Too Much of a Good Thing

I am getting lots of emails and comments from women excited about the spring trends. They are wondering how to fit all of them into their current wardrobe and want to know my opinion.

I agree, there are some really wonderful trends this year that can add a lot of style and personality to a simple wardrobe, that are flattering and wearable.

But do know, you do NOT have to follow any trends if you do not want to! A stylish woman is not a slave to trends; she only accepts those that she honestly enjoys.

That being said, if there is a trend that does fit your personality, your lifestyle and your wardrobe… too much of it can be a bad thing.

Yesterday on my way home I popped into Filene’s Basement. My eyes hurt from the carnival of colors in the bag section; bags women were grabbing up as though they were free. There were patent clutches, patent slouch bags, patent frame bags in bright orange, lipstick red, canary yellow, apple green. These bags had the hip patent, the current shape that is in style, the popular bright colors and plenty of shiny hardware to boot. The yellow was the most popular, and I overheard one girl saying to her friend, “a yellow patent bag is the must-have for Spring.”

Please ladies, this is how Ugg boots, leggings, distressed denim skirts and giant white plastic sunglasses become items of disgust. A magazine or a TV show tells everyone they are new and fresh and Paris or Lindsay or Sienna (or all three) is seen running around town in it. Suddenly every teen girl and her mom go out to buy that item, thinking that owning it will mean they will suddenly have a bit of the “It Factor” that these celebs have. Cheap versions are sold at big box retailers to supply the demand and now every female in a mall seems to be wearing these items as though they are a mandatory uniform.

I would be so saddened to see yellow be ruined in this manner. It is exciting to see a fresh new color for spring, but if you abuse it’s powers, it will be the next Ugg boot. Yellow is for a solid-colored, well-made dress, a spring coat, a pair of peeptoe heels or round-toe girlie flats. It’s for a skinny belt over a cardigan and pencil skirt, or even a tube top to wear to that summer concert. It is not a color that should be made into everything under the sun, and honestly becomes quite hideous in large quantities and out of ostentatious fabric. Unless you are a really artsy girl who lives in primary shades and cartoon-inspired accessories, you do NOT need a big yellow patent purse.

hayden panettiere dooney bourke 706899Speaking of patent leather and its cheaper cousins… again in moderation. A patent clutch is a great piece to use for nights out and with a dress for a day wedding; I find a pair of black patent heels a useful and stylish addition to a woman’s wardrobe, and adore the look of a patent accent like a belt against more subdued fabrics. However unless you are a True Fashionista, you should not be sporting any larger pieces of patent leather. I don’t care what Hayden Panettiere is shelling out for Dooney & Bourke or what they put on page 234 of Vogue, it’s not stylish. It is a fashion victim look waiting to happen. A large piece in this sort of material can easily look cheap and easily look dated. Yes, we have been wearing patent leather for decades and almost every woman reading this probably remembers her black patent Mary Janes from grade school, but large doses of patent will not stay in style for many seasons. A pair of shoes or a small accessory will add style and shine to your wardrobe; a large piece will be the equivalent to… well to Ugg boots in less than a year.

A new season should not be a time for manic shopping. Slowly look through magazines and store windows, and as with any other time of the year – only purchase that which you love. The world will still rotate and you will still be quite stylish if you decide to not purchase any yellow, green, patent, enamel jewelry, floral pieces, metallic leathers or safari-inspired garments this season. Shop in moderation, and if you find a trend you love, don’t abuse it to the point that the rest of the world will despise it. Your fellow women will thank you.


  1. March 14, 2008 / 7:03 pm

    Oh Sunny, that bag is cute!

    I am not saying yellow or patent is the devil, I am just saying that adding it to your wardrobe doesn’t make you stylish and if it’s not your “thing,” you may regret the purchase very soon.

    Speaking of atypical and beautiful to me, I just bought an off-white purse. So not my style, but this one just called out to me! So I can fully relate! 🙂

  2. March 14, 2008 / 6:50 pm

    I agree about avoiding something because it’s trendy… I’m oblivious to the trends. I know what’s me..and that’s black/grey/white/red with some color via accessories to punch it up a little.

    I was in the store and saw a bag that was beautiful (to me) and shiny and it was orange. I tend to bags with an occasional red bag.

    This bag jumped out and was so “me” that I bought it instantly – happy that it was on sale.

    I carry it everywhere and yes, it’s bright, but it makes me smile, and it goes with everything I wear. I’m wearing dark jeans, a white shirt, a grey thin sweater, black danskos…and the bag is a fun pop of color.

    I would NOT carry the purse if I already had an assortment of colors/patent already on my body.

    the purse:

  3. March 11, 2008 / 11:08 pm

    Oh Allie, I agree with you.

    “every female in a mall seems to be wearing these items as though they are a mandatory uniform.”

    It makes me hesitate to buy alot of stuff. Still, I find when I buy stuff that really matches *me*, it doesn’t matter much whether everyone else is wearing it. But I still might need a year off if a giant yellow patent bag were the thing that really matched me. lol

  4. March 11, 2008 / 10:37 pm

    Wow, I better wear my red patent peep-toe shoes NOW before they go out of style!

    I do like yellow, but not in patent. But for some reason, red patent I find chic (like classic red lipstick, I guess).

    I do think a yellow bag in real leather would look very chic, when paired with a more subdued outfit. I think a yellow bag (or any bright color–I’d prefer a Kelly green, myself) would pair more easily with a lot of outfits, and you’d sidestep the brown/black issue completely.

    But yes, too much patent leather looks cheap and tacky. Still, that red patent leather bag Hayden Panettier is peddling DOES make my eyes linger…. 😉

  5. maui-girl95
    March 4, 2008 / 6:05 pm

    Awesome post! This is really good advice to keep in mind. If I do want to try something trendy I’ll go somewhere like H&M or Forever 21 so I don’t spend to much money on something that’s likely to go out of style next season.

  6. March 4, 2008 / 1:21 pm

    Oh my, I totally remember that velvet pant trend at Express and everywhere else. That is so funny, especially the way you describe it with the claw clips and all!

  7. Andrea G.
    March 3, 2008 / 4:54 pm

    I think the idea of a big yellow patent ANYTHING is gross and tacky. Green, good. Red, good for some. Yellow? Like yellow, drive a taxi.

  8. March 3, 2008 / 4:30 pm

    Oh, I think yellow can be ruined. look what happed to leopard a few years ago – it took a while for it to go from being Shania Twain tacky (remember her video?) to being a fun accent or pattern again.

    And I am not saying patent isn’t classic, though i do think a large yellow patent bag is not a classic and is prone to being mimicked in Payless, Wal-mart, Forever 21 for seasons to come.

    The thing is trends like yellow or patent are ones that are so obvious and so easy to replicate that they can easily move into tacky territory. When you are getting your fashion wings and you see every magazine showing a trend, you grasp for it in hopes adding it to your wardrobe will suddenly make you chic. This is seen time and time again – last night I was discussing with my husband the Gucci look that Express attempted back in the late ’90s – Madonna shows up in velvet jeans and a satin shirt unbuttoned to her navel and suddenly I was selling purple velvet pants and stretch satin shirts to 13-year olds and their moms to wear to work or their first boy-girl party, pairing it with some chunky black Steve Madden loafers, a Le Sak purse and 50 mini claw clips in their hair.

    A trend doesn’t equal style. It’s all about the person, not the look of the moment as to whether it will look stylish, classic or even good. Very very easy to get obsessed and have too much of a good thing! 🙂

  9. Anonymous
    March 3, 2008 / 4:24 pm

    As with everything in fashion take what you can add to your existing wardrobe. I recently got a Green not patent but on the shiny side bag from,” Big Buddha”. It is just enough and the color will go with what I already have.

  10. March 3, 2008 / 3:45 pm

    I agree with WendyB to an extent… because I saw a girl with a patent yellow bag and found it cute because the rest of her outfit was more muted

    Then I saw another girl with a bright red patent bag, black patent heels, patent yellow bag, and a patent belt

    It was too much for me.

    With that being said, I only like brown patent. Just my thing. I think black patent looks a bit cheap…

  11. March 3, 2008 / 2:59 am

    I don’t think yellow can be ruined 🙂
    A whole color? And patent is a classic. I’ve had pantent pieces for 15 years and I’m sure I’ll have them 15 years from now. As long as you don’t dress head to toe in yellow, patent or yellow patent, it’s all good.

  12. March 2, 2008 / 5:08 pm

    Hi Allie!

    I’m loving the bright colors of Spring, it’s so happy!

  13. March 2, 2008 / 1:50 am

    Big yellow patent bag? Yikes. I am so sick of patent. I have been looking for cute, neutral shoes and all I can find in a tan/beige color are patent! Patent doesn’t say “Spring/Summer” to me yet everything is shiny. I am liking some of the bright colors with very neutral pants and skirts but you are right about selecting carefully and not overdoing it!

  14. Anonymous
    March 1, 2008 / 9:40 pm

    I feel like I should say ‘here, here’ and raise a glass because that was dead on. It is so hard not to get swept into the tidal waves that trends create.

    Great advice!

  15. March 1, 2008 / 4:40 pm

    After four years at my mid-west university Uggs are still around every winter. I’m sure they will still be around next winter too, sadly. I’ve got to find a pair of boots that will allow be to trudge through the massive amounts of snow that we receive but don’t look so freakin’ sloppy.

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