Fashion trends to love (or leave) in 2014

Tampa Bay TimesJanuary 1, 2014 

Skies Are Blue faux leather dress from Belk is one of several leather, pleather, fleather, and vegan leather looks that were unavoidable this year.


The end of the year is a time for personal reflection, growth and change. And to that end, we have a couple of options.

We could look back, counting the triumphs, devastations and ultimate shortcomings of the constant striving for unattainable happiness, then grab a chocolate-frosted brownie and eat our feelings. Or, we could look back on the year in fashion and not think about any of that other stuff.

Let’s do the second one! Herewith, the most worn (and worn out) trends that were either born or got really popular in 2013. We’ve packaged it with a rating of “LOVE IT” or “LEAVE IT,” helping you pick and choose the trends to take into the new year.

LEATHER: Love it

Leather, pleather, fleather, vegan leather (vleather?) were unavoidable this year. We encountered this firsthand when we styled a Macy’s Fall Essentials show, incorporating the gleam of leather into most of the looks. From leather leggings to leather jackets to more understated business pieces with subtle leather trim, it was like Daytona Bike Week all day, every day. But it turns out leather can be sophisticated, sexy and timeless. And nothing boosts confidence on the way out the door like a leather jacket that fits you just right.


Something happened halfway through the year. All of a sudden, entering the mall was like being transported to a woodland fantasy full of manic pixie dream animals. All the sweaters had tiny animal faces across the chest. Foxes wearing hipster glasses. Bears on sweaters wearing sweaters. They were whimsical to be sure – even Taylor Swift was seen bouncing around in company of Harry Styles with a fox on her person. But come spring, these are going to look dated as a dormouse wearing a skort.

LACE: Love it

If leather is the sister who sneaks out at night to neck (do people still say that?), lace is the good child, the one who takes piano lessons and has minimal behavioral problems. We loved the preponderance of lace this year, from full-on lace dresses in bold jewel tones to lace pencil skirts to lace tops that paired well with tougher fabrics like denim, tweed, and yes, even that saucy little sister, leather.


Spoiler alert on the verdict – I stopped wearing my bubble necklace over the summer. I picked it up for $12 at Charlotte Russe early in the year, thinking it was cool and funky and creative and I wouldn’t really see myself coming. And then I saw myself coming, everywhere, every day. People got on the Bubble Necklace Express HARD in 2013, and while it was a fun ride for a little while, it’s time to catch a new train. We were getting sick of them back in May.

EMERALD: Love it

Every year, Pantone releases a signature “color of the year,” said to influence design and style and choices of color across the fashion planet. For 2014, Pantone has picked “Radiant Orchid,” which, if I’m being honest, reminds me a little bit of a tea nook frequented by someone’s great aunt. We preferred 2013’s pick, Emerald. I can’t think of a single human being who isn’t flattered by emerald. It’s a skin tone winner, a real face slimmer. Emerald forever.

OVERALLS: Leave it

Remember this summer when we were terrified by a former under-the-bed monster that we hadn’t seen since our eighth-grade graduation? That’s right, overalls. Somehow they slithered back into stores. To be honest, I don’t think this trend ever took root the way some evil sartorial bib-faced mastermind wanted it to, and for that, we are grateful. Overalls can stay in our time capsule from 1997, and we’ll pull them out one day and laugh.


Our innate desire to sparkle has to be rooted deep in our DNA. We love metallics. I’ve been eyeing a metallic skater dress from Nordstrom’s Topshop line for months, waiting for it to go on sale. Take those metallics right into the new year, and raise your glass of champagne and notice the way the light particles reflect off … OK, FINE, I’ll stop.


Oxblood was a color du jour last year, and in 2013, it made its way onto our faces. We’re talking about dark lips. Burgundy, almost black shades of lippy graced runways and magazine spreads this fall, and while this is a bold look, it’s not out of the range of normal sanity for your everyday life. Dark lips look striking and contrasty with fair skin, and rich and luxurious with dark skin. It works on everyone. My latest obsession is M.A.C.’s Sin, $15. Give it a shot in 2014 while the weather is overcast and dramatic, just like you.

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