My passion for fashion has been the constant through my various careers as teacher, modern dancer, environmental attorney, and mother of two daughters, now grown. Through personal shopping, wardrobe and closet consultations, I guide clients in defining and expressing their own unique sense of style.
Psychedelic tie dye returns from those hippie decades in many guises, including fun sneakers.
2. Accordian Pleats
Accordian pleats are a carry over trend from fall, usually midi length, still flattering, in prints and colors, often worn with sneakers and sandals for a more casual look.
3. Boiler Room Jumpsuits
Jumpsuits are still a trend, and this season, they have the look of a work uniform for a boiler room, but in colors and tie dye prints.
4. Light Neutrals
Light neutrals, layered as well as from head to toe, are easy to wear and easy to accessorize, providing a soothing counterpoint to the brights and bold prints.
Lace is always a feminine touch but is reworked in interesting ways, i.e.
as a sweatshirt or in bright colors.
The au courant news in denim is the retro look from the 1980s, acid washed denim. Denim is also strong in other silhoutettes, such as head to toe suiting and dresses.
7. Straw and Wicker Handbags
Straw and wicker handbags just seem to spell summer and sunshine, especially with fun embellishments and leather trim.
Yellow telegraphs warm weather and infuses the season with brightness and joy, in outfits as well as accessories.
9. Mixed Prints
Prints are not only bold, but are mixed together for an even bolder look.
10. Utility Look
Designers seemed to draw inspiration from Jane Goodall’s safari wardrobe, hence the return of the cargo pant, safari jacket, and minimalist utility details.
Trends by definition come and go and will not suit everyone, so choose what works in your wardrobe and with your style, mindful that runway looks get translated to more wearable options but do serve as inspiration.
At the start of the 116th Congress, fashion was not merely a footnote, it was a rallying cry, a defiant gesture, a point of cultural pride — a glorious, theatrical declaration of self. It was white suits and pink dresses, Native American artistry, a Palestinian thobe, a kente cloth stole, a hijab and a skintight pencil skirt with a fur stole.
The main news story from Capitol Hill was, of course, the phoenixlike rise of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). But even before she was sworn in as speaker of the House, it was impossible to miss her as the television cameras swooped high and low over the sea of dark suits on the House floor. Alas, despite an influx of women — a record 102 in the House — men still dominate, and those men continue to favor a palette of navy, charcoal and black. Pelosi’s bright fuchsia dress was like the plumage of a brazen bird, one with the audacity not just to fly with the flock but to lead it.
It was the aesthetic opposite of what she’d worn only the day before, when she went striding through the halls of the Capitol in a discreet suit the color of cement. This was an entirely different ensemble for a momentous day — one not just for the cameras, but for the history books.
Pelosi and her flock. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)
If there is any color that has ever come close to defining a gender, it’s pink. Culturally, it has long been assigned to girls. And for generations of women who were stereotyped and bullied into polite smiles and reassuring deference, pink was their bane. Over time, pink ribbons came to symbolize serious women’s issues — although typically discussed in soft and fuzzy tones.
But this is the era of pink pussy hats. The color has been reclaimed and redefined. It is not about patience and calm or the kumbaya balm of we-are-all-equal. The new pink is aglow with outrage and the insistent demand that past wrongs be rectified. Nancy Pelosi becomes House speaker.
Nancy Pelosi was elected and sworn in as Speaker of the House on Jan. 3, and pledged to pursue transparency, truth and compromise in the 116th Congress.
Pelosi was dressed to take on the leadership role in the boldest, brightest, I-am-here shade of pink. In a November CNN interview, Pelosi noted that no one is indispensable, “but some of us are just better at our jobs than others.” That wasn’t overconfident swagger. It was honest. But it was the kind of honesty that women mostly don’t offer up about themselves, because that’s not what little girls in powder pink were taught to do. They were taught to whisper with humility.
These women of the new Congress, some of them, actually a lot of them, did not shy away from using fashion as a tool, from taking that quintessentially female pastime — the one derided for being frivolous — and turning it to their advantage. They used their attire to lure the cameras, to start tongues wagging and to make viewers reconsider their preconceptions about how Americans are defined, who has the right to lead and, ultimately, what power looks like.
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), the first Palestinian-American elected to the House, wears a traditional Palestinian gown. (Social Media/Reuters)
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) wore a Palestinian thobe in honor of her mother. Tlaib, who is the first Palestinian American elected to Congress, recalled in an essay for Elle that as a child, she would watch as her mother sat on the floor stitching and embroidering the gowns with a lamp at her side. The decision was a statement about Tlaib’s background and a future in which it can be as welcomed in the United States as Western European roots are. Similarly, Rep. Debra Haaland (D-N.M.) expressed her Native American heritage in turquoise jewelry and immaculate embroidery while also underscoring one of her campaign promises, which was to focus attention on missing and murdered Native American women. African American congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) had a kente cloth wrap draped around her shoulders. Each of them used fashion to press the point that diversity is essential to the power dynamic.
Rep. Debra Haaland (D-N.M.) wants to draw attention to missing and murdered Native American women. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) participates in a mock swearing-in ceremony with Vice President Pence, for which she removed her fur stole. (Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
There’s also power in the truth. And sometimes that truth is best delivered in platinum Hollywood curls and a pin-tucked blouse. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) paired her red-carpet hairdo with a form-fitting floral pencil skirt and a dove-gray fur stole for her swearing-in. The ensemble was frothy and lighthearted. It was a little sexy but mostly sassy. It was a rejection of stuffiness. It was the antithesis of gruff, white-haired men in dark suits. And if anyone thought it was inappropriate or silly, well, the only response to that sentiment is that Sinema won the election and her constituents surely knew exactly what they would be getting — which is not their grandma’s senator.
From left, Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Barbara Lee, Jahana Hayes, Lauren Underwood and Sheila Jackson Lee wait for Pelosi to accept the gavel as speaker. (Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who came to the United States as a refugee from Somalia, wore a hijab at a time when both Muslims and refugees have been vilified. She also wore white, as did Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). Their attire stood out as symbolic of a new beginning, as well as a nod to the women’s suffrage movement. As Pelosi noted in her speech, this year marks the 100th anniversary of women having the right to vote. Their color choice underscored the occasion and asked: What are we doing with our vote?
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) wears a hijab and white — the color of the women’s suffrage movement — during the opening session of the 116th Congress. (Shawn Thew/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.) arrives in white. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News)
Fashion communicated a visual story about the day’s place in the country’s ongoing narrative and the ways in which these newly sworn-in congresswomen define their roles and themselves. Their choices placed them within particular communities; the setting — Capitol Hill — connected those varied communities in a singular national dialogue. The fashion was personal and political. Individual as well as universal.
The breadth of it spoke of the idealistic notion of freedom — of the right to simply be. Fashion in this context was not about looking au courant or attractive by some arbitrary standard. Fashion was a statement of intent. What do these women plan to do? Blow off the dust; listen to as many voices as possible; be bold.
Their opening gambit was made plain and eloquent in their clothes. The full story will be in their votes. First two Muslim women sworn into CongressRep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) were sworn into the 116th Congress, joining the legislature as the first two Muslim congresswomen. (Reuters)
It’s the boldest piece of political outerwear since, you know, that other coat. Representative Nancy Pelosi, right, leaving the White House with Senator Chuck Schumer. After a meeting with President Trump about a potential government shutdown, Ms. Pelosi’s outerwear emerged as a symbol of the well-dressed opposition.
After #PantsuitNation, #CoatCountry? It’s a strong possibility, given the intense reaction to the autumn-leaf orange funnel-necked piece of outerwear Nancy Pelosi tossed on like a victor’s cloak after exiting her contentious meeting with President Trump and Senator Chuck Schumer on Tuesday. Who needs armor when you have a wool flamethrower?
Along with her dark glasses, sharp heels and smile of post-combat exhilaration, the coat whispered “burn” with a wink and a swish. It also helped to transform her from a seemingly tired symbol of the establishment to one of well-dressed revolt.
She told the president: “Don’t characterize the strength that I bring.” But to many who saw her afterward, the coat she donned as she walked out the front door represented it.
Social media was alight with excitement. There hasn’t been a coat that garnered this much attention in politics since, well — that one. You know, the Zara one with the writing on the back worn by the first lady last June. Although this one made a somewhat different impression.View image on Twitter
bad·ass /ˈbadˌas/Submit INFORMAL•NORTH AMERICAN noun 1. a tough, uncompromising, or intimidating person. “one of them is a real badass, the other’s pretty friendly”#TrumpShutDown
Exiting the White House, @NancyPelosi is wearing her Orange You Sorry You Started This Fight Coat.
It didn’t take long for the coat to get its own Twitter handle: @NancyCoat. Then it got another: @AmCoat. Everyone wanted to know where it was from and if they could get one.
There was some speculation the designer was Carolina Herrera, but that turned out not to be true; the brand makes a similar style with a different neck closure. The right answer was MaxMara — a design from a few years ago. The coat is no longer available for purchase, except perhaps from a reseller.
Ms. Pelosi had shopped her closet, and this was not, as it happened, the first time she had worn the coat for a public political event. She purchased it in honor of President Obama’s second inauguration in 2013, and the choice this time around served as both a reminder of her longevity in the seats of power and a hint of exactly where her allegiance lies. (Her dark sunglasses did not provoke quite the same reaction, but for those who care, they were Armani; the shoes were from Stuart Weitzman.)
Of course, it’s possible she just threw the old thing on and rushed out the door, though given the stakes surrounding the Trump meeting both for her own party’s leadership and the new balance of power between executive and legislative branches — plus, the fact that she knew the meeting would be televised and there would be a news conference afterward — it seems unlikely.
Ms. Pelosi has always been more aware of the power clothes convey than most in Washington, and unafraid of the appellation “chic;” attuned to both the visual punch that comes from color (Ms. Pelosi wore a lavender suit to lead her troops to the health care vote in 2010 and bright blue when she won the leadership nomination last month) and the viral line.
See, for example, the way the coat provided a neat point of contrast with those worn most often by the first lady, even beyond the infamous Zara one, which tend toward the tightly belted and epauletted trench style. Ms. Pelosi, it appears, is gearing up for a different kind of warfare. Her new team in Congress could not have missed it. Nor the fact that the coat buttoned left of center.
It could be a new uniform for a new term, with Ms. Pelosi framed as a new kind of fashion trailblazer. Indeed, though MaxMara was not aware of Ms. Pelosi’s choice when it happened, the company was delighted by the association and are looking into reinstating the style.
“You develop an emotional relationship with a coat like nothing else in your wardrobe,” said Ian Griffiths, creative director of MaxMara, in an email. “I can imagine why Ms. Pelosi chose to wear it for this important moment, and I’m honored.”
Light it up.
Vanessa Friedman is The Times’s fashion director and chief fashion critic. She was previously the fashion editor of the Financial Times. @VVFriedman