NEW YORK -- Is it ever OK to -- gasp! -- step away from a trend? Absolutely, say some of the stylists, editors and designers gathered for New York Fashion Week.
After all, not everybody can or wants to pull on skimpy bra and cropped tops, a couple of styles popping up with some frequency during fashion week.
So who can skip a trend? Brad Goreski of Bravo's It's a Brad, Brad World, said anybody can, if they know themselves well enough.
"Know your personal style. It all comes down to this," he told The Associated Press. "You want to challenge yourself to try different things." That, he said, means risking those "fashion fails," which is just fine, Goreski said.
Katie Holmes, while shopping the collection she showed as half of Holmes & Yang, agreed. Just maybe not so much for herself and a bra top she and Jeanne Yang created.
"I wonder if I could rock the bra top. I don't know where I think I'm wearing it to rock the bra top, but it's good to try. Maybe I'll wear it to Starbucks," Holmes said with a laugh.
Avril Graham of Harper's Bazaar said the prevalence of cutouts and bare midriffs on the runways certainly requires "a will, a swagger, some confidence." But she added:
"The wonderful thing is that there are plenty of other ideas on the runway that can work for the rest of the population."
And tricks if you can't step away from trends, Goreski said. For example, he suggested, wear a high-waist skirt or jeans with a cropped shirt for just a sliver of skin.
Adam Glassman, creative director of O The Oprah magazine, said knowing when to let a trend go is key.
"I don't think we all have to wear every trend. Some do wear the trends -- especially young people -- but you don't have to. You have to be able to say, 'That's not for me.' You have to be honest to yourself, honest to your lifestyle, honest to your body type. And it helps if you have honest friends," he said.
A sporty vibe during this round of spring previews is back -- and more forgiving than short tops that require more than a visit or two to the gym.
"It comes around every few years but it looks good, and there's a way for a lot of people to wear it," Glassman said of sport-influenced fashion.
Like the beaded floral track pants with a knit top and heels at J. Crew, or an anorak or windbreaker with a pencil skirt.
And Graham said even the young and trendy should be careful when it comes to showing off skin: "Camera angles can be very unforgiving."
OSCAR DE LA RENTA
THERE'S nothing stuffy about the new Oscar de la Renta lady.
Her navy-and-white checkered dress and cropped cape, and her white laser-cut dress make her feel like a million bucks.
The two finale gowns were worn by Karlie Kloss and Joan Smalls, an ivory strapless column gown with tiers of pearl and sequin embroidery, and a citron-yellow strapless gown with an overlay of black threadwork and sequins, respectively.
WANG aimed for all As: artful, architectural and athletic.
She made the grade with silk gauze baseball jackets, chiffon gowns with mesh panels and often-beaded, racer-style backs and a stretch-mesh hoodie paired with a net bustier and stretch jersey skirt.
Many of her looks were black, which made the flashes of cobalt blue, geranium red and citron yellow more impactful.
BURCH was inspired by the French Riviera in the '60s, where women would wear cute trapeze dresses to show off their legs and could turn a swim shirt and mini into an outfit worthy of a prime spot at a seaside cafe.
When the sun goes down, there were halter dresses to show off their tans on their shoulders, and other cocktail looks with jewelled collars and cuffs to add sparkle.
THEIR fall collection ensembles were surprisingly flashy, such as beaded bra tops shimmering with Swarovski crystal elements. One of these came in leopard, adding to the nightclub effect. Sometimes these tops were paired with much more toned-down accompaniments -- for example, a nice tweed jacket.
There was lots and lots of fringe: On faux leather skirts, for example, and on silk shorts -- or, for a fancier look, on a white silk jacquard and silk satin dress. Speaking of shorts, they were often so short it looked as if the models had nothing on underneath their jackets.
THE calendar hasn't even flipped to fall yet, but so many collections at New York Fashion Week are already trained on next summer's vacation -- J. Crew included.
Technically, these previews are for spring, but an ivory floral neoprene skirt, Hawaiian-flower jumpsuit and knit T that says "Out Mon Cherie" are headed straight to the beach.
The white eyelet and black organza dresses are for a more luxurious European holiday, one with the trappings of luxury from a century ago.
VICTORIA, VICTORIA BECKHAM
FRESH from presenting her signature collection, Beckham showed her contemporary line by appointment.
She wore the most daring silhouette: a quilted, pouffy sky blue dress with a black grosgrain-ribbon hemline and crinoline underneath. It was an unexpected look for a woman who is typically photographed in clean, lean looks.
"There are two sides of my wardrobe, for both sides of my suitcase, one is collection and one is this," she said.
-- The Associated Press