Fabulous In Rochester

Rochester native and fashion connoisseur Courtney Winslow shines the light on spring and summer fashion.

So as it turns out, classic and understated aren’t my thing. I tried to tone it down for winter, less is more...blah, blah, blah. Well, it just seemed like less of me and more of boring. When the spring shows hit Fashion Week it was like the mother ship calling me home. Bohemian gypsy glamour had me ripping off my cashmere black turtleneck. More is more. More fun, more color, more me.

Well, Taylor Swift called my bluff when she said, ”I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream.” Problem is, I can’t control the craziness that comes flying out of my mouth. People say “Hi, how’s the baby? You look great!” My response? “He’s an adorable fountain of drool, my head feels like it’s spinning around like The Exorcist and I’m pretty sure that I have forgotten one or two of them every time I get in my car. That happens right? (Sigh) Oh, and my new jeans won’t fit over my.... (Gasp!) Have you seen Mae? (Me running around trying to catch my daughter.) (Smile and brief eye contact.) “So how are you?” The blank look and awkward silence let me know that I have just way over-shared. And then I usually skip away with a half-laugh half-cry. Hey, I’m only as “back to normal” as I have ever been, and that’s not very normal.

Fashion is a way for me to feel less like a crazed mommy and more like a person. Not a normal person, but a fabulous person, or at least a mommy pretending to be a fabulous person. You get the point. After over a year in maternity clothes and elastic-waist dowdiness, I’m ready to just totally overdo it. Ever feel like you’re about to take something way too far? Well here I go, because fringe is the embellishment for this season. Everything I see with those slinky strings I want to gobble up. Shoes, purses, skirts and earrings are all dancing to the beat of my heart as it races with excitement. But remember: one fringed piece at a time. It’s like too many skinny margaritas; you’ll be a swaying hot mess quicker than you can say “tequila.”

Wear bohemian evening wear everywhere. Hippie-dippie drippy jewels and low-cut halter gowns are sweeping the floor this spring. Big hair? Don’t care; the undone, unpolished, no-fuss evening look has arrived. Try Granny’s macramé sweater vest over layers of printed chiffon. For your Fourth of July country club commitments, go with a Pucci print maxi dress and tall chestnut suede boots, mint julep included.

Go gingham! You can channel American Gidget playing beach blanket bingo or French-y sexpot Brigitte Bardot. Either way it screams summer lovin’. My favorite look is matching gingham shorts and gingham boxy top with tribal pearl earrings. It’s an easy outfit and can also be worn as separates. Pair the top with slouchy denim, and pair the bottoms with a crisp white cotton tunic. Perfect for summer weekend potluck pool parties; don’t forget the casserole.

Be bashful in wedding whites. Why bother renewing your vows? You can just wear the dress! Let’s be honest: one of the best parts of that day was slipping on that gown. Well, you’re more skilled and frankly much smarter now. So find a pretty white dress for this season, with lots of Chantilly lace and even more volume. It will be a perfect complement to a summer breeze.

Restock your sneaks. Are you sick of me mentioning them yet? Well, buy another pair. Make them simple white Adidas Stan Smiths. And wear them with everything, even when it looks silly. My husband thinks that I finally get his style and was very proud that I had bought a matching pair of kicks. Little does he know I’m following every fashion blogger’s lead. You can copy Fashion Week street style with a pencil skirt layered over a shirtdress, a moto leather jacket draped over the shoulders and white tennis shoes. Ask your three year old to help you dress, because I think they might have the right idea.

Be a festival girl. I may be too old and not cool enough to pull off this youthful trend, but if Saint Laurent can turn into a rocker chick than so can I. I mean, I can drop my kids at the Bonaroo family commune right? Penny Lane bell bottoms, ribbon-tied vest and a felt floppy hat for grabbing an early dinner with the girls: it’s the new “I’m not dressed up,” dressed-up look. Also known as, “I didn’t try hard, but it took me three weeks to find these flared jeans and I had to use my kids’ college fund to buy this suede crossbody bag” kind of look. I’m planning on testing this theory at the Cheap Trick concert at CMAC. Hmm…I should probably start getting ready now.

Buy more denim. Wear it as a jumpsuit, overalls, romper, shirt or just your everyday dungarees. It’s been polished and refined by Valentino, and ripped and bleach-splattered by Citizens of Humanity. If you can take the challenge, try a military jacket and a perfect white button down with a slouchy rolled jean and pointy flats. And if you’re really feeling trendy, the mom jean is moving in on your boyfriend jean. You decide: would you rather Mama’s high-waisted cropped waders or Magic Mike XXL’s low-slung Levi’s? Exactly.

Having a baby and two kids to manage makes getting dressed a luxury in itself. I can either do my makeup and get dressed (like really get dressed, not just throw on workout pants and a tee) or I can shower and do my hair. I don’t get both. So if you see me and I look all sorts of fabulous, chances are that I showered the night before or had a blow-out at Sooz. Being three places at once means it’s essential to have some go-to outfits hung neatly together in your closet, and your accessories available and organized. Jewelry trays and hooks on which to hang your favorite layering necklaces are not just a Pintrest pipe dream; they’re a necessity. Closet maintenance is as important as an oil change. So no wire coat hangers, be sure to color coordinate, and for goodness sake, pack up those winter sweaters! Spring and summer wardrobes mean fewer clothes to worry about, so the only thing you need to layer over is your golden glow.

Credits: Tammy Swales Photography, John Hardy earrings, Halcyon Days bracelets, MJ Collection cuff