Fads and trends come and go, whether in hair and nail salons, interior design studios, furniture stores or apparel stores. What’s here today may not be here tomorrow. And sometimes that’s a good thing.
If you observe female news anchors and reporters on cable television, for instance, you will see they have lately been growing their hair longer and longer, sometimes with ponytails braided like Heidi’s of storybook fame. Don’t look for hairstyles that might have been worn by the likes of Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelly. Nor are you likely to find a hairstyle like that of ”Rosemary’s Baby” star Mia Farrow on any channel.
I recall when the Nehru suit was the “it” style of the moment, with its boxy tunic jacket and Mandarin-style collar. I even wore one back in the 1970s when I spoke at a forum sponsored by the Chicago Furniture Market. I even think I wore love beads with it. Can you imagine?
They say that today’s fashion is tomorrow’s obsolescence, which isn’t always true. The little black dress was once a new trend – and its popularity continues unabated. The same goes for bright Lilly Pulitzer prints that we see daily on the streets of Palm Beach. And when you browse the web today, you’ll even find updated versions of the Nehru suit, albeit slimmed down and with more refined detailing.
Today’s most popular fashion trend seems to be jeans for men and women alike. And yet when I went to school, wearing denim was against the rules.
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Old-timers will remember when tattoos were largely the domain of sailors who visited the South Seas and remembered Mom a lot. Today, tattoo shops can be found around the world. Talk about a permanent fashion accessory!
What’s hot at any moment even extends to toys. I recall, as many parents and grandparents might, a Christmas in the mid-1990s when I would have done just about anything to find a Cabbage Patch doll for my son, Sebastian. Happily, I got my hands on one, which I think may still be tucked away in the attic.
On the decorating scene, we seem to be in a time of transition. On the one hand, there’s a continuing preference among many for minimalist rooms, where floors are exposed, windows are basically undressed and walls are painted white or another nondescript color.
Yet at the same time, I see folks in New England who are decorating with butter churns and architectural details salvaged from country barns. Perhaps with so much turmoil in the world today, those folks are after a nostalgic, homey look. They’re yearning for comfortable, cozy rooms that Grandma — or even Great Grandma — might have enjoyed. You probably won’t see many farmhouse antiques in Palm Beach homes, but you might if you visit the Hamptons, Nantucket, Maine or New Hampshire.
In Palm Beach homes, the look of Hollywood-style regency remains popular — maybe only a touch of it, but you’ll see it here more than elsewhere. Palm Beach seems to call out for a bit of glamour, even in rooms tempered with more beachy style. Simple white drapery panels, for instance, might shimmer with a touch of gold trim. Or a clean-lined dining table with a modern sensibility might be topped with an over-the-top crystal chandelier.
As I have always said, fashion trends come and go. But here is my decorating advice: Only embrace trends you and your family really love. Surround yourself with the things that make you happy — that is the best trend to follow.
Oh, and as for all those tattoos we’ve seen over the past 15 years? My dermatologist tells me she is making big bucks removing them.
Palm Beacher Carleton Varney is president of Dorothy Draper & Co., an international design firm with offices in New York, West Palm Beach, London and White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. His new book, to be published in the spring, is titled “The High Life of Dorothy Draper.” Visit CarletonVarney.com or email him at [email protected]. Help support our journalism. Subscribe today.