Skin in the Game

By Revekah Echols

Strategies for spring

Unlike the heavy and dramatic silhouettes of fall, in which those of us in the South can never fully participate, summer is the time when we go full-bore. And while the nautical prep, bohemian romance and urban tomboy themes play musical chairs, one thing goes without saying: Every summer, skin is always in. To the young or unafraid, beat-up shorts, high-necked halter tops and filmy dresses become a uniform for day to night, week in to week out, from poolside to parties through Labor Day and beyond.

But there is another set that requires more coverage in the summer, whether resting on the laurels of sun protection, modesty or age, or perhaps simply covering up the reminders of Indian summers past. And while fashion dictates much of the lighter, barer silhouettes of the spring, our sultry weather practically demands it.

Lucky for us, showing a bit of skin does not have to translate into backless dresses, cropped tops and micro miniskirts. The beauty of the female form, in and of itself, transcends the trends of culture and fashion. That is to say, spring and summertime do not have to be lost in kaftans and linen popovers. To follow, a few trends that will help us.

The one shoulder, cold shoulder, off shoulder trend is a great one for all age groups. The skin around the clavicle and shoulder blade tends to stay taut and toned longer than skin in other areas.

British label Self Portrait accented shoulder cut outs for the spring with its signature lace, and Vetements cut the shoulders out of an otherwise shapeless jumpsuit. Wear a fluid shape to accompany the open shoulder, and it is a flattering and universal silhouette for almost anyone.

Peekaboo dresses and tops are an easy way of adding a sheer element to your look without exposing the skin completely. Designers showed everything from highly constructed sheer bustier-type tops over printed blouses to intricate long-sleeved, tulle A-line dresses with boy shorts and bralettes underneath. The easiest way to make this trend work is by layering a gossamer thin top or dress over a tank top and jeans. It gives you coverage without hiding you completely.

The midi dress refers to dresses that hit anywhere above the ankle to right under the knee. Introduced a few seasons ago, the midi took over the floor, grazing hemlines that had dominated in seasons past. Both Proenza Schouler and Carolina Herrera used a fit-and-flare silhouette with an asymmetric hem to impart a classic, yet contemporary, silhouette. The midi hem, worn well, is a beautiful shape worn with pointed flats or a heeled sandal. If you don’t like to show your legs, the midi is a great compromise.

Aside from trends, little flashes of skin can also be accomplished through keyhole cut outs, eyelet fabrics and panels of different sheer fabrics like organza or mesh. Showing the metatarsal bones in the foot, the nape of the neck or even a wrist is a beautiful and unexpected way to lighten your look for the season. It is less about trying to be young or sexy but rather participating in the natural elements that spring fashion keys in on. As spring blooms, so shall we.

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