The American Dream Mall in Rutherford has become a family favorite destination for its attractions, but it is also the place to shop for casual, work and special occasion outfits. In September 2021, Saks Fifth Avenue became the anchor for The Avenue, a wing of shops with luxury women’s and men’s clothing and accessories. So what better place to learn about what’s new for spring 2022?
Saks stylist Lily Flast, who works with clients to choose wardrobe pieces, showed me a number of outfits by top designers that fit my guidelines for “modest fashion.” Today’s designers are showing lots of midi and maxi dresses and skirts, with rich, solid colors, bright white, and floral and geometric prints. Many spring ’22 tops have billowing sleeves, which greatly expand the choices we have beyond the usual sleeveless or cap sleeve styles. Shop at Saks, and their alterations can turn the almost-perfect into just what you’re looking for. Necklines can be tacked. Modesty panels can be added. Sleeves can be lengthened. Here’s a look at several designers who are including pieces that could be right at home in your closet.
Akris Punto is a Swiss clothing brand for women who want “effortless chic.” Flast showed me a black high waisted midi skirt with a comfortable, adjustable belt and a top mesh layer that adds a layer of style and some drama. Flast paired the skirt with a hot pink casual but very pretty t-shirt with bell sleeves from Israeli designer Kobi Halperin, who started his label in 2015. Halperin’s design approach is to “elevate the everyday” and use “luxurious fabrics and beautiful hand-worked embellishments.”
Cara Cara was founded in 2019 by three women in New York City, who got together through their children, and used their combined backgrounds in fashion, digital media and marketing to create a fashion brand. Their style is to evoke the feeling of being on vacation with a sense of “casual glamour.”
Flast paired a blue paisley-like print midi skirt, which she called a timeless design, with a white drawstring top and long, loose sleeves. The open collared neckline can be modified or worn with an underneath layer.
Staud was founded in 2015 by Sarah Staudinger and George Augusto. The philosophy behind this Los Angeles-based brand is that “fashion shouldn’t just empower women—it should be accessible.” To that end, Flast showed me a white tiered, voluminous maxi skirt she termed a “wardrobe hero,” a piece that can be the workhorse of your wardrobe since it can be transformed innumerable ways to stay fresh. It’s a style that can be worn by women of all ages. She paired the skirt with an Isabel Marant top, a long-sleeved top with a purple and pink print in a lightweight fabric. Isabel Marant is a French designer who has beautiful, long sleeved print blouses in her collection. Flast also showed me a Staud white tiered dress with volume in the sleeves and rainbow piping at the tiers to add that pop of color.
To demonstrate the idea of how a skirt can be transformed, Flast demonstrated how a pin-striped shirt from traditional American brand Lafayette 148 and a cognac belt can create a different look with the white Staud skirt. Lafayette 148 is a New York City-based fashion house with a wide range of upscale designs and many midi length skirts and dresses with unique styling and fabrics.
Speaking of stripes, Flast showed me a blue and white pin-striped shirt style dress by Veronica Beard, with an open collared neckline that could be tacked or worn with a shell underneath. Flast advises women not to shy away from stripes. Never be afraid to try, she emphasizes, because a piece that you think might not be flattering can look fabulous when it’s worn.
Elie Tahari is a well known Israeli fashion designer whose brand is based in New York. I saw a sage colored silk belted dress that can be dressed up or down with accessories. It can be form-fitting with a belt or looser and more blousy. The sleeves are not quite elbow length but fabric can be added.
Ganni is a brand based in Copenhagen with a luxury look but more accessible price point. A blue print crinkle textured dress is a great piece to pack and go for a vacation or wear with a blazer for a business trip. The print is light enough for spring but could easily be carried into fall.
Flast put together a “lookbook” with these and similar styles plus a few accessories, like the perfect handbag and shoes with chunky heels that are perfect for outdoor events. Jumpstart your spring wardrobe shopping online: https://stores.saksfifthavenue.com/lookbooks/lilyf/895c5a7922104c6?sf_rep=lilyflast.
With simchas back on our calendars, Saks has special occasion dresses in all lengths. Stacey Gombash, Saks area marketing manager for metro New York, took over the fashion show from Flast, who had to leave for a meeting. I viewed two dresses from Chiara Boni, an Italian designer who makes “dresses and separates, including runway-worthy and business casual dresses, in bold colors.” Both the long navy and short black dress are figure hugging in style but made with forgiving fabric for both glamour and comfort.
Calling all mothers of brides and grooms—I saw a stunning pale pink Mac Duggal gown with jewel neck and three-quarter sleeves. A gold waistband divides the top and pleated A line bottom. Gorgeous and on sale!
Rickie Freeman for Teri Jon is synonymous with upscale glamour for special occasions. I viewed a pale pink multi-hued coat dress with satin belt, a blue floral jacquard dress with belt, a champagne gown with textured print and two-tone black and white gown with bow.
Saks New Jersey at American Dream has additional ways to enhance your shopping experience. For wardrobe guidance, make an appointment with Saks personal shopper Benji Meyerson: [email protected] or call 201/214-6327. You can “Shop New York” virtually from the New Jersey store during a virtual shopping appointment, in the comfort of the Fifth Avenue Club, where you can sit back and view selections without going through the aisles.
If you want to host a shopping and dining event, Saks has a private room where the store can provide a catered (kosher) meal to your group. Bring friends to “meet the makeup expert” or view a presentation of fashion, special occasion wear or jewelry.
By Bracha Schwartz