Friday, November 4, 2005

What would Mother Nature wear?

Express Staff Writer

Express photos by Dana DuGan

Fall fashions are some of the most fun to observe. The colors really take a dramatic turn come autumn, perhaps to more perfectly blend and harmonize with Mother Nature as she displays her vivid reds, oranges and yellows. The rich colors of the season also help banish the lack of sunny skies and possibilities of rain or snow.

Let's face it, while the Wood River Valley has some of the trappings of urban areas—traffic, lack of parking, office buildings, high rents, costly merchandize and too many condos—we still live in a rural area where being a bit practical is as important as looking good. If you must go with a trend, find one that really suits you by checking out the local duds and not just shopping on-line.

Recently, I went on line looking for a pair of pants and a skirt to take me into winter. Banana Republic had appropriate items but the site wouldn't "support" my network, so I wasn't able to order. Reluctantly I visited Gap. I couldn't be sure about the a-line skirt and didn't want to risk it. I checked Anthropology (trés cher), and Ann Taylor Loft, which was the best but a high shipping charge. In frustration, and I must admit a surge of energy I drove to River Ranch in Ketchum where I found the perfect items. They cost either less or equal to what I'd found on-line, with no shipping charge.

Shop local, stupid. Thanks to some forward-looking shop owners, fashion and style have kept up to date hereabouts. Though, for the most part, you can forget about finding anything really edgy. Many shops keep updating and changing their lines so there are new items on the racks. Who needs same ole-same ole?

So, how do we take current trends and integrate them into our mountain town world?

Consider whether are you a tailored tomboy, a romantic gypsy, a sporty babe or a sophisticated deb? Most local shops can fulfill nearly every one of these niches.

The uniform of boots, sweaters, jackets and pants are obvious. But what about this Russian look trend and is it going to last? Probably not completely but aspects of it will. Just consider that much of the so-called peasant look is a throw back to a latter-day hippie fashion, only richer, more stylized and with fabrics other than cotton. In the meantime, if you have a yen to go for that look, combine peasant style skirts with knitwear, beads and faux fur vest or short fitted jacket.

Other essentials for autumn to winter wear include boots that are a touch slouchy, deep jewel colors combined with black, full textured skirts, Edwardian jackets, nubby coats, light cashmere, feminine cardigans over silky camisoles and shrugs or cropped sweaters. (The latter is not suggested for anyone over the age of 30.)

And. as always, as Jennifer Hazard Davis, owner of North & Co. in Hailey said, it's "all still denim, denim, denim."

Those jeans? They are embroidered and adorned, a little bit Western, a little bit chic, a lot playful and well made with a little bit of wear.

Let's not bypass frocks, considering that the benefit/holiday season is soon upon us.

"The look is sexy and romantic erring on the more lady like side," said Paula Proctor, owner of Paula's Dress Shop in Ketchum. "They're pushing black but people are responding to rich gem colors with gold and metallic accents."

And, finally, fashionistas are accessorizing with sequined scarves and wearing more ornate heels. Rounder toes are back in favor, thankfully. Burnsie's Boca is carrying some of the "lust" have good leather belts studded with grommets, silver and even semi precious stones.

Even here in the mountains all these items can work. There's no reason fleece has to reign all the time.

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