Spring Fashion: Uniting Beauty and Utility

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By Roxy Rowton

In the sphere of design, there has long been a school of thought that guided the design process: Form follows function, the principle that the shape of a design, space, or object should be primarily based upon its intended function or purpose. Citing the proverbial expression that necessity (function) is the mother of all invention illustrates that for every object, garment or accessory, there was first a reason for being or a need.

Shoes were for cushioning the soles of the feet, bags were for carrying items larger than the two hands, coats were for protection from the climatic elements, brooches were for closing capes before button closures, dusters were for shielding clothing from the dust of the trail, trench coats were for keeping soldiers warm in the trenches of war, and a chemise was a simple undergarment for protecting clothing
from perspiration and sweat.

Even in fashion, the concept that form follows function holds true to an extent. A jumpsuit, a garment of utilitarian performance, has a long-time association with aviation, aeronautics and motor racing, but transforms into something altogether fashionable when fabricated in silk, satin, and proportions becoming the female form. After all, it’s still a jumpsuit, but dressed up and elevated in a more luxurious fabric and figure enhancing silhouette. Fashion enunciates through function.

In fairness, there are clothing brands that have adhered to a sense of pragmatism and capable clothing for the modern, independent woman. These brands provide practical, indispensable pieces for the contemporary female closet that extend ease, comfort and utility specifically suited for the activities of an enterprising woman. While fit and function are the focus of these apparel brands, fashion and style are
frequently overlooked.

And yet, women have long been imposed to acceptance of lopsided clothing standards. The assembly of the female wardrobe often comes up against “pink taxes” (higher prices) and inferior workmanship, as well as a shortage of innovative designs to foster a fusion between fashion and function. Throughout the chapters of fashion, a woman’s clothing offered very few choices to celebrate her authentic sense of
femininity and ingenuity through garments designed with a bent toward beauty and utility.

For spring 2019, fashion attempts to bridge the deep chasm between opposing views. Form or function? Style or utility? Designers reconstruct utilitarian silhouettes through a thoroughly modern lens of  movement, practicality, softness and strength. It’s a collection of fundamental classics redesigned with a harmonious blend of utility and beauty in a modern, but sophisticated sensibility by which to get dressed.

There’s a lot to look forward to in spring fashion, especially for those who are neutrally minded and find simplicity in layering the earth tones from top to toe. The spring color story showcases earth and desert neutrals of tan, cream, khaki, sand, clay and olive with optimistic pops of sunshine yellow, radiant coral and vibrant purple.

To call a pocket a dressmaker embellishment or trim is grossly undervalued. Pockets in a woman’s garment are a big deal. Most of the female population relishes a garment that is designed with well-thought-out pockets. The spring collection of garments is packed with pockets—pockets for holding essentials close at hand.

Prepare to dress sensibly and confidently in an unabashed edit that redefines the classic concepts of femininity with an undeniably utilitarian attitude and functional sartorial details. Expect garments embracing movement and eschewing anything that is restrictive, but constructed from restraint for
a mood that is undoubtedly practical and beautiful. When in doubt, go with fashion that follows function. Slip into a season of beauty in utility: trenches, wide leg pants, sleeveless jackets, camp shirts, midi shirtwaist dresses, cargo pants and Bermuda shorts with inverted pleat pockets and hidden zip pockets, jumpsuits, web belts, snap closures on bodice, sleeves, and pant, and much more.

The spring collections pay homage to a modern woman’s sense of sensibility with garments that celebrate her quiet confidence and highly capable spirit. They showcase designs reflecting the contemporary woman who never wants her choice of clothing to compromise her sense of style, beauty or utility. Select utilitarian garments that feel authentically yours, translating the pieces into your own expression of individuality and style.

Wardrobe and style consultant Roxy L. Rowton (rlrowton@everydayrefinement.com) spends much of her workweek in the closet or the fitting room helping women look and feel their best. She has two-plus decades in the fashion, apparel and beauty industries.


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