Looks for Spring/ Summer 2011

Here are some capsules as examples of styling with a touch of trendy for summer 2011. The styling suggestions come from the editorial and ads in the March issues of UK Elle and In Style magazines, as well as US Vogue Style.com.

This post is in three sections, each with one key example :
– crisper shapes styled in many ways,
– softer lines,
– my personal reminder that you don’t need to be trendy to look good !

Choose your own group of patterns. Many current styles are basic classic shapes, made trendy because they’re in this season’s colours, prints, and trims. How about styling your own core patterns in one of the top looks for the summer.

– – –

Here’s a casual grouping from Cutting Line, as a starter example for simple styling changes.

(not correct relative size)

Clockwise from top left : Cutting Line : My Hearts a Flutter shell/ Easy Ageless Cool shirt/ 2 x 4 tunic/ Fun with Fabric jacket/ Easy Ageless Cool pants/ Relax a Little skirt.

If ‘oversized’ doesn’t look good on you, think of closer fitting but similar styles for tops and bottoms. Or your own TNT basics.

And blazers and jeans jackets are both current, if you prefer them to a softer style jacket like the Cutting Line one. Perhaps recent patterns Butterick 5568 (upper below) for a pretty choice of blazers, or jeans jackets from Butterick 5616 (lower below) :


These patterns can give many different styles by changing colours, prints, and trims. How about these colour and print choices for this season :

– Make your whole capsule in black with touches of grey and ivory for edgy minimalism.

– Head to toe white or soft white. A new type of city minimalism (as in Style.com Seeing the light).
UK In Style magazine March issue says ‘white is the new black’. Hmm. Some people have amazing ability to keep white clean. And some of us look dreadful in black, some in white. Wear them if you look good. Not to worry if you don’t, there are many other current looks.

– Choose tans and khakis, chinos and twills, for a ‘safari’ look.

– Or all in denim blue (not stiff fabric). Very current casual – try light/ medium/ dark blue in the same garment. Or the cheerful casual of denim with gingham, or denim with large florals.

– Or all navy, an even newer blue.

But you haven’t got to wear a monochrome look. How about :

– Colour blocking of strong pink, bright yellow, primary-like green, orange, chartreuse, as well as primary blue, and purple, with clear white, This is not the old colour blocking of several colours in one garment. Each garment is a different strong colour. Much easier to manage. The coming summer looks as if it will be a good season if you like strong clear colour.
(see Style.com on Hyper Color)

– Large (hand sized) florals widely spaced on white background, a hot climate ‘Tropicana’ or ‘desert island’ look.

– Or head to toe closely spaced prints – abstract or floral.

Those three are ‘rich beach’ looks for the coming summer.

– Louise Cutting herself uses fabulous and subtle designer wools, silks and linens to make ‘Easy Luxe’ garments from her patterns.

For high fashion accessories, choose big bags and totes, and thick platform soled high heeled shoes. With the same attitude to colours and trims as your clothes.

Or for your own style, trim and embellish with your favourites – lace or fringe, ‘statement’ buttons, bows and ruffles, glitter, embroidery or appliqué, braid or ribbon, tucks and insertions, studs and grommets, bias or leather strips ? A little or a lot ? (I got a ruffler foot for Christmas, and expect I’ll be adding ruffles to everything 😀 )

– – –

In contrast here’s a softer possibility, as it’s mainly in knits, from the December – January 2011 issues of La Mia Boutique pattern magazine. (Italian subscription). This could look edgy in blacks and greys, or pretty in light muted pastels.


Although the main silhouettes are the same as Eileen Fisher’s key winter capsule (see previous post), the style details give a very different effect.

Or find similar patterns but for wovens. Add long floaty skirts or maxi dresses.
(Style.com on Midi is the message)

Make a popular look for the coming summer by using light fluid fabrics with floral prints, or white batiste, with added frills, tucks, lacing, and heirloom stitching.
(Style.com on Lace embrace)

You can also do ‘mixed’ styling, combining blazers or jeans jackets with frills and soft fabrics instead of crisp classic shapes.

In the UK magazines there are two key types of floral print for the coming season :
– hand-sized flowers spread widely over a white background. Used brightly in more classic shapes, as in the previous capsule.
– 1-2 inch/ 3-5 cm size flowers, closely spaced on more fluid fabrics. Perhaps more gentle muted colours, with a hint of transparency. A ‘Garden Party’ look. Often used in softer, more flowing, frillier styles.
But you can use these muted shades in solid/ plain fabrics and softer classic shapes as well.

For more abstract all-over prints see Style.com on the Prints revolution.

Ideally, hold a print up against yourself and look in a mirror. Is the print in scale to your own proportions and the effect you’re looking for ?

– – –

Apart from the blazers and maxi skirts, most of the trends are about colour and print, rather than shape. So you can apply them to any somewhat-classic shape that you like. There are a couple of other ‘shape’ trends :

This season’s retro style is the 70s, which Style.com calls The Yves standard.

The season’s big (literally) pant shape has high waist and relaxed leg. See Style.com We wear the pants.

(P.S. According to You Look Fab Angie’s review at the end of New York Fashion Week, the same trends continue in Fall 2011. Except she doesn’t mention white or prints, and she predicts pants will be ‘tapered’.)

– – –

And here’s a reminder you haven’t got to be trendy to look good.

If I force myself to choose a basic capsule for my own use from one designer, rather than being distracted by my fascination with style and cut and instructions, I keep coming back to Loes HinseTextile Studio.

(not correct relative sizes)

Textile Studio (pink) : Tank Top Shell, Mandarin shirt, Florence jacket, Soho pant.
Loes Hinse (white) : Boat Neck top, Cowl Neck top, Tango skirt.

A soft quiet group if made in my favourite natural neutrals with touches of texture. Another monochromatic look, but not one that’s currently fashionable. Though it’s often found in ’boutique’ styles. This pattern group could of course be made in current monochromatics, or bright colour blocking, or the season’s florals and laces. Loes Hinse’s Hepburn pants have the high fashion shape. But most of this season’s trends aren’t for me, though I do like heirloom sewing on clothes. I love looking at what’s current, but wear only a little of it myself.

– – –

What about dresses ? I haven’t mentioned them, but you may love them. If you do, I expect you’ve already looked at the inspiring new dress patterns from Vogue and McCall’s. Interesting shapes which again you can vary greatly by the colours, prints and laces you choose.

Do any of these possibilities make your heart beat faster ?
Or make you react ‘no ! no ! not for me !’
Which of these trends gives you the most inspiration, or makes you feel the most comfortable and ‘in your skin’ ?

If you’re uncertain about a style, start slowly with one piece, then a 2 to 3 piece outfit, to try things out.

And as usual, Enjoy (Joy In) your Quest.

– – –

(P.S. And have a look at Style.com’s Spring Shopping Guide.
This season they actually suggest some wearable clothes 😀

P.P.S. Here’s YouLookFab’s list of trends for Spring 2011.

P.P.P.S. And here’s a link to In Style magazine’s Spring ideas.)

Patterns and links available February 2011

Explore posts in the same categories: current fashion, personal style

2 Comments on “Looks for Spring/ Summer 2011”

  1. Lirianna Says:

    Hello! I am a new reader of your blog and I just want to say “Bravo!” to you regarding it. What a great job and so much insight! Thank you!

    I have to say, though… I am loving the 2010 styles and looks better than the 2011 I am seeing. Is that weird? I just want to run out and start building a basic wardrobe from the 2010 styles you wrote about and just pretend I didn’t see the 2011 stuff.

    … Guess that makes me behind the times, eh??

    • sewingplums Says:

      Thanks Lirianna

      I don’t think the year of the styles you like matters all that much. Unless being up-to-the-minute is an important part of your personal style.

      The style of the clothes that people actually wear changes much more slowly than what is put forward on the runways by the top designers. So we can wear what we choose for several years.

      Most of us find we like some season’s styles much more than others. So those are the ones we need to grab !

      Personally, I like 2009 – I’m finding myself making sure I haven’t missed a whole lot of out-of-print patterns 😀

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: