Carol Meek of Color Portfolio, Inc. was the surprising highlight of Texworld for me last week with her seminar, Color Trends: Neo-Conservatism for Fall/Winter 2010/2011. I haven’t taken so many non-stop notes since my Constitutional Law class. The presentation was 100% substance. Here are a few highlights.

1. One key trend will be “Down to Business” with

  • a return to women’s power-dressing, inspiration from the 80’s, lots of tailored silhouettes, and slimmer fits, especially in the top area;
  • bold shoulders;
  • highlighted waists.

2. Another key trend will be “Regimental Discipline“. Look for

  • military influences with trimmer silhouettes and sturdy fabrics;
  • uniform dressing in tonal colors with double-breasting, flap pockets, banded collars and lots of belts;
  • shirts inspired by police detailing–dropped shoulders, metal buttons, banded and really pointed collars, crisp fabrics;
  • turtlenecks and cowlnecks (not so much mock necks);
  • high-waisted pants at one inch above the waist.

3. The third key trend she developed was “Suburban Survival” with a focus on comfort, good feelings and a return to the countryside. Since this sounded more casual, I took less notes, but here are two points that struck me:

  • look for the colors of alcohol–whiskey, burgundy, merlot and cognac;
  • one key silhouette is the cardigan in all variations–wrapped, zippered, button front, long, short, and twin sets.

Here are some challenges we full-breasted women can expect to face:

A. Military details are great, especially at the shoulders and with the metallic hardware, but we’ll need to skip the flap pockets over the breasts. Given my experience, it may be difficult to find the former without the latter, but I’ll be looking (and hopefully designing!). Let me know what you find as well.

B. I’m not optimistic about the availability of off-the-rack hourglass silhouette jackets that will actually button. If you can afford it, consider having something made. My dream is to have a block pattern made for me that I can then adapt to the various styles that emerge. Another alternative will be to take your off-the-rack jacket to a seamstress for alterations. I reported on this option for shirts back in December. Back then I wasn’t too excited about the results, but I wore the blue shirt again on Friday and was really pleased with it. Ultimately, it’s best if a garment has been constructed to fit you rather than altered to fit, but we do what we have to do.

C. High waisted pants sound like a disaster since our breasts tend to take up a lot of the real estate in our waist area already. Carol Meek kept stressing that we’ll see lots of belts. I tend to avoid belts, but I’m going to look into them. Perhaps belts can be used to add back the waist that the pants subtract.

D. Let’s skip the turtleneck and cowlneck (but I’m open to them if you can show me how they can look on us). A good alternative that I didn’t mention in the summary of trends is the classic V-neck sweater. It’s a menswear trend, but I’m confiscating it for us.

E. I’m not a fan of double-breasting, but like the flap pockets, I suspect this feature will be difficult to avoid. I surprisingly liked it in the Shoshanna dress I reported on in January, so maybe there’s a way to work with it. I’ll let you know what I find out.

We have a lot of time to think up our strategy for the 2010/2011 fall/winter season!