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Fashionist State
by Cheryl-Lynn Murray

It’s time to remove the word vest from your “in style” vocabulary, and to be honest, its way overdue. If I see one more person wearing a men’s-style vest over a grey printed t-shirt that says something like “Rock and Roll,” I just might go out and buy one that says “Gag Me.”

Sure, in its time it was a hot trend to follow. You couldn’t go wrong with the polished, casual look. But this is where the problem begins. If you choose to be a trend follower, do us all a favour and follow the trends. I can’t stress enough how often trends can change and if you’re not up to speed on what’s hot and what’s not, you’ll look more like a bargain basement shopper on a budget.

Move on from last year’s wardrobe “do,” because this year, it’s a serious “don’t.” Especially vests of the halter variety. They cause much more harm than good to your feminine figure. The fabric covering the bottom half of your back just highlights your upper back creating the masculine appearance of broad shoulders. Most people I’ve seen wearing them don’t even wear them fitted, as they were meant to be worn. It’s especially not tasteful for those of you with bigger busts, for obvious reasons. For some reason, no matter how much they try to modernize and feminize the masculine article, it still looks dated.

And sweater vests? Do we really need to be reminded of our seventh grade school pictures? Cropped vests look great under a button down shirt at work. At work only.

Trends usually go through three cycles: the first phase is styles pulled right off the catwalks and usually only worn by the fashion industry elite and celebrities. Phase two is when you see them more in mainstream media. Television, magazines and the Internet get the trend out there for emulators to follow. This is when everyone wants a piece of the trend. Finally, phase three. The trend is available to the mass market. But affordable, trendy clothing, or “fast fashion,” is a double-edged sword. Sure, it makes everyday people like you and I appear more fashionable on a real-life budget. However, when the market is totally saturated with a particular trend, it loses appeal. It helps to kill the trend quicker and, believe me, the vest trend is dead.

If your goal is to be truly fashionable, flip through a new issue of In Style (or your fashion magazine of choice), find out what designers are putting on their catwalks and look for similar items in a place you regularly shop. You won’t find exact matches, since some of the designs are very elaborate and extravagant. The best way to go about it is to focus your attention on accessories. And, if you use your imagination you could come pretty close to phase one of the trend cycle, placing you two or three months ahead of the local style curve.

If you’re one of those people who likes the layered effect, try this season’s must-have article: the baby doll. You can wear it either in dress form or a longer shirt with straps. Wear it over a tee (not one of those grey screen printed ones) or a button down blouse and you’re instantly updated.

And, if you really can’t part with your beloved (yet, three seasons ago) vest, wear it over an over-sized men’s shirt, a pair of leggings and ballet flats.

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