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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, April 18, 2014

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In Holiday Guide

Sienna Miller goes with soft curls to give her hair a vintage feel. (PHOTO: Jaguar PS/Shutterstock.com)

In Holiday Guide

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge stays on-trend in a black lace Temperley gown. (PHOTO: Featureglash/Shutterstock.com)

In Holiday Guide

The vintage look is hot this holiday season; updos and long pearls are a perfect combination. (PHOTO: Shutterstock.com)

Everything you need to know about holiday fashion and beauty


Everyone wants to look their best during the holidays. Unfortunately, it's easier said than done. There is no busier season, and fashion might well take a backseat for many of us.

In addition, Mother Nature seems hell-bent against style, between Wisconsin's wind (destroying your perfect coiffure), snow (ever tried to get sidewalk salt out of suede boots?) and rain (make-up doom).

But there's no reason this season to sacrifice style for comfort. We've consulted Milwaukee's fashion experts for the skinny on what's hot, what's not, and what you can't live without this holiday season.

Andrea Peiffer, manager
Ma Jolie
5800 N. Bayshore Dr., Suite B120, (414) 961-8210
2583 N. Downer Ave., (414) 961-8200

'Tis the season to be sparkly, says Peiffer. For holiday cocktail dresses, black lace, sparkles and maroon/wine hues have been big trends that she's observed as manager of Ma Jolie's Bayshore location. Fashionistas also like to put some dazzle in their outerwear, too – one of the store's hottest sellers has been a shimmery silver Flash Geo parka, form-fitting and trimmed with real fur.

As for the store's famous offering of premium denim? "Darker washes for denim are always big in the winter, and DL's four-way-stretch is big," she says. She reports that some customers have also been drawn to the blinged-out slacks: Ma Jolie carries a pair of waxed denim jeans by DL 1961, as well as a festive green-colored jean by !iT. Straight-leg and skinny jeans are selling well because they fit easily inside thigh-high boots.

And of course, "boots have been really big," she says. "Frye (boots) have always been good sellers for us, and Uggs always sell well with younger people."

In particular, the Frye Heath pair with square toes and an outside zipper has been flying off the shelves, as well as the Phillip equestrian-style model with an outside harness.

Peiffer says that Ma Jolie's male customers can't get enough of Schott NYC coats, particularly peacoats (although interestingly, the peacoat is not as popular a trend for women). Accessories like messenger bags by Bed Stu and Frye are big sellers, as well as watches by Meister, Mistura and Wewood (crafted from 100% wood and a tree is planted for every watch sold).

What her customers want more than anything? Quality, says Peiffer. "The reason Frye bags do so well is that it's expensive but it's an investment," she says. "It lasts, and it's an updated classic. I've had customers come in with Frye bags from the '70s."

Bjorn Nasett
Wardrobe stylist, make-up artist and hair stylist
fashionfarmboy.com

If you want to be fashion forward this season, says Nasett, it's all about looking backward.

"The romance of the past has made an appearance again on the fashion scene. Vintage-looking clothing and accessories bring back a feeling of comfort, nostalgia and – most of all – glamour."

His favorite vintage style? "Empire-waist sheath dresses that can be changed with just a few accessories or by adding a wonderful jacket with a peplum or other vintage detail."

Nasett also adds that the Christmas season is the perfect time to shine - literally. "For holiday parties the foolproof recipe is shiny and luxurious. So think in terms of rich fabrics like satin, heavy silk, or sequins. For knits, go with metallics or cashmere."

And of course, he emphasizes accessories as "the key to creating a stunning style for yourself"

"I am in love with long 'lavaliere' type necklaces," he says. "They hang mid-torso and are reminiscent of the 'twenties look,' which is totally on trend in fashion right now. Layering it with gold chains and other necklaces is the way to make it memorable and chic. With long pearls, you can wear them long or wrap them in many different ways – lots of options there."

So why the vintage mania? Does the plethora of period movies this season, like "The Great Gatsby" (now pushed back to a May release date), "Anna Karenina" and "Les Miserables," have anything to do with it?

"Of course," agrees Nasett. "Because great romances about fashionable lives will always create a stir, as people long for the simplicity and sentiment they conjure up. Vintage themes are never out of style – as long as they're updated so that you don't look like you're in costume."

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