Beach Chic
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Beach Chic

After the long, treacherous months of winter, spring and summer couture collections bring a breath of fresh air onto the runways. Designers introduce new palettes of pastel color combinations, vibrant floral patterns, and the newest trends in swimwear and vacation-wear pieces.

1. Bikinis, bathing suits, and swimwear are taking some surprising turns for 2011. Denim, a wardrobe staple, has hit swimwear. At the Mercedes- Benz Swimwear 2011 Fashion Week, held in Miami Beach, denim swimsuits were featured in several runway collections. True Religion and Ed Hardy showed several denim bathing suit styles. Both designer collections feature one-piece and bikini swimsuits with an emphasis on corseted looks. Other pieces featured belts and vested swimwear touches in denim. Boy shorts, studded denim, halter tops, and chain details round out the newest in denim swimwear looks. Pieces range in price from $50 to $150. Tops and bottoms are typically sold separately, ensuring proper fit for all body types. Visit www.edhardy.com and www.truereligionbrandjeans.com to see the latest collections.

2. Another refreshingly new trend in swimsuits is the return of a white one-piece. Dolce & Gabbana showcased a sea of white romper-style swimsuits. Among them were several belted styles, many sweetheart-necklines, and delicate  details of lace, crochet-work, ties and buttons. This look was made famous by Marilyn Monroe in the 50s. The white  swimwear look is delicate, feminine, and yet playful with the updated details. The pin tuck stitching details and touches of lace and crochet complete the overall look. Dolce & Gabbana pieces are in the pricier range, typically several  hundred dollars, but are well worth the investment. Their suits are timeless and constructed with the highest quality  standards. Suits and styles can be purchased from the online store at store.dolcegabbana.com.

3. Other honorable mentions in swimsuit trends: animal prints, bold floral prints, ruffles, and convertible bathing suits.Several designers featured swimsuits with attached sheer sarongs that can be worn in a multitude of different combinations. Carol Wior featured several convertible swimsuits with built-in sarongs and is among the more affordable in swimwear options. She offers suits in a wide range of sizes and cup sizes, which is important for larger-breasted women. Carol Wior suits can be purchased online at www.qvc.com. Her bathing suits range in price from $60 to $130. A refreshing take on the bold floral trend centers around floral placement on a swimsuit. Large blooms could be seen placed on the diagonal from the shoulder to the hipline, highlighting the body and adding a slimming effect. Isaac Mizrahi has some affordable pieces in his Isaac Mizrahi line at Target. His collection is very affordably priced. Prices range from as low as $10 to $30. He also features several animal print swimsuit options and ruffled options in his recent collection. Ruffled tops are a wonderful way to add volume to a petite or small-chested woman. View the entire Isaac Mizrahi collection at www.target.com or in any Target location. [member]

4. The return of 70s style implements a fresh take for vacation apparel. It is important to pack easy-to-wear pieces that are versatile and can serve double or triple duty. Black jumpsuits can be worn casually with flat espadrilles or  boho sandals over a bathing suit. They can also be dressed up with colorful platform heels, caged-booties with many  skinny straps. One can also dress up a jumpsuit by adding an onslaught of metallic heels, metallic jewelry, and metallic accessories, which are also very in-style for 2011. Shirtdresses are another option for versatility and ease of wear. A cotton shirtdress is very comfortable and breathable and packs very well with little wrinkling. A three-quarter sleeve  shirtdress in a neutral color can be worn closed as a swimsuit cover up, dressed up for evening and worn with  jewel-toned heels, a chain belt, and a contrasting-colored evening bag. If one is going for a more casual day look, a shirtdress can be worn open over a tank top and skinny jeans, acting as a fresh alternative to a jacket or cardigan.  Adding a cross body bag and pair of ballet flats completes the look and results in an ensemble that is effortlessly chic. Banana Republic and Ann Taylor Loft carry a wide array of vacation-chic pieces that are moderately priced. Both  Banana Republic and Ann Taylor are generous with their coupon discounts and sale offerings. Sign up to receive advance notices of discounts and coupons via email at www.bananarepublic.com and www.anntaylor.com then stock  up and save on high-quality vacation pieces that can be dressed up or down.

5. Cross body or saddle bags are incredibly important for spring and summer 2011 and allow one to be hands-free on vacation. Look for cross body bags that feature tassel details, tooled leather, or quilting details. Donna Karan New York, DKNY, has some beautiful quilted pieces in her 2011 line. Prices range from $230 to $275 and can be purchased at www.dkny.com or in specialty boutiques nationwide. Nanette Lepore’s cross body bags pair demure chain details with multi-colored casual tassels done on a canvas bag. The look is equal parts casual and upscale. Her bags typically cost in the $400 range, retail, and her entire collection can be seen online at www.zappos.com. In the more affordable range, Forever 21 has some faux tooled leather pieces that look like they cost a fortune, but they do not. Forever 21 is selling their cross body faux tooled leather bag with adjustable strap for a mere $13.80. For ordering information or to find a local store, visit www.forever21.com.

Spring and summer 2011 beach trends are inspiring and energizing. There is a style, trend, bathing suit, and versatile piece for anyone regardless of age, budget, and personal style preference. Purchase a wellfitting swimsuit, and coordinating pieces that can be worn casually or for a night out on the town. Mix and match shoes, accessories, and handbags from existing wardrobe options, or purchase a few new pieces to compliment the beach or vacation attire and look like a million bucks without spending a million bucks.[/member]






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