>Fashion: What worked, and what didn’t

>Some random notes on the most puzzling women’s fashion trends of the past few seasons:

It’s summer. No? Well then, why are all the dresses in the stores sleeveless, all the models bare-legged, and all the sweaters and shirts in bright, tropical colors? It’s January. You tell me.

Elvish lives.
A belated inspiration from Lord of the Rings? What else could explain this year’s proliferation of flat-soled, square-toed, rough-out suede or rustic leather boots with little suede laces and button fasteners? But, hey, far be it from me to complain about footwear you can actually walk a few blocks in without spraining an ankle. I bought a pair of elf boots by Teva — cute, comfy, lightweight (with cork soles). But not warm or waterproof. Perhaps we now have summer boots? (See above.)

What’s that in your hair? At last, scrunchies are on their way out. You know what they are, though you may not have known what they’re called: Scrunchies are those pony-tail elastics that are covered in cotton, so they look like someone tied her hair back using a pair of pastel cotton panties. Try not to think about it.

Doggie bags. Not for food, but for itty bitty doggies. I’m seeing fewer little dogs being carried around in big expensive purses these days. I wonder why that went out of style?

Something’s fuzzy about cashmere. There’s label-says-“cashmere,” and then there’s cashmere. In the past couple of years, the buyers at the mall department stores have figured out how to put the barest minimum and the lowest quality of cashmere into clothing and still be able to label it “cashmere.” I compared a cashmere hoodie I bought at Macy’s four years ago with one I bought last year: The four-year-old one is thick, soft, luxurious and drapes nicely, even after several dry cleanings. The year-old-one is flimsy and covered with pilling. Cashmere tip: Consignment shops in upscale neighborhoods have some real cashmere items.

Cardigans. Cardigan sweaters are de rigeur, and not just because Michelle Obama wears them. You need them so you don’t freeze in the sleeveless dress with the bare legs.

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