1. You’re Going to Wear a Big Skirt.
How big is a matter of personal discretion. Volume varies drastically, from more modest A-lines by Behnaz Sarafpour, Tommy Hilfiger, and Marc Jacobs (in both collections) to an Oscar de la Renta cotton-candy pouf that should really be saved for evening.
2. Your Jacket Will Lose Its Lapels.
Shapes are softer this season—not a tailored, mannish touch in sight. The unstructured jacket looks right for daytime (work, lunch) because it’s casual but finished. The jacket can also be an opportunity to dip into the season’s bright colors—Marc Jacobs fluoro-tweeds, for example.
3. You’ll Wear Big Bold Prints You Used To Find Tacky.
Don’t even mention a cabbage rose. The stenciled prints of Miuccia Prada are in the water at Proenza Schouler, Vera Wang, Diane Von Furstenberg, Derek Lam, and Oscar de la Renta.
4. You’ll Be Cinching Your Waist, No Matter How Much It Hurts.
Whatever you’re wearing—a crocheted sweater or a ruffled chiffon cocktail dress—the eye is on the waist. A leather belt works well over knits at Oscar de la Renta and Derek Lam, but for a dress a simple ribbon will also do.
5. You’ll Think Seriously About Lipo.
The Trend That No One Wants to Wear, but Proenza Schouler’s khaki Bermudas work on extremely slim thighs, while Perry Ellis’s ruffles should be worn by only the very young and very, very leggy. Luella Bartley does short shorts in black for a rocker look, while Tommy Hilfiger and Peter Som add length to offer the most wearable versions.
6. You’ll Crave Two-Toned Shoes
It’s not a simple shoe season, and a plain pump will look sadly dull with the new options. Look for metallic bits on Ralph Lauren stacked d’Orsay heels, and a pointy flat gets a shiny stripe at Tuleh. Carolina Herrera amps up a tomato-red huarache, and Proenza embellishes with plastic baubles.
7. You’ll Buy A Trench, Again.
If the trench gives you déjà vu, Roland Mouret and Kenneth Cole rework the classic as a day dress; Derek Lam offers the most traditional version, evoking the greatest trench lady of them all, Charlotte Rampling. Behnaz Sarafpour makes it femme-fatale-snappy in a neat metallic, while Oscar de la Renta goes kaleidoscopic.
8. You Won’t Be Able To Avoid White.
No matter how much you love black, white will be ubiquitous. There are almost no stylistic barriers right now where white is concerned: It’s cowboy at Anna Sui, girlish at Ralph Lauren, minimal and modern at Narciso Rodriguez, and Greek at Diane Von Furstenberg.
9. You’ll Be Blinding.
Prepare to shine. Metallics are everywhere. If Proenza Schouler’s gilded Xena cocktail dress is too bold, there’s soft golden lace in a tea dress by Sari Gueron and a collar of paillettes at Behnaz Sarafpour. Donna Karan and Vera Wang shine up separates—making high gloss wholly suitable for day.
10. You’ll Actually look forward to black-tie.
It’s a beautiful season for evening dresses. The shape is long and fluid, the colors rich, and the inspiration as varied as the Wyoming sky (Calvin Klein), thirties Riviera (Carolina Herrera), and Zandra Rhodes (Proenza Schouler). First-timer Sari Gueron seemed inspired mainly by a word: soignée.