NEW YORK – It cant be helped: After weeks of top designer runway previews of spring styles at marathon fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris, the eye started to wander and it caught the newest trends for handbags and shoes. For some shoppers, accessories are at the forefront of the catwalk news theyre waiting for.
Accessories tend to be more widely available and affordable – although thats a relative term – and, more often than not, they fit.
And theres probably a handbag with a structured shape or a snakeskin shoe on the market already, so early adopters can look way ahead of the curve if theyre paying attention.
Accessories arent as big of a commitment as apparel, says Tracey Lomrantz Lester, womens editorial director at Gilt. You invest less from both a financial perspective and a sartorial one. The idea of trying a new style of boot or a different handbag is less intimidating than readjusting your eye to an entirely new silhouette. You can always just take if off if you feel silly.
Whitney Kessler, accessories editor of trend analysis firm Stylesight, says there are plenty of choices during this particular season, but few will serve as the all-purpose bag, shoe or piece of statement jewelry. There arent a lot of everyday bags and items, which is exciting for people who are really into fashion, she says, but if you are shopping designer collections, youll need to buy more to satisfy your needs.
She adds: But theyll all look really good.
Boxy bags: The slouchy silhouette is on its way out, to be replaced by a stronger, smaller, more structured bag, predicts Leah Karp, accessories director at InStyle magazine. She thinks the shape to buy it in will be a cross-body bag. Consider one that features colorblocking but is otherwise clean-looking, with geometric, sophisticated hardware.
Erica Russo, fashion director for womens accessories at Bloomindales, says a hand-held clutch or a larger envelope will work, too.
Time to shine: Metallics always have some presence on the catwalks, and they translate well to closets because they have timeless appeal, says Karp. I have a silver bag Ive had for 10 years. Its an old Celine bag that I can bring out time and time again – totally worth an investment.
Since she already bought silver sandals this year, shell be looking at gold shoes next year. You really need a pair of each, she says.
Snake surfaces: Texture is more important than print, declares Kessler. And theres no more sophisticated way to do that than with snakeskin in luxe shades, such as burgundy, navy and dark green. Real or faux: your choice – and your budget.
Karp says snakeskin in a single-sole pointy pump is the way to go.
Play with pearls: I love the idea that pearls are not your grandmas pearls, says Karp. And she loves that Nicholas Kirkwood sandwiched pearls between layers of some pumps soles. A look like that can certainly come out sooner rather than later – and definitely for holiday parties. Try multiple strands and oversized beads.
Not-so-blank canvas: Artistry details replaced more obvious bling and chunky hardware. The Chanel show, with its art gallery theme, was the standard bearer, according to Karp. The canvas versions of the houses classic bags – with spray-on quilting – were a cool way to reinvent a classic.
Kessler also noted the use of laser-cut leathers and weaving techniques to further explore artistry.
Backpacks: Bloomingdales Russo thinks the right woman will pull off a smart backpack in style and says she is excited about the look – which seems very new. Its so beyond back to school, she says.
InStyles Karp, however, isnt buying into them at a high price. Its one of those items that a more mass retailer can do perfectly well, she says.
Flat-out athletics: Sporty influences were among the seasons biggest trends, in clothes as well as accessories. Its perfectly reasonable that youll be wearing a low-soled trainer – think Nike Air or New Balance – in a trend-right color like coral with one of those pretty makeup-shade feminine dresses or even leather pants, says Russo.
Gilts Lester observed a noticeable shift toward the street – and that might be where the sporty styles came from. Loafers, sneakers, even Teva-esque sandals were everywhere in place of high heels. Visors and baseball caps have never been bigger, and the oversize clutch – the accessory of choice for street style stars – is the new It bag.