From Runway to Your Way: Make Fashion Your Own

The backbeat begins, and the music pounds home the message-hot, sexy, edgy. The runway models slink their way down the stage, preening to the max, in command of the moment. What woman hasn’t wished that, just once, she could be that model, wear those clothes created just for her body and capture the attention of the entire fashion world with her simple walk and glassy stare?

Yet most of us don’t see ourselves in sheer tops with no bra, pasties can be uncomfortable and the feathers from boas can make cutting into a dinner steak quite challenging. Why, then, are these shows so popular? What keeps us watching? The translation to “real” clothes! For, down the road, you will see those trends again in your local boutique and favorite online or catalog retailer.

Few women can walk from runway to real life. A plain bra under a business jacket may look fantastic in a show, but you’d be hard-pressed to find an employer who would deem the look appropriate. It’s a great option for after work, however, so you can always be a wild woman underneath your high-button career wear.

But the vision of great designers can be translated into fashions that today’s woman would feel comfortable wearing. The most edgy of fashions trickle down to appear even in children’s clothing, so there is no reason not to try the new trend that appeals to you when it lands in the women’s line at your local department store.

Fringe makes an appearance from time to time, but not many women can wear the amount of fringe that most designers display. Some plus-size designers, however, may provide an elegant use of fringe and brocade in a dress that can take you to the theater or on that special date.

Animal prints come and go, and maybe you’re not ready to wear tight snakeskin pants. (If you are, more power to you – have a marvelous time!) Even if the python pants are over the top, you can still incorporate an animal print trend into your wardrobe. Snakeskin shoes are a great option, or perhaps a zebra belt will add a little pizzazz to that pair of slacks. If you still aren’t sure, but you’d love to dabble on the wild side, try some animal print panties or bras…then only show them when you’re in a daring mood.

Sometimes a fashion trend can be downright dangerous. Tall pointed shoes are may be the rage, but can you really wear them without pain or injury? Fashion doesn’t have to hurt – find the same look in a lower style and you’ll dance all night and look great too!

Every season, you’ll notice some great leathers. Leather is great on nearly everyone, as it disguises much and accentuates our finest points. The latest versions are more than cowhide and a bit of tanning. Cutouts draw attention to your lovely legs, or peak out at the breast line. Colors like pink, orange, purple and gold will scream into the night…even for the shyest girl. If you’re not into the shortest leather skirt, don’t despair. They may be short on the runway for the “wow” effect, but plus-size designers might provide a great calf-length version that is sure to get you noticed, either as a suit, or wearing just one piece at a time.

I’m often asked by women, “What should I wear?” My answer to each of you is this: Look at the great fashions shown in the fashion shows. If you’re in an adventurous mood, try something a bit more extreme, perhaps in small quantities. Have a great time with hats, with heels, with accessories. Never believe that the only way to wear an outfit is the way it’s pictured in a magazine. Take what you like, incorporate it into your personal vision, and move on. Find those pieces that you simply must have (and find a few designers whose work you love), then use those as the basis to build your wardrobe. Never settle for a less than a perfect fit. Never settle, period. If you love a piece in blue but the blue is sold out, find another design altogether. If you’re short (can we talk?) buy petites and expect them to be cut proportionately for your body. If you’re tall, don’t settle for a long pant at calf length – unless it is meant to be a Capri. Don’t squeeze into a size that is too small – it’s never flattering. You’ll find that when your curves are softly covered without binding or puling, you’ll be at your pinnacle and look your best.

Tell your favorite stores to stock what you want. And if you can’t tell what the fashions look like because a company puts its plus fashions on size 8 models, vote with your money and move on. Fashion is not about following the crowd – it’s about creating your own image and feeling wonderful about yourself.

Watch the runway…envision not only the fabric and singular manifestation of a concept, but where you could take a concept you love and carve out your own personalized style. Stylist Phillip Bloch, in his book Elements of Style, quotes designer Isaac Mizrahi as saying “Style is when a person does what he pleases – that’s all it is. And if he looks bizarre? Well, who’s to say what bizarre is?”

So please yourself. Make fashion your own.

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