In my last post on what fashion trends could Israelis take from Americans, I wrote that I usually see trends happen in Israel first. Well, this is usually true when it comes to Euro fashion. However, as you noticed in my last post I wrote about what Israelis could learn from Americans. Well, there are quite a number of fashion trends and tips that Americans could and should take from Israelis, who look to Euro fashion capitals like Paris and Milan for inspiration more so than their US ally.
For example, I remember when girls started wearing leggings as pants in Israel, I was visiting (not yet fully living here) and when I came back to the US, girls were still covering up their tights with immature looking denim miniskirts. They didn’t actually start following that super cool Euro glam trend until a year later when it was already done in places like Italy and Spain.
This doesn’t apply to all cases (for those nay-sayers who think I am in the wrong) but Americans do tend to be less daring and more fashion label-oriented (think Chanel, Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren) than their Israeli counterparts.
Of course, there are other factors–climate, of course, as well as a Middle Eastern influence (take or leave it, it’s there.)
Despite the fact that Americans tend to statistically have more problems with weight than Israelis (Israelis eat more fresh food and smaller meals, Americans eat more chemically processed items in large portions), ironically I’ve found that tighter pieces seem to reside in the States where as Israeli clothes are more accommodating to the more voluptuous woman. That’s because Israeli designers tend to be more free flowing with their clothing shapes and their draping. Chalk it up to everything from knowing how to play up a and forgive a woman’s hips to the fact that it gets so hot in places like Tel Aviv, women need to wear loose clothes to feel cooler. Fashion is also a factor, of course, and Israeli designers are pushing a new aesthetic, where draping makes the entire ensemble that much more sophisticated, feminine and prettier.
Bubble dresses with embellished hemlines and looser shirts hanging off the shoulder are all the rage here. Whatever the excuse, Israeli designers like Mirit Weinstock (loose but stylish silk dresses with open backs and intricate draped detail) and Ido Recanati (urban chic and flirty dresses with draped pocket detail and shirts with thick sleeves rather than thin spaghetti straps) are embracing this trend and Americans should, too!
In complete opposition to the brief I just posted, body con is also prominent here. For better or for worse, I suppose. Even the most curvaceous of ladies are not afraid to wear something just a little too tight and many are known for taking fashion risks (that don’t always work.) Designers aren’t complaining, they’re just creating more styles to accommodate this sometimes-giggled-upon fad that seems to have no signs of slowing down.
Tight pencil skirts can be found on Shenkin, Bograshov, and Tchernkovsky. Add this to designers like Anya Fleet and Yosef or the Kikar Masaryk store Delicatessen, who believe ultra sophistication can be found in the right pair of tight silk pants, small jacket or a rigid body-hugging blouse.
It’s very rare that the weather gets too cold in Israel. Though it has happened on occasion for days at a time, there is never any need for cashmere, wool or tweed. So why the need for thick scarves? Israelis certainly don’t feel one, so they don’t wear them. Ironically though, they do get cold easily (since they are so used to the hot weather) that when the temperature drops to below 60 degrees Farenheit, they’re suddenly covered in jacket. Spring jackets, of course. Scarves follow suit, but they’re not the winter scarves you are thinking of. The scarves in Israel tend to be made from thinner, more papery fabrics, and silk and satin of course. And Israelis like to wear them in droves!
Except the thing that I’ve noticed about these scarves in the past few years is that they’re not merely to keep warm. Religious women cover their heads with them, of course. And for the modern woman, they’ve become more and more of a fashion token, an accessory to carry along “just in case” or to wear to make a statement. As September (more like October, because it’s still warm in September) drifts along, you’ll suddenly see Israelis pulling out decorated scarves to tie around their neck in an effort to “keep warm.” But they’re not merely keeping warm. They’re also playing up their style.
Though its played up here and there, Americans are not usually seen wearing scarves without a purpose. This is why they need to take examples from the fashion forward Israelis who often choose effortless circles scarves or thin tulle in heavily decorated patterns or bright neon colors.
While Israelis in America have pointed out that Americans are quite fond of their flip flops, they still trade them in for plush, sky-high stiletto heels too often. And why not? After all, most of the world sees America as a land of opulence and many of its inhabitants like to show this off in possessions such as home and clothing. More often than not, they show them off in their shoes. Who hasn’t seen Christan Louboutin’s studded booties or Swarovski-encrusted pumps in the Meatpacking District (Manhattan?) I may be speaking for the East Coast more often then not, but I’ve seen my share of crazy pumps, peep toes, and pointy shoes that are only getting more expensive and more intricate as the years go on.
Israelis are a whole different story. While a rare few do opt for pointy-toe heels, I’ve mentioned in past blogs that heels here, if worn at all, tend to lean toward square pegged or wedge. I’m not sure if that has to do with the sand, the way the streets are made (rocky at times and underdeveloped) or pure comfort (Israelis prefer loose and functional over pretty but hard to wear.)
Then there’s that whole idea of flip flops and flats. Israelis wear them ALWAYS. It’s not that Americans don’t–they certainly do– but there are many places throughout the US that would not even let you set foot inside without a pair of dressy shoes. While in Israel it’s easy to get into clubs (beach or not) with kafkafim (flip flops.)
You don’t have always have to suffer to be beautiful. Israelis don’t. Many Americans can learn from this by ditching the prone to bleeding, toe-pinching five-inchers.
If you really want to go the American way–they have the Havaianas brand on Dizengoff St. But they also have 30nis sandals that I bought in the Shuk!
Again, it’s not the fact that lace is everywhere in Israel. It’s in America, too, of course. But while Americans often lean towards a sporty or conservative look, many Israelis will go for more romantic, more risk taking, and more Euro chic. I’d even go as far as calling some of the look Victorian. That’s what lace brings to the table.
There’s also the idea that Israelis tend to be more open in their clothing. Their clothing embraces the woman’s figure and shows it off whether it’s tight or off-the-shoulder. That’s why it’s no big surprise to find something as sheer as lace in the stores. It goes along with that mentality of pretty, but revealing.
Anya Fleet, Sigal Dekel,Yaara Keydar and Sharon Brushner all do it, but you’ll find it everywhere!
Return of The Bodysuits
Bodysuits are not the trend in America that they are in Israel, save for a few pieces sold at American Apparel. Perhaps tight onesies are something of a European fashion mentality more than they the conservative or brand-oriented American style of dress.
In any case, bodysuits are popping up all over this city. I feel like I am back in the 80s! Of course you’ll find your typical sleeveless neon but I find a lot of the stores trying to create a modern and flirty take on what was a loud and bold 80s trend. For example, you might have seen a shiny neon colored leotard with over exaggerated puff sleeve shoulders in that decade. Now you’ll find sleeveless onesies and also ruched ones.
Castro, Israel’s premier retail brand, for example has a really cool black and white striped one with a v-neck and ruched and pleated sleeves that I recently bought. For someone who is not skinny and is on the short side, I absolutely love it! Just pair with shorts or a high-waist skirt! I’ve also seen floral prints with femme shoulders and cute prints that are more spring time and less statement. I’m waiting for them to appear at our favorite retail brands in America (aka H&M, Gap, Forever 21.)
UPDATE: Since writing my piece on what fashion trends Israelis can take from Americans, I’ve seen some of the trends I mentioned. I’m sure that has nothing to do with my piece, but it’s interesting. Women are wearing straw Panama hats, though they tend to be more on the big, floppy side.
Soon after I wrote my blog post, I noticed that places on Bograshov and Dizengoff are starting to carry those foamy strapless bubble dresses. Easy forplaying up with cool rocker t-shirts,, perhaps?
You get my point.
Hope you enjoyed my long rant on Israeli fashion 😉 There’s more where that came from!