Ruly Ruth on Women’s Spring/Summer 2012 Fashion Trends

"Group of people, in swimsuits, standing on beach(?), Washington, D.C. area" (between 1915 - 1930). National Photo Company Collection. From the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

While here in Virginia we are practically in monsoon season with all of the rain we have been getting, summer is on its way!  Time to turn over the closets and dress to impress.  Last year, we saw white, nude, tangerine, lace, colorblock and animal prints as big summer trends.

What does British Vogue have to say about Spring/Summer 2012 fashion trends?   Read here for their official designer picks.

More importantly, however, what does Ruly Ruth have to say?  Read on and see examples of these fashion trends from Amazon!

**Please note that when it comes to fashion there are many opinions out there.  I included all of the items below because I think they are fashionable.  As you can see, Ruth and I do not always agree.

Head to Toe Prints

The general theme of Summer 2012 fashion is prints.  Whether mismatched or uniform, wild patterns from head to toe are the big trend.  Wear one print as a blouse and another for pants.  Silky or shiny fabrics seem to dominate.  While it might seem an intimidating task to select two patterns that don’t clash, patterns have the great benefit of camouflaging a number of body flaws.

Nicole Miller Women's Print 3/4 Sleeve Print Dress at

Ruly Ruth says: “Okay–I love Nicole Miller–but this dress looks sci-fi to me–something out of my son’s avatar-based video games.”

Sakkas Flower and Leaves Print Satin Pleated V-Neck Halter Handkerchief Hem Maxi at

Ruly Ruth says: “I LOVE THIS DRESS–AND THE PRICE–fabulous print, gorgeous cut–it’s beautiful!”

Donna Morgan Women's Scoop Neck Sleeveless Dress at

Ruly Ruth says: “This is spring and summer’s little black dress recreated—it’s classic and yet in a very updated print scheme. Love it!”

Maternal America Maternal America Women's Maternity Boarder Print Mini Front Tie Dress at

Ruly Ruth says: “Not in love with this—odd color combos to start with–I’d love to see if the V-neck halter handkerchief dress could also work for early maternity. But I HATE this one! Boring! I do like the idea of the pattern at the bottom of the dress–the floral is a mish-mash of color and undefined–which is very opposite the rigid pattern at the bottom of the dress. I’d like to see the flowers either more defined or the whole thing recreated in an even more impressionistic pattern styling.”

Statement Trousers

Printed pants are the trend in a variety of patterns, the wilder the better.  This is going to be a tough look to pull off correctly because the bottoms can look an awful lot like pajama pants.  For best results, go more formal/dressy in your choice of shoe and top.  Love Maegan recently showed a great example of how she would style an outfit with statement pants.

Ruly Ruth says: “I think the concept is very creative—-but as Anne mentioned again–totally pajama like!”

Apple Bottoms All Over Print Long Pants

Ruly Ruth says: “I think the detailed cut/style of the pants pulls these more toward a beautiful, wearable pant. Love the color, cut, fit, style–gorgeous!”

Rachel Pally Women's Printed Wide Leg Trousers at

Ruly Ruth says: “I think in high-fashion circles these would be a huge hit. For everyday wear. the circle pattern is a bit over the top for me…but I’m not a lover of pure tangerine either–I think only tan people can wear it–and if you do have a medium or darker skin tone–go for it! They will pop hugely!”

Mogulinterior Womens Boho Trousers at

Ruly Ruth says: “I can’t even believe someone would pay $27.50 for these—they look like a craft project gone wrong!! HATE these–too many prints, too mis-matched…yuck! And then they throw in beads and cuffed bottoms–to save it???!!! Throw it away!!”

the grace eboutique summer skirt pants flare wrap beach trouser at

Ruly Ruth says: “GORGEOUS!!! Beautiful color schemes—classic–could go to a casual business meeting, to church, to lunch–gorgeous, elegant! Screams summer/spring to me—love them! And for $22.50–I think I need to personally invest!!”

African-inspired animal prints

Leopard, zebra, jaguar . . . more prints from nature.  Not just a hint of it but a LOT of print in flowing dresses, pants, etc.

Ruly Ruth says: “When I was in 9th grade, I made a really cool leopard-print dress….it was a rounded neck with long straight arms and came 2″ above the knee. I think I wore it with leggings–let’s just say it would be a huge hit and very classical now!”

Allegra K Women Elastic Waist Leopard Pattern Leisure Chiffon Pants at

Ruly Ruth says: “.I LOVE THESE….in XS. I’m not sure someone who would wear a Large or XL would rock these—I think a little of this pattern goes a long way–not sure we need yards and yards of this showing….and I notice they are only selling it in XS…how convenient!”

Jessica Simpson Women's Leopard V Neck Beaded Halter Dress at

Ruly Ruth says: “Jessica Simpson would wear this, and some young women….most of us–not so much! I think honestly the fact the print is on a shiny fabric turns me off–make it more of a muted velvet and darker tones–we may have something then! But I love the cut of the dress itself…”

Michael Kors Black Cotton Jaguar Print Sleeveless Sheath Dress at

Ruly Ruth says: “Michael–I’m a HUGE FAN!! HUGE!!! But–this dress falls flat. You’re trying to get women like me to wear that around–not going to happen….love the cut of the dress–again–fabulous!!! But the print overlay—nah!! Not so much!”

Anne Klein Women's Lion Print Blouse at

Ruly Ruth says: “Lion print???!!! Looks like paint splotches. NEXT!”

50’s Inspired Plaid and Gingham Sundresses

In a style Vogue calls “Retro Americana,” plaid and gingham sundresses that recall the 1950’s are a big trend, worn with cat-eye sunglasses of course!

Ruly Ruth says: “You know what cracks me up about this come-back era–is that it’s all about young hipsters wearing this stuff! And the look fabulous–and our roller derby girls of course!! If you have a teenager, very appropriate!”

Triple Optic Oversized Vintage Inspired Super & Bold Retro Designer Cat Eye Sunglasses at

Ruly Ruth says: “Love these! I have huge issue with designer sunglasses that they are not always UVA/UVB and polarized–which is the best combo to protect your eyes–but for stylishness–A+! Even to a business meeting at an al fresco lunch–go for it!”

Britt Ryan womens gingham strapless tied bow cutout dress at

Ruly Ruth says: “Cute idea—bordering on lingerie. Wouldn’t wear it out—but a very young girl in her young 20s would look great in a beach environment at lunch in this!”

Gap Tiered Madras Dress at

Ruly Ruth says: “ditto–see comments above.

Esprit Madras Women's Vintage Halter Dress at

Ruly Ruth says: “I hate this print–and not in love with the dress either. Looks like leftover Xmas material repurposed into a dress!!!!”

Beach-themed Prints

What better way to celebrate beach season than with prints inspired by the sea, including seashells and seahorses.  If you aren’t up for the prints, there is also a wonderful selection of jewelry in this theme that is classic and fun for summer.

Ruly Ruth says: “These are all the rage–whether it’s high-end jewelry right now or knock-off cheapies—this is very popular. It reminds me of stuff to be worn in Hawaii….not sure I’d really wear it to be honest!”

Hawaiian Sea Shell Necklace at

Ruly Ruth says: “Cute! Teenagers…..precious, cute. That’s all!”

Sterling Silver Conch Shell Pendant at

Ruly Ruth says: “it’s okay….looks bulky and chunky. No elegance really….”

Your Eyes Lie The Seahorse Ring at

Ruly Ruth says: “Love the concept–not this exact enactment of it–but the concept is good! I do own a ring in a similar shape–fyi–it’s terribly uncomfortable to wear!”

Roxy Juniors Coral Reef Tube Top at

Ruly Ruth says: “Perfect for juniors for summer! Rock it young ladies!”

Carve Designs Women's Del Mar Full Piece Swimsuit at

Ruly Ruth says: “I like this—a lot!! Great classic and yet modern swimsuit top–the top bra part is fabulous! The print is good…”

Lilly Pulitzer Women's Duffy Shirt at

Ruly Ruth says: “This is a women’s cowboy shirt gone wrong!!! Come on Lilly—I love your stuff–this ain’t your best by a long shot!!”

Bianca Nygård Petite Seashells Print Jersey Knotted Waist Dress at

Ruly Ruth says: “The dress style is classic–the knotted waist and the jersey fabric is so forgiving and great with so many figures–the print–I didn’t read it was supposed to be seashells–thought it was jellyfish–not good! Don’t wear jellyfish…not hot!”

A Statement Piece in White

After all those prints, classic white is, as always, a trend for summer.  This year Vogue indicates there are two extremes: “crisp” and minimalist and more romantic and embellished pieces with cutwork and lace.

Ruly Ruth says: “I think white is a very tough, not classic color to pull off. I think medium and darker than that toned people look best in white–it pops more. And white is hard because it is often see-through…not a good thing at all!”

La Redoute Plus Size Sleeveless Sheath at

Ruly Ruth says: “I love the cut of this dress—buy it in black!”

Mango Women's Two Layered Cotton Dress at

Ruly Ruth says: “This one looks beautiful– I’d be tempted by this–but note the length–with a toddler–either put on white leggings or don’t buy it!”

Lucca Couture The Devin Dress at

Ruly Ruth says: “I love this!!!! It’s almost a tan–the cut is fabulous–I’d be tempted to try it–and it looks like it’s double-layered to the thighs–a good thing!

Anna-Kaci Knit Top at

Ruly Ruth says: “Perfect layer over camisoles–all the rage right now–gorgeous–I’d pair it with denim shorts, skirt or jeans! pretty!!”

As you can see, fashion elicits strong reactions. It takes courage to wear a trend and this summer’s prints definitely require courage. Before you quickly dismiss these trends as not your style, take a moment to think about how you might challenge yourself to incorporate something like this into your look. Do you have something in your closet you could dust off and try? It is so easy to find inexpensive pieces to purchase as well. It’s certainly more interesting to see someone attempting a fashionable look rather than the same old shorts and tees or tank tops. I have challenged myself and purchased some new trend-oriented pieces. While I will probably never be a fashion plate, I am curious to see how people will react to them (or if they will even notice at all!)

What do you think of this summer’s fashion trends? If you had to pick just one of the above pieces to wear this summer, which would you choose? Please share in the comments.