Skinny Pants. The list of gifts can be short this year: Fair Isle knits, plaid anything, pea coats, flannel shirts, maybe some skinny-leg cargo pants or something in red. - AP
Not that everyone should wear these styles the same way. - File

NEW YORK (AP):

The list of gifts can be short this year: Fair Isle knits, plaid anything, pea coats, flannel shirts, maybe some skinny-leg cargo pants or something in red. That should cover everyone from grandpa to the kids. It's the rare occurrence this holiday season that some of the biggest fashion trends transcend demographics.

"Now that communication is so much faster, trends are quicker and everyone has access to them," explains Nina Garcia, fashion director at Marie Claire. "All these trends get adapted quickly to men's, women's, children's, and the trends from the celebrities and runways are generalised so quickly for the broader market."

It helps that many of this year's "trends" are largely adaptations of classic, iconic-holiday looks, adds Nicole Fischelis, vice-president of ready-to-wear at Macy's. Yet, there is a feeling of newness, because there feels like more of a high-fashion influence over it all, she says.

"We have a huge statement in plaid - we have special shops for plaid this year. There's the button-down shirt for men, and the sleeveless quilted vest for women. The Fair Isle, the Argyle, the Snowflake are always a part of things, too, but these trends are global. You saw so much Nordic from Dolce & Gabbana and (Jean Paul) Gaultier, and rescaled Fair Isle. There is a trickle down from that to every part of the store," Fischelis says.

Common threads

At Gap, you'll find a few common threads among all its collections, from Baby Gap to Gap Body. They include faux fur, plaid and sparkle.

Normally, womenswear takes its own trajectory, says Simon Kneen, creative director of Banana Republic, but women's and men's styles in stores right now are simpatico - especially among the wintery Fair Isle knits.

"I think it's all part of a larger sportswear influence this year - the feeling of outdoors, the coziness of cardigans, the need for warmth," Kneen says. "As a shopper, it should be easier. You're looking for uniqueness for everyone, and you can still have that, but when you find these sorts of patterns, you really find the fun of holiday gifts. Who doesn't want the aspiration of playing in the snow or on the mountain top?"

At Kohl's department stores there are two stories to tell: Fair Isle and utility, which includes the pea coats and cargo pants, as well as work boots and two-pocket flannel shirts.

"In most cases, we merchandise by gender and classification, but as the customer walks the floor this holiday, she'll see recurring ideas," says David Hacker, Kohl's vice president of trend and color.

Some years, there have been broad color themes or a must-have item that works across categories, but it's unusual when bona fide trends reach so many people, he says. "The stars have aligned for this. It doesn't happen all the time. ... This year is about these genderless ideas."

Not that everyone should wear these styles the same way. In fact, says Garcia, who also is Target's style adviser, they shouldn't.

"It's all about the mixing and matching and how you wear things based on your personal style," she says. "It would be funny to see your husband, your child and yourself all wearing the same trend at the same time, but, trust me, cargo pants will look different on everyone in the family."

Or, take the plaid shirt. Dad might wear it in a neutral color, loose and layered over a long-sleeve waffle T-shirt, while mom's should be more fitted in a pretty color - perhaps lavender or yellow - or she can wear it as a tunic over leggings, Garcia suggests. "It's the same trend but interpreted very differently."

And, Macy's Fischelis wonders if, at least for the holidays, the family could be a little matchy-matchy while they have the chance? "I think it's fun to have one theme. It's what you do around the dinner table, why not do it while you're all gathered around the Christmas tree?"

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