Designers are revisiting the 1970s for spring, but if you’ve been there and done that, here are some versatile and comfortable choices.
By Stacia Friedman
The best of the 70s: Oversized shirt by Oscar de la Renta, flower print and tassel earrings by Tracy Reese, high-waisted, loose-fitting jeans at Dior, roomy athletic-style pants and fanny pack at Sportmax.
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As a former New York fashion designer, I am eternally flustered by the industry’s compulsion to march in lockstep every season, as if a cabal of couture designers (or the Devil herself) met in secret to determine the Next Big Thing. This spring fashion is dictating—from the runways of Paris to the knock-off factories of Hong Kong—that we revisit the 1970’s. Frankly, I’d rather not.
How bad is it? Sequins the size of nickels. Fanny packs. Fringe. Gaucho pants. Midi skirts. Over-sized blazers straight with scrunched up sleeves out of Miami Vice. Flowered bell bottoms! Case in point: Calvin Klein’s Plastic Raincoat, Gigi Hadid for Tommy Hilfiger’s Overall Jumpsuit and Gucci’s Paillette Top. Who’s going to get excited about this return to Happy Days? Millennials! For them, it’s something they’ve never seen before.
So, what’s in it for us gals who’ve been there and done that? A return to wearable, versatile, comfortable clothes. Below, you’ll find a sampling of this season’s winners at all price points.
The Big Blazer
Nothing says spring like a white linen blazer. And nobody does it better than Theory. Their double-breasted Shawl Collared Blazer hits all the right marks with its structured padded shoulders, trim (not boxy) fit, and most importantly, its length. Hitting below your panty line, it nicely camouflages your derriere. 100% cotton linen. $475 at Theory.
Don’t want to open your wallet that wide? Head over to Zara and slip into their practically identical Double-Breasted Blazer in Tencel Lyocell, $119. This blazer has a notched collar and is constructed from a natural fiber derived from wood in sustainable forests. Navy only. At right, an oversized blazer in spring’s biggest color trend—lavender—by Victoria Beckham.
The Big Shirt
We suggest wearing these over-sized cotton shirts with denim jeans, capris or leggings. We love Polo Ralph Lauren’s Tie-Front Striped Cotton Shirt mixing blue and white vertical stripes in contrasting patterns. This new twist on a classic hits below the hips and ties snugly at the waist, with dropped shoulders and a shirttail hemline. $145 at Macy’s.
Skip the tied waist and get the same look in a 100% cotton Striped Shirt at H&M for $19.99. At that price, snatch up two. In blue/white, pink/white, red/white. Also available in solid white.
Want extra coverage? Consider Zara’s 100% cotton Oversized Shirt that dips extra low in the back, practically to your knees. Great for wearing over skinny jeans or as a bathing suite cover-up. Want a defined waist? Add a belt. In blue and white stripes with an eye-catching green and black racing stripe on the side seams. Also available in solid white. $39.90.
Treat yourself to the shape of things to come, starting with Style & Co’s Curvy-Fit Bootcut Jeans, exclusively at Macy’s. Figure flattering, they have just enough stretch to get you comfortably through brunch at Barney Greengrass. $49. In blue denim and three shades of dark denim—which happens to be trending this spring.
It’s not only jeans that are fitting looser—it’s pants of every kind, including sweatpants. We love Under Armour Wide-Leg Sweatpants with logo on the waistband in black or grey heather, $55. Pair them with Maison Jules Cotton Top with long sleeves and relaxed crew neckline in white, black or olive. $24.50. Top it with an Ideology Zip Hoodie in black, $54.50. All at Macy’s. Where can you go in this? Everywhere, even if your idea of a workout is the annual shoe sale at Saks.
Must Have Dress
The new shift or swing dress looks good on every figure, barely skimming your curves and flaring out at the hips. Here are three favorites that dressed up or down with accessories can go from day to night and travel well. Max Mara’s Pigna Swing Dress in cherry-red viscose with scooped neck and three-quarter sleeves can make an entrance from SoHo to Paris. Wear it loose or tie a colorful scarf at your waist, $725. Eileen Fisher’s Organic Linen Shift Dress in Mustard Seed (yellow—another trending color for spring) follows the same recipe in linen, $198. Both at Nordstrom.
Smart cookies get the same look—scooped v-neck and three-quarter sleeves—for bubkas with Style & Co A-Line Swing Dress at Macy’s. Heather grey, black, navy, burgundy, pink, $33.99.
All of these easy pieces turn into a fashion statement with the addition of this season’s accessories, which have a tropical ethnic feel. The newest handbags look like the ones your Aunt Marge brought back from Jamaica in the 1960’s, right down to the raffia flamingo.
Michael Kors must’ve been drinking pina coladas and listening to Jimmy Buffet when he designed his Straw Pineapple Crossbody, a whimsical bright yellow, pineapple-shaped wicker bag topped with bright green wicker leaves and gold-toned chain strap, $358 at Macy’s. More versatile is Nordstroms roomy Flamingo Packable Raffia Tote, $89.00. Also comes in a Toucan design. Along the same line is INC’s Kiraa Tulip Extra-Large Beach Tote decorated with raffia cherries or lemons, $39.50 at Macy’s. This cheery carry-all can go to the beach or Zabar’s.
Stacia Friedman is an award-winning Philadelphia-based journalist who writes on health and lifestyle for regional and national magazines. She also contributes humorous essays to NewsWorks.org and PurpleClover.com.