City Pulse

By Shelby Deering

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There are some trends that should be forced to walk the plank this summer. Toss your prairie skirts overboard, throw your skull-print scarves to the sharks and let your leggings sleep with the fishes. Instead, set sail with the nautical trend, which has been going strong for at least three seasons and shows no signs of stopping.

Although the trend was taken to the extreme in the past couple years (giant gold anchor necklaces, pirate scarves à¡ la Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie, last year’s gold embroidered navy blazer from Ralph Lauren that looked more Captain Hook than naval chic…), the trend has become more toned-down recently. Signs of a simpler nautical look showed up in the 2007 Resort collections: rope detailing at Bottega Veneta, Burberry Prorsum, and Chanel; crisp red, white and blues at Gucci; classic stripes at Louis Vuitton and Celine; and wide-leg, sailor-like pants at Chloé and Oscar de la Renta.

So how would a New Yorker work this sea-worthy trend on the streets? Or for that matter, find these maritime looks in the midst of the concrete jungle? Here’s some tips for navigating the trend, along with boutiques that sell pieces that are sure to get your wardrobe seafaring-ready in no time:

A Flowy, White Dress: To make an easy landing into the nautical trend, start with a clean, crisp white dress that can be paired with espadrilles (red ones, for a punch of color) and a rope belt to complete the look. Calypso (191 Lafayette St., 280 Mott St., 815 Madison Ave., 935 Madison Ave., 654 Hudson St., 137 W. Broadway) has exquisite lightweight white dresses that are sure to feel like a breath of fresh sea air on those especially sticky summer days.

A Long, Gold Chain-link Necklace: For a touch of nautical, try a gold, chain-link necklace that can be paired with anything from a white t-shirt to a cocktail dress. Fragments (116 Prince St., 997 Madison Ave.) has some beauties, like their gorgeous Lisa Stewart gold vermeil oval link chain necklace.

A Bag With Nautical Detailing: Another way to dip your toe into the nautical trend waters is to carry a bag with rope handles or even one with lobster patterning, as seen in the spring collection at Kate Spade (454 Broome St.). Kate’s “Cape Cod” bags in canvas feature playful bright red lobsters set against a blue rope background, and the straw versions carry a beautifully-embroidered orangey lobster. Perfect for a weekend in Palm Beach or hitting up an outdoor cocktail party in the city. For a more subtle option, try Olive and Bette (252 Columbus, 1070 Madison, 158 Spring St., 384 Bleecker St.) for their bright red cable-knit clutch with a diminutive gold anchor attached.

For Everything Else: If you’re ready to dive headfirst into the nautical trend (this includes boat shoes, sailor smocks, bold-striped rugby shirts, etc.), venture to two New York boutiques for all-things-nautical, Built by Wendy (7 Centre Market Place, 46 North 6th St., Brooklyn) and Paul & Shark (772 Madison Ave.). Be sure to check out Built by Wendy’s adorable naval smock tee, nautical boat neck mini dress, or “boatless sail” print sheath dress. But if traditional is more your style, head to Paul & Shark to pick up their striped polos, rugbies and blazers.

Ready to set sail on your next shopping voyage? At least this time, you’ll be prepared to brave the nautical trend waters.

Originally published May 2007
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