No one wants to look like a fashion victim.
But, if you’ve ever watched “The Devil Wears Prada” you’ve probably familiar with that irrational feeling that if only you had a trendier wardrobe, your life would somehow be more exciting and glamorous. Unfortunately, it’s that feeling that nudges you towards buying those expensive designer cage heels that have been sitting in your closet for the past six months.
Friends, I had that feeling today. I was in my Happy Place (Nordstroms)–their Anniversary Sale is going on now and I was on the hunt for a good deal. I went first to a Nanette Lepore rack and what did I see but an adorable tweed jacket that was 40% off:
Immediately I fell in love with the texture of the lightweight tweed. What is really striking (in person) is the deep cobalt-blue-purple color that has just a hint of shimmer thanks to a subtle gold thread running through the fabric. More than anything, I love the jacket’s fit. Two small snap buttons close it in the front, while the exposed zipper belt cinches the waist. Very light shoulder pads define the shoulders and helps to create a flattering silhouette.
So far, I love it! I’m beginning to imagine it with different blouses in my closet. Then, I turn around and get a big surprise. The back of the jacket has an asymmetrical hem with an off-center ruffle:
I catch the name of the jacket printed on the tag–“Mermaid.” This must be the inspiration: a flouncy little tweed mermaid tail. It is so striking and weird…I find myself strangely drawn to it. But is it too weird to wear in my day-to-day life?
One things for certain, Nanette is taking the business-in-front/party-in-the-back approach to all of her jackets:
Other designers are on to this “mermaid” trick too. Turns out this asymmetrical hem is a full-on trend that appears to be coming to stores near you. Exhibit one, an Alice + Olivia “Clarissa” dress with a dramatic asymmetrical draped hem, $275, was not far away from Nanette’s rack on Nordstroms’ floor. Here’s the front:
And the back:
We’ve seen asymmetrical hems many times before on skirts–and we’ve seen them on jackets too (in the front, as with zippers on leather jackets)–but the gathering/ruffled/draping look, as well as the placement over the hip, gives this trend a new twist for 2010. It-kid designer, Thankoon, plays with a similar idea in this dress, 50% off right now on shopbop.com ($395, originally $790):
The dress features asymmetrical smocking and pleating that drapes the fabric on the diagonal. Like the Alice+Olivia dress, it draws the eye flirtatiously across the bum and down the legs. So, if this is an area you are happy to draw attention to, this trend may be for you.
Returning to jackets, I found another example on Net-a-Porter.com–this asymmetric “Anglomania” wool coat from Vivienne Westwood for $930:
I really like the sassy kick of the asymmetrical hem. Wool coats are rarely so energetic and fun–this one has personality. Here’s a view from the back:
The oversized-button at the top of the asymmetric vent is a great detail that draws attention to the flounce of the diagonal line. Along with the oversized lapels, it’s also is a bit of a wink and a nod to the Mr. Darcy-esque dinner jacket feeling of the piece.
So, back to the main question: is this a trend worth investing in? I couldn’t commit earlier today in Nordstroms, but the more I think about, the more I think I’ll be going back to purchase my very own little “mermaid” jacket. I have to say, I love the art of juxtaposition that this trend offers. In the Nanette jacket, for example, you get the tailored structure of the jacket and the prim feel of the tweed playing off of the flirty, unstructured drape of the asymmetrical hem. In each of the pieces in this post, you can see the asymmetrical hem adding visual and textural interest through the diagonal line created by smocking, pleating, or draping.
Still, this is not something I’d buy online. If you’re considering buying a piece that exemplifies this trend, make sure you try it on in person before you purchase. My sense it this kind of asymmetrical hem will be most flattering on top-heavy women, as the diagonal line will draw the eyes downward, shifting attention away from large shoulders, while adding a little volume to just below the waist that will balance out the upper body.
Have you seen or bought something with this new “mermaid” asymmetrical hem? If so, let us know what you think!