Hear that collective sigh? Fashionable women have been freed. After years of holding abs in a perma-crunch position in order to wear skintight and belly-baring styles, they can let them out. Designers, weary of “muffin tops” of flesh hanging over low-rise jeans, have loosened silhouettes and covered the midsection. In spring collections Bottega Veneta unleashed smocks ($1,120 at Bottega Veneta, Beverly Hills, 310-858-6533), Marc Jacobs made a dress with a generous ruffle at the stomach ($4,400 at Marc Jacobs, L.A., 323-653-5100), and L.A. designer Chan Luu created a bump-hiding empire-waist dress ($305 at Chan Luu, West Hollywood, 310-273-3527). Celebrities are sure to jump on this trend, since it helps conceal pregnancy. Unfortunately, it doesn’t spell the end of potbellied fashion crimes: Another trend for spring is high-waisted jeans.
One of the most notable garments in the recent William Rast runway debut wasn’t on a model. It was on Justin Timberlake, cocreator of the line: a gray sweater vest, heretofore one of the dweebiest items in anyone’s closet. Suddenly, vests are all the rage for both genders, with rethought versions of the classic made in low-cut cream wool by Alice Roi ($355 at Creatures of Comfort, L.A., 323-655-7855), beige linen by Raison d’être ($165 at Ruthie, Sherman Oaks, 818-788-4433), and herringbone with wraparound ties by Chulo Pony ($162 at elle H boutique, Laguna Beach, 949-715-1345). Sexy isn’t the only thing the pop star is bringing back.
Photograph by Maryellen Baker