It’s a whole new year, so can a whole new wardrobe be far behind?  These are my personal favorite fashion trends for spring/summer 2012 and I’ve collated those that are most adaptable to Manila and to the Filipina’s style sensibilities.  Here’s what I’m most inspired by, and excited to try out, in the coming months:

1.  Sorbet Shades – Neon colors were strong in the recent past, but for this summer I’m really loving cool, delicious, pastel shades.  Take inspiration from your favorite ‘sorbetero’ and wear colors as light and refreshing as ice cream.  Try the palest, prettiest shades of mango (yellow), ube (lavender), avocado (pale green) and strawberry (pink).

2.  Hot Hues – Strong, fruity colors like tangerine (dubbed THE color for 2012), orange, red and all shades of raspberry (from pale to deep pink) will be ubiquitous in the coming months.  These colors, worn individually or color-blocked, work especially well with the Filipina’s skin tone (whether morena, chinita or mestiza).

3.  Graphic/Baroque Details – Graphic swirls, curls and flourishes are one of my favorite design details, and this year they are given a stronger, more graphic touch.  Steal elements from our colonial, baroque past and wear pieces that are rich in intricate detail.

4.  Bold Florals – Nothing complements Manila’s tropical weather like bold florals.  What differentiates them from the dainty prints in the past is these prints are big and bold and don’t look like they belong on the prairie.  They also shouldn’t be mistaken for the clichéd ‘duster’ housedress with its busy prints since modern florals are more reminiscent of abstract art.

(Floral Giclee Print by Lexi Sundell)

5.  Nature Themes – Aquatic and bird themes are some of the freshest themes to come out of spring-summer 2012 and are perfect for the tropics.  Incorporating these themes can be as easy as adding accessories with nature elements (shells or feathers) or for the fashion forward wearing playful prints and exaggerated patterns.

Chanel spring 2012

6.  Matte Metallic – A cool way to transition into summer is to wear metallics, but in a matte fabric.  Paired with white or khaki, silver, gold and bronze in a matte satin works perfectly for day or evening, both in the city and on the beach.  Try them in simple shapes like shifts, or high-waisted shorts or skirts.

7.  Piled On Accessories – Give your statement bib necklaces a rest.  One of the easiest trends to incorporate for Spring/Summer is to pile on eclectic accessories, either on your neck or your wrist (but not both!).  Mix metallic bangles with leather strips, bead bracelets & colorful woven bands.  Or wear heirloom pieces, like your grandmother’s favorite jewelry, all together.

(Photo by Tommy Ton for

8.  Drop Waist – Since most Filipinas don’t like wearing dresses that are fitted at the waist, the perfect trend to watch out for is the drop-waist which rests just at the top of the hips.  Wear this silhouette in silk, jersey, or other soft fabrics that accentuate the body but still give ease of movement.

Gucci resort 2012

9.  Arty Accents – Less disco-fever, but with more style, arty accents are often crafty, hand-made and artisanal.  Perfect for a modern look that’s eco-chic and elegant, look for accent pieces that are one-of-a-kind, using materials that are interesting and organic, like semi-precious stones, raw silks or even recycled materials.

Kayu eco-chic resort 2012

10. Sporty Mix – For spring/summer 2012, adding a sporty element to an elegant outfit gives it a bit more edge.  I love how this trend is both practical and stylish!  A lightweight nylon parka in a neutral shade like ‘sand’ can top off a matte gold mini dress and strappy heels as easily as khaki shorts and ballet flats.  Parkas (or anoraks) are also perfect for our unpredictable weather.

Chloé resort 2012

11. Monochromatic White – Another easy and very versatile trend to adapt for spring/summer 2012 is monochromatic white.  Pairing or layering crisp whites looks clean and fresh especially in hot, humid weather, and works easily from day to evening.  I love mixing and matching different textures of white, from lacey, to sheer, to satiny.

Stella McCartney spring 2012

12.  Creative Fashion – Creativity in fashion is a trend that will never go out of style.  Experiment, explore and express your own unique personality through fashion.  2012 is a whole new year for trying out brand new looks and discovering the fashions that work perfectly for you.

Not By the Book: Fashioning Design by Tippi Ocampo

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